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Shoreditch, Middlesex

Historical Description

Shoreditch, a quondam village, a parish, and a parliamentary borough, in Middlesex. The quondam village occupied the site of the present Shoreditch High Street in the E part of the metropolis, 1½ mile NE of St Paul's. It stood on the Roman road from London wall to the ford at Hackney, is proved by recently discovered traces of a Roman camp to have been at least temporarily settled by the Romans, was long held by the family of Soerdich and bore their name, had a seat of Edmund Duke of York at Shore Place in the 14th century, was the residence of Barlo the archer, whom Henry VIII. styled his " Duke of Shoreditch," who presided over a great fete in the adjoining fields in 1583, and was the retreat of some conspirators seized by Cromwell in 1658. It is commonly but erroneously supposed to have derived its name from the death of Jane Shore in a ditch here, and another derivation, equally erroneous, is that the name came from a great common sewer or ditch which passed through it.

The parish includes the site of the ancient village, and lies all around it, forms for the most part a compactly edificed portion of the metropolis, extends in a general view from the Regent's Canal to Finsbury Circus, and from Hackney Road to the City Road; includes Hoxton, Charles, and Nicholl's Squares, and the Curtain, Kingsland, Old Street, and other roads. It is traversed by the Great Eastern and the North London railways, contains the original or Bishops-gate terminus of the G.E.R. (now used only for goods), and a station on the North London railway opposite St Leonard's church. It is in the N, NE, and EC Metropolitan Postal districts; carries on a great trade in furniture-making, and a considerable trade in brewing and the manufacture of boots and shoes, and has some large drug warehouses and dry salteries. There are also large gasworks here by the side of the canal, and some extensive timber yards. The town-hall, which was erected in 1867 at a cost of upwards of £20,000, is a building in the Grecian style situated a short distance from the church. There are two large theatres and some music halls, the St Luke's and Stroreditch workhouses, two good public libraries, the Hoxton House Lunatic Asylum, numerous almshouses, and some useful charities. The parish church occupies the site of one which was erected in the 13th century. A church has occupied the same site since Saxon times. The present building was erected in 1736-40 by the elder Dance, and is an ugly building with the exception of the tower and spire, which are very graceful, and were designed to imitate on a smaller scale those of St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside. The ecclesiastical divisions of Shoreditch are given under London. Area of the parish, 648 acres; population, 124,009. For parliamentary purposes Shoreditch is divided into the two divisions of HAGGERSTONE and HOXTON.

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


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyMiddlesex 
Ecclesiastical parishShoreditch St. Leonard 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Shoreditch from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Shoreditch are available from a number of sites:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Holywell (Shoreditch)
CountyGreater London
Postal districtEC2A
Post TownLondon