Woburn Place, WC1B

Place Name

Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire is the principal seat of the dukes of Bedford, who acquired it at the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII’s land grab against the Roman Catholic Church. It originated as a Cistercian abbey in 1145. Henry gave the abbey to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, in 1547 who demolished it and built a house, which he continued to call it an abbey. The house was rebuilt again in 1744, by which time the dukes had also, through the marriage of William, Lord Russell to Rachel Wriothesley, the daughter of the 4th Earl of Southampton, acquired the district of Bloomsbury. This street appears as the partly-developed Wobourn Place on Horwood’s map of 1819. It was built on the site of a track along the eastern boundary of the Bedford estate, which was upgraded in the 18thCentury into a private road to improve the Duke’s access to the New Road (now Euston Road). Its houses were intended for the wealthy and reputable middle classes. The name Woburn means a twisted or crooked stream.


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