Ossulston Estate

Estate in/near Somers Town, existing between 1931 and now

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Estate · * · NW1 ·
August
10
2017

The Ossulston Estate is a multi-storey council estate built by the London County Council in Somers Town between 1927 and 1931.

The estate was built to rehouse those poor who were not being served by the LCC’s new suburban estates, and was significantly denser to suit the urban site. It was located on the site of the Somers Town slum, between Euston and St Pancras stations. The original proposal made in 1925 was for 9-storey blocks on the American model, which would have required lifts, and with more expensive flats for private tenants on the highest floors. This was rejected and the height reduced to a maximum of 7 storeys, with fewer lifts and no private flats. The provision of central heating was also eliminated, but the buildings were unusual in providing electricity from the start, and Levita House had the first central heating system installed by the LCC.

The design, by G. Topham Forrest, chief architect of the LCC, and his assistants R. Minton Taylor and E.H. Parkes, was influenced by Viennese modernist public housing such as Karl Marx-Hof, which Forrest had visited. The estate consists of blocks grouped around three courtyards, and small greens, reached by archways from Ossulston and Chalton Streets; some of the original plantings survive. The buildings have some neo-Georgian features in the treatment of roofs and windows, but are modernist in being of steel-frame construction with unornamented roughcast walls, the facades instead enlivened by spatial features such as the archways in front of the balconies which lead to the individual flats.

Chamberlain House, three blocks of flats, was built in 1927–29; Levita House, south of it and named for Cecil Levita, who was chairman of the LCC’s Housing Committee in the 1920s, was built in 1930–31 and consists of the 7-storey section and wings enclosing a grand courtyard which was originally intended to lead to the premium flats. Walker House was begun in 1929–30, but the other side of the courtyard was completed in 1936–37 with more traditional brick 6-storey buildings. The total number of flats was 310. Chamberlain House, Levita House, the southern part of Walker House and the associated shops and The Cock Tavern public house are all Grade II listed buildings.

In 2004–07, Levita House was extensively refurbished by Sprunt Architects, which included creating larger flats, external refurbishment of the fabric and transformation of the courtyard areas.


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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY



Scott Hatton   
Added: 11 Sep 2020 19:47 GMT   

Millions Of Rats In Busy London
The Daily Mail on 14 April 1903 reported "MILLIONS OF RATS IN BUSY LONDON"

A rat plague, unprecedented in the annals of London, has broken out on the north side of the Strand. The streets principally infested are Catherine street, Drury lane, Blackmore street, Clare Market and Russell street. Something akin to a reign of terror prevails among the inhabitants after nightfall. Women refuse to pass along Blackmore street and the lower parts of Stanhope street after dusk, for droves of rats perambulate the roadways and pavements, and may be seen running along the window ledges of the empty houses awaiting demolition by the County Council in the Strand to Holborn improvement scheme.

The rats, indeed, have appeared in almost-incredible numbers. "There are millions of them," said one shopkeeper, and his statement was supported by other residents. The unwelcome visitors have been evicted from their old haunts by the County Council housebreakers, and are now busily in search of new homes. The Gaiety Restaurant has been the greatest sufferer. Rats have invaded the premises in such force that the managers have had to close the large dining room on the first floor and the grill rooms on the ground floor and in the basement. Those three spacious halls which have witnessed many as semblages of theatre-goers are now qui:e deserted. Behind the wainscot of the bandstand in the grillroom is a large mound of linen shreds. This represents 1728 serviettes carried theee by the rats.

In the bar the removal of a panel disclosed the astonishing fact that the rats have dragged for a distance of seven or eight yards some thirty or forty beer and wine bottles and stacked them in such a fashion as to make comfortable sleeping places. Mr Williams. the manager of the restaurant, estimates that the rats have destroyed L200 worth of linen. Formerly the Gaiety Restaurant dined 2000 persons daily; no business whatever is now done in this direction.

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Lived here
Julian    
Added: 23 Mar 2021 10:11 GMT   

Dennis Potter
Author Dennis Potter lived in Collingwood House in the 1970’s

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Comment
Jessie Doring   
Added: 22 Feb 2021 04:33 GMT   

Tisbury Court Jazz Bar
Jazz Bar opened in Tisbury Court by 2 Australians. Situated in underground basement. Can not remember how long it opened for.

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Comment
Carol   
Added: 7 May 2021 18:44 GMT   

Nan
My nan lily,her sister Elizabeth and their parents Elizabeth and William lived here in1911

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Reg Carr   
Added: 10 Feb 2021 12:11 GMT   

Campbellite Meeting
In 1848 the Campbellites (Disciples of Christ) met in Elstree Street, where their congregation was presided over by a pastor named John Black. Their appointed evangelist at the time was called David King, who later became the Editor of the British Millennial Harbinger. The meeting room was visited in July 1848 by Dr John Thomas, who spoke there twice on his two-year ’mission’ to Britain.

