The St. John and Tillard estate: Folgate Street

Pages 73-81

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

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In this section

Folgate Street

Only that part of Folgate Street (formerly White Lion Street, previously White Lion Yard) west of Nantes Passage (formerly Church Passage or Tabernacle Yard) and lying within the former Liberty of Norton Folgate formed part of the St. John and Tillard estate, but the history of the eastern part of the street in Spitalfields within the Wheler estate is appended here for convenience.

The development of Folgate Street by the Tillards did not involve the formation of a new street but the rebuilding of one already existing; this street led from Norton Folgate High Street to Wheler Street, and had probably been developed from a yard on the east side of the High Street, perhaps at about the time that Wheler Street was built up. In the late seventeenth century the street was usually known as White Lion Yard.

The difference in level between the seventeenth-century Folgate Street and the northern arm of Spital Square constructed in 1724–5 with its roadway artificially ’made-up’ appears clearly in a photograph of the junction of the streets (Plate 57).

The western end of the street is shown in Hollar's 1667 plan of London after the Great Fire (the eastern part being obscured) and the entire line of the street, called White Lion Yard, is shown on Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1677. The street was, however, probably completely rebuilt between this period and the mid-eighteenth century. In the 1674–5 Norton Folgate hearth tax returns sixty houses, twelve of them empty, were listed under White Lion Yard, containing from one to four hearths each. (fn. 98)

Something of the character of the street at this period is indicated in two pamphlets of 1674, one of which, apparently the more reliable, is entitled A True and Perfect Relation of that Execrable and Horrid Fact committed in White-Lion Yard … Published to prevent false reports. (fn. 115) This tells of the poisoning of weavers and their families by food, in which yellow arsenic or ’ratsbane’ was thought to have been placed, bought at the house of Mr. Emson, a victualler, ’a place where many poor weavers and Throsters did buy Broath for their Breakfast, at which time of 9 a Clock in the Morning there came several to the house to eat their Messes of Broath, according to their usual manner; and many others that had Families did send at the same time for Broath both for themselves and Houshold’.

In Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1677 the line of the street frontages appears not to have been straight, and in subsequent rebuilding the frontages on the north side may have been set back into line with the buildings on the north side of the Norton Folgate High Street corner containing the fragment of the old gateway, and the southern side of the corner moved back to widen the street to twenty-five feet.

These alterations probably took place about 1700. At least one building lease was granted in 1697 and in 1704 the street was described as ’a certain place … commonly called White Lyon Yard intended to be rebuilt and called White Lyon Street’. (fn. 116) The widened street appears on the ’New Church’ plans of 1711–12. On these plans the lower part of Blossom Street, designated ’Sote's Hole’, is shown, but there is no street or opening on the line of Elder Street. It is not clear whether these plans show all the buildings within the area, but it seems probable that some of the buildings on the north side of the street had been demolished since 1677. Plainly buildings on the south side shown in 1677 had been cleared away and this area was proposed as a site for a church.

On the south side of the street a ’brewer's house’ is shown (Plate 6a): this was probably occupied in connexion with the brewery which was situated on the north side of the street in Spitalfields. This brewery was owned in 1671 by Robert Holden, who in 1673 was included as of Norton Folgate by Blome in a list of nobility and gentry in London and Middlesex (fn. 117) (see page 80).

Some building enterprise in Folgate Street was contemplated by the third Earl of Bolingbroke in June 1697. He then granted a sixty-one-year lease to William Goswell of Norton Folgate, carpenter (perhaps the father of the builder of Nos. 21–27 and 29–32 Spital Square), of a piece of ground on the south side of White Lion Yard measuring in front 45 feet and in depth north to south 101 feet. It abutted east on ground in possession of George Wheler and west on other ground of the Earl then in the possession of William Goswell. (fn. 118) Its eastern abutment indicates that the plot was at the extreme eastern end of the St. John estate, corresponding roughly to the site of the present Nos. 34–38 (even) Folgate Street, and abutting south on the ground later purchased by Isaac Tillard for the formation of the eastern arm of Spital Square. Probably the site was not built-up, however, as it is shown as consisting largely of a stable-yard on Rocque's and Horwood's maps and in the mortgage assignment of the lease in 1728 no buildings are mentioned as having been erected. (fn. 118)

