The Fossan (Keate and Tonge) estate

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

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, 'The Fossan (Keate and Tonge) estate', in Survey of London: Volume 27, Spitalfields and Mile End New Town, (London, 1957) pp. 245-251. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

. "The Fossan (Keate and Tonge) estate", in Survey of London: Volume 27, Spitalfields and Mile End New Town, (London, 1957) 245-251. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

. "The Fossan (Keate and Tonge) estate", Survey of London: Volume 27, Spitalfields and Mile End New Town, (London, 1957). 245-251. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

In this section

CHAPTER XVII - The Fossan (Keate and Tonge) Estate

The area dealt with in this chapter was in the seventeenth century bounded on the north by Lolesworth field and the Wheler estate, on the south by Wentworth Street and the hamlet boundary, on the east by Brick Lane and on the west by Rose Lane. It was one of the parts of Spitalfields to be developed in the mid-seventeenth century. The building here was probably never of much distinction or pretension, and in the nineteenth century this area became one of the most notoriously degraded parts of East London.

In 1550 it had formed the easternmost part of two closes of some eighteen and a half acres belonging to the Manor of Stepney lying between Brick Lane and ’Hogge’ Lane (fn. 1) (Middlesex Street). By about 1642 this easternmost part, containing about six and a half acres, (fn. 2) was held on lease by William Smyth or Smith of the Middle Temple, esquire. (fn. 3) The frontages on Rose Lane and Wentworth Street were then partially but not completely built up. The northern part of the area, later occupied by Fashion Street and Flower and Dean Street, was a tenter ground held by a ’Captain Conisby’, containing ’seventeen long Tentors’. South of this was a ’Spyning and twisting place’, and a ’nursery’ and two gardens which were at about this time ’planted with Gooseberry Currant and such like Bushes’. (fn. 4)

In December 1653 William Smyth, who had, with others, acquired possession of the manor in March 1642/3 (see page 238), conveyed it to Thomas Fossan, citizen and skinner of London, and his ’natural brother’, Lewis Fossan, citizen and goldsmith of London. (fn. 5) (fn. n1) The south-western portion had already been assigned by Smyth to Thomas Fossan in 1649 for the residue of a lease expiring in about 1731, and this had been mortgaged. (fn. 7) The northern and eastern parts of the ground were laid out in streets under building leases, mostly for ninety-nine years, granted by Thomas and Lewis Fossan in the years 1654–6. The ground was by that time known as Fossan Square.

On its northern border was built the southern side of a new street whose name commemorated the ground landlords and was later corrupted to Fashion Street. Lessees in the street included Edward Buckle (or Buckley) and Benjamin Spencer, both citizens and carpenters of London, Francis Hubbard of St. Botolph Aldgate, carpenter, and Samuel Twinn of Spitalfields, bricklayer. (fn. 8) In 1658 Hubbard mortgaged two uncompleted houses to a woodmonger who was later said to have spent £110 ’towards the finishing of the two houses in Tiling, Glasing, Plaistering, Painting, Paving and Carpenter's Work.’ (fn. 9) The northern side of this street was built by the Wheler trustees, Nicholas and Cooke, in about 1669. (fn. 10)

In August 1655 the Fossans granted ninetynine-year building leases of two adjacent plots of ground south of Fossan Street separately to John Flower and to Gowen Deane, both bricklayers of Whitechapel. Each covenanted to build within eight years on the full width of his land, thus forming Flower and Dean Street. (fn. 11) The following February they came to an agreement that ’neither … shall in building the said street or houses forestall one the other but shall range equall one house with the other’. As originally built this street, like the others in the area, was rather narrow, with a width of sixteen feet, and only ten feet at its western end. (fn. 12)

Between February 1655/6 and September 1657 Flower and Deane granted subsidiary building leases to workmen by whom threestorey houses were built on the street frontages; some leases required the houses to be ’carried up upright’ and not to ’jettye out’, and the building to be completed by 1663. The sub-lessees included Francis Cletherowe of St. Giles Cripplegate, Nicholas Higgins of Spitalfields and Samuel Twinn of Spitalfields, all bricklayers, Cyrus Dry of Spitalfields and George Savage of Stepney, both carpenters, and Richard Green of St. Olave's, Southward, plasterer. (fn. 13) Both Deane and Cletherowesigned deeds with their ’mark’.

