Dunk Street, E1

Dunk Street stretched approximately 200 metres from Old Montague Street to Hanbury Street, situated about 300 metres east of Baker’s Row, which is now the southern section of Vallance Road.

In 1643, Edward Montague, William Montague, and Mawrice Tresham acquired property from William Smith and others in the future Mile End New Town and Spitalfields areas.

This property comprised around forty-two or forty-three acres, which included five enclosed fields, a nursery, and a garden plot. A portion of this land would later become the southern half of Mile End New Town. Edward Montague eventually came into possession of all this land by approximately 1680.

The name Pelham Street was derived from Edward Montague’s wife, Elizabeth Pelham, who held ownership prior to their marriage.

In 1691, Elizabeth Pelham obtained a private Act that allowed her to grant leases for the rebuilding of dilapidated properties on her estates in Spitalfields and Mile End New Town. These estates were eventually passed down to their son, George Montague, who became the second Baron Halifax and the first Earl of Halifax of the third creation after the death of his uncle, Charles Montague, Earl of Halifax, in 1715. George was succeeded by his son, George, the second Earl, who took on the name Montague-Dunk upon marrying Ann Dunk in 1741. The title lapsed upon his death in 1771, and the Mile End New Town estates were inherited by his nephew, Sir George Osborn. The Osborn family retained ownership of the entire property until 1849 when more than half of it was sold to settle mortgages.

Building development in the area began in the 1680s, particularly in a six-acre section known as Bradshaw’s Close, located east of Brick Lane. Within this area, several streets were laid out. Pelham Street (Woodseer Street) extended between Brick Lane and Spital Street, Montague Street (previously the eastern arm of Brown’s Lane, now Hanbury Street) ran parallel to it, and Booth Street (Princelet Street) connected Brick Lane and Spelman Street.

Moving further east, Montague Street continued as Well Street (now Hanbury Street) between Spital Street and Greatorex Street, and Church Street (also now Hanbury Street) extended from Greatorex Street to Vallance Road.

Pelham Street was originally intended to continue further east, as depicted on Gascoine’s map of 1703, stretching across the northern part of the open meadow known as Coverley’s Fields. Three short north-south streets were present: Spital Street (southern portion), Silver Street (also known as White Cross Street, now the northern end of Spelman Street), and Lombard Street (now Daplyn Street).

To the south of Church Street, there was the High Street (now part of Greatorex Street), which served as the main thoroughfare leading to Whitechapel. At its lower end, there was a barrier that was eventually removed by an Act of 1780. East of the High Street, King Edward Street (now Kingward Street) existed, and Duke Street (later Dunk Street) was planned as a third north-south road, positioned midway between the High Street and King Edward Street.

According to Rocque’s map of 1746, there was limited progress in building development in the eastern part of the estate since 1700. Long Street, located east of the High Street, was not yet fully formed, and there were only two small blocks of buildings on the north side. King Edward Street had only a few houses at its southeastern corner, along with a terrace initiated by Heatley on the west side. Dunk Street abruptly ended, reaching only a quarter of its intended length.

Building progressed in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Horwood’s map of 1799 shows that Dunk Street had been completed.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of the population residing in the area were Jewish, comprising approximately 95-100% of the residents. Dunk Street alone boasted five synagogues, reflecting the religious and cultural importance of the neighbourhood.

The entire neighbourhood where Dunk Street once stood, located in London’s East End, has undergone redevelopment, resulting in the street’s disappearance.

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