In March 1703/4 the Earl granted a sixty-one-year building lease to William Price, later an executor of William Seager, carpenter, of another piece of ground on the south side of the street, measuring 24 feet east to west and 101 feet north to south, abutting east on ground in the occupation of William Goswell and west on other of the Earl's ground. A Robert Pickard appears to have built a dyehouse on this site, corresponding approximately to the present No. 32, presumably under an assignment from Price. (fn. 116)

The street-fronts of most of the houses built by the Tillards were similar to those built in Spital Square in 1724–5 but the occupants were probably rather less prosperous. In 1838–9 the street was said to be ’principally composed of small private houses, the residences of weavers and other mechanics’. (fn. 23)

Nos. 6 and 8 Folgate Street

Formerly Nos. 6 and 8 White Lion Street, previously Nos. 3 and 3½ White Lion Street

These houses on the south side of the street, together with No. 4 (now demolished) were built under a lease for sixty-one years granted in November 1809 by William Tillard to Josh. Day and John Roberts of No. 10 Norton Folgate High Street, lead and glass merchants, who probably were responsible for the building of Nos. 32 and 34 three years later. The lease included also the yard on the north side of Spital Square leading to a shop and warehouse and to the premises numbered 3 in that Square, and also No. 10 Norton Folgate High Street, a shop that was occupied during the nineteenth century together with the yard in Spital Square. The lessees covenanted to build dwelling-houses or a substantial warehouse on the Folgate Street frontage within seven years. (fn. 119)

Nos. 6 and 8 are early nineteenth-century terrace-houses with stock brick fronts of simple design, three storeys high and two windows wide. The doors are framed by arch-headed openings and all the windows have gauged flat arches, those of the second storey being set within shallow arch-headed recesses underlined by a plain band-course.

In 1856 No. 6 was let as lodgings and No. 8 was occupied as a ladies' school. (fn. 28)

Nos. 10–18 (even) Folgate Street

Formerly Nos. 10–18 (even) White Lion Street, previously Nos.4–8 (consec.) White Lion Street


There is no documentary evidence of the building of these houses (Plate 60c) but the rain-water-head dated 1724 and bearing the initials I.T. indicates the date of their erection under lease from Sir Isaac Tillard at the same time as the houses on the west side of the northern arm of Spital Square. Nos. 10 and 12, which were built as a pair with a distinct roof-line, and a cornice returned at each end against the face of each house, were perhaps built a little earlier than the others. The doorcase of No. 10 is similar to those of Nos. 22–26 and the general stylistic similarity of the houses on the south side of the street suggests that the same builder was at work.

These houses are single-fronted and two rooms deep, each house containing a cellar-basement and four storeys. The front of this range, including the recently demolished No. 20, was designed to conform with that of the west side of the north arm of Spital Square, though here the windows are spaced in groups of three to each house. Nos. 10 and 12 are paired, with mirrored plans and central chimney-stacks, but in Nos. 14, 16 and 18 the hall and staircase are alongside the east party wall. Modern shop-fronts replace the original ground-storey windows of Nos. 10, 12 and 14, and No. 10 has the only surviving example of the wooden Doric doorcases with which all these houses were doubtless embellished. The archheaded doorway of No. 18 contains an elaborately moulded front door below a metal fanlight of interlaced circles, probably a Regency alteration, and the box-frames of the first-floor windows have trellis-pattern facings of the same period. The moulded brick cornice below the attic storey is returned at each end of the paired fronts of Nos. 10 and 12, omitted from the apparently rebuilt front of No. 14, and continued across Nos. 16 and 18. Between Nos. 12 and 14 is the rain-water-pipe with a lead box-type head bearing the date 1724 and the initials I.T.

The interior of No. 10 is probably typical of the rest. The narrow entrance-hall is lined with plain panelling in two heights, and an elliptical arch on Doric pilasters opens to the stair-well. The dog-leg staircase has cut strings with shaped brackets, simply turned balusters, column-newels, and a moulded handrail. The first-floor rooms are lined with plain panels in two heights, set in ovolo-moulded framing with a moulded chair-rail and a box-cornice. Elliptical arch-headed recesses flank the chimney-breast in the large front room. The upper rooms are generally lined with plain rebated panelling.

