Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1966.
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Newport Market Area: Newport Estate
This chapter describes the area which is now bounded approximately by Shaftesbury Avenue, West Street, the eastern extremity of Sandringham Buildings, Little Newport Street and Newport Place (fig. 84). It derives its name from Mountjoy Blount, Earl of Newport, the occupant for thirty years of a large house known as Newport House, whose grounds covered the whole area. His heir sold the estate, which was then laid out into streets and a market. This layout remained until the formation of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue in the 1880's, which involved the demolition and reconstruction of almost the entire estate (fig. 73 on page 298). Survivals of the old street layout may be seen in West Street, Litchfield Street, Newport Court, Little Newport Street and Newport Place.
The area shown on fig. 84 consisted of two parcels, both part of St. Martin's Field (Plate 1a). The smaller, southerly, parcel formed part of the Salisbury estate whose early history is described on page 339, and in c. 1627 it was leased by William, second Earl of Salisbury, to Sir William Howard, (fn. 13) who built a house there. In 1654 the then owner, Lord Newport, bought the freehold of this ground from Lord Salisbury. (fn. 14)
The early history of the second and much larger parcel is uncertain. This ground appears to have been part of the lands acquired by Henry VIII from the Abbey of Vale Royal in Cheshire at its dissolution in 1538. (fn. 15) The abbey's possessions included an annual sum of 40s. received from lands in the suburbs of London, in Middlesex. The abbey in turn held these lands from the Hospital of St. Giles in the Fields, to which it paid a rent of 9s. per annum. (fn. 16) A lease from the abbot and convent in 1536 to Hugh Lee granted five acres of meadow and pasture in St. Martin's Field, apparently in three parcels of two acres, half an acre and two and a half acres respectively. (fn. 17) The description of these three parcels in this and later leases never varies and is very muddled. Perhaps the fact that the Abbey of Vale Royal held these lands from the Hospital of St. Giles, which also held adjoining land (the Military Ground), contributed towards the confusion. But if it is assumed that the two parcels of two acres and two and a half acres lay together (the two acres on the north and the two and a half acres on the south) at least half of the abuttals make sense, and the remaining half acre was probably subsequently included in the Military Ground.
The descent of the Vale Royal property is described in detail in Survey of London, vol. XX, pp. 3–4. In January 1589/90 it was granted in fee by Elizabeth I to John Wells and Henry Best, (fn. 18) who sold it in the following month to Roger Wood, serjeant at arms. (fn. 19) Probably on the occasion of his second marriage Wood conveyed his estate in St. Martin's Field to his father-in-law, Robert Carr. (fn. 20) In 1634 Roger's son, Sir Robert Wood, joined with his cousin, Sir Edward Carr, in the conveyance of the property to Lord Newport. It was then described as the 'corner close' in St. Martin's Field, without any reference to the Abbey of Vale Royal, but repeating a phrase which occurs in earlier leases of the Vale Royal lands, i.e., as lying 'between the Churches of St. Martin's and St. Giles' in the field'. (fn. 20) This land was also sometimes called Scavengers' Close, and is so described on the plan of 1609 reproduced in fig. 80 on page 341.
In July 1629 Sir William Howard was ordered by the St. Martin's vestry to pay ten shillings a year to the churchwardens and one shilling a year to the vicar 'Touching that part of ground in St. Martin's Field which . . . [he] . . . hath enclosed about Michaelmas 1627 and on parte thereof hath erected a fayre dwelling House and the rest hath converted into a Garden being all Lammas ground.' (fn. 21) Sir William, sixth son of Lord Thomas Howard, first Earl of Suffolk, built this house on the portion of the Salibury estate which he rented from William, second Earl of Salisbury; the latter was married to Sir William's sister, Catherine Howard. (fn. 22) Howard's land was listed on a rent roll at Hatfield as containing '1 ac 1 rod' for which he paid thirty shillings. (fn. 23) His house was rated under 'Millitarie Streete'.
In 1627 'Military Lane' was included in a list of 'divers fowle streets' and was described as 'the waye to the stables behinde the Mewes'. (fn. 24) C. L. Kingsford has suggested that the Military Street represented the later King Street, on the north side of the Military Ground, (fn. 25) but this does not correspond with 'the waye to the stables behinde the Mewes'. From this description and from the evidence of maps and ratebooks it seems more likely that Military Street was the route from St. Martin's Lane to the Military Ground, which later became Great Newport Street and Little Newport Street. Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1681–2 (Plate 2) shows that the frontage of Newport House occupied the entire northern side of the modern Little Newport Street, with the garden wall stretching round into Newport Place. Names also appear under Military Street which were later listed in the ratebooks under Great Newport Street, and after 1649 the whole of Military Street is generally referred to as Newport Street. (fn. 26)
Howard lived in the house until 1631, when he gave it to his brother Edward, Lord Howard of Escrick. (fn. 26) On 27 February 1633/4 George Garrard reported that 'Lord Newport ... is removed to the House that was Sir William Howard's in the Fields, which he gave to his Brother my Lord Howard, since the death of his Wife, to help him the better to pay his Debts, and he hath sold it to my Lord Newport for two thousand five hundred Pounds.' (fn. 27)
In April 1634 Lord Newport acquired the large close of between three and four acres lying immediately north of his house, sometimes called Scavengers' Close, which (as already mentioned) he bought from Sir Edward Carr of Blackfriars, knight, and Sir Robert Wood of Islington, knight, for £120. (fn. 28) At a meeting of the St. Martin's vestry on 9 May 1634 it was agreed 'That the close called Skavingers Close lying on the Northside of the dwelling House of the right Honorable the Earle off Newporte, contayning Three Acres or thereabouts being Lammas ground, shall be by his Lordship inclosed with a brickwall, So as his Lordship doe leave out a faire, sufficient foot way and maintaine the same, to leade from St Martins Field towards St Giles in the Fields and Maribone (fn. 1) and besides doe pay to the Churchwardens for the tyme being for the use off the poore, for the same encloseing Yearly the some off Forty Shillings, over & above the Tenne Shillings per Ann heretofore agreed uppon'. (fn. 29) The grounds of the house now stretched, in terms of the modern street layout, northwards from the west end of Little Newport Street to roughly where Cambridge Circus is now, along the south side of West Street, south to the west end of Great Newport Street, and thence along Little Newport Street.
