No. 23, Charles Square

Page 149

Survey of London: Volume 8, Shoreditch. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1922.

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In this section


General description and date of structure.

That part of Charles Square north of No. 17 on the west side and No. 40 on the east was included in parcel (ii) of Pitfield, (fn. 1) the 900 years' lease of which seems, from a comparison of details in later leases, to have been transferred from Ball and Brown to Charles Hills, who let out the property in plots for building. One of these plots was let on 20th January, 1686–7, to John Williams, clerk, for 58¼ years. It is described as fronting south on a "then new intended street called Charles Street," (fn. 2) containing a frontage of 40 feet and a depth on the east side of 101 feet, and abutting north on a field called Longfield. The measurements make it fairly certain that the ground in question formed the site of No. 23. The present house, however, is not the original house "thereon afterwards erected," but was probably built after the expiry of the lease in 1745.

The exterior of the premises is very pleasing, though it has been altered by increasing the height of the second-floor windows (Plate 81). The iron balconies to the first-floor windows are very successful. The wood doorcase, which has three-quarter diameter columns, is well executed and has a semicircular fanlight, affording light to the hall. Internally, portions of the premises have been altered to adapt them for use as a fancy-leather-goods store, and openings have been cut through the party walls to connect with new factory premises adjoining. Some of the rooms, however, still retain their plain panelling. The south-west room on the ground floor has a carved mantelpiece, enriched with a foliated frieze. The staircase is panelled and has well-turned balusters and shaped brackets. The hall also is panelled and finished with a moulded cornice.

There are one or two interesting hob-grates. That in the back room on the first floor (Plate 82) is a representation of the Coalbrookdale Bridge over the Severn.

Condition of repair.


In the Council's collection are:

(fn. 3) Exterior (photograph).

Entrance hall, interior (photograph)

Ground floor, front room, interior (photograph).

(fn. 3) First floor, back room, hob-grate do.


  • 1. See p. 75.
  • 2. Midd. Reg. Memls., 1713, VI., 90.
  • 3. Reproduced here.