University Street, WC1E

Place Name

Referencing the University of London, now University College London (UCL). The street was laid out in the early-19thCentury on farmland owned from about 1768 by Hans Winthrop Mortimer of Caldwell, Derby. Development started about the same time, though while Horwood’s plan of 1799 shows the area west of Tottenham Court Road heavily built up, to its east remained largely open fields. When this street was first laid out it was called Carmarthen Street and was intended to give access to a planned, yet never built Carmarthen Square at the top of Gower Street (Mortimer’s connection to Carmarthen is unknown). On Horwood’s map of 1807 it is shown as New London Street, continuing as it did the line of Maple Street, then known as London Street. In 1825, Mortimer by now in financial straits, put some of the land once earmarked for the Square in the eastern part of his estate up for sale. It was acquired by John Smith, Benjamin Shaw, and Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, who held it until the Council of the fledgeling University of London had raised the money to take over responsibility for it. The university’s foundation stone was laid on April 30, 1827, hence the street was renamed.


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