In 1636 the rating assessment on Lord Newport's house and grounds was increased from £2 12s. to £5 4s., which suggests that improvements had been made. Nevertheless Lord Newport does not seem to have been satisfied with his house, for Algernon, Earl of Northumberland, writing from London to his sister the Countess of Leicester on 5 December 1639, said 'My Lord Newport is resolved, upon the Perswation of some of his Freinds, to sell his House, for which I am now upon a Treatie with him; the neerenesse to you, may make me give for it more then it is worth; and dispense with some inconveniences that it hath'. (fn. 30) However, Lord Newport did not sell the house, and in 1654 he purchased the freehold from the Earl of Salisbury, who reserved an annuity of 34s. from the property. (fn. 13)
Mountjoy Blount, Earl of Newport, was the eldest of three illegitimate sons of Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire, and Penelope, daughter of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex. He was created Earl of Newport, Isle of Wight, in 1628, and Master General of Ordnance in 1634, a post which he was obliged to resign at the Restoration. His career during the Civil War was notable chiefly for its treachery, since he attempted to serve both Royalists and Parliamentarians simultaneously, and was imprisoned on several occasions by both parties. (fn. 31) During the Civil War Newport can have lived little, if at all, at Newport House, and in 1645 the Earl of Manchester was rated for the house. (fn. 26) This was Edward Montagu, the second Earl (1602–71), who joined the Parliamentary side in the Civil War, but resigned his command in April 1645 after Cromwell had brought a charge of incompetence against him. He was Speaker of the House of Lords between January 1646/7 and March 1647/8, during which time he continued to occupy the house, (fn. 26) despite the fact that the Earl of Newport, having been set at liberty by the Parliamentarians in December 1646, was apparently given leave to reside with his family in London. (fn. 31) Manchester was named in Lord Newport's will as one of the guardians of his grand-daughter. (fn. 32)
Lord Newport died at Oxford on 12 February 1665/6. (fn. 31) He left Newport House to his wife (fn. 2) for her lifetime, as well as his household goods, jewels and plate, and made her executrix of his will. After her death the house was to pass to his grand-daughter, Lady Anne Knollys, daughter of Nicholas, Earl of Banbury, and Lady Isabella Blount, provided that she married with the consent of her grandmother and the Earls of Manchester and Warwick. If she married without consent or died without heirs, then the house was to pass to Lord Newport's grandson, George Porter, son of Thomas Porter, esquire, and Lady Anne Blount. (fn. 32)
The Countess of Newport married again in 1667 to Thomas Weston, Earl of Portland, and continued to live at Newport House until her death. (fn. 31) Her supervision of her grand-daughter was evidently not as careful as it might have been, for in August 1667 it was reported that 'Lady Anne Knollys, daughter of the Earl of Banbury is missing from her grandmother's, the Countess of Portland at Newport House, having it is believed been conveyed thence by a young gentleman of Dorsetshire named Fry'. (fn. 33) The couple were married, and after her grandmother's death in June 1669 Lady Anne and her husband immediately took possession of Newport House. (fn. 34) A lawsuit ensued between Lady Anne and her cousin George Porter (then a minor whose case was conducted by his father), who claimed that Lady Anne's interest in the house had terminated, since she 'did voluntarilye and privylye depart from thence without giveing any notice thereof, and married without the consent of her guardians. (fn. 35) George Porter's efforts to obtain possession of the house were successful, for his cousin's appeal to the House of Lords was dismissed and she quit the house in about 1672. (fn. 36) The Porters apparently did not live in the house, for in 1675 it was occupied by the Earl of Devonshire. (fn. 26) (fn. 3)
In July 1678, while George Porter was still a minor, his family tried unsuccessfully to obtain an Act enabling him to sell Newport House on the grounds that it was not fit for his habitation. (fn. 37) By this time the site of Newport House and garden had become valuable for building; speculators were busy in Soho Fields to the north and in the Military Ground to the west. George Porter, who was fifteen in 1674, (fn. 36) was evidently only waiting for his coming of age to sell his inheritance. In February 1681/2 Newport House was reported as being 'upon the sale', (fn. 38) and in the following month Dr. Nicholas Barbon (who already had a lease of the Military Ground from Lord Gerard) purchased the freehold of the house and garden for £9,500. (fn. 39)
Barbon's dealings in Newport Ground provide an excellent illustration of his business methods. On the security of the estate he quickly raised a large sum of money from Roger Jackson, gentleman, variously described as of St. Martin or St. Clement Danes, who lent £3,500, Sir James Ward of London, knight, who lent £3,500, and John Smith of London, gentleman, who lent £3,000. In June 1683 Barbon borrowed a further £3,000 from John Smith and £8,500 from Edward Noell of the Inner Temple, gentleman, all upon the security of Newport Ground. Smith and Noell were acting as trustees for Thomas Price, citizen and goldsmith of London, who, upon the security of his mortgage from Barbon, borrowed £8,000 from Felix Calverd, of Hertfordshitre, esquire. In April 1684 Barbon borrowed a further £2,000 from Gerard Vanheythuysen, merchant, of London, who was acting on behalf of Sir James Ward. Thus a total of over £30,000, all accumulating interest, was borrowed on the security of Newport Ground. Unfortunately for Barbon, a crisis was precipitated in this situation by the bankruptcy of his chief creditor, Thomas Price. Price was himself indebted to Charles II 'in a great sume of monie', and in November 1685 his interest in Newport Ground was seized by the Crown for satisfaction of this debt. Various suits in the Court of Exchequer ensued, in which the other mortgagees were obliged to plead their title to the ground. Eventually Barbon was ordered to find a purchaser for the property, and in 1690 one Edward Herris bought it for £22,660. Afterwards Herris 'by good Conveyance in the Law' conveyed the property to Sir James Ward and his heirs for ever. (fn. 40)
Whilst these lawsuits were proceeding Barbon had demolished Newport House and let the ground to builders, thereby gaining an income in ground rents estimated at £1,000 per annum. (fn. 41) In the new layout he made use of existing street frontages in two places—on the north-east side of the estate, where the garden wall of Newport House extended along the south side of Hog Lane (now West Street), and on the south side of the estate, where the wall extended along the north side of the former Military Street (now Little Newport Street) curving round into what is now Newport Place. Barbon's building along the latter frontage accounts partly for the odd layout of Newport Place, which was the meeting point of several estates—the Military Ground and Salisbury land on the west, Newport Ground on the east, and a triangular piece of ground of unknown origin on the north, generally called the 'three roods of waste ground' (see page 383). The separate development of these estates resulted in the curious open space between them shown on Rocque's map as 'Bearbone Square' (Plate 4). As well as making use of existing street frontages, Barbon laid out two north-south streets on the estate, Grafton and Porter Streets (both of which ceased to exist after the formation of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road), and a cross street, Litchfield Street, which extended from Upper St. Martin's Lane to King Street (now part of Shaftesbury Avenue). He also laid out Newport Court or Alley, which still survives, across the southern end of the property, and Newport Market was constructed in the centre of the estate, between these streets.
Barbon's building leases were nearly all for sixty-one years (though there were some for sixty years or less, and several for seventy-one years), with the usual peppercorn rent for the first year. The first leases were dated 5 July 1683 and the last 6 December 1688. (fn. 42)
Barbon reserved the market for himself, the lease being granted at his direction to one of his trustees, John Bland, (fn. 43) who also took two leases in Litchfield Street, possibly of sites for which Barbon had been unable to find a taker. (fn. 44) The one building lease of Barbon's which has come to light concerns a site on the corner of Porter and Great Newport Streets, and was granted to Walter Coates of St. Giles, saddler. It is dated 31 May 1684 and contains the usual covenants for rent and repairs, including a stipulation that Coates should, before 13 April next, 'sufficiently Tile and finish [the house] in all respects.' (fn. 45) The only buildings recognizably of Barbon's time which still survive are the much altered Nos. 21–24A Newport Court.
Sir James Ward, who owned the freehold of Newport Ground, died about 1692 and left the estate to his son James Ward of London, esquire. (fn. 46) In his will, dated 26 May 1705, the latter left the property to his two nephews. (fn. 47) The inner square containing the market and including parts of the south side of Litchfield Street, the west side of Porter Street, the north side of Newport Court and the east side of Grafton Street, which enclosed it, was left to one nephew, Samuel Biscop of London, gentleman. (fn. 48) The rest of the estate in Newport Ground was left to the other nephew, James Pettit, esquire, of Dartford, Kent. (fn. 47) James Pettit's estate consisted of the south side of Litchfield Street not immediately adjacent to the market, the north side of Litchfield Street, the east side of Porter Street, the south side of Newport Court, the north side of Little Newport Street, all Grafton Street north of Litchfield Street, and possibly the west side of Grafton Street south of Litchfield Street. (fn. 4)
The descent of James Pettit's estate is clear. In his will, dated 16 January 1729/30 and proved on 10 March 1729/30, he left his property in St. Anne's to his son James Pettit junior, of Eltham, Kent, esquire. James Pettit junior died in 1767 without issue, and under his father's will the estate then passed to his cousins, Mrs. Dorothy Hall and Mrs. Ann Gassett, who were to share the estate as tenants-in-common. In May 1776 Mrs. Gassett sold her moiety to John Latham of Dartford, Kent, apothecary, for £600 plus an annuity of £100 for the rest of her life. Mrs. Hall left her moiety to her son Thomas Hall and to his issue, or in default of issue, to the heirs of her cousin James Pettit junior. (fn. 47)
Thomas Hall died about December 1799 without heirs, so that his moiety reverted to the heirs of James Pettit junior. In his will of 25 July 1766 James Pettit had devised his real estate to the use of Emerson Mussared of Birchington, Isle of Thanet, and Robert Dyneley of Gray's Inn, gentleman, in trust to pay the rents to Lady Mary Henrietta Powlett, daughter of Harry, sixth Duke of Bolton, and of James Pettit's first cousin, Lady Mary Powlett (formerly Mary Nunn) for her lifetime, and after her death, to her eldest son. (fn. 49) Lady Mary Henrietta Powlett married John, fifth Earl of Sandwich, as his second wife, and had a son, George, who became Viscount Hinchingbrooke on the death of his half-brother in 1790. (fn. 31) Hinchingbrooke inherited his moiety on Thomas Hall's death in 1799, and he and his co-tenant John Latham sold their half of Newport Ground in small lots. (fn. 50)
The descent of Samuel Biscop's estate is more obscure. In his will dated 2 December 1724, (fn. 51) Biscop left one moiety of his interest in Newport Market to his sister Sarah Bucknall and the other moiety to his sister Joanna Fettiplace (afterwards wife of Theophilus Dillingham of Hampton, esquire) (fn. 52) as tenants-in-common.
