Gerrard Street Area: The Military Ground, Newport Place

Page 415

Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1966.

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Newport Place

Newport Place is a street of unequal width and devious route which runs from the junction of Lisle Street and the present Little Newport Street to Shaftesbury Avenue. Until the formation of Shaftesbury Avenue in 1883–6 the northern part was known as Hayes Court, and until 1939 the southern end, to the south of Newport Court, was part of Little Newport Street. After the formation of Shaftesbury Avenue all except this southern end was known as Newport Street or Newport Buildings or Dwellings, but in 1939 the whole street from Lisle Street to Shaftesbury Avenue was renamed Newport Place.

The southern and narrowest part of Newport Place probably represents the end of the so-called Military Street which led to the gate at the southeast corner of the Military Ground (see fig. 86 and page 361). The rest of the street occupies the site of the waste ground, between the wall of the Military Ground and the garden wall of Newport House, which was granted in 1676 to Charles, Lord Gerard, and let by him in 1677 to Nicholas Barbon. The wide, central part of Newport Place was left open by Barbon, possibly because he intended, when he obtained possession of the Newport House site on the east, to lay out a square with the Earl of Devonshire's house on its north side. The open space is, in fact, called 'Bearbone' Square on Rocque's map of 1746 (Plate 4).

Hayes Court was built in about 1683 (fn. 1) and was evidently named after Barbon's wife Margaret, whose maiden name was Hayes. (fn. 2) In the earlier part of the eighteenth century it was often referred to as Hayes 'alias Eyre' Court. Emslie's sketch of 1880 (Plate 57a) shows Hayes Court as a paved street without a roadway, lined with modest houses, each three storeys high and two windows wide. Shop fronts had been incorporated into the ground storey, but the upper part of the fronts had a late seventeenth-century character, with flush-framed windows in straight-arched openings, and storey bandcourses. The parapets, partly concealing the tiled roofs, had probably replaced wooden eaves-cornices.

No. 9 Newport Place

This house was built by John Meard under a building lease granted to him in 1729 by John Jeffreys, (fn. 3) and is one of several houses which were rebuilt by Meard at this time. The front is four storeys high and three windows wide. It is built of brick, presumably stocks with red dressings, now uniformly painted white. Brick bandcourses mark the floor levels, and the plain window-openings have stone sills and flat arches of gauged brickwork. The windows are modern casements, set in flush frames. A nondescript modern shop front fills the ground storey and, as far as can be ascertained, the interior is without interest.


  • 1. M.L.R. 1719/6/52.
  • 2. Harleian Society Publications, vol. xxiii, 1886, p. 174.
  • 3. M.L.R. 1729/6/199.