The Wood-Michell estate: Hanbury Street west of Brick Lane

Survey of London: Volume 27, Spitalfields and Mile End New Town. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1957.

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'The Wood-Michell estate: Hanbury Street west of Brick Lane', in Survey of London: Volume 27, Spitalfields and Mile End New Town, (London, 1957) pp. 189-193. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

In this section

Hanbury Street West of Brick Lane

The line of this street was in existence by the mid-seventeenth century, before the chief period of building development in Spitalfields. In March 1648/9 it was described as ’newly named or known by the name of Lolsworth Lane or Street’, the name that was intermittently used during most of the seventeenth century, and derived from Lolesworth field or Spittlehope, in which it was situated. In 1649 and later one of the more prominent tenants of the Wheler family in the Lane must have been William Browne, who held, in succession to Jeffery Browne, three houses, a yard, two sheds, a cowhouse and a garden and orchard, at the western end of the Lane, probably on its south side: he also occupied, probably for pasturage, ’all that open field called Spitalfields’, later the site of the market. (fn. n1) In all, he paid £22 per annum rent. (fn. 111)

In March 1662/3 Sir William Wheler of Westminster granted a ninety-nine-year lease of this ground or part of it, known as the Cow Yard (described, perhaps incorrectly, as being on the north side of the Lane), to William Browne, who assigned it in 1667 to a William Hutchins who built houses on the ground, and granted leases of several other parts of ’the said Ground to several Persons to build upon reserving Ground rents for the same’. (fn. 112) In 1671 Hutchins's widow granted an eighty-year lease of part of the ground to Thomas Brockwell, a carpenter, who built six houses on it. (fn. 113)

In Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1677 the street is called Brown's Lane, the name retained until 1876 and which was probably derived from Jeffery and William Browne's holding. In the same year the Spitalfields surveyor of the highways was paid ’upon the Account of Repayreing Loles worth Street which formerly was not customary to be Repayred’. (fn. 114) In Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1681–2 the north side is shown entirely built-up but the southern side partly occupied by the unbuilt northern boundary of Joyce's Garden. In May 1702 the unbuilt parts of the south side of the street were occupied by a mud wall and a brick wall. (fn. 10) A comparison of Gascoine's map of 1703 with the map of 1681–2 suggests that there had been no increase of building on the south side between the dates of the two.

In March 1712/13, six houses at the west end of the south side of the street, the two easternmost being probably now represented by Nos. 12 and 14, together with a yard, which still survives between Nos. 10 and 12, and ’a small parcel of ground heretofore a Bowling Alley’ behind the houses, were conveyed by Frances Paltock, one of the seven daughters of William Wheler, and others, in trust for Edward Peck, dyer, together with four houses on the east side of Red Lion Street. One of these latter houses was occupied by Edward Peck, who was one of the’ Fifty Churches’ Commissioners and whose monument stands in Christ Church. (fn. 115) In 1833 the yard between Nos. 10 and 12 was called Peck's yard. (fn. 116) The premises adjoining the east side of Peck's property, on the south-west corner of Hanbury Street and Wilkes Street, were also occupied by a dyer (see below).

No. 8/10 (formerly No. 4 Brown's Lane) was occupied in 1799 and 1818 by William Hall, a silk manufacturer. (fn. 117) This was perhaps the Mr. Hall, a silk manufacturer of Spitalfields, with whom Henry William Pickersgill, R.A. (1782–1875), lived and whose business he entered in about 1798 before devoting himself to painting. (fn. n2)

Nos. 18–22 (even) Hanbury Street

Formerly No. 10 Wood Street and No. 8 Brown's Lane Rebuilt

These houses, originally two, were built, together with Nos. 14 and 16 Wilkes Street, by James Pitman, citizen and carpenter of London, under a building lease granted by Wood and Michell in March 1723/4. (fn. 118) In September 1725 Pitman assigned the lease and houses to a mercer for £1,54O. (fn. 119) The houses have been rebuilt and are of no interest.

Christ Church Parish Hall

Formerly French Church, German Church, Baptist Chapel and Methodist Chapel

This building was originally built, as a French church, probably in about 1719. Samuel Worrall, who was later employed on carpenter's work in Christ Church, was probably associated with its erection. It was in existence in December 1719. (fn. 120) In December 1721 Wood, Michell and Worrall leased the site and chapel to Joseph Saubere (a silk dresser) and others, for fifty-nine years, a new lease for forty-one years being granted in 1739. (fn. 121) It was a brick-built, stone-fronted building (fn. 122) standing back behind a paved tree-planted court yard (see below).