Sarah Bucknall in her will, which was proved in June 1749, left her moiety of the estate to her two trustees, Richard Samborne of Bartlett's Buildings, gentleman, and Thomas Salter of Hampton Court, esquire, in trust for her daughter Sarah Ripley. If Sarah were to die without issue, then the estate was to be kept in trust for such persons as she, in her will, should direct. (fn. 53)
Sarah Ripley was the wife of the architect Thomas Ripley, whom she married in 1742. Mrs. Ripley, whose fortune was reputed to be £40,000, (fn. 54) left her husband an annuity of £100 out of her half of the Newport Market estate. The estate itself she left to her cousin James Pettit junior, and to his children, and in default of issue to her stepson Richard Ripley and to his heirs for ever. (fn. 55) Since James Pettit died in 1767 without children, the Ripley family inherited Sarah Bucknall's moiety. A dispute arose over the will of Richard Ripley junior, (fn. 56) Thomas Ripley's grandson, since it was not published in accordance with the law and its provisions became void. His cousin, the Rev. Thomas Ripley of Kelvedon, Essex, inherited the property as his heir-at-law, subject to the dower of Whybrough Ripley, who was Richard Ripley's widow. By an agreement dated 25 June 1799 the Rev. Thomas Ripley agreed to pay Whybrough Ripley an annuity of £150 and a further £77 per annum, in lieu of a debt which her husband had owed her. This money was to be paid out of various premises in and around Newport Market. In January 1802 Thomas Ripley sold his inheritance to Robert Dyneley of Gray's Inn, gentleman (presumably the same Robert Dyneley who had been appointed a trustee of the Pettit estate) for £5,200, subject to Whybrough Ripley's annuity. Dyneley left the moiety to his two sons, Robert Peter Dyneley and John Dyneley, both of Gray's Inn, who wished to sell it. They therefore made an agreement dated 1 May 1811 with Whybrough Ripley and her trustees to buy out her interest in the estate before the sale. (fn. 57) It seems that this sale did not take place until some time afterwards, for John Dyneley was apparently still in possession of his moiety of the freehold in 1830. (fn. 58)
What happened to Joanna Dillingham's moiety is not known. In her will, which was proved on 19 March 1756/7, she left her estate in St. Anne's to her sister, Sarah Bucknall, for the term of her life, and after her death, to her niece Sarah Ripley and to her issue. In default of such issue, her estate was to go to her cousin James Pettit and to the four children of her cousin Joanna Lewin as tenants-in-common, and to their issue. (fn. 52) Neither Sarah Ripley nor James Pettit had children, and the only descendant of the four children of Joanna Lewin was Thomas Hall, (fn. 59) who inherited the Pettit estate in Newport Ground (see above). It was presumably Thomas Hall who was eventually free to dispose of Joanna Dillingham's moiety as he thought fit, but as he had no issue, and his will has not been traced, the subsequent descent of this moiety has not been discovered.
In March 1879 the Metropolitan Board of Works began compulsory purchase of practically the whole of the old Newport Ground estate. By this time ownership rights in the estate had become very complex, one house sometimes being divided between as many as thirty owners. This proliferation of interests was no doubt partly responsible for the deplorable state of the area at this time, and the motive of the Board in purchasing the estate was slum clearance as well as road improvement. One of the biggest single owners of the freehold was Bartle John Laurie Frere of Lincoln's Inn, whose interest was bought by the Board for £27,785. (fn. 58)
By letters patent dated 27 April 1686 James II granted to John Bland, of London, gentleman, a licence to hold a market in Newport Garden on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in every week, for all merchandise except live cattle. (fn. 60) John Bland was a trustee for Barbon who, by indenture dated 1 July 1686, leased to Bland the ground 'on which a Markett house was designed to be built and in some short time after was built', measuring forty-five feet in breadth and ninetythree feet in depth, together with the piece of ground which lay to the north of the intended market-house, measuring eighty-five feet square. These two pieces of ground formed the central market place and were leased to Bland from Midsummer Day, 1686, for sixty-one years, at a rent of a peppercorn for the first year, and £15 per annum subsequently. (fn. 46) The actual building of the market-house was done by James Friend of London, builder, under articles of agreement dated 27 August 1686. In consideration of his building the market-house, Barbon agreed that it should be lawful for Friend to pull down, carry away and convert to his own use 'All the Stones, Brick, Timber, Lead, Glasse, Iron, Tiles and all other matterialls whatsoever (except wainscott) in that peece or parte of a house then standing Comonly Called Newport house'. (fn. 61) (fn. 5)
Like all property held by Barbon, the leasehold of Newport Market and the privileges granted by the letters patent were quickly mortgaged. On 23 August 1686, when the markethouse can hardly have even been completed, Barbon and Bland mortgaged the market rights to Richard and Francis Marsh of London, merchants, for £1,000, and the two pieces of ground to Richard Marsh, John Foster, esquire, and James Rudge of London, merchant, for a similar sum. After various transactions of everincreasing complexity, both the leasehold and the market rights were eventually purchased by Sir Nathaniel Curzon of Kedleston, Derbyshire (the second baronet), on 25 January 1692/3 for £2,149 10s. which was the money then outstanding on the mortgage. (fn. 46) This purchase was subject to Nicholas Barbon's equity of redemption, and in his will Barbon, who died in 1698, left this to his executors, Mrs. Rebecca Hayes, John Asgill and John Bland. (fn. 62) On 9 December 1698 John Bland released his interest to John Asgill, and on 26 June 1699 Sir Nathaniel Curzon bought out the remaining two executors for £2,000. Curzon then brought a series of suits in Chancery in an attempt to obtain the reversion of the market on the determination of the sixtyone-year lease, on the grounds that Barbon had made some private agreement with James Ward (son and heir of Sir James Ward, one of the original mortgagees of the Newport Ground freehold) to re-purchase the freehold of the market. (fn. 46) This claim was successfully repudiated by James Ward, but the Curzon family held the leasehold of the market and the market rights until 1828. (fn. 58)
In 1725 Daniel Defoe described Newport Market as one of the principal meat markets of London. (fn. 63) The butchers there bought their cattle at the live cattle markets and drove them to Newport Market to be slaughtered and sold. At the end of the seventeenth century the nearest live cattle market to Newport Market was at Brookfield, to the east of Hyde Park, where the market rights were also owned by Sir Nathaniel Curzon, (fn. 64) and where Nicholas Barbon also seems to have been involved. (fn. 62)
From 1699 to 1704 the weekly profits of the market were over five pounds, and by 1708 they had risen to about eight pounds. These profits comprised the percentages taken by the Curzon family on merchandise sold in the market; they did not include receipts from rents paid by the owners of shops in the market or the rents of cider and wine vaults. (fn. 65) Against these profits Sir Nathaniel Curzon had to count various constant expenses in the running of the market, such as parish rates and Crown taxes, sweeping the market, which cost eighteen pence a week, paying for a militia horse, and paying for a clerk to collect the tolls and rents. (fn. 66) Curzon also paid for repairs and upkeep. In December 1702 he 'Paid Mr. Lanes bill for paveing ye Markett . . . £12–0–0', in April 1703 he paid 'ye Slator for Slateing all ye Shopps on ye Westside of Newport Markett house & two on ye North . . . £9. 19. 0', and in August 1709 he paid 'Oram ye Plaisterer for mending & white washing ye markett house . . . £11. 3. 0'. (fn. 65) (fn. 6)
In 1720 Strype described Newport Market as having 'a good Market-house, with Shambels for Butchers in the Midst, with Shops round about it: But at present is not so well served with Provisions as in Time it may be by the Resort of Country People to it with their Necessaries, Clare Market much eclipsing it'. (fn. 67) However, by March 1742, when Sir Nathaniel Curzon (the fourth baronet) was granted a new lease of the market for fifty-nine years by Sarah Bucknall and Joanna Dillingham (the freeholders), this deficiency had evidently been remedied, for the lease mentions 'the shops in the country market'. (fn. 68) This country market was the smaller building in the central market-place, to the north of the main market-house, and is shown on Horwood's map of 1792–9.