In 1779–80 Nos. 14 and 16 were occupied by weavers. In 1813 Nos. 12, 14 and 16 were occupied by two weavers and a leather-cutter and No. 18 by an attorney who was perhaps responsible for the introduction of the Regency style door and fanlight and the trellis decoration of the window frames. In 1856 all were occupied by silk or velvet manufacturers. (fn. 28)

Between 1831 and 1836 No. 16 passed into the occupation of James Stillwell and Son, silk manufacturers, who occupied it until at least 1885. James Stillwell is said to have woven the cloth-of-gold for Queen Victoria's Coronation robes and to have furnished some of the hangings for Westminster Abbey. It is said that he was ’the last of the old-time prosperous master silk weavers, and on his death in the early sixties his class became extinct’. (fn. 120)

Nos. 22–26 (even) Folgate Street

Formerly Nos. 22–26 (even) White Lion Street, previously Nos. 10–12 (consec.) White Lion Street

These houses (Plate 60b) were erected together with Nos. 17–19 Spital Square under a lease of 15 April 1725 from Sir Isaac Tillard to Jonathan Beaumont, mason, of London. In August the houses were assigned to William Goswell. (fn. 121)

Figure 20:

No. 26 Folgate Street, 1725, first-floor plan

Nos. 22, 24 and 26 are double-fronted houses, only one room deep, each house containing a basement, three storeys, and a roof garret. They are simply planned houses, the front door opening to a small hall containing a dog-leg staircase. On each side is a room of average size with a fireplace in the back wall, which has no windows other than those lighting the staircase (figs. 20, 21). Each upper storey is similar except for the small closet at the head of the stairs, over the entrance-hall. The fronts conform with those of Nos. 17, 18 and 19 in the north arm of Spital Square, to which No. 22 Folgate Street has a return front, two windows wide. The three Folgate Street houses are uniform in width, with central doorways and five evenly spaced windows in each upper storey. The two right-hand windows in each storey of No. 22 are blind, and this house has a poor doorcase. Nos. 24 and 26 have wooden doorcases, with Doric rusticated pilasters and triglyphed entablatures, similar to those at Nos.17, 18 and 19 Spital Square, that at No. 26 being slightly wider than the others. Between each front is a lead rainwater-pipe with a moulded box-type head. Each house has three dormer windows in the pantiled roof. The interiors are disappointing, the rooms generally being lined with plain or ovolo moulded panelling, and the staircases having close strings, simply turned balusters, column-newels, and moulded handrails.

Figure 21:

Backs of houses at the south-cast angle of Spital Squart and Folgate Street

In 1779–80 No. 26 was occupied by handkerchief weavers. In 1819 and 1825 No. 22 was occupied by John Wallen, probably the architect. In 1866 No. 26 came into the occupation of the Spitalhelds School of Design (see page 139), which in 1874 was joined to the Bishopsgate ward school in Primrose Street. (fn. 71)

No. 28/30 Folgate Street

Formerly No. 28/30 White Lion Street, previously No. 12½–13 White Lion Street

In March 1716/17 Isaac Tillard granted a sixty-one-year building lease to William Price of a piece of ground measuring east to west 20 feet and north to south 100 feet, abutting east on the house erected under the lease granted to Price in March 1703/4 (see page 74) and west on other ground of Tillard's, the later site of No. 26. Price built the present No. 28/30 on this piece of ground (fn. 116) (Plate 60b). It is a single-fronted house, two rooms deep, containing a basement and three storeys, with weavers' garrets in the picturesquely hipped roof. The front is of plum-coloured stocks, with red brick jambs and gauged flat arches to the three windows of each upper storey. A plain frieze and cornice of wood are carried across the heads of the twin doorways and two ground-floor windows; a moulded brick bandcourse marks the second-floor level; and the front is carried up to form a parapet with a narrow stone coping. The flat arch of the second-storey middle window is cut to a serpentine profile. The window sills are of stone and the exposed box-frames contain sashes with glazing bars of late eighteenth-century pattern.