The first congregation seems previously to have worshipped in the Spitalfields market-house. Originally non-conforming, they adopted the French version of the Anglican form of worship in 1723: by 1740 they appear to have disbanded. (fn. 123) The building was taken over in 1740 by La Patente Church, which had been accommodated in Crispin Street (see page 138)., (fn. n3) and which purchased the lease of the Brown's Lane chapel for £315. (fn. 125) In 1742 the church was joined by that from Three Crown Court, Wheler Street. By the 1760's the congregation was large and prosperous. (fn. 126) This French congregation left in 1786 and, with l'Eglise de l'Artillerie, joined the Threadneedle Street Church. (fn. 127) The building was then leased, in March 1787, by the French congregation to a congregation of German Lutherans under the Rev. Christopher Triebner (or Truebner). (fn. 128)

An inventory of 1787 (fn. 128) preserves many details of the chapel as it then was. The building was set back from the street behind a paved yard enclosed by a brick wall with doors and palisades and containing a pump and a ’Lofty Tree’. There were three entrances to the chapel, two on the north side and one on the west, each with its own lobby, and two rows of windows at ground and gallery level except on the south side, which was pierced by ’two large circle top windows with head lights and iron casement to each…’ Galleries supported on ’turned columns’ occupied three sides, and the walls on both ground and gallery floors had high wainscot dadoes. Over the ’Altar piece’ at the south end were the royal arms ’neatly carved gilt and painted in a complete manner’. The ’strong Wainscot Top Communion Table with a Drawer underneath’ was enclosed by a railing of turned balusters, and the pulpit and desk were painted in imitation of mahogany and upholstered in green cloth. The windows were curtained and the church was artificially lit by upright iron candlesticks screwed to the pews, brass sconces fixed to the gallery columns and by ’four eight light Brass Branches as fixt with Iron Work Twisted’.’A Eight day Spring Dial in a Mahogany Case … made by Penton of Moorfields’ was attached to the north gallery front.

The German congregation appears to have vacated the church between 1818 and 1828. (fn. 43) In 1845 or 1846 it was occupied as ’Jireh Chapel’ by a group of Baptists who had split away from Zoar Chapel in Great Alie Street, led by Frederick Tryon. By 1852 they had disbanded, (fn. 129) to be followed by the United Free Methodists, for whom the property was purchased in 1858. (fn. 130) In 1864 the front of the building was extended northwards, covering the court-yard which had formerly separated it from the street. The architect in charge of the alterations was C. McJ. North. (fn. 131)

In 1887 the building was purchased by the Rev. Prebendary R. C. Billing, rector of Christ Church, Spitalfields. It was converted into a parish hall by the removal of the galleries and pulpit, and reopened on 7 November 1887. (fn. 122)

Between 1912 and 1916 extensive repairs were carried out, the roof and upper parts of the walls being totally rebuilt at a cost of £1,200. (fn. 132)

The original stone facade was destroyed in 1864 and little of the old interior remains except two round-headed windows in the south wall, a bold dentil cornice bordering the ceiling and a coloured plaque bearing the royal arms. The latter once belonged to La Patente, a reminder of its origin in letters patent granted by James II.

Nos. 24 and 26 Hanbury Street

Formerly Nos. 9 and 10 Brown's Lane

These two houses (Plate 70c) were probably built in about 1717–18. In February 1717/18 Wood, Michell and Haulsey made an outright conveyance to Joseph Saubere of Spitalfields, silk dresser, of a piece of ground, the site of Nos. 24 and 26, said in the memorial of the deed to be described in an annexed ’Modell or Plattforme’ no longer surviving. (fn. 133) In December 1719 Saubere made a mortgage lease of the two new brick messuages, said to be lately erected by him, to Simon Michell for five hundred years to secure £367 10s. (fn. 120) Until recently a rainwater-head marked 171– could be seen on the houses. (fn. 109) In 1727 one house was occupied by a pewterer or brazier and the other by a ’gentleman’. (fn. 134)

No. 24 was occupied in 1759 and 1766 by David Godin, (fn. 43) perhaps the weaver for whom designs now in the Victoria and Albert Museum were made, (fn. 135) and partner in the firm of Godin and Ogier who undertook in 1745 to raise a body of sixty of their workmen to resist the Young Pretender. (fn. 39)

No. 26 was occupied in 1743 and 1759 by James Ouvry, perhaps the James Ouvry who also had commercial premises at No. 29 Fournier Street, (fn. 43) and who undertook in 1745 to raise a body of nineteen of his workmen. (fn. 39) In 1766 and 1773 it was occupied by James Ouvry, junior, (fn. 43) a mantua and black-silk weaver (fn. 108) and a trustee under the Local Act of 1772. In 1803 and 1805 it was occupied by a carpenter. (fn. 43)