When the Curzon family surrendered their interest in the market in 1828 Robert Curzon, in whom it was then vested, sold the market rights to the then owner of one moiety of the freehold, John Dyneley. On 10 December 1830 John Dyneley granted a lease of all the customs and tolls to William Cooper of Little Chelsea, gentleman, and Stephen Munday of Leadenhall Market, meat-salesman, for sixty-two years from 29 September 1830 at a peppercorn for the first one and three quarter years and then at £40 per annum. William Cooper rebuilt the country market, which appears in the ratebooks in 1840 as the new market-house, while the original market-house became known as the old markethouse. (fn. 58) There was evidently still some surviving retail meat or food trade, but it cannot have amounted to very much. In 1840 the old markethouse was occupied by Edmund Crosse and Thomas Blackwell. By 1860 William Cooper was dead and the new market-house was occupied by Comfort Cornish, a manufacturer of plateglass. (fn. 69) But the slaughter-house, which was on the west side of the market square backing on to premises in Grafton Street, appears in the ratebooks as such even after it had been bought by the Metropolitan Board of Works, and a pound is shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1869–74 (Plate 6), at the corner of Grafton and Litchfield Streets.
An attempt to revive the market was made in 1872. A company called The Newport Market Company was formed under the authority of a private Act of Parliament for the purpose of 'making and maintaining a General Market on or near to the site of the old Newport Market, and certain new Streets and Improvements in connexion therewith'. (fn. 70) The company was to undertake not only the erection of a markethouse and shops 'for the sale of fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, hay, corn, and other marketable commodities', but also the widening of Cranbourn Street and the construction of two new streets, which would improve communications in the area. One street was to start at the junction of Cranbourn Street and Great Newport Street and end at a point on the southern side of King Street (now part of Shaftesbury Avenue) nearly opposite the south end of Greek Street, which would have cut directly across the site of the old market. The second street was to start on the north side of Leicester Square and end on the southern side of King Street, also near the south end of Greek Street, presumably rather to the west of the first street. (fn. 70) The company evidently considered the possibility of constructing a market in Leicester Square, but nothing came of the project.
The Act gave the company five years to put its plans into effect, and at the end of that time the powers granted by the Act expired. (fn. 70) Probably the directors failed to raise the necessary money, and in 1877 the the Metropolitan Street Improvements Act gave the Metropolitan Board of Works powers to construct Shaftesbury Avenue and the Charing Cross Road, and to sweep away the market.
By the mid nineteenth century the Newport Market area had degenerated into a slum which was a haunt of thieves and prostitutes. In the 1860's a group of wealthy and well connected philanthropists had established the Newport Market Refuge 'for the object of affording nightly shelter and sustenance to the really destitute and houseless with the special view of making enquiries into their characters and of providing for the ultimate benefit of such as shall seem worthy of assistance'. Its distinguished committee included W. E. Gladstone, who was particularly interested in the work of reclaiming prostitutes, Sir Henry Hoare of Stourhead, baronet, Charles Lindley Wood, esquire, the Rev. John Chambers of St. Mary's, Crown Street, and Cowell Stepney, esquire, of the Foreign Office. In 1866 the trustees of the Refuge obtained leases of both the new and the old market-houses and of the market rights and tolls, as well as various vaults and sheephouses. (fn. 58) The Refuge occupied the old market-house, (fn. 7) which was used not only as a shelter for destitute men and women, but also as an industrial school for starving and homeless boys. (fn. 71) The charity continued in Newport Market until its premises were bought in 1882 by the Metropolitan Board of Works for the formation of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road. (fn. 58)
In April 1881 the vestry of St. Anne's resolved 'to call the attention of the Chief Commissioner of Police to the state of those parts of the Parish abutting on Newport Market, rendering it a disgrace to any civilized community'. The area was described as 'dangerous to the Ratepayers and other respectable persons who frequent those parts owing to the assaults and robberies which took place'. In November of that year the police reported that they had strengthened their forces in that part of the parish and that, during the past five months, out of 388 arrests in the whole parish, 233 had taken place in the neighbourhood of Newport Market. In April 1882 one of the churchwardens had an interview with the Home Secretary, in which he complained of the great injury to the parish caused by 'the delay in destroying the houses in Newport Market and Porter Street and constructing the proposed new street from Charing Cross to Tottenham Court Road'. A few days later a police report to the Home Secretary stated that the area was 'now a veritable focus of every danger which can menace the health and social order of a city. The houses, from their insanitary condition, are horribly disgusting, and can only be fitly designated as well prepared propagating ground for every kind of contagious and loathesome disease . . . The grossest immorality flourishes unabashed from every age downwards to mere children ... It would be an act of true philanthropy to break up this reeking home of filthy vice . . . and remove this festering sore from the centre of London life'. (fn. 72) The Metropolitan Board of Works was of course already engaged in purchasing the ground necessary for the construction of the Charing Cross Road, and the delay of which the parish authorities complained was caused by the Board's statutory obligation to rehouse all the workingclass inhabitants displaced by compulsory purchases. These obligations were relaxed by an Act of 1883, and Charing Cross Road was finally opened in February 1887.
The old market-house appears in two of J. P. Emslie's watercolours (fn. 73) as a much altered and extended building. The nucleus was a plain brick structure of oblong plan and two lofty storeys, the northern part being covered with a tiled roof of M-section, and the southern with a high-ridged roof hipped on the south side, probably an alteration to the original M-roof. A single-storey addition with a lean-to roof is shown as a shallow projection along the west side of the main building, stopping short of the south end where a high arch contained two tiers of three-light windows, serving the industrial school (Plate 56a). The east side was, no doubt, very similar. A strange assortment of chimney-stacks and ventilation shafts rose out of the roof, the high slope of which contained a series of skylights and dormers, probably lighting the school's dormitories.
The small market-house to the north, also recorded by Emslie (Plate 56c), was presumably that erected in 1840. It is shown as a single-storeyed building of oblong plan with splayed corners. Generally the lower part of the walls appears to have been of plain brickwork and the upper part contained large sash-windows in plain architraves set in a stucco face. Doric pilasters with plain brick shafts dressed the angles, and the roof rose in a gentle slope surrounding a central clerestory lantern of oblong form.
Religious Communities in Newport Market-House
In 1693 a congregation of Huguenots arrived from Weld House, St. Giles in the Fields, (fn. 74) and occupied a room over the market-house. For this reason this chapel is often called 'L'Église de la Boucherie'. The first minute in the Actes du Consistoire, dated 30 April 1693, is from Newport Market, and concerns an agreement between MM. Gonmarc and Fleury, ministers of the new congregation, and MM. Morin and de la Place, ministers at Weld House, about benches which were moved from Weld House to Newport Market. This congregation remained in Newport Market until 1700, when it moved to a new chapel on the north side of West Street, in the parish of St. Giles in the Fields, because of 'incommodités pour le peuple et pour les ministres' at Newport Market. (fn. 75)
In 1700, after the West Street chapel was opened, part of the congregation seceded under the leadership of Jean Pons, and formed the second congregation in the market-house. This was joined by another under M. de la Prade, and in November of that year both moved to another chapel in Ryder's Court (fn. 76) (see page 351). A third congregation, founded by Henry Daubigny, arrived in the market in 1701. This called itself 'Le Petit Charenton', and its solemn opening took place on 13 April 1701. In July 1701 it was joined by M. de la Prade who, having left Ryder's Court, founded a church in Milk Alley, Wapping, and it seems that some sort of connexion was formed between Le Petit Charenton and the Wapping church. However, both Daubigny and de la Prade left Newport Market in 1702 and the congregation dwindled gradually until, in April 1705, it merged with the West Street chapel. (fn. 75)
There is no trace of any of these congregations in Newport Market in the ratebooks for the period, but they appear in the accounts of Sir Nathaniel Curzon, who held the leasehold of the market, and to whom they paid a small rent for their room in the market-house. Although the register of Le Petit Charenton ended in April 1705, references to the 'French Church' appear in Curzon's accounts for several years after that date. A curious entry of 17 January 1708/9, 'Recd of Cordea [?] for three quarters rent for Spining in ye french Church to Christmas last £07 07 0', (fn. 65) suggests that the room was being used for other purposes, and was still called the 'French Church' even though the congregation had left. From 1714 to 1716 the ratebooks contain the entry 'Jos. Harrington for meeting house'.