The house was occupied in 1779 and 1819 by Thomas Pickersgill, (fn. 28) possibly a relation of Henry William Pickersgill, R.A., (fn. 46) who spent his youth in Spitalfields in the 1790's (see page 190).

Nos. 32–36 (even) Folgate Street

Formerly Nos. 32–36 (even) White Lion Street, pre viously Nos. 14, 15 and 16a White Lion Street

A house approximately on the site of No. 32 was built between 1704 and 1717 by Robert Pickard as a dyehouse (see page 74). It was subsequently rebuilt to form a pair with No. 34 when that house was built. This was probably in 1812, as a sixty-one-year lease of the site of Nos. 32 and 34 was granted, with the buildings ’which shall be made thereon’, in May of that year by William Tillard of Bloomsbury, esquire, to Day and Roberts, the lead merchants of No. 10 Norton Folgate High Street, who in 1809 had covenanted to build Nos. 4, 6 and 8. (fn. 122) No. 36 was probably also built between 1812 and 1819. All three are single-fronted houses, two rooms deep, with a basement and three storeys. Nos. 32 and 34 (Plate 60a) form a pair with mirrored plans, sharing a simple front of stock brick with gauged flat arches to the windows, of which there are two in each upper storey and one in the ground storey. Some distinction is given by the Gothick glazing and trellis-pattern window guards of the first-floor windows (the guards have been removed from No. 34), and the narrow marginal panes of the top-storey windows. The six-panelled doors are recessed in arch-headed openings with stucco surrounds, plain but for the moulded imposts and keyblocks. The party wall is marked by a narrow vertical recession in the brick face, stopped on a stone sill. The front of No. 36 is basically similar to those just described, but the windows are smaller and lack the decorative glazing and iron-work.

Nos. 40–54 (even) Folgate Street

Formerly Nos. 40–54 (even) White Lion Street, pre viously Nos. 18–25 (consec.) White Lion Street


This part of the street between Nantes Passage (formerly Church Passage and previously Tabernacle Yard) and Drant Street (formerly the southern end of Wheler Street) formed part of the Wheler estate and is shown to be completely built-up on Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1677. It was probably rebuilt in 1716 by William Seager of Stepney, carpenter, who in October of that year received a sixty-one-year lease from Sir George Wheler of ground on the south side of the street abutting east on Drant (formerly Wheler) Street and west on Nantes Passage (formerly Church Passage and Tabernacle Yard). When this was assigned by Seager's relations, including William Seager of Stepney, bricklayer, probably to a mortgagee, in 1738, after William Seager's death, the site included seven messuages and one garden. It was described as abutting south on Tabernacle Yard and also on the carpenter's yard, formerly of William Seager. (fn. 123)

Seager had built the Seven Stars public house in Brick Lane in 1711 (see page 215). He had been one of the carpenters at St. Mary Woolnoth, (fn. 124) and had in August 1716 unsuccessfully submitted proposals (fn. 125) to the ’Fifty Churches’ Commissioners for doing the carpenter's work at Spital-fields, St. George's-in-the-East and Limehouse churches. (fn. n1)

No. 1 Folgate Street: the Norton Folgate Court House

Formerly No. 1 White Lion Street, previously No. 32 White Lion Street


This house was apparently a late seventeenth-century building (Plate 61a). It had a wide front faced with coursed stucco, three storeys high with four rectangular flush-framed windows in each upper storey. A raised bandcourse marked each floor level, that over the first-floor windows being lettered, in bold raised type, ’NORTON FOLGATE COURT HOUSE’.

This building became the court house in 1744 when it was leased by William Tillard of Feather stone Buildings, Holborn, esquire, for eighty years to an oilman and a weaver, ’overseers of the Poor for the Manor or Liberty of Norton Folgate’, and to a dealer in silk, a calender, a dyer and nine weavers, inhabitants of the manor or liberty, in trust to allow ’the Room up one pair of Stairs’ to be used for the court house of the manor or liberty ’in lieu of the Ancient Court house of the said Manor or Liberty which stood in the midst of the high street near Hog Lane [Worship Street] there and which the Inhabitants of the said Mannor or Liberty have lately caused to be taken down deeming the same by the standing in the midst of the said street an Inconvenience within the said Manor’. The lower room was to be used as a watch-house. (fn. 128)

