THE BEDFORD ESTATE
The land west and north of Somers Town, bounded by the Hampstead and Crowndale Roads, belonged to the Bedford Estate. It is shown
planned for development on Britton's map of 1834 (Plate 4) but the actual
arrangement differs from that shown on the map in certain particulars. Its
main features are three irregular-shaped "squares": Ampthill Square
(crescent shaped) in the south, Harrington Square (a triangle) next Hampstead Road to the north-west, and Oakley Square in the north-eastern area.
The main characteristics of the buildings are described below—
Russell, Duke of Bedford
This comprises a row of houses (Nos. 6 to 19, S.W. to N.E.) from
Hampstead Road to Houghton Place, and a somewhat irregular crescent
opposite, called Russell Crescent, on Britton's map. The ground floors are
faced with stucco and the upper three storeys are brick with a moulded cornice
beneath the attic, the doors being square-headed. All have balconies. The
two end houses (Nos. 6 and 19) have arched ground floor windows and
pediments to those of the first floor; the others have entablatures only. Nos.
12 and 13 form a central feature with pilasters in stucco rising two storeys,
and a dentilled cornice. The greater part of the curved side of the square
has been destroyed but six houses (Nos. 30 to 36, excluding No. 34) survive
near the north end. They are similar to the others, with stucco pilasters and
pediments to the first floor windows and eared architraves and cambered
heads to those on the second floor. Nos. 38–44 at the south end are like
Nos. 6–19. No. 1 is a detached house with a central Doric porch.
This forms two sides of a right-angled triangle facing Hampstead
Road and Mornington Crescent. The houses are numbered 2 to 14 on the
south (west to east) and 15 to 24 on the east (south to north). They have
basements with areas, round-arched doorways with porticoes to the ground
floors, two upper storeys of brick and an attic above a moulded cornice.
The first floor windows have round-headed arches with rosettes in the
This connects the east side of Harrington Square with Ampthill
Square. On the west side the surviving houses are numbered 7 to 12. They
follow the usual type of a four-storey house, with basements, the lower floors
being stucco-faced. The first floor windows have architraves and balconies;
a cornice runs beneath the attic. On the east side, the houses have been
destroyed, except for Nos. 5 and 6.
This connects Houghton Place and Eversholt Street. It retains
houses numbered 1 to 9 on the south side (east to west) of the same character
as the adjoining Oakley Square.
CLV—Barnot Street (formerly Bedford Street)
This connects Ampthill Square and Eversholt Street. Its remaining
houses, Nos. 2 to 10 (east to west) on the north side are of three storeys,
similar to the houses already described, but No. 2 has an additional storey
and verandah. Nos. 5, 6 and 8 are derelict.
CLVI—Eversholt Street (North of Cranleigh Street)
This part of the street was the original road bearing this name. It is
wider than its southern continuation (formerly Seymour Street) and both
Nos. 209 (west) and 194 (east) at the junction have curved fronts. Nos. 209
to 221, on the west side, have shops. North of this point, where Lidlington
Place joins it, are six houses numbered in Oakley Square (71 to 76). Further
north are numbers 235 to 277, four-storey houses with shops. On the east
side, the houses that remain are Nos. 194 to 202, south of Oakley Square,
and Nos. 210 to 214 to the north, all of the same character.
CLVII—Crowndale Road (originally Fig Lane and then Gloucester Place)
This marks the northern boundary of the Bedford and Brewers'
Estates, the houses on the north side belonging to Camden Town. On the
south side, west of St. Matthew's Church, Oakley Square, is a row of the
original houses, Nos. 31 to 53 (odd numbers, east to west). They are of the
same character as those already described on the estate. Further east are five
houses, Nos. 1 to 9, with shops, which are built on land transferred to the
This is a long irregular enclosure, with two parallel sides running
north-east and south-west. The numbering of the houses is consecutive,
starting from the south-western junction of the square with Eversholt Street
and proceeding anti-clockwise. Nos. 1 to 12 (south) and 13 to 23 (south-east)
survive. They are large houses of four storeys, the ground floors faced with
stucco and the remainder brick with moulded stucco cornices. The entrance
doors have porches. The end houses (Nos. 13 and 23) and those in the centre
(Nos. 17 and 18) have slight projecting faces. There are long balconies to the
first floors. The remainder of the south-east side (Nos. 24–28) and the east
side (Nos. 29–39) have been demolished.
At the corner of the square and Crowndale Road is the church of
St. Matthew, which occupies part of the north-west side. It was built in
1852–56 on a site presented by the Duke of Bedford, who gave £1,000 to the
building fund, £250 of this being contingent upon the steeple being built.
In addition he contributed £1,000 a year to the Diocesan Church Building
Society out of which the society gave £400 towards the building and lent a
further £600. The church was designed by John Johnson and is an elaborate
building of Kentish Rag and Bath stone in the Decorated style of Gothic.
The nave has a clerestory and the tower with a lofty steeple stands free at the
south-east angle of the nave (Plate 87). The total cost was £9,000. (ref. 125) The
apex of the steeple was damaged during the war. The church was consecrated
on 23rd December, 1856, and the vicarage was completed in 1871.
List of Vicars:
|1857||Charles Phillips (curate in charge from
|1888||Henry Edgeworth Bicknell Arnold|
|1902||Hugh Spencer Beard|
|1912||Herbert Sells Frost|
|1914||Cecil Edleston Livesey|
|1920||William Worthington Judges|
|1927||Matthew Le Marinel|
|1938||Arthur Stanley Urch|
On the north-west side of the square Nos. 53 to 70 remain, south-west
of the church. They are of the same type as the rest and have columned
porches. Nos. 53 and 57 project slightly from the building line.
CLIX—Werrington Street (North and north-east of Cranleigh Street)
The houses are numbered from the junction of the street with Goldington Crescent, the odd numbers starting on the south and even numbers
on the north.
There are no old houses on the north side until the street bends southwest in the direction of Cranleigh Street. Nos. 30 to 38 follow the usual
design, with channel-jointed stucco ground floors, and two upper brickfaced storeys with cornice, etc. These houses have two windows on the
ground floor, one on each side of an entrance door with architraves carrying
an entablature. Nos. 40 to 52 are also double-fronted and of the same type
but somewhat less in height. The street then turns southwards and Nos. 54
to 60 have shops, and 62 and 64 are small houses. The corner house adjoining
Cranleigh Street is No. 66.
On the opposite side is a range of small houses, Nos. 19 to 41 with
small front gardens. They have half basements, with flights of steps to the
ground floor, and one upper storey. No. 41 is a little more important with a
recessed door and a porch. No. 43 projects forward to the pavement and has
scrolled entablatures to its two first floor windows. Nos. 45 (with shop),
47 and 49 are north of a modern building at the corner of Cranleigh Street.
CLX—Charrington Street (North of Werrington Street)
The houses in this continuation of Charrington Street have been
demolished on the west side. On the east No. 82 (with a side entrance) and
Nos. 84 and 86 still stand. The first floor windows have stucco pediments.