Doughty Street, WC1N

Road in/near Bloomsbury, existing between the 1790s and now

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(51.52348 -0.11648) 

Doughty Street, WC1N

MAP YEAR:1750180018301860190019502020Remove markers
Road · Bloomsbury · WC1N ·
September
3
2017

Doughty Street is a broad tree lined street in the Holborn district.

The southern part is a continuation of the short John Street, which comes off Theobalds Road. The northern part crosses Guilford Street and ends at Mecklenburgh Square.

The street contains mainly grade II listed Georgian houses built between 1790 and the 1840s. Many of the houses have been converted into offices and are popular with companies in the legal profession and the media. In the last few years, many of these have been converted back to family homes.

In the nineteenth century, it was an exclusive residential street and had gates at either end to restrict entry and these were manned by porters.

"It was a broad, airy, wholesome street - none of your common thoroughfares, to be rattled through by vulgar cabs and earth-shaking Pickford’s vans; but a self-included property, with a gate at each end, and a lodge with a porter in a gold-laced hat and the Doughty arms on the buttons of his mulberry coat, to prevent any one, except with a mission to one of the houses, from, intruding on the exclusive territory."

The London Post Office Railway passes underneath the street, but is now disused.

A notable resident of Doughty Street was Charles Dickens. On 25 March 1837, Dickens moved with his family into No. 48 (on which he had a three-year lease at £80 a year) where he would remain until December 1839. He wrote Oliver Twist in the house. His sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth died here. This address is now a grade I listed building and has housed the Charles Dickens Museum since 1925.


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Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is an area of the London Borough of Camden, in central London, between Euston Road and Holborn, developed by the Russell family in the 17th and 18th centuries into a fashionable residential area.

The earliest record of what would become Bloomsbury is the 1086 Domesday Book, which records that the area had vineyards and 'wood for 100 pigs'. But it is not until 1201 that the name Bloomsbury is first noted, when William de Blemond, a Norman landowner, acquired the land.

The name Bloomsbury is a development from Blemondisberi – the bury, or manor, of Blemond. An 1878 publication, Old and New London: Volume 4, mentions the idea that the area was named after a village called Lomesbury which formerly stood where Bloomsbury Square is now, though this piece of folk etymology is now discredited.

At the end of the 14th century Edward III acquired Blemond's manor, and passed it on to the Carthusian monks of the London Charterhouse, who kept the area mostly rural.

In the 16th century, with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII took the land back into the possession of the Crown, and granted it to Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton.

In the early 1660s, the Earl of Southampton constructed what eventually became Bloomsbury Square. The area was laid out mainly in the 18th century, largely by landowners such as Wriothesley Russell, 3rd Duke of Bedford, who built Bloomsbury Market, which opened in 1730. The major development of the squares that we see today started in about 1800 when Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford removed Bedford House and developed the land to the north with Russell Square as its centrepiece.

Historically, Bloomsbury is associated with the arts, education, and medicine. The area gives its name to the Bloomsbury Group of artists, the most famous of whom was Virginia Woolf, who met in private homes in the area in the early 1900s, and to the lesser known Bloomsbury Gang of Whigs formed in 1765 by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford.

The publisher Faber & Faber used to be located in Queen Square, though at the time T. S. Eliot was editor the offices were in Tavistock Square. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in John Millais's parents' house on Gower Street in 1848.

The Bloomsbury Festival was launched in 2006 when local resident Roma Backhouse was commissioned to mark the re-opening of the Brunswick Centre, a residential and shopping area. The free festival is a celebration of the local area, partnering with galleries, libraries and museums, and achieved charitable status at the end of 2012.


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