Aldenham Street – Richard Platt, 16th century brewer and local landowner, gave land for the endowment of Aldenham School, Hertfordshire.
Richard Platt was a native of Aldenham and like many gentlemen of his time, he saw the importance of the new styles of learning then spreading from the continent.
The area had been acquired as pasture land in 1575, and Platt gave the land to the Brewers’ Company in trust for Aldenham School.
Platt was concerned at the state of education in England after the church schools had largely been dissolved by Henry VIII. It was becoming the philanthropic custom for wealthy merchants to give free Grammar Schools in their home towns with London estates of land.
Platt bequeathed three local fields near St Pancras
church and, in reverse, some land at Aldenham, including Medburn Farm, to be controlled for the school by the Brewers’ Company.
In 1811 the Brewers’Company obtained an Act of Parliament for ’improving the estate’. Building development began at the southern end on each side of Brewer Street (now Midland Road
) and as far north as Aldenham Street. North of here, building did not begin until 1839 and went on until 1852.
The fields at St Pancras
also became Platt Street, Medburn Street
with Barclay Street
and Charrington Street
named after firms of brewers. Goldington Crescent
, formerly part of the Bedford Estate was also acquired by the Brewers’ Company.
In the 1860s, the Platt estate was compulsorily purchased for the construction of St Pancras
railway station. In a measure described by the headmaster of the time as "a violent act of confiscation", more than half of the £81,000 compensation was diverted by the Charity Commissioners elsewhere.
The original Aldenham Street later disappeared and its western part - Glenville Street - which had been renamed to become Aldenham Street, became its sole section.
Other streets following this school land endowment custom include the later building of Rugby Street, Tunbridge Street, Bedford Row and Lyon’s Place.
Agar Town Agar Town was a short-lived area, built in the 1840s, of St Pancras. Ossulston Estate The Ossulston Estate is a multi-storey council estate built by the London County Council in Somers Town between 1927 and 1931. Regent’s Park Estate The Regent’s Park Estate is a large housing estate in the London Borough of Camden. Rhodes Farm Rhodes Farm was situated on Hampstead Road. Somers Town Somers Town is a district close to three main line rail termini - Euston, St Pancras and King’s Cross. St James Gardens St James Gardens were used as a burial ground between 1790 and 1853. Denton Street, N1C Denton Street disappeared under the construction of St Pancras station. Harrington Square, NW1 Harrington Square is named after the Earl of Harrington, one of whose daughters married the seventh Duke of Bedford. King’s Terrace, NW1 King’s Terrace was formerly Little King Street South and Little King Street North. Medburn Street, NW1 Medburn Street is named after a farm between Elstree and Radlett in Hertfordshire. The Polygon, NW1 The Polygon was an earky housing estate, a Georgian building with 15 sides and three storeys that contained 32 houses. Watford Street, NW1 Watford Street was cleared away in the 1860s to make way to St Pancras station. Wilsted Street, NW1 Wilsted Street was the original name for the lower end of Ossulston Street.
Somers Town is a district close to three main line rail termini - Euston, St Pancras and King’s Cross.
Historically, the name Somers Town was used for the larger triangular area between the Pancras, Hampstead, and Euston Road
s, but it is now taken to mean the rough rectangle bounded by Pancras Road
, Euston Road
and Eversholt Street
Somers Town was named after Charles Cocks, 1st Baron Somers (1725–1806). The area was originally granted by William III to John Somers (1651–1716), Lord Chancellor and Baron Somers of Evesham.
In the mid 1750s the New Road was established to bypass the congestion of London; Somers Town lay immediately north of this east-west toll road. In 1784, the first housing was built at the Polygon amid fields, brick works and market gardens on the northern fringes of London. The site of the Polygon is now occupied by a block of council flats called Oakshott Court
deteriorated socially as the surrounding land was subsequently sold off in smaller lots for cheaper housing, especially after the start of construction in the 1830s of the railway lines into Euston, St Pancras and King’s Cross. In this period the area housed a large transient population of labourers and the population density of the area soared. By the late 19th century most of the houses were in multiple occupation, and overcrowding was severe with whole families sometimes living in one room, as confirmed by the social surveys of Charles Booth and Irene Barclay.
When St Luke’s Church, near King’s Cross, was demolished to make way for the construction of the Midland Railway St Pancras Station and its Midland Grand Hotel, the estimated twelve thousand inhabitants of Somers Town at that time were deprived of that place of worship, as the church building was re-erected in Kentish Town. In 1868 the lace merchant and philanthropist George Moore funded a new church, known as Christ Church, and an associated school in Chalton Street
with an entrance in Ossulston Street
. The school accommodated about six hundred children. Christ Church and the adjacent school were destroyed in a World War II bombing raid and no trace remains today, the site being occupied by a children’s play area and sports court.
Improvement of the slum housing conditions, amongst the worst in the capital, was first undertaken by St Pancras Council in 1906 at Goldington Buildings, at the junction of Pancras Road
and Royal College Street, and continued on a larger scale by the St Pancras House Improvement Society (subsequently the St Pancras & Humanist Housing Association, the present owner of Goldington Buildings) which was established in 1924. Further social housing was built by the London County Council, which began construction of the Ossulston Estate in 1927. There remains a small number of older Grade 2 listed properties, mostly Georgian terraced houses.
During the early 1970s the neighbourhood comprising GLC-owned housing in Charrington, Penryn, Platt and Medburn Street
s was a centre for the squatting movement.
In the 1980s, some council tenants took advantage of the ’right to buy’ scheme and bought their homes at a substantial discount. Later they moved away from the area. The consequence was an influx of young semi-professional people, resulting in a changing population.
Major construction work along the eastern side of Somers Town was completed in 2008, to allow for the Eurostar trains to arrive at the refurbished St Pancras Station. This involved the excavation of part of the St Pancras Old Churchyard, the human remains being re-interred at St Pancras and Islington Cemetery in East Finchley.
Land at Brill Place
, previously earmarked for later phases of the British Library development, became available when the library expansion was cancelled and was used as site offices for the HS1 terminal development and partly to allow for excavation of a tunnel for the new Thameslink station. It was then acquired as the site for the Francis Crick Institute (formerly the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation), a major medical research institute.