The 'Oratory' at Newport Market was founded in 1726 by the eccentric divine usually known as Orator Henley. John Henley was born on 3 August 1692 at Melton Mowbray, where his father was vicar. (fn. 77) Henley was ordained and came to London in 1721, where he received a lectureship in the City, and where, according to himself, he 'preach'd more Charity-Sermons about Town, was more numerously followed, and raised more for the poor Children at those Sermons than any other Preacher'. (fn. 78) But Henley's vanity and eccentricity did not recommend themselves to those in influential positions in the Church, and in 1722 he was 'toss'd into a Country-Benefice', from which, however, he soon resigned and returned to London. (fn. 79)
In 1726 he rented a room over Newport market-house (almost certainly the same one as the Huguenots used), where he not only preached on religious and theological subjects, but also ran an academy of literature and science. Here, in what became known as 'The Oratory', seats were advertised as being available at a shilling each, (fn. 80) and medals were struck to be used as tickets by regular attenders. (fn. 81)
The purpose of Henley's 'Week-Days universal Academy' was, he claimed, 'to teach indifferently Persons of all Ranks, Ages, Conditions, and Circumstances, either singly, or in Classes, in Proportion to their Genius and Application, by proper Masters, under my Inspection, what they desire to learn in all Parts of divine and human Knowledge, Languages, Arts and Science, in the most concise, just, elegant, agreeable, and perfect Manner.' His methods of teaching would 'bring Home to any Person all the Benefit of Schools, Universities, Tutors, Academies and Professors, with more than can be reap'd from them'. (fn. 82) As for religion, Henley claimed that the 'Oratory' services would represent a return to the practices of the early church. (fn. 83)
Henley advertised his activities in order to attract a crowd. He is reputed to have gathered a large audience of shoemakers by promising to show them a new and wonderful way of making shoes. The method, he afterwards explained, was to cut the tops off boots. (fn. 84) The hard core of his audience was formed by the butchers of Newport Market, for whose benefit he preached a special sermon known as 'The Butcher's Lecture' at Newport Market on Easter Day, 6 April 1729. On this occasion he described the religious history of the butchers' trade and quoted passages in the Bible relating to it. He also gave a list of the sons and relatives of butchers who had occupied high positions in Church and State. However, he was careful to add the reminder that, though 'It is the Lot of Man to go forth to his Labour, and to his Work, until the Evening, he is not to labour so much for the Meat that perisheth, as for that which endures to everlasting Life'. (fn. 85)
At about this time Henley was presented by the Grand Jury of Westminster for using his room for purposes other than religious worship, and for promising people 'Diversion . . . Under the Titles of Voluntaries, Chimes of the Times, Roundelays, College-Bobs, Madrigals, and Operas'. (fn. 86) Probably as a result of this presentment Henley moved the Oratory, on Low Sunday 1729, from Newport Market to Lincoln's Inn Fields (outside Westminster). (fn. 85) A contemporary pamphlet commented that 'A Quarrel has happen'd between Henley and the Butchers of Newport-Market, which may afford us some Mirth. The Butchers have been jealous for some time least the Orator should, by his mad Preambulations, introduce that Part of the old Levitical Law, which made the Priests Butchers, and so overturn their Business, by putting it in the Hands of Ecclesiasticks; and indeed they have some Cause to suspect him on this Head; for when a Man can, without Conscience, murder Religion, he would Scarce boggle at murdering Cows, Sheep and Oxen, especially when he can produce the Example of the Ancients, as a Pattern to go by: But whether this Suspicion of the Butchers has any real Foundation, or is built only on Surmise, we cannot assuredly say; but certain it is, that the Orator has taken a House in Lincoln's-Inn-Field, and is going to remove from Newport-Market in a very short Time, for fear the Butchers should scare him'. (fn. 87)
After Henley's departure the ratebooks for Newport Market contain the following entries, several of which probably refer to congregations of Baptists: (fn. 88) meeting-house, 1730–3; Thomas Barnett, meeting-house, 1734–6; Mr. Palmer, meeting-house, 1737. This last entry was made for several subsequent years, but no rates were paid and in 1744 the meeting-house was marked 'empty'.
This is one of the oldest streets in the parish and was originally a continuation of Hog Lane or Crown Street (now the northern section of the Charing Cross Road). The plan of 1585 (Plate 1a) shows that it formed the boundary between St. Martin's Field and the Marshland. Only the southern side of the street is in the parish of St. Anne.
By 1634 the ground on the south side of the street had become known as Scavengers' Close, which was purchased by the Earl of Newport from Sir Edward Carr in that year, and used to make a garden for Newport House (see page 362). The south side of West Street was first developed by Nicholas Barbon, as part of the Newport Ground estate, and was leased together with the north side of Litchfield Street from 1684 onwards, the plots extending north-south across this triangular piece of ground. The names of Barbon's lessees are mentioned on page 371n. under Litchfield Street, but the plot at the northwestern end of the street (now forming part of Cambridge Circus) had no frontage to Litchfield Street; it was leased by Barbon to John Fletcher on 5 July 1683. (fn. 89)
The name West Street does not appear in the ratebooks until 1706, and the use of the name Hog Lane continued until well into the eighteenth century. It is not known why the street was called West Street.
Thomas Major (1720–1799), engraver to the King and to the Stamp Office, is reputed to have lived in West Street after his return from France in 1753. (fn. 90)
Nos. 13 and 15 West Street: Young's Chinese Restaurant
The exotic decorations on the front of Young's Chinese Restaurant provide a lively note of fantasy in the otherwise dull extent of West Street (Plate 140c). The ground storey, with the doors and windows set in a plain grey face, is divided into three bays by vermilion columns supporting an elaborately decorated fascia and a canopy formed like a bracketed Chinese roof, finished with tiles and dragon ridge ornaments. Above this is a large oblong panel, covering the windows of two storeys, its surface modelled with blue, yellow and red dragons writhing against a ground of foam-crested waves below a cloudflecked sky, all highly formalized in the style of a lacquer screen. The Victorian brickwork of the two house fronts has been stained a lacquer red to form a ground for these ornamental features, which were made of fibre glass in Hong Kong to the designs of Gene Wong, and erected here in 1962.
This street may have been named after Edward Lee, first Earl of Lichfield, who married Lady Charlotte Fitzroy, daughter of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, and who was thus related by marriage to the Duke of Grafton, (fn. 84) after whom the adjoining Grafton Street was probably named. Since 1685 Litchfield has been spelt both with and without the 't', and though the former is a corruption it has become the official spelling for the street.
The modern Litchfield Street is only half its original length, for it once stretched westward as far as King Street (now part of Shaftesbury Avenue). The houses on the north side of the street west of No. 24 and all of those on the south side (Plate 57d), were bought and demolished by the Metropolitan Board of Works between 1881 and 1886 for the construction of the Charing Cross Road. (fn. 58) The south side of the street is now entirely occupied by the grim baywindowed range of Sandringham Buildings, which were built to house artisans displaced by the Board during the reconstruction of this area (see page 308).