They were built as a pair of single-fronted houses, two rooms deep and with mirrored plans, each house containing three storeys and a roof garret. Except for the ground storey, the fronts are uniformly designed and faced with yellow brown brick. The three windows evenly spaced in each upper storey have red brick jambs and gauged flat arches, those of the first-floor windows being stepped up in a manner suggesting triple keyblocks without the usual surface projection. In addition, the soffit of the middle window-arch is cut to give a serpentine profile on the face. The second-floor arches have slightly cambered soffits, but this might be due to rebuilding. The windows have moulded flush frames containing sashes with slender glazing bars at No. 26, and modern casements or sashes at No. 24. The stucco-faced ground storey of No. 24 is finished with a narrow cornice resting on consoles, apparently Victorian work. No. 26 has a wooden shop-front, probably early nineteenth century, with slender Doric pilasters and an entablature with a mutuled cornice. Both houses have recessed garret fronts, filled with casements.

No. 28 Hanbury Street

Formerly No. 11 Brown's Lane


This was described in September 1718 as lately built by Samuel Phipps of Spitalfields, bricklayer, who in that month received a conveyance of No. 17 Princelet Street, on to which No. 28 Hanbury Street backs, from Wood, Michell, their trustees and Samuel Worrall. (fn. 136) In July 1719 Wood, Michell and their trustees conveyed No. 28 to Phipps, it being said to have been built by him. (fn. 137) In 1728 Phipps granted a mortgage lease to a butcher. (fn. 138)

The present building is of no interest.

No. 30 Hanbury Street

Formerly No. 12 Brown's Lane


This was probably built about 1718–19. The house, together with No. 19 Princelet Street and the ground between them, was conveyed by Wood, Michell and their trustees to Samuel Worrall in July 1719. (fn. 139) In February 1721/2 Worrall made a conveyance, probably as a mortgage, of these two houses, described as lately erected by him. (fn. 140)

The present building is of no interest.

Nos. 32–38 (even) Hanbury Street

Formerly Nos. 13–15 (consec.) Brown's Lane

No. 32 rebuilt

These houses were doubtless built, together with Nos. 21–25 (odd) Princelet Street and Nos. 65–79 (odd) Brick Lane, in 1705–6 (see page 189). No. 34, a single-fronted house, two rooms deep, and Nos. 36 and 38 (originally one house), double-fronted and one room deep, contain cellar basements and four storeys, and the fronts are very similar to those of Nos. 21–25 (odd) Princelet Street. Here, however, the band courses between the storeys are stucco-faced, and the top-storey windows are casements, some of two and others of three lights. No. 32 is a modern building of no interest.

Nos. 21, 25–35 (odd) Hanbury Street

Formerly Nos. 27, 25–20 (consec.) Brown's Lane

No. 21 rebuilt

These houses, like the rest of the north side of Hanbury Street, were not part of the Wood-Michell estate.

No. 21 was probably rebuilt for the first time in 1756 under a building lease granted by Granville Wheler of Otterden Place, Kent, to Edward Wollstonecraft of Primrose Street, Bishopsgate, gentleman. (fn. 141) The present house is of no interest.

Nos. 25–31 were perhaps rebuilt by Daniel Marsillat, carpenter, who lived in one of the four ’old messuages’ on this site when it was leased to him by Granville Wheler in October 1740. (fn. 142) No. 29 was refronted in December 1846. (fn. 143)

Nos. 25 and 27 are single-fronted houses, built as a pair with mirrored plans. Each house is two rooms deep and contains three storeys and a roof garret. The ground storey has been very much altered and the upper part is faced with coursed stucco. Each house has three flush-framed windows in each upper storey.

Nos. 29 and 31 are single-fronted houses, three storeys high and two rooms deep, with a roof garret. The rebuilt fronts are of yellow brick, but the recessed garret fronts appear to be original, each containing a six-light casement. (fn. n4)

The history of Nos. 33 and 35 is not known. They appear to have been rebuilt throughout, their plain yellow brick fronts suggesting a date around 1800.

Nos. 37–43 (odd) Hanbury Street

Formerly Nos. 19–16 (consec.) Brown's Lane

In October 1750 Granville Wheler granted a sixty-year building lease of the site of Nos. 37, 39 and 41 to Alexander Christie of No. 85 Brick Lane, carpenter, the three houses being then empty. (fn. 145) They were not, however, rebuilt. They had, together with No. 43 Hanbury Street and Nos. 81–85 (odd) Brick Lane, been leased to an Andrew Mayer in 1691 (fn. 146) and, like No. 85 Brick Lane, may date from a period soon after that lease (Plate 55b).

In December 1755 No. 43 was described as ’a new built messuage not yet occupied’, (fn. 147) but this can refer only to a rebuilding of the upper storey.

In 1773 and 1818 No. 43 was occupied by George Wagstaffe, a bookseller and a trustee under the Local Act of 1782.

