Nos. 5 to 14, Charles Square

Pages 145-146

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

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In this section

XXVIII.-XXXVII.—Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, AND 14 CHARLES SQUARE.

Ground landlords.

The freehold of Nos. 5 to 11 belongs to the Trustees of the late James Emms.

General description and date of structure.

The southern half of Charles Square, extending up to and including No. 17 on the west side, formed portion of parcel (i) of Pitfield, (fn. 1) the 900 years' lease of which was assigned on 27th April, 1721, by Ann Ball (widow of Anthony Ball) to John Webster. (fn. 2) A later John Webster on 23rd July, 1770, leased the southern portion of this parcel containing the site of Nos. 5–14, Charles Square, to William Crocker, (fn. 3) who on 20th October in the same year demised it to James Samuel and John Willam. In the lease to Crocker it is described as "set with greens, plants, fruit and other trees." It is evident that no houses had so far been erected, but by 12th December, 1770, two at least (the present Nos. 5 and 6) had been built or were in course of building. (fn. 4) Nos. 7 to 12 were probably erected shortly afterwards, (fn. 5) and the date 1771 incised on a stone tablet on the front of No. 6 may be regarded as approximately the date of erection of the eight houses. (fn. 6) Nos. 13 and 14 were not built until a few years later, as a deed of 8th September, 1774, (fn. 7) refers to their site as a parcel of ground unbuilt upon.

These premises each consist of three storeys and a basement, the area to which has wrought-iron railings, with cast-iron vase-shaped tops to the main standards. The houses are constructed of stock bricks and have a plain band at the first-floor level. The windows have gauged arches with some of the window-frames flush with the wall, the glass being divided into small panes. Some of the entrance doorways have deal door-cases, with carved brackets supporting a moulded hood over a semicircular fanlight, and are good examples of the work of the period (Plate 76). A drawing shows the door-case to No. 12 (Plate 77)

The rooms generally have a plain deal panelled dado finished with a moulded chair rail, while the staircases have turned balusters of light design. Otherwise there is little of interest. (fn. 8)

Condition of repair.


In the Council's collection are:

(fn. 9) South side of square, general view (photograph).

No. 12, entrance doorway (photograph).

(fn. 9) No. 12, entrance doorway, details (measured drawing).


  • 1. See p. 75.
  • 2. Middl. Regy. Memls., 1721, VI., 3.
  • 3. Ibid., 1770, V., 31.
  • 4. See indentures of that date (ibid., 1771, II., 416–7).
  • 5. They are referred to in two indentures, of 5th October, 1774, and 29th September, 1774, respectively (ibid., 1774, VI., 283 and 227), as:— No. 1, Crocker's Row, frontage 18 ft. = present No. 5. No. 2, do. do. 18 ft. = present No. 6. No. 3, do. do. 28 ft. 10 ins. = present Nos. 7–8. No. 4, do. do. 18 ft. = present No. 9. No. 5, do. do. 18 ft. = present No. 10. Nos. 6 & 7 = present Nos. 11–12.
  • 6. Actually seven, for it will be seen that Nos. 7 and 8 were originally one house
  • 7. Ibid., 1774, VI., 311.
  • 8. No. 8 has only one window to the front room on each floor, and the internal staircase occupies a position which differs from that adopted in the rest of the row. It was probably added when the original house was divided into two.
  • 9. Reproduced here.