Deane himself lived in a house on the east side of Rose Lane where ’Dean's widow sold Bricks (fn. 6) and Morter … after the Death of Gowen Dean’, (fn. 14) and which after rebuilding was inhabited by Peter Prelleur, (fn. 15) the Christ Church organist.

These two streets had been built on the site of the tenter ground. On the eastern part of the ground lying south of this the Fossans laid out at about the same time or shortly afterwards George (now Lolesworth) Street, to connect Flower and Dean Street with Wentworth Street, (fn. 16) and Thrall (now the eastern part of Thrawl) Street, to connect George Street with Brick Lane. Thrall Street was built by Henry Thrall or Thrale, (fn. 17) citizen and girdler, the northern side at least being built by November 1658. (fn. 18)

The houses built at this time were evidently not well constructed. In 1657 a ’search’ by the Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ Company showed that in Flower and Dean Street Nicholas Higgins, who lived in the street, had used ’badd Mortar being made of Garden Mould’ and another bricklayer, Jacob Sewell, had also used bad mortar ’made of Earth’. The company found another practice to condemn: ’Att Samuel Twinn's worke forreyners Imployed’. (fn. 19) In 1704 a house built by Twinn in an alley between Fashion Street and Flower and Dean Street was said to be decayed, ruinous and uninhabited. (fn. 20) (fn. n1) By the mid-eighteenth century fairly extensive rebuilding was becoming necessary.

Some or all of the houses in Thrall Street were of timber, three of which were standing in 1736. (fn. 21)

After the Fossans had granted their leases it appeared (fn. 22) that William Smyth, before his sale of the property to them, had assigned to Edward Ayscough a lease of the northern (tenter ground) part of the property, which was to expire in about 1731. (fn. 23) In February 1656/7 this came into the possession of the Rev. Robert Payne of Barkford, Bedfordshire. (fn. 24) In June 1658 the Fossans surrendered their interest in this site to Payne, (fn. 25) who in November made confirmatory leases to the builders and others who had taken leases from the Fossans. (fn. 18)

The history of the ownership of this northern and eastern part of the area in the next twenty years or so is not quite clear, owing to the destruction of title-deeds by fire. (fn. 26) It was held by the Keate family from the late seventeenth century until modern times, a George Keate having acquired the freehold about 1676. (fn. 27) He had purchased the leasehold interest of Payne's property from Payne's son in 1661. (fn. 28)

In the meantime the south-western part of the Fossan estate, south of the present western end of Thrawl Street and west of George (now Lolesworth) Street, had been held as security for mortgages raised by the Fossans. When it was acquired by them the street-frontages were probably largely built up, and only partial rebuilding seems to have been undertaken. John Jenney, a draper, built or rebuilt some seven houses in Rose Lane and Wentworth Street in the years 1661–3 (fn. 29) and probably sub-let another house to Gowen Deane for rebuilding in 1663. (fn. 30) One of the subsidiary leases made by Jenney specified,that the tenant should not allow the house to be inhabited by any ’who shalbe or become burthensome or chargeable to the parish or parishioners of Stepney’. (fn. 31)

By 1677 Ogilby and Morgan show the ground at the back of this part of Wentworth Street subdivided and built upon. In the early eighteenth century two throwsters’ shops stood here, one on a site occupied by a similar building in 1677. (fn. 32) The spinning ground and gardens running east to west behind Wentworth Street in the 1650's were thus ’parcelled out and divided’ into small plots. (fn. 33)

In February 1695/6 Henry Fossan and his mortgagees conveyed the freehold and leasehold of this part of the ground to James Billinghurst, a silk-thrower. (fn. 34) In November 1718 Billinghurst's nephew James, of Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, gentleman, agreed to sell this part to Daniel Tonge of Took's Court, Holborn, (fn. 35) who later lived at Richmond and had leasehold interests in Piccadilly. (fn. 36) He levied a fine against Billinghurst in the spring of 1719. The final conveyance to him seems, however, not to have been made until 1732. (fn. 37)

Tonge Estate

Daniel Tonge's acquisition of an interest in this south-western part of the ground was followed by a dispute with George Keate of the Inner Temple, esquire, about its northern boundary, to which Billinghurst was also a party. The relationship of the mid-seventeenth-century gardens and spinning-ground to later buildings had apparently become obscure and the deposition of ’Mr. Landeryer … an antient Witness’ was needed to clarify it, while in the interpretation of title-deeds further difficulty arose ’which the antient tenants names occacioned at the tryall for want of Memorandums what tenants succeeded them’. Tonge appears to have been successful, at a cost of some £700 in legal and other expenses. (fn. 38)