The first building leases here were granted by Nicholas Barbon in October 1684, (fn. 91) and the street first appears by name in the ratebooks for the following year. (fn. 8) The development of the street had certainly been completed by 1691, (fn. 26) and many houses must have been ready before then. Dame Elizabeth Hanham of St. Martin's, widow, one of the first residents, bought the lease of her house, No. 22 on the north side, now demolished, from John King, citizen and glover of London, in February 1686/7 for five guineas down and £620 to be paid by 28 March in the following year. (fn. 92)
Litchfield Street, particularly on the north side, where there were some good houses, seems to have been more fashionable than the other streets on the Newport Ground estate. The early residents included several knights and titled ladies. In 1720 Strype described the street as 'a Place furnished with good Buildings, well inhabited'. (fn. 67)
By the middle of the eighteenth century there were a large number of Huguenots resident in the street, some of whom were skilled craftsmen. Five goldsmiths and plateworkers are recorded as having lived here in the eighteenth century. (fn. 93) Peter de la Fontaine is also said to have had a shop here, known as the 'Golden Cup'. The trade card which Hogarth is said to have designed for him (fn. 94) is probably a forgery. (fn. 9)
Some artists whose addresses are given in exhibition catalogues as being in Litchfield Street are listed below, with the years in which they exhibited: Hugh Barron, painter, 1768–70; W. Birch, enamel painter, 1781–2; A. Pether, painter, 1788–9, 1792; Samuel Shelley, miniature painter, 1779; Thomas Stothard, R.A., painter, 1779.
Saunders Welch, High Constable of Holborn and a Justice of the Peace, conducted one of the metropolitan public offices at No. 21 (now demolished) from 1763 to 1770. (fn. 95) Welch was a close friend of Dr. Johnson, who 'attended Mr. Welch in his office for a whole winter, to hear the examination of culprits; but . . . he found an almost uniform tenor of misfortune, wretchedness and profligacy'. (fn. 96) Dr. William Hunter, the anatomist, lived at No. 22 (demolished) from 1763 until 1767, when he removed to Great Windmill Street. Mrs. Billington, the singer, is reputed to have been born in the street in 1768, but there is no trace of her parents in the ratebooks for the street at that date. (fn. 97)
No. 3 Litchfield Street
When John Thomas Smith was collecting material for his biography of Nollekens, which was first published in 1828, he had occasion to call upon Benjemin Banks, a cabinet-maker at No. 3 Litchfield Street. Smith recorded that 'I particularly noticed the ceiling of the principal room on his first floor. It is divided into two compartments, and I am much inclined to believe was painted by the hand of Hogarth, not only from the style of colouring and the spirited manner of its pencilling, but from the expression of the heads of the figures so peculiar to him.
'The subject of the largest portion of the ceiling nearest the windows consists of five figures, the size of life. They appear to me to be Time rescuing Truth from Hatred, surrounded by snakes; and Malice, holding a dagger in one hand and a flaming torch in the other; a boy is flying above with the emblem of Eternity. This subject is in a circle within a square, the corners of which are decorated with busts and flowers spiritedly painted. The smaller compartment consists of four boys in the clouds. The principal one in the centre represents fame with a trumpet; the others, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. They are confined within an oval border. At the west end are trophies of war, and at the east two boys supporting drapery. Mr. Banks informed me that the house had been the residence of Lady Betty Paulet; and that Lord Hinchinbrook, who was then the owner of considerable property in that quarter, assured him that it had been a mansion originally of high importance. When, about thirty years since, Mr. Banks made the purchase, he found the cornice and even the hinges of the doors gilt. From the heavy panelling of the rooms, and the large circular balls on the staircase, I should conjecture the house to have been built in the time of Oliver Cromwell or Charles the Second; but the front is evidently modern, and the premises originally must have been more extensive.' (fn. 98)
Benjamin Banks's house was at the east end of the south side of Litchfield Street, and was demolished in recent years for the erection of Thorn House. Banks himself had occupied the house since 1796, and his statement that Lord Hinchingbrooke had been 'the owner of considerable property in that quarter' was correct. Lord Hinchingbrooke's mother had, previous to her marriage to the fifth Earl of Sandwich, been Lady Mary Henrietta Powlett (see page 364), but the ratebooks show that neither she nor any other member of her family lived in this house. An inspection of the house which was made shortly before its demolition revealed no features of interest.
Nos. 24–27 (consec.) Litchfield Street
The ground on the north side of Litchfield Street eastward from No. 21 was developed concurrently with the ground on the southern side of West Street, the plots being divided vertically north-south across this triangular piece of ground.
The site of No. 24, which backed on to and included No. 15 (formerly No. 5) West Street, was leased by Nicholas Barbon to his trustee, John Bland, of Middle Temple, gentleman, on 3 October 1685, for sixty-one years at a peppercorn for the first year, and subsequently at £10 per annum. (fn. 99) This is the only house in the group for which there is evidence of rebuilding, which took place in 1778, (fn. 26) possibly by Joseph Whitaker of St. Martin's, who rebuilt four houses in Litchfield Street at this time. (fn. 100)
John Bland also had a lease of the site of No. 25, which included No. 13 (formerly No. 6) West Street, from Barbon on 3 October 1685, for sixty-one years at a peppercorn for the first year and subsequently at £9 16s. per annum. (fn. 101) Nothing is known of the history of Nos. 26 and 27. All three houses have been refronted but not rebuilt.
The present fronts of Nos. 25–27, four storeys high and three windows wide, are of little interest, but a photograph of 1904 (Plate 58b) shows the original Barbon front of No. 26, and part of No. 27. These uniformly designed fronts were three storeys high and three windows wide, built of dark brick with stone keys to the gauged flat arches of the windows, and a plain stone bandcourse to each storey. The high brick parapet had doubtless replaced a wooden modillioned eaves-cornice. The rebuilt front of No. 26 repeats some features of the original work, such as the flush-framed sashes, the stone keyblocks and the raised bandcourses, the last being in brick. No. 25, which has a simple pedimented doorcase of painted stone or cement, retains some original internal features. The hall is lined with plain panelling, and Doric pilasters dress the opening to the staircase which has been altered in its lower flights. From the first-floor landing, however, it is of dog-legged form with a balustrade of late seventeenth-century character. The closed strings are heavily moulded, and the stout handrail rests on plain square newels and balusters of alternating pattern, one having its shaft turned with a bulbous profile above and below a central boss, and the other with twists similarly disposed. At No. 26 is a staircase of the same date and type, but with balustrades composed of turnings in the form of Doric colonnettes on squat baluster bases. Some original internal features survive at No. 27, notably the plain panelling and box cornice in the hall, and the much altered staircase.
Grafton Street was entirely demolished to make way for the Charing Cross Road. It was originally laid out by Nicholas Barbon near the western edge of the Newport Ground estate and lay between the eastern end of Gerrard Street and the northwestern end of West Street (Plate 56d). It seems to have been one of the earliest streets on this estate to be completed, Barbon granting many of the leases in 1683 and 1684. (fn. 10)
Grafton Street was probably named after one of the sons of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton, who attained his majority in 1684 and was beginning to come into prominence at this time as one of the more attractive and intelligent of Charles II's illegitimate children. (fn. 84) It is, however, very unlikely that Grafton ever lived in the street, or had any personal connexion with it.
Peter Harrache, junior, an eminent goldsmith and plateworker, lived in the street between at least 1714 and 1717. (fn. 93) He was the son of Pierre Harrache, also a leading goldsmith of his time. The son's best-known work is a set of massive plate made for the first Duke of Marlborough, which included a wine fountain and an ice cistern. (fn. 102) Nine other goldsmiths or plateworkers and one jeweller are recorded as having worked in Grafton Street between 1695 and 1755. (fn. 93)
Thomas Johnson, carver, teacher of drawing and modelling and author of A Book of Designs for Chimneypieces and other Ornaments, was living in Grafton Street in 1763. (fn. 103) The names of William Flaxman, miniature painter and brother of the sculptor John Flaxman, and William Frederick Woodington, A.R.A., sculptor and painter, both appear in exhibition catalogues with addresses in Grafton Street, the former in 1793 and the latter in 1827.