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

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Peter H Davies   
Added: 17 Jun 2021 09:33 GMT   

Ethelburga Estate
The Ethelburga Estate - named after Ethelburga Road - was an LCC development dating between 1963–65. According to the Wikipedia, it has a "pleasant knitting together of a series of internal squares". I have to add that it’s extremely dull :)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Lived here
Norman Norrington   
Added: 8 Jun 2021 08:08 GMT   

Blechynden Street, W10
Lived here #40 1942-1967

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Comment
Brenda Newton   
Added: 5 Jun 2021 07:17 GMT   

Hewer Street W10
John Nodes Undertakers Hewer Street W10

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Added: 3 Jun 2021 15:50 GMT   

All Bar One
The capitalisation is wrong

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Comment
   
Added: 2 Jun 2021 16:58 GMT   

Parachute bomb 1941
Charles Thomas Bailey of 82 Morley Road was killed by the parachute bomb March 1941

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Added: 1 Jun 2021 12:41 GMT   

Abbeville Road (1940 street directory)
North west side
1A Clarke A S Ltd, motor engineers
15 Plumbers, Glaziers & Domestic Engineers Union
25 Dixey Edward, florist
27 Vicary Miss Doris J, newsagent
29 Stenning John Andrew, dining rooms
31 Clarke & Williams, builders
33 Hill Mrs Theodora, confectioner
35 Golding W & sons, corn dealers
... here is Shandon road ...
37 Pennington Mrs Eliz Harvie, wine & spirit merchant
39 Westminster Catering Co Ltd, ham, beef & tongue dealers
41 Masters A (Clapham) Ltd, butchers
43 Thomas Euan Ltd, grocers
45 Garrett C T & Co Ltd, undertakers
47 Mayle T & Sons, fishmongers
49 Mayles Ltd, fruiterers
51 & 73 Hardy Arthur Sydney, draper
53 United Dairies (London) Ltd
... here is Narbonne avenue ...
55 Norris William Lennox, baker
57 Silver Star Laundry Ltd
59 Thorp John, oilman
61 Bidgood Leonard George, boot makers
63 Wilkie Rt Miln, chemist
65 Gander George Albert Isaac, hairdresser
67 Harris Alfred William, greengrocer
69 & 71 Lambert Ernest & Son Ltd, grocers
... here is Hambolt road ...
73 & 51 Hardy Arthur Sydney, draper
75 Cambourn Frederick, butcher
77 Siggers Clement, chemist
77 Post, Money Order, Telephone Call & Telegraph Office & Savings Bank
79 Hemmings William, baker
... here is Elms road ...
85 Cornish Joseph
91 Bedding Mrs
151 Johnson Mrs H K
157 Robinson Albert Ernest, grainer
173 Yardleys London & Provincial Stores Ltd, wine & spirit merchants
175 Clark Alfred, butcher
175A Morley Douglas Frederick, confectioner
... here is Crescent lane ...
... her is St Alphonsus road ...

South east side
... here is Trouville road ...
4 Bossy Miss, private school
... here are Bonneville gardens ...
24 Osborn Charles Edward, ladies hairdresser
24 Hall H Ltd, builders
24A Walton Lodge Laundry Ltd
... here are Shandon road & Abbeville mansions ...
28 Copley Fred Smith, chemist
30 Finch H G Ltd, laundry
32 Carter William Alfred, furniture dealer
34 Spriggs Charles & Co, wireless supplies dealer
36 Miles Frederick William, confectioner
38 Pitman Frederick, hairdresser
40 Rowe Frederick F, valeting service
42 Modridge Edward J, oilman
... here is Narbonne avenue ...
44 Southorn Albert, butcher
46 Brown Ernest, fruiterer
48 Stanley Mrs A A, confectioner
50 Fryatt Owen, delixatessen store
52 Benbrooks, domestic stores
54 Davis William Clifford, boot repairer
56 Blogg Alfred, newsagent
58 Rowlands Thomas & Sons, dairy
... here are Hambalt, Elms, Franconia, Caldervale & Leppoc roads ...
124 Clarke Frederick, decorator
... here are Crescent lane, Briarwood road & Park hill ...

