Houghton Street, WC2A

Road in/near Chancery Lane, existing between 1657 and now

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MAPPING YEAR:1750180018301860190019302019Fullscreen map
Road · Chancery Lane · WC2A ·
JANUARY
10
2019
Houghton Street is a street which has been ’demoted’ over time.

Houghton Street in the Drury Lane slum c1900.
In the early eighteenth century John Strype described Clare Street, Houghton Street and Holles Street as "well built and inhabited", but he also noted pockets of poverty in small courts north of the market.

The area went rapidly downhill in the years after, turning into a ’rookery’, until the rebuilding of the whole area to create Aldwych and Kingsway in 1904-5.

Having been founded in 1895, the LSE was looking to establish a campus which didn’t happen until after the First World War. The foundation stone of the London School of Economics ’Old Building’, on Houghton Street, was eventually laid by King George V in 1920 and the building was opened in 1922.

The LSE’s neighbours had been small businesses and shops such as Meakin’s the grocer at 18 Houghton Street, Lynn and Harding publishers at no. 17 and the Three Tuns public house at the corner of Houghton Street and Clement’s Inn Passage.

The largest neighbour, almost opposite the Main Entrance, was St Clement Danes Grammar School. The grammar school had opened in 1862 teaching English, maths, science and French alongside Latin and divinity.

In due course, the LSE buildings took over the street, so much so that sometimes the street is missing from modern maps.

Main source

Citations and sources

Gillian Bebbington's 1972 work on street name derivations
The free encyclopedia

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Chancery Lane

Chancery Lane originated as a 'new lane' created by the Knights Templar from their original 'old Temple' on the site of the present Southampton Buildings on Holborn, in order access to their newly acquired property to the south of Fleet Street (the present Temple) sometime before 1161.

Historically, the street was associated with the legal profession, an association which continues to the present day; however, consulting firms, ancillary businesses and the Maughan Library also occupy the street. Lincoln's Inn occupies most of the western side north of Carey Street.

The principal building of the Law Society, the professional body for solicitors in England and Wales, is at No. 113. Ede and Ravenscroft, the oldest tailors in London, have their main (and historic) outlet and offices at No. 93, which is also their outlet for legal dress. The London Silver Vaults are located at the northern end of Chancery Lane.

Note that the marker shows the location of the tube station rather than the street.

Chancery Lane tube station lies at the junction of Holborn and Gray's Inn Road, a short distance from Chancery Lane's northern end.

The station was opened by the Central London Railway (CLR) on 30 July 1900. The original, disused station building is on the north side of High Holborn at nos. 31–33, approximately 400 feet to the west, closer to High Holborn's junction with Chancery Lane. Originally, provided with four lifts between ground and platform levels, the station was rebuilt in the early 1930s to operate with escalators. It was not possible to construct the inclined escalator shaft between the platforms and the existing entrance and so a new sub-surface ticket hall was constructed below the road junction. The old entrance building became redundant and, in recognition of the location of the new entrance, the station was renamed Chancery Lane (Gray's Inn), although the suffix subsequently fell out of use.

It is one of eight London Underground stations which has a deep-level air-raid shelter underneath it. After World War II this was turned into Kingsway telephone exchange. Access to the shelter was via the original station building and lift shaft as well as subsidiary entrances in Furnival Street and Took's Court.
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