Grafton Street Baptist Chapel
This chapel stood on the east side of Grafton Street next to the pound at the corner of Grafton and Litchfield Streets (Plate 56b), and backing directly on to the slaughter-house in Newport Market. It was erected by William Anderson, described as of Little Grosvenor Street in the parish of St. John, Westminster, gentleman, under lease from Mrs. Sarah Bucknall and Mrs. Joanna Dillingham, joint owners of the freehold of this section of Grafton Street. The lease, which ran from Lady Day 1745, was dated 23 March 1744/5, although it is clear from the ratebooks that the chapel was completed by December 1743. The chapel was to be 'licenced as the law directs for a meeting house by a congregation of dissenters called Baptists'. (fn. 104) They were in fact Particular Baptists, (fn. 105) and their first minister, William Anderson, came to Grafton Street from a chapel in Glasshouse Yard, Swallow Street. (fn. 106) This congregation stayed until 1793 or 1795, when it moved to a new chapel in Keppel Street, Holborn. (fn. 107) Other Baptist congregations continued to occupy the chapel in Grafton Street. One, under John Stevens, was here from 1811 to 1813, when it removed to York Street, St. James's, (fn. 108) where it remained until its removal in 1824 to Meard Street (see page 241). William Williams was pastor at Grafton Street from 1823 until at least 1847. (fn. 109) After 1849 the chapel continued to appear in the street directories for some years, but the name of the minister (if any) was not recorded. The chapel was acquired by the Metropolitan Board of Works for demolition between 1879 and 1883. (fn. 58)
A drawing made by J. P. Emslie in 1880 (Plate 56b) shows that the chapel had a front of almost domestic character, presumably of brick with a later covering of stucco. There were two storeys above a basement, the lower storey having a doorway between two windows, and the upper containing three windows. The tall doorway was dressed with an architrave and a cornicehood resting on upright consoles. The windows were sashed, in plain openings, those of the upper storey being underlined by a continued sill or bandcourse, and having keyblocks rising to the simple cornice below the plain parapet.
Grafton House, Grafton Street
Emslie's drawing of 1880 reproduced on Plate 56b shows a large house of mid eighteenthcentury date on the east side of the street. No building leases have been found for the site or for the house itself, and the ratebooks do not indicate any rebuilding here during the eighteenth century. The earliest available ratebook for the completed street, that of 1691, shows a large house on this site, but this entry is later marked by the collector as two houses.
The drawing mentioned above shows the front of Grafton House in its later, degraded state, with shop fronts of a crude Doric character filling the ground storey. The three-storeyed upper face of stock bricks was a simple composition of Palladian derivation, five windows wide, with the middle three contained in a slightly projecting central feature. The windows, their heights proportionate to the storeys, had divided sashes recessed in plain openings, with stone sills resting on consoles, and flat arches of gauged brickwork. The front was finished appropriately with a modillioned cornice, probably of stone, and above the central feature was an angular pediment with a lunette window in the brick tympanum. A long panel of stucco, boldly lettered GRAFTON HOUSE, had been placed between the first-and second-floor windows of the central feature.
Porter Street has now completely disappeared, its site being occupied by Sandringham Buildings, to the east of Charing Cross Road. It was originally laid out by Nicholas Barbon and extended from the west end of Great Newport Street northwards as far as the south side of Litchfield Street (Plate 57d). The first building leases seem to have been granted by Barbon in 1684, (fn. 44) and the street first appears by name in the ratebooks in 1685 with three inhabitants. Barbon granted building leases throughout 1684 and 1685, the last to Felix Calverd in December 1688. (fn. 145) (fn. 11) The street was completed by 1691 and was named after George Porter, the Earl of Newport's grandson, from whom Barbon bought the freehold of the Newport Ground estate (see page 363).
Porter Street had a high proportion of residents of Huguenot extraction, many of whom were goldsmiths or in similar trades. Between 1698 and 1772 six goldsmiths or plateworkers and one silversmith are recorded as working in the street, and between 1699 and 1790 there were also seven jewellers here. (fn. 93) There were also two families of clockmakers—John and George Hanet, and Francis and Paul Hobler. (fn. 111)
Some artists whose addresses are given in exhibition catalogues as being in Porter Street are listed below, with the years in which they exhibited: Charles Benazech, painter, 1790–1; John Berridge, painter, 1773; James Cranke, painter, 1775, 1777, 1779; Thomas Malton, architectural draughtsman, 1772; F. X. Vispre, painter and engraver, 1780, 1783.
Porter Street was swept away by the Metropolitan Board of Works, together with Newport Market, to make way for the Charing Cross Road. The Board bought and demolished all the buildings in the street between 1881 and 1884. (fn. 58)
Newport Court (or Alley) was laid out approximately on the site of the courtyard of Newport House, and first appears in the ratebooks in 1685 with eight houses. In 1720 Strype described Newport Court as 'a great Passage into So Ho, and those new-built Places. It is for the Generality inhabited by French; as indeed are most of these Streets and Alleys, which are ordinarily built, and the Rents cheap. It is a Place of a good Trade. Out of this Alley is a Passage into Newport Market'. (fn. 67) Three goldsmiths, one plateworker (all with names of French origin) and one jeweller are recorded as working in Newport Court in the first half of the eighteenth century. (fn. 93)
During the nineteenth century, when the character of the area degenerated, Newport Court became known as 'Butchers' Row' (Plate 55b). In 1872 there were no less than ten butchers in the court, (fn. 112) which was described in a newspaper of this period as a 'fountain of foul odours'.
The north side of the court was demolished in the 1880's to make way for Newport Dwellings and Sandringham Buildings. Nos. 16 and 17 on the south side were demolished at the same time when the Charing Cross Road was constructed and Nos. 47–49 Charing Cross Road were erected on part of the site. The only surviving old buildings are Nos. 18–27 (consec.) on the south side. A watercolour of 1881 (Plate 55b) suggests that the north side of the court was composed of some original three-storeyed houses, similar to those described below, interspersed with four-storeyed rebuildings.
The southern side of Newport Court, the northern side of Little Newport Street, and the sites of Nos. 2–8 (consec.) Newport Place, were laid out together, the houses being built practically back-to-back. Nicholas Barbon let this part of Newport Ground in plots with frontages to both streets, starting at the eastern end. The last leases were granted in May 1688, and the block was evidently completed shortly afterwards.
No. 18 Newport Court
The first house on this site was one of six near the eastern end of Newport Court and Little Newport Street, which were built by Richard Campion of St. Anne's, bricklayer, under a sixtyone-year lease granted by Nicholas Barbon in October 1684. (fn. 113) The present house dates from 1778, when it was rebuilt, possibly by Joseph Holland. (fn. 114)
No. 19 Newport Court
This site, together with No. 14 Little Newport Street, which backs on to it, was leased in October 1685 by Nicholas Barbon to William Bassett, for sixty-one years. (fn. 115) The house at present standing on the site is stuccoed, but there is no evidence that the premises have ever been rebuilt.
Nos. 20 and 20a Newport Court
This site, together with that of Nos. 12 and 13 Little Newport Street, was leased by Nicholas Barbon in October 1685 to Henry Webb for sixty-one years. (fn. 115) The small shallow site of Nos. 20 and 20a was originally one house, but has been much subdivided at various times. The present Nos. 20–20a were built in 1772–3, (fn. 26) possibly by Joseph Polley of St. Anne's, butcher, who was the first occupant of the newly constructed No. 20, and who built another house in the court, No. 17, (fn. 116) since demolished.
Nos. 21–24A (consec.) Newport Court
This group of houses is the only piece of the original development of Newport Ground which is externally recognizable (fig. 85). The site was leased by Nicholas Barbon on 10 May 1688 to Henry Webb, in two leases for sixty years from Christmas then last past, at £18 per annum for the two. Henry Webb built three houses on this site, and when the lease was renewed in 1741 by the then ground landlord, James Pettit, there were apparently still three houses here. (fn. 117) The ratebooks suggest, however, that the houses were subdivided before that date, and from 1764 onwards there seem to have been four houses here. The subdivision of No. 24 dates from 1799. (fn. 26)
Although the ground storey of Nos. 21–24A now consists of Victorian and later shop fronts, the upper face of two storeys survives as an example of the lesser street architecture of late seventeenth-century London. Built of a dark red brick, the front is quite uniform and bears no expression of the original divisions between the three houses, the nine windows of each storey being irregularly spaced. All the openings are plain with segmental arches of brick, those of the first floor being broken by keyblocks rising to join the second-floor bandcourse. The slightly recessed but fully exposed box-frames have straight heads and now contain double-hung sashes, perhaps replacing casements. Long-and-short quoins of brick dress the east end of the front, the upper part of which is carried up to form a stonecoped parapet, probably replacing an eaves-cornice of wood. The interiors, which were probably finished in a simple fashion, are now of little interest.