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Comment
Boo Horton    
Added: 31 May 2021 13:39 GMT   

Angel & Trumpet, Stepney Green
The Angel & Trumpet Public House in Stepney Green was run by my ancestors in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, it was a victim on WWII and was badly damaged and subsequently demolished. I have one photograph that I believe to bethe pub, but it doesn’t show much more that my Great Aunt cleaning the steps.

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Comment
MCNALLY    
Added: 17 May 2021 09:42 GMT   

Blackfriars (1959 - 1965)
I lived in Upper Ground from 1959 to 1964 I was 6 years old my parents Vince and Kitty run the Pub The Angel on the corner of Upper Ground and Bodies Bridge. I remember the ceiling of the cellar was very low and almost stretched the length of Bodies Bridge. The underground trains run directly underneath the pub. If you were down in the cellar when a train was coming it was quite frightening

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NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
Ossulston Estate The Ossulston Estate is a multi-storey council estate built by the London County Council in Somers Town between 1927 and 1931.
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.

NEARBY STREETS
Aldenham Street, NW1 Aldenham Street – Richard Platt, 16th century brewer and local landowner, gave land for the endowment of Aldenham School, Hertfordshire.
Ampthill Square, NW1 Ampthill Square is a name which has existed in two different time periods.
Argyle Walk, WC1H Argyle Walk is named for Argyll in Scotland.
Bagley Walk, N1C Bagley Walk is a location in London.
Barclay Street, NW1 Barclay Street led from Aldenham Street northwards to Medburn Street.
Barnby Street, NW1 Barnby Street is a street in Camden Town.
Belgrove Street, WC1H Belgrove Street, formerly Belgrave Street, leads south from Euston Road.
Bidborough Street, NW1 Bidborough Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
Bridgeway Street, NW1 Bridgeway Street is a street in Camden Town.
Brill Place, NW1 Brill Place is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Brill Row, NW1 Brill Row was one of many small streets which became the basis for a Somers Town market.
Cardington Street, NW1 Cardington Street is a rare London street in that it closed for good as late as 2017.
Chalton Street, NW1 Chalton Street was formerly Charlton Street.
Charrington Street, NW1 Charrington Street runs south to north and is a continuation of Ossulston Street.
Chenies Place, NW1 Chenies Place is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Chill Lane, N1C Chill Lane is a location in London.
Christopher Place, NW1 Christopher Place is a street in Camden Town.
Church Way, NW1 Church Way is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Churchway, NW1 Churchway is a street in Camden Town.
Clarendon Grove, NW1 Clarendon Grove ran south from Clarendon Square.
Coach Road, N1C Coach Road is a road in the N1C postcode area
Cobourg Street, NW1 Cobourg Street is a street in Camden Town.
Cooper’s Lane, NW1 Cooper’s Lane is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Cranleigh Street, NW1 Cranleigh Street is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Crestfield Street, NW1 Crestfield Street is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Crowndale Road, NW1 Crowndale Road was at first called Fig Lane and then Gloucester Place.
Denton Street, N1C Denton Street disappeared under the construction of St Pancras station.
Doric Way, NW1 Doric Way is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Drummond Crescent, NW1 Drummond Crescent is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Duke’s Road, WC1H This is a street in the WC1H postcode area
Dukes Road, WC1H Dukes Road is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
Elstree Street, N1C Elstree Street once laid off of St Pancras Road.
Euston Road, N1 Euston Road is a location in London.
Euston Road, WC1H A street within the N1C postcode
Euston Square, NW1 This is a street in the NW1 postcode area
Eversholt Street, NW1 Eversholt Street is a street in Camden Town.
Flaxman Terrace, NW1 Flaxman Terrace is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
Flaxman Terrace, NW1 Flaxman Terrace is a road in the NW1 postcode area
George Mews, NW1 George Mews lies within the NW1 postcode.
Godwin Court, NW1 Godwin Court is a street in Camden Town.
Goldington Crescent, NW1 Goldington Crescent is a street in Camden Town.
Goldington Street, NW1 Goldington Street is a street in Camden Town.
Goods Way, N1C Goods Way runs from Pancras Road to York Way.
Grafton Place, NW1 Grafton Place is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Gridiron Building, N1C A street within the N1C postcode
Hamilton House, WC1H Residential block
Hampden Close, NW1 Hampden Close is a street in Camden Town.
Hampstead Road, NW1 Hampstead Road connects the Euston Road with Camden.
Harrington Square, NW1 Harrington Square is named after the Earl of Harrington, one of whose daughters married the seventh Duke of Bedford.
Hastings Street, WC1H Hastings Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
Judd Street, NW1 This is a street in the NW1 postcode area
Judd Street, WC1H Judd Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
King’s Boulevard, N1C King’s Boulevard is a road in the N1C postcode area
King’s Cross Square, N1C King’s Cross Square is a road in the N1C postcode area
Kings Cross, N1C A street within the N1C postcode
Lancing Street, NW1 Lancing Street is a street in Camden Town.
Lidlington Place, NW1 Lidlington Place is a street in Camden Town.
Mabledon Place, WC1H Mabledon Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
Mayford, NW1 Mayford is a street in Camden Town.
Medburn Street, NW1 Medburn Street is named after a farm between Elstree and Radlett in Hertfordshire.
Midland Road, N1C Midland Road is a road in the N1C postcode area
Midland Road, NW1 Midland Road is a location in London.
Northam’s Buildings, NW1 Northam’s Buildings was swept away by the building of St Pancras station.
Oakley Square, NW1 Oakley Square is a street in Camden Town.
Oakshott Court, NW1 Oakshott Court is a road in the NW1 postcode area
One Kings Cross, N1C A street within the N1C postcode
One Pancras Square, N1C A street within the N1C postcode
Ossulston Street, NW1 Ossulston Street is a street in Camden Town.
Pancras Road, N1C Pancras Road is a road in the N1C postcode area
Pancras Road, NW1 Pancras Road is a street in Camden Town.
Pancras Square, N1C This is a street in the N1C postcode area
Penryn Street, NW1 Penryn Street is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Perry Street, N1C Perry Street was buried by St Pancras station.
Phoenix Road, NW1 Phoenix Road is a street in Camden Town.
Polygon Road, NW1 Polygon Road is a street in Camden Town.
Purchese Street, NW1 Purchese Street is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Regent’s Canal towpath, N1C Regent’s Canal towpath is a road in the N1C postcode area
Sandwich House, WC1H Residential block
Seymour House, NW1 Residential block
Sinclair House, WC1H Residential block
Smith Street, N1C Smith Street was buried under St Pancras station.
Somers Close, NW1 Somers Close is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Speedy Place, WC1H Speedy Place is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
St. Philip’s Way, N1C A street within the N1C postcode
Starcross Street, NW1 Starcross Street is a street in Camden Town.
Thanet Street, WC1H Thanet Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
The Circle, N1C The Circle is a road in the N1C postcode area
The Gridiron, N1C A street within the N1C postcode
The Polygon, NW1 The Polygon was an earky housing estate, a Georgian building with 15 sides and three storeys that contained 32 houses.
Tonbridge Street, WC1H Tonbridge Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
Unity Mews, NW1 Unity Mews is a road in the NW1 postcode area
Watford Street, NW1 Watford Street was cleared away in the 1860s to make way to St Pancras station.
Werrington Street, NW1 Werrington Street is a street in Camden Town.
Whidborne Street, WC1H Whidborne Street is one of the streets of London in the WC1H postal area.
Whittlebury Street, NW1 Whittlebury Street once laid to the west of Euston station.
Wilsted Street, NW1 Wilsted Street was the original name for the lower end of Ossulston Street.
York Road Curve, N1 York Road Curve is a road in the N1 postcode area

