Chalton Street was formerly Charlton Street.
Until 1800, the whole of the Somers Town area (the triangular space between the Hampstead, Pancras, and Euston Road
s) was almost exclusively pastoral. With the exception of a few straggling houses near the "Mother Red Cap," at Camden Town, and also a few roundabout the old church of St. Pancras, there was nothing to interrupt the view of the Hampstead uplands from Queen’s Square and the Foundling Hospital
Mr Jacob Leroux became the principal landowner under Lord Somers. The former built a handsome house for himself, and various streets were named from the title of the noble lord.
Jacob Leroux (c.1737-1799) was born in Convent Garden. In 1766 he was employed by Francis and William Goodge to supervise the development of their estate near Tottenham Court Road
. In 1768 Leroux was engaged by Isaac Mallorie and John Carnac to design their planned Polygon development in Southampton - an ambitious scheme designed to match the new, genteel buildings of other spa towns like Bath and Tunbridge Wells.
In 1793 Leroux erected a second Polygon, with the same layout as that planned in Southampton, on the Somers estate. This scheme fared rather better than the Southampton Polygon, but was similarly not fully completed.
Charlton Street was laid out with barracks for the Life Guards regiment. It continued north as Union Street
and Stibbington Street before these were renamed and combined as "Chalton Street".
Gradual advances were made on the north side of the New Road (now the Euston Road
), from Tottenham Court Road
, and, finally, the buildings on the south side reached the line of Gower Street
. The gap between Southampton Place and Somers Town was soon one vast brick-field. The barracks in Charlton Street, became covered by Clarendon Square.
The Company of Skinners owned thirty acres of land which covered the north side of the New Road from Somers Place to Battle Bridge (Kings Cross
) which then became when built Skinner Street, Judd Street
and Tonbridge Place and other streets.
In Chalton Street, a public house was built - the Somers Town Coffee House. Before it was a pub it was the only coffee-house in the neighbourhood. "Early in the last century Somers Town was a delightful and rural suburb, with fields and flowergardens. A short distance down the hill," writes a Mr Larwood in the nineteenth century, "were the then famous Bagnigge Wells, and close by the remains of Totten Hall, with the ’Adam and Eve
’ tea-gardens, and the so-called King John’s Palace. At this time the coffee-house was a popular place of resort, much frequented by the foreigners of the neighbourhood as well as by the pleasure-seeking cockney from the distant city. There were near at hand other public-houses and places of entertainment, but the speciality of this establishment was its coffee. As the traffic increased, it became a posting-house, uniting the business of an inn with the profits of a tea-garden. Gradually the demand for coffee fell off, and that for malt and spirituous liquors increased. At present the gardens are all built over, and the old gateway forms part of the modern bar; but there are in the neighbourhood aged persons who remember Sunday-school excursions to this place, and pic-nic parties from the crowded city, making merry here in the grounds."