Cleveland Street, W1W

Road in/near Fitzrovia, existing between 1632 and now

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Road · Fitzrovia · W1W ·

Cleveland Street maybe dates from before 1632 when its name was recorded as Wrastling Lane.

Cleveland Street perpetuates an old track marking the former parish border, now the boundary between Westminster and Camden. Today it is a street of sudden breaks and contrasts in which large, sometimes brutish institutional buildings alternate with low flats and shops of sundry dates. Interspersed between these, three corner pubs of engagingly different character – from south to north, the King and Queen (numbered in Foley Street), the Tower Tavern and the George and Dragon – help to enliven the west side. Its oldest name, recorded by 1632, was Wrastling Lane. That is how it is regularly termed in early deeds for the Berners family, which came into possession of a strip all down the lane from the Farthing Pye House at the north end (on the site of the present Green Man, 383 Euston Road) along with Newlands Close in 1653. On Rocque’s map it is labelled The Green Lane and shown as of some breadth at the north end, tapering towards the south.

Two drawings by Samuel Grimm depict the southern end of the lane near Middlesex Hospital in 1772, when it was in a scruffy but still semi-rural state. The name Cleveland Street comes from one of the titles of the Fitzroy family, who began developing their Southampton estate on the St Pancras side towards the top of the lane from the 1770s, not long after the creation of the New Road eased access to this end. Around the same time, under an agreement with William Gowing, carpenter, building began on a short frontage of Bedford property next south. Southwards again lay land owned by the Goodges where development was well advanced, e.g. in the surviving Goodge Place, developed in the late 1760s under Jacob Leroux. The most substantial early building on the St Pancras side of the road was the still surviving workhouse of St Paul’s, Covent Garden (1775–7), later the Strand Union Workhouse.

The name Cleveland Street applied originally only to the north end, sometimes known as Upper Cleveland Street. When the Berners Estate got round to developing its frontage along the Marylebone side from the late 1780s, this stretch was initially referred to as Upper Newman Street. But the name never took hold at the north end; in the early nineteenth century the
west-side houses here above Carburton Street were known as Buckingham Place, Cleveland Street, borrowing the original name of the northernmost side street, Buckingham (now Greenwell) Street.

The name Upper Newman Street was also applied at first to the stretch south of Carburton Street, but very soon, around 1800, that name was discarded. All the addresses to the north of Union (now Riding House) Street were then added to Cleveland Street, while below that line both sides of the street were designated Norfolk Street. Along this southernmost quarter of the street the Berners family owned property on both sides; the Marylebone–St Pancras parish boundary ran in a tapering line behind the houses on the east, but was adjusted in 1900 to bring that frontage into what is now Camden. The whole line of the road was consolidated as Cleveland Street and renumbered in 1867.


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Fitzrovia is the area lying to the west of Tottenham Court Road.

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