NEARBY PUBS
Cock Tavern The Cock Tavern is on the corner of Phoenix Road and Chalton Street.
Doric Arch This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Eastnor Castle This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Elixir Bar This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Exmouth Arms This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Mabel’s Tavern This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
McGlynn Freehouse This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
O’Neill’s This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Prince Arthur This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Royal George This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Secrets This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
Skinners Arms This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
St Aloysius Social Club This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Boot This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Bree Louise This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Dolphin This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Euston Flyer This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Place Theatre Bar This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Purple Turtle This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.
The Rocket This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.


Somers Town

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 Roads, 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.

The Polygon 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 Streets 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.


LOCAL PHOTOS
The British Library
TUM image id: 1482066417
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Agar Town (1857)
Credit: Percy Lovell
TUM image id: 1499434317
Licence: CC BY 2.0
All Saints, Camden Town, in 1828.
TUM image id: 1492970567
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Cromer Street
TUM image id: 1547917827
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Goods Way - old sign
TUM image id: 1526241892
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The Polygon, Somers Town in 1850.
TUM image id: 1499354315
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In the neighbourhood...

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Kings Place from York Way
Credit: Alan Stanton
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The British Library
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Agar Town (1857)
Credit: Percy Lovell
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Goods Way - old sign
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The Brill Market in Somers Town (1858) Centre stage in this engraving of a busy market scene is the Brill Tavern itself, situated at the end of Brill Row.
Credit: Illustrated News of the World, London
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The Polygon, Somers Town in 1850.
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St. James Gardens
Credit: Google
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Wollstonecraft Street sign
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