The Cromer-Lucas Estate

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 Cromer-Lucas Estate', in Survey of London: Volume 24, the Parish of St Pancras Part 4: King's Cross Neighbourhood, (London, 1952) pp. 94-95. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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The Lucas or Cromer-Lucas Estate lay north of the Harrison Estate and south of Battle Bridge Fields. On the west it adjoined the Skinners' Estate. On this ground, Joseph Street, Brighton Street, Dutton Street and Lucas Street (later Cromer Street) were erected. Most of them have since been demolished.

The early history of this property and its association with the Pindar of Wakefield is given in Chapter 5, dealing with the Harrison Estate. It comprised originally seven acres (the northern portion of Peperfield) and had a frontage of 130 feet next Gray's Inn Road with a cottage and cow pasture. To the west was a field let to John Turner, a cow-keeper, and on the extreme west (adjoining the bowling green on the Skinners' Estate) was a small public-house, tea-house and skittle ground, known as the Golden Boot, and let to Thomas Ustonson, also two small houses let to W. Grazing and a Mr. Marshall. (fn. 81) These appear to have been situated in Greenland Place (see John Tompson's map, c. 1803, Plate 2), and were approached by the lane from Gray's Inn Road which separated the Harrison and Lucas Estates (see also p. 70).

The estate is marked on a map of 1756 in the London Magazine as owned by a Mr. Beech. He was Joseph Beech, a coach-maker, of St. Giles in the Fields, who died prior to 1782, leaving a widow, Dorothy, and a daughter, Elizabeth. The family also occupied land on the east side of Gray's Inn Road situated between George Street and Swinton Street and extending as far east as the Fleet Brook. All this land was conveyed in trust for Joseph Lucas, variously described as a tin-man and tin-plate worker, of Long Acre. (fn. 82)

Lucas decided to build on his land during 1801, and informed Mr. Cockerell, the surveyor to the Foundling Hospital, who reported it to his committee. It is interesting to read in the minutes of the latter that, since the Foundling Hospital did not wish the wooden water-mains from Islington (which were continually bursting) to pass through their garden, and since Mr. Harrison would not have them through his land, they were now trying to persuade Mr. Lucas to have them. (fn. 15) The lay-out of the streets appears in Horwood's map of 1799 (Plate 1).

In 1837, after the Lucas estate had been fully developed, a Mr. William Lucas took over the neighbouring St. Chad's Well as a commercial venture (fn. 83); his connection with Mr. Joseph Lucas has, however, not been ascertained.

CXXIII—Cromer Street (formerly Lucas Street)

Cromer Street (formerly Lucas Street) lies east and west and connects Judd Street with Gray's Inn Road. It was set out just north of the lane which divided the Harrison and Lucas estates and gave access from Gray's Inn Road to Greenland Place and the bowling green (see pp. 83, 84). Greenland Place, which appears in the Land Tax books for 1794, is shown on Horwood's map (1799), and also on Tompson's map c. 1803.

According to the poor rate books six houses were built in the new street in 1801, the year that Joseph Lucas was corresponding with Cockerell (see p. 94). In 1810 he built another eight houses and in 1815 a further ninety-one. It was not, however, until 1818 that they were all occupied. In 1834 the name was changed from Lucas to Cromer Street. Practically the whole of the street has been re-built. Its eastern end runs between the residential flats erected by the St. Pancras Borough Council (see p. 77).

Church of the Holy Cross, Cromer Street. This church was designed (like the earlier church of St. Jude, Gray's Inn Road, the parish of which is now joined to Holy Cross) by Joseph Peacock and was dedicated in 1888. It has a number of interesting fittings, including a font by J. L. Pearson and a rood by Sir Charles Nicholson. Some of the fittings from St. Jude's Church were moved here when the latter church was demolished in 1936, and also its memorial tablets, including that to John Marshall Andrews, first vicar of St. Jude's, who died in 1896.


1888 Albert Moore, vicar
1907 John Roffey, priest-in-charge
1909 Francis Edwin Baverstock, vicar
1915 Leslie Douglas Rutherford, vicar
1922 Francis R. L. Langford-James, vicar
1933 Ralph Huie Le Messurier, vicar
1945 Napier Pitfield Sturt, vicar

CXXIV—Gray's Inn Road West Side (Nos. 243 to 249)

Nothing of importance is left on the frontage of the Lucas Estate to Gray's Inn Road. There is a modern public-house (No. 243) at the north corner of Cromer Street; its neighbour, No. 245, is derelict. Nos. 247 and 249 have shops and two brick storeys above; they are unoccupied.


  • 15. Foundling Hospital Building Cttee. Minutes.
  • 81. Ibid. 1782/3/233.
  • 82. Ibid. 1782/3/323.
  • 83. W. Wroth, The London pleasure gardens of the eighteenth century, 1896.