The former court house had been found to be ’in a very ruinous condition’ in October 1742. (fn. 128) Its position was indicated on the 1746 and later editions of Rocque's map (although it had by then been demolished) about three-quarters of the way north from Folgate Street towards Worship Street. (fn. n2) A building in a similar position is also shown on Faithorne and Newcourt's map of the 1640's, published in 1658. In April 1745 a shop-keeper in Norton Folgate High Street paid the overseers of the poor for Norton Folgate £31 10s. collected from inhabitants of the liberty living in the High Street towards the cost of removing the old watch-house. (fn. 129)

A covenant in the lease of 1744 provided that at its expiry the lessees should ’find and provide a Competent and convenient Court House within the said Manor or Liberty’, but the house in Folgate Street continued in use for meetings of trustees of the liberty until its abolition in 1900.

Norton Folgate Boys' Charity School

In 1691 a charity school for thirty boys of the liberty was established by Humphrey Seymore, Richard Turner and others. At an early period and possibly from the date of its foundation it was accommodated on the upper floor of the court house in Norton Folgate High Street. When this was demolished in 1743 the school moved to a house in White Lion (Folgate) Street, perhaps No. 1, the new court house. In 1775 the trustees of the school built a new school-house on a site in Primrose Street, Bishopsgate, of which they took a lease for sixty years. (fn. 130) The school's chief benefactor was Richard Turner, a son of one of the founders, who by his will of 1767 left it an endowment of £5,000. The school, which had become known as Turner's Free School, (fn. 131) remained in Primrose Street until it was closed in 1880. (fn. 132) The endowment was then converted into the Turner Exhibition Fund. (fn. 133)

Nos. 3–11 (odd) Folgate Street

Formerly Nos. 3–11 (odd) White Lion Street, previously Nos. 31–27 (consec.) White Lion Street


Houses are shown on the sites of Nos. 1–9 in the 1711–12 ’New Church’ plans. In April 1724 Sir Isaac Tillard leased an ’old messuage’ on the site of No. 11, but not as a building lease. In 1742 William Tillard leased for sixty-one years to John Sparklin of Norton Folgate, carpenter, ground, apparently without a street-frontage, probably near the western end of Blossom Place on the west side of Blossom Street. This ground was described as being ’northwards of and partly behind houses there lately built by the said William Tillard’. (fn. 134) This probably refers to some or all of Nos. 3–9.

In July 1748 William Tillard leased the site of No. 11 to John Brown of Norton Folgate, brick-layer, and No. 11 was probably erected at that time. (fn. 135)

Nos. 13–27 (odd) Folgate Street

Formerly Nos. 13–27 (odd) White Lion Street, pre viously Nos. 26–19 (consec.) White Lion Street

Nos. 13, 15, 23 and 25 demolished

The rebuilding of the houses on the north side of Folgate Street probably proceeded from Blossom Street eastward. One site, that of No. 13, 15 (both now demolished) or 17 was probably leased by Sir Isaac Tillard in July 1722 to an unknown lessee, the lease being assigned in 1757, to John Winn, variously described as stable-keeper, inn-keeper or coachmaker, who in 1723 had possessed premises west of No. 19. (fn. 136) No. 17 has the appearance of being earlier than the date of this lease, as had Nos. 13 and 15, but they are not shown on the 1711–12 ’New Church’ plans.

Nos. 19 and 21, facing the northern end of Spital Square, were built by Daniel Le Sueur of Spitalfields, goldsmith (elsewhere described as silversmith), under a sixty-one-year lease of February 1722/3 from Sir Isaac Tillard of two plots abutting west on John Winn and east on vacant ground of Sir Isaac Tillard's. In 1750 the lease was assigned by the executors of Le Sueur's son-in-law, an apothecary of White Lion Yard, to his widow, together with ’the leaden cistern in the yard’. (fn. 137)

