Cumberland Market

Page 143

Survey of London: Volume 21, the Parish of St Pancras Part 3: Tottenham Court Road and Neighbourhood. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1949.

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This ample market place, the buildings surrounding which have now disappeared, was planned by Nash as the third market to serve the community which was housed in the Regent's Park Estate, and was the only one that functioned in that capacity. (fn. n1) The leases date from 1819, 1825 and 1826. The square was enclosed by modest houses three storeys in height, having a pair of windows on each of the upper floors. They do not appear originally to have had shops, the exchange of provisions being probably purposely confined to the area of the market itself, but the lower floors of many of the houses were subsequently converted to business. The brick elevations of the houses were of the simplest description and were chiefly marked by the greater height of the first-floor windows, which equalled thirty-one courses of brickwork as against twenty-one for that of the ground and second floors. The emphasis thus given to the first floor lent character to the design and it is to be noted that the greater length was reflected in the window panes, since both types of window were divided vertically into four panes by their sash bars. The original entrances, some of which appear in the photographs, were within arched openings with a painted tympanum over the door. The deep band of brickwork above the upper windows up to the parapet was very effective.

The parts of the square which have been photographically recorded include the eastern section of the south side numbered 1 to 12 from Osnaburgh Street to Glen Street; the east side from Glen Street to Edward Street numbered 12A to 20; and the houses north of Edward Street. The original houses included No. 3 (with added shop) No. 4 unaltered, No. 5 rendered in stucco and with a shop, Nos. 6 and 7 with a modern shop, Nos. 8 to 11 unaltered except for the cemented ground floor of No. 9. The corner house, the King's Head had a somewhat later treatment in stucco, with balconies to the first floor and a balustrade to the parapet. Nos. 12a, 14 and 15 were unaltered but the remainder to Edward Street were fitted with shop fronts and No. 20 was re-cast in stucco. The houses north of Edward Street also had shops with the exception of No. 23, the ground floor of which was rendered and jointed to imitate masonry. (Plates 81, 82.)

The market was surrounded with cast-iron posts of square section, with three projecting bands, the lowest forming a base and the uppermost a cap with the pyramidal weathering of the top of the post. The middle band, in a position some two-thirds up the post, carried the chains that enclosed the market place.


  • n1. Edward Walford (Old and New London, IV, p. 217) says that the market for hay and straw formerly in the Haymarket (south of Piccadilly) was moved here in George IV's reign. It is called Regent's Park Haymarket on Davis's Map of St. Marylebone, 1834.