In 1721 Tonge and Billinghurst agreed with William and James Dun of St. Mary Overy's, Southwark, bricklayers, for the building of three new houses in Wentworth Street and the grant to them of a lease on the completion of the work. (fn. 39) The Duns failed to perform the work (fn. 40) and in March 1723 the lease was granted to John Haws of St. Martin in the Fields, carpenter. (fn. 41) Samuel Hawkins took a building lease from Tonge of a small plot at the back of Rose Lane in 1732. (fn. 42) Apart from this there seems to have been little rebuilding by Tonge. That he did not value the property very highly is indicated in a copy of a letter from him to a Deputy-Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets in 1737 about his liability to contribute to the Trained Bands. Of four houses in Rose Lane, one ’has stood untenanted some years past’, one ’is unlett (only three poor Lodgers in it)’, one yielded £2 5s. yearly and was £4. in arrears, and the fourth had as yet yielded no rent ’and the late lodgers ran away without paying their rents, and before that, that house had stood empty, six or seven years’. (fn. 43) In 1781 a deed described a house in Rose Lane as ’now and for a long time past let out to and inhabited from time to time by sundry poor tenants as or for or in the nature of Lodgings’. The standard of maintenance was evidently not high as by the 1840's one of the Rose Lane houses ’fell down for want of reparation’. (fn. 44)

On the death of Tonge's daughter Elizabeth in 1779 (fn. 45) the estate was conveyed by her executrix to Elizabeth Bannerman, (fn. 46) who in 1800 granted a lease for the rebuilding of the western corner of Lolesworth Street and Wentworth Street to William Towse of White Cross Street, St. Luke's, yeoman, as a sugar warehouse and factory. (fn. 47) In 1810 she leased a considerable part of the estate for sixty-one years to John Storey, a surveyor of Fournier Street. (fn. 48) There seems to have been little redevelopment until the later nineteenth century, and the lease of a house and ground on the west side of Lolesworth Street in 1870 by G. L. Story to a Wentworth Street builder and its assignment in 1877 to a lodging-house keeper indicates the character of the estate at this time. (fn. 49) (fn. n1)

Keate Estate

The George Keate who acquired the freehold of the northern and eastern parts of the Fossan estate about 1676 was described in 1661 as a merchant of St. Bartholomew's Exchange, London. (fn. 28) In his will of 1680 he mentioned his apprenticeship in Tiverton, and his property in Cornwall, Kent and Cambridgeshire. He made his ’friend’ Sir Jonathan Keate of Hoo, Hertfordshire, baronet, one of his executors. (fn. 50) The property had descended by 1717 to his great-grandson, another George Keate, (fn. 27) by whom the estate was further built up.

This development was probably a contributory cause of the dispute over the boundary of the Tonge and Keate properties mentioned earlier. Between 1720 and 1726/7 George Keate granted building leases to John Bayley of Stepney, carpenter, and Samuel Hawkins of Whitechapel, carpenter, (fn. n2) on the ’antient Garden’ known as Wood's or Mason's Garden (fn. 14) and shown as open space on Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1677. On this were built Upper Keate Street (the present western part of Thrawl Street) and Lower Keate Street running south from Flower and Dean Street to cross Upper Keate Street, and no longer existing: these were together called Little George Street on Rocque's map. (fn. 52) The part of Upper Keate Street which extended west of Lower Keate Street, and which was later known as Keate Court, was apparently first known as Hawkins’ Court, and in 1724 was intended to be extended to Rose Lane, (fn. 53) to form the third cross-street on the estate. This was never done, presumably because Daniel Tonge was able to establish his right to the Rose Lane frontage. The houses in these streets were evidently very simple, probably paired, with mirrored plans and a central grouping of chimney-flues to give corner fireplaces in both the front and back rooms. (fn. 54) The construction was again probably not of the best quality, in 1854 the fronts of five of the houses were ruinous and were ordered to be demolished. (fn. 55)