Nos. 37, 39 and 41 are single-fronted houses, three storeys high and one room deep, with a roof garret, possibly added. The fronts have been partially refaced or rebuilt, but the original character remains. The yellow brick face has a narrow bandcourse just below the second-storey window sills, and a wider one between the second and third storeys. The windows, which are grouped in pairs, have gauged flat arches of red brick, stone sills, and moulded flush frames containing altered or modern sashes. The ground storey of each house contains a shop-front, but only that at No. 37 is of any interest, with its coved fascia and canted bay window. The back elevation of these houses is generally similar to the front, except that the windows have rough segmental arches. No. 43 belongs to this group of houses, but the fronts to Hanbury Street and Brick Lane have been rebuilt. A conspicuous weather boarded garret storey extends over all the houses, but No. 43 alone has the weavers’ wide casements.


  • n1. According to Defoe, writing in about 1725 ’that Part now called Spittlefields-Market was a Field of Grass with Cows feeding on it, since the year 1670’
  • n2. See Dictionary of National Biography. Two other businesses associated with a Mr. Hall and connected with the silk trade in Spitalfields mentioned in London Directories 1789–1804 are Hall, Forsyth and Priddle, Florentine satin and velvet weavers, 23 Primrose Street, Spitalfields (sic), in 1789 and 1790, and Thomas Hall, described as a silk dyer (1789–96) of Brick Lane or as dry salter (1799 and 1802–4) of the same.
  • n3. The first baptism registered at Brown's Lane was in that year.
  • n4. The body of Jack the Ripper's third victim, Annie Chapman, was found at the back of No. 29 on 8 September 1888.
  • 10. Market deeds, 30 May 1702.
  • 39. The London Gazette, 5 Oct. 1745.
  • 43. R.B.
  • 108. The Universal Director…by Mr. Mortimer
  • 109. Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, East London, 1930, pp. 100b, 101a. A photograph of the houses showing the cornice is possessed by the Commission.
  • 110. Daniel Defoe, A Tour Thro' the whole Island of Great Britain, Introd. G. D. H. Cole, 1927, vol. i, p. 329.
  • 111. Market deeds, 19 March 1648/9, 30 May 1702.
  • 112. M.L.R. 1719/3/269.
  • 113. Ibid., 1735/5/153.
  • 114. S.C.L.L.C., Hamlet of Spitalfields Minutes, 18 Dec. 1677.
  • 115. M.L.R. 1713/2/19–20.
  • 116. L.C.C.R.O., Beek's map of Tower Hamlets Commissioners of Sewers District.
  • 117. Kent's Directory; R.B.
  • 118. M.L.R. 1723/6/424.
  • 119. Ibid., 1725/6/231.
  • 120. Ibid., 1719/2/236.
  • 121. Ibid., 1729/1/342; 1739/4/424.
  • 122. The Baptist Quarterly and Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society, July 1930, pp. 111–117.
  • 123. Procs. Hug. Soc vol. viii, 1909, p. 51.
  • 124. Pubs. Hug. Soc, vol. xi, 1898, p. 123.
  • 125. J. S. Burn implies in The History of the French… Protestant Refugees Settled in England, 1846, p. 169, that the freehold was purchased, but this was still possessed by Richard Michell in 1777.
  • 126. Burn, op. cit., p. 170.
  • 127. Pubs. Hug. Soc, vol. xi, 1898, p. 164.
  • 128. L.C.C.R.O., Acc. 56.82, deed of 1 March 1787.
  • 129. The Baptist Quarterly etc., loc. cit.; L.C.C.R.O., Acc. 56.82, deed of 16 Nov. 1846.
  • 130. P.R.O.,C54/15912.
  • 131. Foundation stone.
  • 132. C.C., File 28529; The Pall Mall Gazette, 30 Dec. 1913.
  • 133. M.L.R. 1719/3/36–7.
  • 134. Ibid., 1727/2/149–51
  • 135. Spitalfields Silks of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Introd. J. F. Flanagan, 1954, pp. 14–15.
  • 136. M.L.R. 1718/2/190–1.
  • 137. Ibid., 1719/2/106–7.
  • 138. Ibid., 1728/2/168.
  • 139. Ibid., 1719/2/104–5.
  • 140. Ibid., 1721/4/287–8.
  • 141. Ibid., 1757/1/8.
  • 142. Ibid., 1740/4/1/439–40.
  • 143. M.B.O., District Surveyors' Returns, Spitalfields.
  • 144. The Times, 10 Sept. 1888
  • 145. M.L.R. 1750/3/722; R.B.
  • 146. Ibid., 1749/2/91; 1750/3/722.
  • 147. Ibid., 1756/1/555.