Pages xv-xvi

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.



The present volume of the Survey of London differs in some respects from its predecessors. The usual historical and biographical notes accompanying each chapter have, save in one or two exceptional cases, been omitted, and their place taken by a historical introduction of 90 pages. This is due to several reasons. In the first place, the material for the usual notes is in most cases not available. Three Hearth Tax Rolls for Shoreditch are in existence (Lay Subsidies, Middlesex, 252/32, 143/407 and 143/370) for the years 1666, 1674 and an intermediate date. These give the whole of the occupiers of Shoreditch, arranged according to tenements (not houses). The next list embracing all the parish is that contained in a ratebook of the Holborn and Finsbury Commission of Sewers for the year 1779. The gap of over a hundred years is partially filled by (i) a list (apparently incomplete), dated 1st May, 1683, of the occupiers in Hoxton Street, contained in a presentment-book of the Holborn and Finsbury Sewers Commission, (ii) a list of the housekeepers rated for the poor in Church End and Hoxton, made in November, 1729, and contained in a MS. book of Mr. Dawson preserved in Shoreditch Public Library, (iii) a list of tenants (unclassified) in Hoxton Square contained in an indenture of 17th May, 1760 (Middx. Reg. Memls., 1760, II., 570). After the 1779 list the next is that contained in a sewer rate-book for 1812. This deals only with the liberties of Hoxton, Moorfields and Norton Folgate. From this date the sewer rate-books in the possession of the London County Council run fairly regularly up to the year 1848, and from 1818 can be supplemented by the local rate-books preserved in Shoreditch Public Library. From the foregoing it will be seen that any attempts to connect the early lists with the later and thus to allocate occupiers to definite houses is foredoomed to failure. In the comparatively few cases in which it has been found practicable to connect notable individuals with land or houses, either as owners or occupiers, biographical details have been given in footnotes.

In the second place it was found that if the historical matter was confined to what was directly connected with only those buildings which were included in the Survey it could not fail, owing to the way in which these buildings were distributed, to be very disjointed and partial.

For these reasons, and owing to the further fact that in the course of the preparation of the volume a large amount of information had been collected which could not have been otherwise utilised, it was thought desirable to depart in this instance from the recognised practice.

The rules under which the Survey of London is carried out provide that, unless in exceptional circumstances, only buildings dating from before the year 1800 should be included. It was felt, however, that an exception might well be made in the case of the present Shoreditch Technical Institute (formerly the Aske's Almshouses), erected in 1825.

It is desired to take this opportunity of thanking those owners and occupiers of buildings who have granted permission to the Council to make surveys of the interior of their premises, and take photographs of the same. The Council's thanks are also due to the Dean of St. Paul's for his kindness in allowing access to the MSS. in the Cathedral Library, to the officials of the Public Record Office, the MSS. Department of the British Museum, and the Middlesex Registry. Grateful acknowledgment should also be made to Mr. William C. Plant, the Borough Librarian of Shoreditch, for his unweariedness in placing at the disposal of the Council's officers his stores of information, documentary and otherwise, relating to the history of the parish. The Architect of the Council desires to record his appreciation of the work done in connection with the preparation of this volume by Mr. C. J. T. Dadd and other assistants in his department.

The historical introduction, as well as the historical information contained in the actual survey, has been prepared by Mr. W. W. Braines, B.A. (Lond.), a principal assistant in my department.


The County Hall,
Westminster Bridge, S.E.1,
20th October, 1922.