Rocque's map indicates the existence of small garden-plots behind the streets in this area in the 1740's. It also shows an open space called ’Broad Place’ in the centre of Flower and Dean Street. It is not known whether this was formed by the dilapidation of the houses shown on Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1677 or by deliberate clearance for redevelopment. In 1749 waste ground, on or near this site, was leased to William Smith, a dyer, who was to build a dyehouse and messuage. An endorsement on the lease records that ’Smith the Son became a Beggar, there was no Building on the Ground but a Dye House, which was a neglected Ruin, many years no Rent could be got & the bare Ground was given up’. (fn. 56) A house and cooperage were probably built on the site in the years 1785–7. (fn. 57)

On George Keate's death the property was inherited by his widow Rachel who remarried, (fn. 56) but by the early 1750's was again vested in a George Keate, by whom much of the seventeenth-century building on the estate was gradually reconstructed during the second half of the century. George Keate was a man of some note, a friend of Voltaire, and a poet, antiquary and artist. His daughter Georgiana, and her children by John Henderson, who inherited the estate, were also artists or scholars of some distinction. (fn. 58) In 1787 George Keate published The Distressed Poet, a serio-comic Poem, occasioned by a dispute with an architect employed by him, but this does not refer to his Spital fields estate, which seems to have been rebuilt without any very deliberate policy of development or improvement.

George Keate granted building leases from 1752 to about 1773 and again from about 1792 to 1797, the year of his death, first as of the Inner Temple and later as of St. George's Bloomsbury. Numerous Spital fields builders were lessees in this piecemeal rebuilding. (fn. n1) In the 1770'sand 1780's he granted repairing leases in the streets built in the 1720's. (fn. 59)

Despite this rebuilding the estate was said to contain many houses ’very old, and in a bad State of Repair’ in 1805 when the trustees under the will of Keate's widow obtained authority to grant building and repairing leases or to sell the estate. At that time the yearly rental from some 250 houses amounted to about £700. (fn. 60)

In the years 1807–30 three building leases were granted by Keate's daughter, Georgiana Henderson, and trustees for rebuildings in Lolesworth Street, Thrawl Street, Wentworth Street and Fashion Street, to William Dongworth of Com mercial Road, bricklayer, Barney Henley of Thrawl Street, gentleman, and Charles Jennery of Bethnal Green, builder. In these leases the use of old material in the back parts of the houses was sometimes allowed, but there were prohibitions on the use of ’American Pine timber’ (fn. 61) In the second half of the century leases with repairing clauses continued to be granted by the Henderson family but no rebuilding seems to have been undertaken, and the property continued to deteriorate.

Artisans’ Dwellings, Flower and Dean Street Area

In the nineteenth century this area became the centre of the common lodging house district of Spitalfields. Here, for a very few pence, the very poorest of the East End population found nightly accommodation in crowded dormitories. (fn. 62) In 1838 the rector of Christ Church, giving evidence before a Select Committee, stated that ’many of the houses in the streets have actually communications with each other, 12 or 13 houses have communications one with another in one street, in particular Wentworth-Street, there are whole lines of lodgings, and there is a vista, which you can scarcely perceive, forming a sort of boarding partition, in which persons of all sexes are sleeping together, through a range of two or three houses, and sometimes more’. (fn. 63) That these lodging houses made a profit for their owners seems incredible in view of the tenants’ poverty but Mayhew tells how it was done. A proprietor of six houses in Thrawl Street, who had ’a country house in Hampstead’, installed in each house a ’deputy’ on whom he called every week to collect his dues. As a check on the ’deputy’ he employed a ’poor fellow … to go and lodge in … his houses, and report the number present. Sometimes the person so sent meets with the laconic repulse— “Full;” and woe to the deputy if his return do not evince this fulness’. (fn. 64) The houses were easily established with little capital, infected furniture sometimes being purchased second-hand from hospitals. (fn. 64) The life of the lodgers centred in the communal kitchen, where they prepared their food. Despite decrepit buildings, unscrupulous proprietors and indescribable dirt, the inhabitants of common lodging houses seem to have valued the freedom and conviviality of their way of life, and the model lodging house for men which was opened in Mile End New Town in 1849 failed to attract many of them (see page 274).

