Whidborne Street, WC1H

Place Name

According to the UCL Bloomsbury Project this street is most likely named after the Reverend George Ferris Whidborne (August 6, 1845 – February 14, 1910). After studying at Cambridge he was ordained Deacon in London in 1881 and as a priest the following year. He was then Curate of St Pancras, from 1881 – 1886 before moving to St Paul’s, Onslow Square, for two years. He was later made Vicar of St George’s, Battersea, and was a benefactor of the nearby Holy Cross Church, where he gave the land for its building. A wealthy man, he was a nephew of John James Spencer Lucas, who made his fortune from whaling. Outside of the church he spent more than 20 years studying the Devonian fauna of the South West of England in the annual volumes of the Palaeontographical Society. His son, born in 1890, who shared his name, was killed during the First World War and awarded the Military Cross. Gillian Bebbington in London Street Names has the alternative suggestion that it, along with Tankerton Street, Midhope Street and Loxham Street, was named after company directors of the East End Dwellings Company which in 1891 purchased slum properties in the area with the intention of redeveloping them for the poor. Either way, when it was laid out in the 1810s, it was at first called Brighton Street. It had been renamed by 1919. The area was developed from 1801 by a landowner and tin-plate worker, Joseph Lucas, who owned a seven-acre site between Gray’s Inn Road and the ancient Boot pub, which still exists, on the corner of Cromer Street and Judd Street. Prior to its development, it had been fields. The Camden History Society says the origins of the original name are uncertain but it may have been inspired by auctioneer William Forrester Bray, the 1820s developer of nearby streets, who was also a sometime proprietor of the Brighton Herald.

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