Grafton Way

Pages 50-51

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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(formerly Grafton Street)

Grafton Way runs east from Cleveland Street, passes by the south block of Fitzroy Square and crosses Whitfield Street and Tottenham Court Road to Gower Street. The part west of Tottenham Court Road was the first to be built and of this, the section east of Fitzyroy Square was known formerly as Grafton Street and that west of the square as Upper Grafton Street. The section between Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street was a later development and was known as Grafton Street East. This has no claim upon our attention except that at one time Dr. William's Library was housed here (see p. 96). The main portion of Grafton Way that has survived lies between Whitfield Street and Tottenham Court Road. The numbering is east to west, the odd numbers being on the south and the even on the north.

Seven houses on the south side, Nos. 35 to 45, and the corner house which is numbered 112 in Whitfield Street still stand, but the first three have suffered alteration. They date from 1777–8 (fn. 55) and are of four storeys, of brick with stuccoed ground floors (except No. 41) finishing with a plain string course forming the sills of the first floor windows. (fn. n1) There are three windows to each of the upper floors and their height diminishes in each storey. Nos. 41, 43 and 45 retain their old arched doorways with projecting quoins, voussoirs and key blocks. That to No. 41 alternates brick and stucco; the key block has a mask and at the springing each block has two paterae (Plate 11).

The houses opposite on the north side are of a more elaborate type. Six remain (Nos. 52 to 62) and according to the leases they were built in 1792 (fn. 56), the first two being held by William and John Adam who leased to builders. They are brick fronted, of four storeys with three windows to each of the upper floors. The first floor windows are very tall, reaching to the floor, and those of the two upper floors diminish in height. There is a stone stringcourse at first floor level and Nos. 56 and 58 have a continuous balcony here. No. 52 has a stuccoed ground floor but retains its old arched door with side lights and elaborate fanlight. No. 54 now has a shop front. Nos. 58 and 60 retain their fine fanlights within a wide arch with plastered reveals. The door head is moulded with dentil ornament and the door is flanked by columns with carved capitals. The door of No. 62 is differently designed, the angles of the jambs and arch being recessed with a quadrant curve.


No. 58 (formerly No. 27) was occupied by Captain John Mands in 1794–98, William Augustus Skynner, of Winkfield Plain, Berks, in 1799–1801, and General Francisco de Miranda from 1803 to 1810, when he returned to Venezuela to lead the rebellion against the Spanish govern ment. A plaque was affixed to the front of the house in 1942 and unveiled by Lord Robert Cecil in the presence of several South American diplomats. It bears the following inscription—

Francisco de Miranda
Lived in this house between 1803 and 1810
Born in Caracas, Venezuela
He was the forerunner of the independence
of the republics of Latin America
Here he met in 1810 the Liberator
Simon Bolivar

Although Miranda never returned to England, but was captured in 1812 and died a prisoner in Cadiz in 1816, his name continued in the rate-books until 1822, after which it was replaced by "Mrs. Sarah Miranda" until 1848. In the directories, however, "L. Miranda," Colombian Minister, occurs in several years between 1832 and 1842. This was doubtless the son of General Miranda, born in 1803. (fn. n2)

The freehold of the house was sold by Lord Southampton to William Crane Wilkins and others in 1862 and by them to Edward Tomkins Sturage, of City Road, merchant, in the same year (fn. 57).

No. 57 was occupied by Captain John Fernandez from 1805 to 1810, and by Nathan Defries, civil engineer, from 1843 to 1853, when he removed to No. 5 Fitzroy Square.

Admiral Sir John Knight lived at No. 45 from 1803 to 1826, and John Lilley, artist, was at No. 4 in 1836 together with A. Wright, upholsterer.


  • n1. Nos. 41 to 45 were leased to the Rev. Anthony Bromley in 1777. The two corner houses in Whitfield Street went to William Adam in 1791. (Middx Land Reg. 1791/10/22.)
  • n2. A description of the house appears in The Life of Miranda, by William Spence Robertson, Ph.D. (University of N. Carolina Press, 1929. 2 vols.)
  • 55. Op. cit.
  • 56. Op. cit.
  • 57. M.L.R. 1862/12/403.