By 1880 the area had sunk to such a state that it was described as ’one of the most crime-infected districts in the whole metropolis. There are Flower and Dean and Keate-street, and innumerable other neighbouring narrow ways, and courts, and alleys that afford standing room for a terribly wicked lot of common lodging-houses.’ (fn. 65) Another writer stated that ’Those who knew the locality well said that if I examined the courts which ran out of [Flower and Dean Street] and the houses in its alleys and lanes, I should then be able to assure myself I had seen the very worst that London is capable of producing…’ (fn. 66)

In 1877 the Metropolitan Board of Works had prepared a scheme for the clearance and rebuilding of the Flower and Dean Street area and the Goulston Street (Whitechapel) area under the powers granted them by the Artisans’ and Labourers’ Dwellings Improvement Act of 1875. (fn. 67) In that year it was estimated that the registered common lodging houses of the Flower and Dean Street area contained in all 123 rooms, with accommodation for 757 occupants. (fn. 68) A portion of the Keate estate bounded by Flower and Dean Street, Lolesworth Street, the back of the property in Commercial Street, and the back of the property on the south side of Thrawl Street, was purchased by the Board in 1879 from the Henderson family. (fn. 69) Further property to the south of this was purchased in 1880 (fn. 70) and in 1883. (fn. 71) The scheme also included the widening of parts of Flower and Dean Street, Lolesworth Street, Thrawl Street and Wentworth Street. (fn. 72) The Metropolitan Board of Works did not undertake the erection of the new dwellings, but sold the cleared land to two organizations which had been formed to carry out this kind of work. In 1886 the part of the site to the south of Thrawl Street was conveyed to the East End Dwellings Company, (fn. 73) and that to the north, between Thrawl Street and Flower and Dean Street, to the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company. (fn. 74)

The East End Dwellings Company had been formed by a group of parish workers of St. Jude's Church, Whitechapel, their particular purpose being to erect blocks of dwellings, to be let by the room, so that the poorest class of labourers could be accommodated. (fn. 75) Under their agreement with the Board in 1886 they undertook to provide a building of brick or stone to house at least 380 mechanics, labourers and other persons of the working class in accordance with the designs already approved by the Board. (fn. 73) The architects were Messrs. Davis and Emanuel of 2 Finsbury Circus, (fn. 76) and the block of dwellings known as Lolesworth Buildings was presumably completed between 1886 and 1887. (fn. 73) The Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company (now The Industrial Dwellings Society Limited) was founded in 1885 by Lord Rothschild to provide dwellings for Jewish artisans and labourers of this and other poor districts. (fn. 77) In 1886 they agreed with the Board to build a block of dwellings under similar terms to those laid down for the East End Dwellings Company. (fn. 74) Plans for the buildings, which are known as the Charlotte de Rothschild Dwellings, were approved in the same year, (fn. 74) from the designs of N. S. Joseph of 45 Finsbury Pavement. (fn. 78)

The Board of Works did not acquire any further land in the Flower and Dean Street area, thereby granting a temporary reprieve to the common lodging houses which remained. These places were subject to inspection and licensing under an Act of 1851, (fn. 79) but this measure could do nothing to improve the class of person whom they sheltered. When the ’Whitechapel murders’ of Jack the Ripper startled London in the latter half of 1888, the condition of these common lodging houses was forcibly brought to the attention of the public. Three of the victims and a number of others concerned in the case were residents of Thrawl Street, Fashion Street or Flower and Dean Street. (fn. 80)

The ’Whitechapel murders’ undoubtedly gave a further impetus towards the rebuilding of the Flower and Dean Street area. In 1891 the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company purchased a site comprising nearly the whole of the north side of Flower and Dean Street from the Henderson family, (fn. 81) and in 1892 opened the Nathaniel Dwellings, built from the designs of Messrs. Joseph and Smithem of 45 Finsbury Pavement. (fn. 82) The East End Dwellings Company also acquired a further site on the north side of Wentworth Street in 1889, (fn. 83) and erected a block of dwellings called Stafford Buildings from the designs of Messrs. Davis and Emanuel. (fn. 76)

A site between Flower and Dean Street and Thrawl Street, and bounded on the west by Lolesworth Street, was purchased in 1897 by Abraham Davis and Wolff Davis from the Henderson family. (fn. 84) A block of dwellings known as Godfrey, Josephine, Winifred, Helena, Ruth and Irene Houses were built between 1895 and 1897, (fn. 85) presumably from the designs of Abraham Davis, who was a builder, and who later designed the Fashion Street Arcade. (fn. 86)

A block of dwellings called Keate, Spencer and Henderson Houses was built on the east side of Lolesworth Street on a site leased in 1908 by Messrs. Dolley and Altman, architects and surveyors of 70 Bishopsgate Street. (fn. 87) It is probable that they were responsible for the design of the building.