Nos. 23–27 were built, together with Nos. 32–36 Elder Street, by William Goswell under a building lease of May 1725 from Sir Isaac Tillard. In July Goswell assigned the lease, together with the six houses and six stables containing twenty-eight stalls at the back of Nos. 23 and 25, as a mortgage to secure £1,000 to Oakey, Fuller and Sudbury, (fn. 138) to whom he also mortgaged houses on the eastern corner of Folgate Street and Spital Square in December. They then assigned their mortgage of Nos. 23–27 and the Elder Street houses to Alexander Garrett of Spitalfields, merchant. (fn. 139)

No. 17, a single-fronted house one room deep, contains three storeys and a roof garret. The brick front has been largely rebuilt, but the upper part preserves an early eighteenth-century character. Each upper storey has three windows, the left-hand one being narrow, with double-hung sashes in exposed flush frames set in openings with stone sills and gauged flat arches of brick. The top-storey arches are concealed by a cement facing. A raised brick bandcourse marks the second-floor level and the front is carried up to a parapet with a narrow stone coping.

Nos. 19 and 21 are four-storeyed houses, single-fronted and two rooms deep. The fronts resemble those of Nos. 10–18 (even) opposite, and are of stock brick with red dressings to the segmental-headed windows. These are evenly spaced, three in each upper storey. No. 19 has a Doric door-case similar to that of No. 10, and the ground storey of No. 21 has a wide canted bay containing two windows, finished with an entablature fascia, probably an alteration of around 1800. There is a simple brick cornice above the third-storey window arches; the middle window in the top storey of each house is blind, and the fronts finish with a narrow stone coping.

Nos. 23 and 25 have been recently rebuilt and are of no interest.

No. 27 is a single-fronted house two rooms deep, containing basement, three storeys, and a roof garret. The front, with three segmental-headed windows in each upper storey, is a rebuilding in yellow stocks of the original, which was probably uniform in style and materials with the return front of No. 36 Elder Street. The front door, set in a plain arch-headed opening, appears to be of Regency date, but the double-hung sashes in flush frames are modern.

In November 1726 Nos. 23 and 25 were occupied by John Winn, stable-keeper, inn-keeper or coachmaker. (fn. 140) No. 23 was occupied by a horse dealer and livery-stables keeper in 1812 and 1856. (fn. 141) For an unknown period terminated at midsummer 1873 it was used by the Volunteers. (fn. 142) In 1885 and 1900 it was a dairy; (fn. 71)

In 1779 No. 27 was occupied by an apothe cary. (fn. 28)

Nos. 29–33 (odd) Folgate Street

Formerly Nos. 29–33 (odd) White Lion Street, pre viously Nos. 18–16 (consec.) White Lion Street

Nos. 29 and 31 were built, together with No. 23 Elder Street, under a sixty-one-year building lease of a piece of waste ground granted in June 1727 by William Tillard to William Goswell, who assigned the lease as a mortgage to a Shoreditch gingerbread maker in June 1728. (fn. 143) In February 1728/9 the ground was described as lately demised to William Goswell and intended to be built upon. (fn. 144) The inferior construction of No. 29 (Plate 61b) suggests, however, that Goswell may not have been as closely associated with the actual construction of these houses as elsewhere.

These premises abutted east on Joseph Townsend, brewer. In October 1728 Townsend took a lease of the site of No. 33 and the yard on its east side, measuring 135 feet north to south (fn. 145) (presumably from William Tillard although Sir Isaac, who died in 1726, is named in the recital of the deed). In February 1728/9 Townsend's executrix, maria Townsend, granted a building lease of the site of No. 33 only to Goswell for fifty-six and three-quarter years, ’together with the two Brick Coach houses Roomes and Chambers over the same and stabling for six horses’, said in 1736 to have been built thereon by Goswell. The lease was witnessed by Richard Gregory of Red Cross Street, carpenter. (fn. 146) Assignments of the property were subsequently made between various partners in the brewery situated between the yard and Wheler Street (see below).

