Little slices of London's history

*UPDATE* on London’s shape-related street names

Within minutes of the post below going live, I had a comment from @andrew_clegg: “Don’t forget Polygon Road near Euston, which is… completely straight,” he said.

I can’t, with thanks to Lewis Carroll, forget what I didn’t know, but once I heard of Polygon Road, I had to look it up. And Peter Watts of the Time Travel Explorer blog came to my rescue with masses of great information. He puts it so nicely I will just quote part of this fascinating blog post:

The Polygon, he says, “was a housing estate, a Georgian building with 15 sides and three storeys that contained 32 houses. It was demolished in the 1890s, by which time Somers Town had become a cheap and run-down neighbourhood, almost entirely because of its location. Railways were loud and smelly places, and they depended upon cheap labour – and that combination was a killer for an area’s aspirations.

“Two of the most famous residents of the Polygon were William Godwin and his wife Mary Wollstonecraft, who died giving birth to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Another former Polygoner was Charles Dickens, who lived at No 17 in the 1820s shortly after his father, John Dickens, was released from debtors prison. Dickens later made the Polygon a home for his ‘Bleak House’ character Harold Skimpole, and he in turn may well have been modelled on Godwin.”

Thank you very much, Messrs Clegg and Watts.

About Me (and my Obsession)

My obsession with London street names began in the early 90s when I worked in the Smithfield area and happened upon Bleeding Heart Yard. In my wanderings around London, I kept adding to my store of weird and wonderful street names. Eventually it was time to share – hence my blog. I hope you enjoy these names as much as I do.
– Elizabeth


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