The blocks of dwellings in Flower and Dean, Lolesworth, and Thrawl Streets, built over a period of some twenty years, show in their elevations a steady advance from grim utility towards a more comfortable domestic style. The Charlotte de Rothschild Dwellings (1886–7) are two parallel blocks, each six storeys high above a semi-basement. The fronts are bleak cliffs of yellow brick, gashed at intervals by the tall vertical openings that give light and air to the staircases. Two courses of red brick are used to give the effect of impost-bands between the windows, which have segmental arches of red brick with flower-ornamented keyblocks of terra-cotta. Otherwise, decoration is restricted to the iron railings of the staircase landings, and the crested gutter of cast iron that forms a finish to the fronts. Lolesworth Buildings (1886–7)is an L-shaped block, five storeys high. The fronts are also of yellow brick, with occasional courses of red brick which is also used for the cornices and string courses. The severity of these fronts is relieved by the pedestal course below the second-storey windows, and the principal and secondary cornices defining the top, or attic storey. In addition, the flat wall-face is broken by pilasters, and by the chimney-stack features which terminate with stepped gables. Red brick pilasters, and a cornice of brick and terra-cotta, decorate the yellow brick front of Stafford Buildings (1890), a block with four storeys of dwellings above shops.

The long range of Nathaniel Dwellings (1891) rises four storeys above a semi-basement and has a mansard attic. The front is built of light red brick, coursed with black brick, and the window arches have terra-cotta keystones. By using windows singly and in pairs, the latter in shallow bays of two or four storeys, monotony is avoided, but the general effect is extremely fussy. The dominant features are the attenuated arch-headed openings fronting the staircases.

Helena, Godfrey, Josephine, Winifred, Irene, and Ruth Houses (1895–7), are five-storeyed blocks with a mansard attic. The fronts, of debased Classical design, are built of light red brick, dressed with black brick, terra-cotta and stone. The staircase openings are framed by pilasters and the three-light windows are set in slightly projecting bays.

Yellow brick coursed with red was used again in the fronts of Keate and Spencer Houses (1908). These paired buildings contain five storeys, two being partly in the steeply sloping roof, and the front of each house is dominated by a wide straight-headed gable feature. In the centre of this are four superimposed arches opening to the staircase landings, and on each side is a tall narrow arch, rising through the five storeys. Henderson House belongs to this group, but its front is without interest.

The planning of the blocks varied considerably, the original arrangement of Lolesworth Buildings being the simplest. There, almost all of the rooms were entered directly from short passages opening off the external galleries. This plan was, presumably, adopted to allow for a flexible system of letting.

Fashion Street Arcade

In 1905 Abraham Davis, of 19–20 Aldgate, builder, took a lease of a site comprising most of the south side of Fashion Street from the Henderson family. (fn. 88) He had intended to build two covered arcades with cross-passages, to provide 250 small lock-up shops, a reading-room and bathrooms, which he hoped would attract the street-traders from nearby Wentworth Street. (fn. 89) The completed building (Plate 49d), which was called the Fashion Street Arcade, comprised only 63 shops, with two entrances in Fashion Street and one in Brick Lane. (fn. 88) The scheme proved a failure, and by 1909 Davis had been ejected for non-payment of rent, the site and building reverting to the ground landlords. (fn. 89) In the same year a part of the arcade was reconstructed as a factory, (fn. 89) and the whole of the building is now occupied as commercial premises.

The long and low front, which might have strayed from the amusement quarter of a seedy seaside town, is a ’Moorish’ design in pale red brick, dressed with moulded red brick and terracotta, and lavishly ornamented with cement. The arcade was entered through the large twin arches, now bricked up, in the pavilions, of which there are five placed at intervals in the long series of narrow bays, each containing a shop-front within a flattened horseshoe arch. In the storey above the shop-fronts is a range of narrow horseshoe arches, four to each bay, the middle pair framing windows. Below and above this arcade are ornamental bands, and the front is finished with a moulded brick cornice, broken by the slightly higher faces of the pavilions. These have pyramidal roofs of pantiles with iron-bracketed eaves.