In 1794 a lease of No. 33 and the yard, measuring about 209 feet north to south, containing warehouses and a counting-house, was granted by William Tillard of Southampton Street, Bloomsbury, to the executors of John London, late of Folgate Street, coachmaker, in consideration of £700 laid out by him in building, rebuilding, repairs and improvements. (fn. 147)

No. 29, a three-storeyed house with basement and garret, has a return front of Elder Street with two windows in each upper storey. The principal front to Folgate Street has four window recesses in each upper storey, but only the extreme right-hand window is glazed. The fronts are of poor design and built in varied stocks, with raised bandcourses above the segmental-arched heads of the first- and second-floor windows. A stucco bandcourse links the sills of the first-floor windows and the apron face below is also stuccoed. The upper windows have double-hung sashes in flush frames, but in the ground storey of the Elder Street front is a three-light sash window of later date, perhaps inserted as a shop-front, for above it and across the front extends a deep fascia and a modillioned cornice of wood. The doorway in Folgate Street has a six-panelled door with a fan-light set in a tall rectangular opening, with panelled linings and a narrow architrave frame surmounted by a hood resting on shaped brackets. To the right of the doorway is a small shop-window. The plain brick face to the left shows straight joints, possibly indicating blind windows now faced up. Internally, the house is divided by panelled partitions into two rooms per floor, one almost square to the west, and one L-shaped to the east, with the stair in the angle thus formed. Some of the rooms are fully panelled but there are no features of particular note (fig. 24).

No. 31 is generally similar to No. 29 but only half as wide, the front continuing the same design with two windows in each upper storey. The stucco-faced ground storey has one straight-headed window and, on the left, a plain archheaded doorway. There is a five-light weavers' window in the roof.

No. 33 has a plain three-storeyed front of yellow brick. A mid-nineteenth-century shop-front fills the ground storey, and each upper storey has three evenly spaced windows, with gauged flat arches, stone sills, and stuccoed reveals framing double-hung sashes with slender glazing bars.

No. 35 Folgate Street and Hope's or the While Lion Brewery

Formerly No. 35 White Lion Street, previously No. 15a White Lion Street

The brewery is demolished

The greater part of this property formed part of the Wheler estate, but its history is appended here for convenience.

In 1671 ground behind the houses on the west side of Wheler Street and the north side of Folgate Street, and lying near the south side of Three Crown Court, was leased by Charles and George Wheler to Robert Holden, brewer, (fn. 148) who may have lived on the south side of Folgate Street. Part of this land, together with other ground, was leased in 1733 by Granville Wheler to Thomas Beacon and John Hope, brewers. (fn. 148) Land immediately east of the Norton Folgate Liberty boundary and the yard adjoining No. 33 Folgate Street was, however, already occupied by the brewhouse of Thomas Beacon in October 1728. (fn. 145) The yard itself and the premises in it, to a distance of some 210 feet north from Folgate Street, were described as being in the possession of Bacon, Townsend and Firth, brewers, (fn. 149) in the Elder Street building leases of 1725–7; in October 1728 part of the yard was leased by Sir Isaac Tillard to Joseph Townsend. (fn. 145) At this time the greater part of the ground on the north side of the street between the back of the Elder Street properties and Wheler Street was probably occupied by brewery premises, including land on both the Tillard and Wheler estates.

An exception may have been the corner site with a frontage of about 27 feet on Wheler Street and 43 feet on Folgate Street, which was leased by Sir George Wheler in July 1709 to John Brooks bank of Stepney, dyer, who erected one house where three old houses formerly stood. (fn. 150) In December 1740 this was leased by the Rev. Granville Wheler to Robert Matthews of Love Lane, carpenter, the house having for several years past stood empty. It was then described as abutting west on Hope's brewery. (fn. 151)

In March 1742/3 the whole site on the north side of Folgate Street between the liberty boundary and Wheler Street, reaching 208 feet north on the west side and 190 feet north, to Three Crown Court, on the east side, was leased by the Rev. Granville Wheler to John Hope of Wheler Street, brewer, ’on which … there is now standing and being erected a Brew House, compting House with Storehouses, Granaries, Hop Lofts, Stables, Malt Houses and divers dwelling houses' for fifty-nine years at a rent rising from £26 to £100 per annum. (fn. 152) The site of the brewhouse is indicated on Rocque's map of 1746.