Nos. 25 and 26 Newport Court
The whole western end of this block of houses, westward of No. 25 Newport Court and No. 7 Little Newport Street inclusive, was let by Nicholas Barbon to William Buckland of St. Andrew's, Holborn, scrivener, in two sixty-year leases dated 10 May 1688. (fn. 118) Buckland built six houses on this roughly triangular-shaped ground, all of which have since been demolished. The present Nos. 25 and 26 have a slightly longer frontage than the two original houses here, (fn. 119) and date from 1784–5. (fn. 26) No. 25 was built by Alexander Campbell, of Litchfield Street, carpenter, under lease of 18 December 1789 from Robert Dyneley of Gray's Inn, trustee of the Pettit estate. (fn. 120) No. 26 was probably also built by Campbell.
No. 27 Newport Court
See Nos. 4–8 (consec.) Newport Place.
The houses between the west ends of Newport Court and Little Newport Street were formerly part of Little Newport Street, but in 1939 they were renumbered as Nos. 2–8 (even) Newport Place.
Nos. 4–8 (consec.) Newport Place and No. 27 Newport Court
Nos. 4–8 formerly No. 5 Little Newport Street
On this corner site and on part of the modern No. 26 Newport Court, William Buckland built two houses in the 1680's (see above). When Nos. 25 and 26 Newport Court were rebuilt in 1784–5 with a longer frontage, this corner was rebuilt at the same time as one house, then numbered 5 Little Newport Street. The subdivisions of this house into Nos. 4–8 (consec.) Newport Place and No. 27 Newport Court are of modern origin.
A sixty-one-year lease of the house formerly numbered 5 Little Newport Street was granted by Robert Dyneley to John Grieve, on 2 November 1790, from Lady Day 1784. (fn. 121) Grieve was then the tenant of the newly built No. 5, (fn. 26) but it seems probable that the actual building was done by Alexander Campbell. The whole of this block of houses westward from No. 25 Newport Court and No. 7 Little Newport Street inclusive was rebuilt in 1784–5; Campbell had leases for three of the sites (No. 25 Newport Court, No. 2 Newport Place and No. 7 Little Newport Street) (fn. 122) and the remains of some elegant shop fronts at Nos. 25–27 Newport Court show signs of a coherent plan.
Before the parish church was bombed in the war of 1939–45, there was a monument there to Campbell, which read: 'Within this Porch are deposited the Remains of Mr. ALEXANDER CAMPBELL of this Parish, Builder. He died the 11th May 1795, Ætat. 58 years'. (fn. 123)
No. 2 Newport Place
Formerly No. 6 Little Newport Street
The history of this site is described above with Nos. 25 and 26 Newport Court. The present house dates from Alexander Campbell's rebuilding of 1784–5.
Newport Dwellings, Newport Place
The formation of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue was held up for several years by the difficulty imposed by the Metropolitan Street Improvements Act of 1877, which stipulated that the Metropolitan Board of Works should not take fifteen or more working-class houses until it had satisfied the Home Secretary that sufficient accommodation had been provided elsewhere. In June 1882 a Select Committee of the House of Commons recommended that this provision should be relaxed after the Board had rehoused 1,470 of the displaced persons in the Newport Market area, (fn. 12) and 600 elsewhere. (fn. 124) In August 1882 the Board accepted Mr. G. Foskett's tender for a lease of the site, and in October the Home Secretary permitted the Board to clear it. Foskett was 'a practical builder of considerable means' who had already built on two of the Board's sites in Clerkenwell Road, (fn. 125) and he probably acted as his own architect. He undertook to spend at least £30,000 on the erection of Newport Dwellings, (fn. 126) which were to accommodate 1,100 persons (fn. 125) and were completed in the latter part of 1883 (fn. 126) (Plate 138a). Foskett subsequently bought the freehold of the site.
Several blocks in the northern part of the estate were destroyed by enemy action during the war of 1939–45, and their site is now used as a car park.
Little Newport Street
The possibility that this street marks the course of the old Military Street has already been mentioned on page 361. By 1691 it was known as Little Newport Street, (fn. 26) and in 1720 Strype described it as 'ordinarily built and inhabited; being much annoyed with Coaches and Carts into the So Ho, and those Parts'. (fn. 67) Like Newport Court, with which the northern side of the street was simultaneously developed, the houses here were small, and the street was 'a Place of a good Trade', rather than a fashionable part of the parish.
Thomas Correggio Smith, miniature painter, gave his address as Little Newport Street when he exhibited his work in 1767. Two goldsmiths and a jeweller are recorded as working here in the eighteenth century. (fn. 93)
No. 7 Little Newport Street: The Crown and Grapes Public House
There has been a public house on this site since at least 1745; until about 1770 it was known as the Chequers and Feathers, but by 1793 had become known as the Crown and Grapes. (fn. 127) The house was one of those rebuilt in 1784–5 by Alexander Campbell (see Nos. 4–8 Newport Place and 27 Newport Court), and vestiges of Campbell's work may still survive in the upper part of the present building.
Nos. 8–11 (consec.) Little Newport Street
The original lease of this site has not been traced, but the four small houses built here in the 1680's were leased by James Pettit, esquire, of Eltham, to John Huntington of St. Giles's, stonemason, on 5 May 1740, for thirty years. (fn. 128) Huntington's lease was not a building lease and the ratebooks show no alteration to these houses until 1772, when they are marked as being 'Down'. The existing houses have the appearance of a uniform group, and could possibly be the work of one man.
Nos. 12 and 13 Little Newport Street
This site, together with that of Nos. 20 and 20A Newport Court, was leased by Nicholas Barbon to Henry Webb on 3 October 1685. The site of Nos. 12 and 13 had a twenty-ninefoot frontage, the largest in the street, and was originally occupied by one house. From 1739 to 1744 there was a public house here called variously 'Harry of 8th Head', 'King Harry's Head' and 'The King's Head' (fn. 129) and from 1747 to 1760 the house was inhabited by Charles Markham, baker, who was rated for 'sheds'. (fn. 130) When rebuilding took place in 1772 the single house was rebuilt as two, (fn. 26) which are of uniform date and height with Nos. 8–11 and are possibly the work of the same builder. The central staircase which the houses now share is a later alteration.
No. 14 Little Newport Street
This house stands on part of the site which was leased by Nicholas Barbon to William Bassett on 3 October 1685 (see No. 19 Newport Court). It has lower storey heights than Nos. 8–13, and although its outward appearance is of the late eighteenth century, there is no documentary evidence of its having been rebuilt at this time.
No. 15 Little Newport Street
This house occupies part of the plot of ground which was leased by Nicholas Barbon to Richard Campion, of St. Anne's, bricklayer, on 1 October 1684 (see No. 18 Newport Court). The present house was built by Alexander Campbell in 1778, under a lease dated 26 March 1779, from Robert Dyneley, for sixty-one years from Lady Day 1778, at £5 10s. per annum. (fn. 131)
Leicester Square Tube Station
The entrance to the station at the corner of Little Newport Street and Charing Cross Road occupies part of the site leased to Richard Campion (see No. 18 Newport Court), and was formerly No. 16 and part of No. 17 Little Newport Street, which were rebuilt in 1778 by Alexander Campbell. (fn. 132) They were demolished in the 1880's for the construction of the Charing Cross Road, and Nos. 45–49 (odd) Charing Cross Road were built on this and adjoining ground in 1889.
In 1933–5 the Leicester Square tube station on the east side of Charing Cross Road was enlarged, the architect being S. A. Heaps, architect to the London Passenger Transport Board, and the consulting engineer Sir Harley Dalrymple-Hay. The new station, which was opened on 4 May 1935, has several entrances, including one at No. 45 Charing Cross Road at the north corner of Little Newport Street. (fn. 133)