Yoakley's Almshouses, Hope Court, Wentworth Street


In 1662 Michael Yoakley of the precinct of St. Katherine's by the Tower, mariner, received the conveyance of property on the north side of Wentworth Street, on the western corner of Lolesworth Street. His will, proved in 1708, stated that he had recently built three houses on this property, in ’Hope Court’, and appropriated them as almshouses for aged poor women. Yoakley had also established almshouses at Drapers Farm, near Margate, Kent. He left the rents of six houses between the Court and George (Lolesworth) Street for the maintenance of the charity, which was managed by Quaker trustees. In 1789 the inmates were removed from Hope Court to almshouses at Mile End. In 1835 further premises were erected at Stoke Newington. (fn. 90) It is not known when the Hope Court houses were demolished.


  • n1. Thomas Fossan had also acquired from Smyth at about this time former manorial property in Hackney.
  • n2. Rocque's map marks ’Ruins’ between the two streets at the back of Brick Lane.
  • n3. For the opening of Keate Court on to Commercial Street see page 260.
  • n4. Perhaps the Samuel Hawkins who was Master of the Carpenters' Company in 1745.
  • n5. William Blewitt, bricklayer (1752); Robert Lum, carpenter (1753–72); William Erdswike of Brick Lane, pavior (1755); Michael Dale of Flower and Dean Street, carpenter, and William Winterborn of Mile End, bricklayer (1758; 1763); Thomas Kmlyside (1767); William Boothby and Joseph Worrill, carpenters (1793), William Gray and Thomas Jannatt (1794) and George Jefferys (1797). Henry Peat of St. Margaret's Westminster, carpenter, also took a building lease in 1755.
  • 1. William Robinson, The History and Antiquities of . . . Hackney, 1842, vol. i, p. 333.
  • 2. Keate MSS. in possession of Tylee and Co., 3 and 6 April 1658.
  • 3. Ibid., 14 June 1649; B.M., Add. MS. 22253 ff. 3–4.
  • 4. B.M., loc. cit, and M.C.R.O., Acc. 21 No. 410.
  • 5. Keate MSS., 2 Dec. 1653; 24 April 1656.
  • 6. See P.R.O., Close Roll Index, grantees, 22–23 Charles I and 1649–50 sub Fossan.
  • 7. Keate MSS., 14 May 1651; M.C.R.O., Ace. 21 Nos. 248, 250.
  • 8. Keate MSS., bundle of building leases 1654–6; P.R.O., C5/446/107.
  • 9. P.R.O., loc. cit.
  • 10. M.L.R. 1729/1/295.
  • 11. Keate MSS., 1 Aug 1655.
  • 12. Ibid., 9 Feb. 1655/6.
  • 13. Ibid., 27 Feb. 1655/6; 10 May, 21 July, 15 and 20 Aug. 1656; 25 March, 15 April, 19 Sept. 1657.
  • 14. M.C.R.O., Acc. 21 No. 410.
  • 15. Ibid., Nos. 356–7; L.C.C. Members' Library, map collection 2111 J. Ste.
  • 16. Keate MSS., 9 Feb. 1655/6; 10 Nov. 1658.
  • 17. Ibid., 1 Aug. 1655; 8–9 May 1694.
  • 18. Ibid., 10 Nov. 1658.
  • 19. Guildhall Library, MS. 3047/2, 10 July 1657.
  • 20. M.L.R. 1719/5/148.
  • 21. Ibid., 1736/1/280.
  • 22. Keate MSS., 10 Nov. 1670.
  • 23. Ibid., I March 1651/2.
  • 24. Ibid., 4 Feb. 1656/7.
  • 25. Ibid., 29 June 1658.
  • 26. Ibid., eighteenth-century label on bundle of deeds A3.
  • 27. Ibid., 3, 4 Feb. 1769.
  • 28. Ibid., 21 Nov. 1661.
  • 29. M.C.R.O., Acc. 21 Nos. 257, 266–7.
  • 30. Ibid., No. 275.
  • 31. Ibid., No. 269.
  • 32. L.C.C. Members' Library, map collection 2111 J. Ste.
  • 33. Ibid., and M.C.R.O., Acc. 21 No. 410.
  • 34. M.C.R.O., Acc. 21 Nos. 288, 292–3, 295–7.