In 1756 John Hope, John Stubbs and George Barlow, all of Spitalfields, and William Smith and John Thornton of Norton Folgate, brewers and co-partners, were granted the lease of a house in Elder Street by Isaac Mather, apothecary. (fn. 153) This was possibly No. 23 Elder Street. About this time presentments were made of the brewery owners in the manorial court of Norton Folgate for obstructing Elder Street and Blossom Street with their drays. (fn. 128)

The death of the ’eminent brewer’ John Hope, esquire, took place in 1759.

In Horwood's map of 1799 and Greenwood's map of 1824–6 most of the Folgate Street frontage appears not to be built-up, opening direct on to the brewers' yard.

In February 1849 the site of the White Lion brewery was conveyed by Thomas Gaskell and Edward Downs, of White Lion and Wheler Streets, to the Commissioners of Works for the formation of Commercial Street. (fn. 154)

No. 35, a detached house with a basement and three storeys, has a tall and narrow front of yellow stock brick, each upper storey having two windows with gauged flat arches. The general austerity of this front is tempered by the elegant iron guards, patterned with interlaced segments, before the tall first-floor windows.


  • n1. A William Seager, carpenter, of Whitechapel, had taken an apprentice in 1669. In 1703 a William Seager was elected one of the surveyors of sewers for the Tower Hamlets Commissioners; in 1713 a Mr. Seager was employed to clean and repair the Spitalfields sewers, and in 1716 William Seager, carpenter, and Samuel Seager, bricklayer, petitioned to be employed on Spitalfields sewers.
  • n2. Rocque's map, though published in 1746, was evidently based for this area upon a survey made in 1743 or earlier (see pages 163 n. and 222 n.).
  • 23. Tallis, London Street Views, N.D. ( c. 1838–9).
  • 28. R.B.
  • 46. D.N.B.
  • 71. P.O.D.
  • 98. Ibid., E179/143/370.
  • 115. Bishopsgate Institute MS. L. 22. 5b.
  • 116. P.R.O., C78/1767(6).
  • 117. R. Blome, Britannia, 1673, p. 401.
  • 118. M.L.R. 1728/2/11.
  • 119. Ibid., 1810/6/738.
  • 120. Procs. Hug. Soc, vol. x, 1913, pp. 321–5; R.B.
  • 121. M.L.R. 1725/1/295–6.
  • 122. Ibid., 1813/3/191; R.B.
  • 123. Ibid., 1738/4/149.
  • 124. H. M. Colvin, Fifty New Churches, in The Architectural Review, March 1950, p. 196.
  • 125. L.P.L., Minute Book I, 24 Aug. 1716.
  • 126. Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, vol. i, 1913, p. 126.
  • 127. L.C.C.R.O., Tower Hamlets Commissioners of Sewers Minutes.
  • 128. Guildhall Library, MS. 2087.
  • 129. S.C.L.L.C., Norton Folgate Minutes, April 1745.
  • 130. Ellis, pp. 342–3.
  • 131. Endowed Charities, London, vol. i, 1897, p. 1.
  • 132. Ibid., vol. v, 1903, p. 725.
  • 133. Ibid., vol. i, 1897, pp. 16–17.
  • 134. M.L.R. 1741/4/105.
  • 135. Ibid., 1750/3/295.
  • 136. Ibid., 1757/4/398.
  • 137. Ibid., 1750/3/700.
  • 138. Ibid.,, 1725/4/126, 128.
  • 139. Ibid., 172 5/5/339.
  • 140. Ibid., 1726/4/326, 330.
  • 141. R.B.; Kent's Directory, 1813; P.O.D.
  • 142. S.C.L.L.C, Norton Folgate Trustees’ Minutes, 4 June 1873.
  • 143. M.L.R. 1728/3/178–9.
  • 144. Ibid., 1734/2/243.
  • 145. Ibid.,, 1733/4/335.
  • 146. Ibid., 1734/2/243, I738/5/1.
  • 147. L.C.C.R.O., E/EV/32.
  • 148. M.L.R. 1733/4/188.
  • 149. Ibid., 1727/5/404.
  • 150. Ibid., 1736/5/151; 1737/1/125.
  • 151. Ibid., 1740/4/2/753.
  • 152. Ibid., 1742/4/385.
  • 153. Ibid., I756/3/396.
  • 154. P.R.O., Works 7/26 J/7.