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Holborn, Middlesex

Historical Description

Holborn, a part of the metropolis and a parish in Middlesex. The part of the metropolis commences at the N end of Faringdon Street, about 3 furlongs NW of St Paul's, extends nearly a mile westward to Broad Street, at the end of Drury Lane; is, till within about 200 yards of Broad Street, on a line with Oxford Street, and forms throughout its length the central portion of the great thoroughfare from Cheapside, by Newgate Street, to Uxbridge Road. It was originally a village called Oldbourne, and it took its name from a burn or rivulet which entered at or near Brook Street, and ran down its whole length to the Fleet Ditch at Faringdon Street, but it has long been one of the densest portions of the metropolis W of Newgate. It is called Holborn Hill from Faringdon Street to Fetter Lane, Holborn from Fetter Lane to Brook Street, and High Holbom from Brook Street to Drury Lane. A stone bridge over the Fleet, called Oldbourne Bridge, stood on it at Faringdon Street, and what were called Holborn Bars, marking the limit of the city liberties without the walls, stood on it at Brook Street. It was the old road from Newgate and the Tower to the gallows at Tyburn, the road up which William Lord Russell was led to the scaffold in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the road along which Titus Oates, Dangerfield, and Johnson were whipped. An Act for a great improvement on it, and on places connected with it, was obtained by the corporation in 1864. This improvement comprised a high-level street constructed on a viaduct, commencing at Ely Court, Holborn Hill, and extending to the Old Bailey, with streets branching from it at either end into Faringdon Road, the altering of the level of the streets over which it passed, and the widening of Shoe Lane; it was completed in Nov., 1869, and the funds for it were raised by loan, to be repaid out of the tax on coals in the years 1872-82. The Holborn Viaduct is one of the finest pieces of street architecture in London. It has the Metropolitan railway station of Snow Hill on the north side, and the great East End terminal station of the L.C. & D.R. on the other. There is a large hotel at the L.C. & D.R. station. On the north side of the viaduct road there stands the Church of St Sepulchre with its square tower, where a knell was tolled on the occasion of an execution at Newgate. On the south side stands the City Temple, a famous Congregational chapel, and St Andrew's Church, a building erected in 1686 by Wren, and where Lord Beaconsfield was christened. Fumival's Inn is on the N side of Holbom, and Bamard's Inn and Staple Inn, now the property of the Prudential Assurance Company, are on the S side. A line of houses opposite Fumival's Inn are perhaps the finest specimens remaining of Old London street architecture, their wooden beams and projecting upper storeys standing out in striking contrast with the modern houses on either side. Gerard dates his " Herbal," published. in 1597, from " my house in Holborue, within the suburbs of London," and he had behind the house a good garden, with many of the rarer plants mentioned in his " Herbal." Cromwell and Ireton are currently said, but on no good authority, to have entered in disguise the Blue Boar Inn at 270 High Holborn, and there intercepted a letter from Charles I. which led to the king's execution. Savage the poet was born in Fox Court, off Holborn Hill, Eitson the antiquary lived in Holborn Court, and many other distinguished persons stand associated in history with places in or near Holborn.

For poor-law and registration purposes the ancient parish of St Andrew, Holborn, designated " above the Bars," has been united with the parish of St George the Martyr. It has an area of 111 acres, and a population of 26, 228. The other part of the ancient parish, known as " below the Bars," is included in the London City Registration District, forms a distinct civil parish, has an area of 207 acres, and a population of 2546. See also LONDON.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Middlesex is online.

CountyGreater London
Postal districtWC2A
Post TownLondon