  • 35. Ibid., No. 306.
  • 36. L.C.C.R.O.,B.R.A. 666/1/34.
  • 37. M.L.R. 1733/4/217–18.
  • 38. M.C.R.O., Acc. 21 Nos. 266–7 (endorsements), 344, 410; L.C.C. Members' Library, map collection 2101–3, 2111 J. Ste.
  • 39. M.C.R.O., Acc. 21 No. 322.
  • 40. Ibid., endorsement.
  • 41. Ibid., No. 327.
  • 42. Ibid., No. 350.
  • 43. L.C.C.R.O., B.R.A. 666/1/31.
  • 44. M.C.R.O., Acc. 21 No. 378.
  • 45. Ibid.., No. 375.
  • 46. Ibid., Nos. 376–7.
  • 47. Ibid., No. 382.
  • 48. Ibid., No. 383.
  • 49. Ibid., No. 389.
  • 50. Keate MSS., copy of will, 28 April 1680.
  • 51. W. W. Pocock, An Historical Account of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, 1887, p. 628.
  • 52. Keate MSS., bundle of building leases 1717–26; M.L.R. 1721/4/32; 1721/5/56; 1722/1/ 278–9; 1722/2/135; 1723/1/24.4, 382; 1724/3/269.
  • 53. M.L.R. 1724/3/269.
  • 54. Keate MSS., plan on deed of 1 Oct. 1773.
  • 55. M.B.O., Cases of Ruinous Buildings 1845–55, No. 1075.
  • 56. Keate MSS., 17 April 1749.
  • 57. Ibid., 1 March 1785.
  • 58. See D.N.B sub George Keate (1729–97), Charles Cooper Henderson (1803–77) and John Henderson (1797–1878).
  • 59. Keate MSS., deeds various, and late eighteenth century Spitalfields estate lease book.
  • 60. 45 Geo. III, c. 89, local and personal.
  • 61. Keate MSS., 29 Sept. 1807, 25 March 1823, 31 March 1830.
  • 62. Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, 1861, vol. i, pp. 251–8, 407–10; Charles Booth, Life and Labour of the People in London, 1902, 1st series, Poverty 1, pp. 68– 70.
  • 63. Second Report from Select Committee on Metropolis Improvements, 2 Aug. 1838: evidence of Rev. W. Stone, p. 103.
  • 64. Mayhew, op. cit., p. 253.
  • 65. Whitechapel Homes, by ‘One of the Crowd’ (newspaper cutting off. 1880 in the Bishops-gate Institute).
  • 66. Homes of the Poor, by 'A Rambler' ( ibid.).
  • 67. 38 and 39 Viet., c. 36, public; L.C.C.R.O., Scheme for the Improvement of certain Lands within the Metropolis situate in the District of Whitechapel etc., 1877.
  • 68. P.R.O., Works 6/144/18.
  • 69. M.L.R. 1879/24/517.
  • 70. Ibid., 1880/3/824.
  • 71. Ibid., 1883/27/421.
  • 72. Scheme for the Improvement etc. (67 above).
  • 73. M.L.R. 1886/14/815.
  • 74. Ibid., 1886/19/380.
  • 75. Mrs. H. O. Barnett, Canon Barnett, His Life, Work and Friends, 1918, vol. i, pp. 129–40.
  • 76. Plans in possession of Charlwood Properties Ltd.
  • 77. Barnett, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 301–11; information supplied by the Industrial Dwellings Society Ltd.
  • 78. Information supplied by the Industrial Dwellings Society Ltd.; P.O.D.
  • 79. 14 and 15 Viet., c. 28, public.
  • 80. The Times, 1 Sept., 3, 4 Oct. 1888.
  • 81. M.L.R. 1891/19/700.
  • 82. Information supplied by the Industrial Dwellings Society Ltd., and plans in possession of Messrs. Joseph.
  • 83. M.L.R. 1889/10/952.
  • 84. Deeds in possession of Messrs. Malcolm, Wilson and Cobby.
  • 85. Inscriptions.
  • 86. P.O.D.
  • 87. Deeds in possession of the London Labourers' Dwellings Society Ltd.
  • 88. Keate MSS., 6 July 1905.
  • 89. B.A. 25444.
  • 90. ’Some Account of the Charity of Michael Yoakley’, by James Bowden, 1869, lithographed for the Trustees of Michael Yoakley's Charity (copy in possession of Messrs. Hunter of Lincoln's Inn).