The Southampton Estate : Mornington Crescent

Pages 132-133

Survey of London: Volume 24, the Parish of St Pancras Part 4: King's Cross Neighbourhood. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1952.

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The Southampton property extends northward as a comparatively narrow strip between Nash's development on the border of Regent's Park on the west and the Bedford and Camden Estates on the east, the centre of Hampstead Road and High Street, Camden Town, being its eastern boundary. Opposite Harrington Square (on the Bedford Estate) was built Mornington Crescent, named after Richard Colley Wellesley, Earl of Mornington, Governor-General of India and eldest brother of the Duke of Wellington. The crescent appears first in the rate books in 1821, with one entry and a note by the collector to "leave room for 30 houses." In 1823 Nos. 3, 5 and 7 were occupied, but it was not until 1832 that we find the full complement of thirty-six houses complete and inhabited. The segment between the crescent and the Hampstead Road was originally laid out in gardens but is now occupied by the great building of Carreras, Ltd.

Arlington Road runs northwards from Mornington Crescent parallel with Camden High Street. It is crossed by Parkway (formerly Park Street) which runs from Gloucester Gate, Regent's Park, to the High Street, near Camden Town Underground Station. In Parkway formerly stood a theatre, first named the Alexandra Theatre and later the Park Theatre. It was opened in 1873, but was destroyed by fire in 1881 and was not rebuilt.

CLXI—Mornington Crescent

The crescent is one of the last groups of buildings to follow the designs which are characteristic of the earlier development in the neighbourhood already described in this volume. The houses are arranged in blocks of four storeys, flanking the streets radiating from the crescent, with intermediate houses of three storeys and attics lit by dormers in mansard roofs. Nos. 1 to 3, 11 to 14 (divided by Mornington Terrace), 23 to 26 (divided by Mornington Place), and Nos. 35 and 36 (the latter, at the south corner of Arlington Road, now rebuilt), are rendered in stucco throughout, with a bold cornice above the second floor, and architraves to the windows. The cornice continues through the intermediate blocks which have their upper storeys faced with brick. The ground floor of the whole crescent is of channelled stucco, with semi-circular heads to the doors and windows. The doors formerly had good fanlights and the windows glazing bars of interlacing Gothic design, but these have only survived in Nos. 16 and 21. Balconies of varying designs extend across the front of each house at first floor level. All the houses have basements and railed areas. At the angles of the streets the corners are rounded. (Plate 89.)

No. 1, with which the crescent starts at its southern end is larger than the other houses and has a more elaborate design. The original crescent ended at Arlington Road on the north, and Nos. 37 to 47 in its continuation (formerly known as Southampton Street) to Hampstead Road, are later and smaller three-storey houses. No. 47 is wider than the rest and includes an entrance to a yard behind.