Dean Street Area: Portland Estate, Diadem Street

Pages 148-149

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

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Diadem Court

Until 1896 this was known as Crown Court. It was first laid out as a paved court between Dean Street and Great Chapel Street in the early 1690's. The site had been part of a larger piece of ground leased in 1685 by Benjamin Hinton's assignees in bankruptcy to Job Bickerton and William Webb, carpenters, and Edward Roydon, turner, all of St. Anne's. They were supplied with building materials (perhaps used in the construction of Carlisle Street) by Philip Harman, the executor of Joseph Girle, the original lessee of the property (as part of a much larger area). (fn. 1) They became indebted to Harman and by 1691 had assigned back to him the site of Crown Court. It is Harman who is found granting leases of sites for building there in 1691–3. They ran until Christmas 1731. One lessee, on the north side, was Edward Kitchener of St. Giles in the Fields, joiner, who in turn seems to have got into financial difficulties which delayed the completion of his houses for occupation. (fn. 2)

The court appears by name in a tax book of 1693. Probably all the houses then existed in carcase although some were untenanted (fn. 3) and remained so for a number of years. (fn. 4) The southeast corner house was built between 1703 and 1706 (fn. 5) and later became No. 92 Dean Street (see page 141). Strype in 1720 describes the court as 'at present of small Account'. (fn. 6)

In the late 1730's most of the court was rebuilt (fn. 5) under Portland building leases dated 18 March 1736/7 expiring at Michaelmas 1799. (fn. 6) Lessees on the north side were Henry Peat of St. George's, Hanover Square, carpenter, and Jonathan Graves or Greaves of St. James's, painter (each taking two sites): (fn. 7) mortgagees of Peat were George Stagg of St. Martin in the Fields, mason, (fn. 8) and Hugh Raynolds of St. James's, carpenter. (fn. 9) The lessees of five sites on the south side were John Winter and William Franklin of St. Andrew's, Holborn, carpenters: (fn. 10) their mortgagees included Benjamin Davenport of St. George's, Bloomsbury, carpenter. (fn. 11)

The court now contains no buildings of interest.


  • 1. P.R.O., C10/500/92.
  • 2. Ibid., C7/605/64; C10/517/38.
  • 3. Corporation of London Record Office, assessments box 83.2.
  • 4. John Strype, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, 1720, vol. ii, bk. vi, p. 87.
  • 5. R.B.
  • 6. E.g. M.L.R. 1738/2/110.
  • 7. Ibid., 1737/2/229–30; Nottingham University, Portland MSS., Soho lease book.
  • 8. M.L.R. 1737/3/124.
  • 9. Ibid., 1737/3/135.
  • 10. Ibid., 1737/2/544–5; 1737/3/75; 1737/4/47–8.
  • 11. Ibid., 1737/3/45.