Claremont Square was built between 1815 and 1828 – three sides of housing around a square, bounded on the north by The New Road (Pentonville Road) – on land belonging to the New River Company. Unusually for these residential squares there is no central garden but instead the reservoir of the New River Company (photo below). Initially this was an open dam.
The square reservoir of about one acre was dug out in 1708 as ‘High Pond’ to provide a head of water to the reservoir at New River Head, which supplied the City and the West End of London with water. The reservoir was fed by the New River which originated in Amwell. By 1757 the open dam had been enclosed with a high brick wall, then railings, and in 1855 it was reconstructed and completely enclosed. The reservoir had fallen into disuse by the 1990s but was back in service in 2003.
The New River Company was the landowner and developer of this square, and of Myddelton Square. By the early 1800s other water companies had established themselves in London, income was falling, housing estates were developing in the area, and the New River Company decided to build on its fields. The old wooden pipelines had been replaced with iron pipes, laid underground. By 1820 the streets and squares had been laid out and by 1828 building was completed. The maps of 1817 and 1827 show the rapid development in this area.
The square is named after the Claremont Chapel which opened on The New Road in 1819, and which is now the Crafts Council. The style of the houses was new – a stuccoed front on the ground floor and blind arcades on the first floor. The number of builders who were occupants is remarkable! Although the intention was different this did not become a fashionable area, perhaps because prices were too high.