West Square, Bradshaw’s Hand Book, (No.93)

posted in: Bradshaw in London, Home | 0

West Square was built between 1791-1810. The Temple-West family owned c.two acres in St George’s Fields and leased land to a Mr Hedger to build houses. The Hedger family owned the Dog & Duck tavern and from the 1780s James Hedger was building low-quality housing on St George’s Fields where the family owned leases on the land. The houses built in West Square, however, were substantial. There were owned by the wealthy and influential, including the Hedger family, and reflected the increasing affluence of Walworth and the area around the Elephant and Castle at the end of 18C.

Cary's Map of 1837 (Mapco)
Cary’s Map of 1837 (Mapco)

15-2-5 St George's Cathedral LR-2-78

15-2-5 St George's Cathedral LR-140

15-2-6 Imperial War Museum LR-67

In 1812 the Admiralty put a tower on the top of no.36 (below) to relay messages between London and Kent during the Napoleonic Wars – Whitehall, West Square, Telegraph Hill in New Cross, Chatham, Sheerness – amazing! In 1808 messages could be relayed from London to Portsmouth in 15 minutes, London to Deal in 11 minutes!

15-2-6 Imperial War Museum LR-55

Senior staff from the Bethlehem Hospital lived in the Square, and residents included JAR Newlands who classified the chemical elements in a periodic table.

15-2-8 Southwark & Lambeth Walk LR-36

Cary’s map above includes Barker’s panorama painting house – which I thought was curious. Robert Barker was an artist who became wealthy on painting and exhibiting large panoramic paintings. He and his family lived in n.14 West Square from 1799 until his death in 1806. He built a rotunda in his garden to display his panorama paintings, and his son, who lived in no.13, took over the business after 1806. (Fascinating post here.)

Robert Barker panorama of Edinburgh, http://facweb.cs.depaul.edu/sgrais/panorama.htm
Robert Barker panorama of Edinburgh, http://facweb.cs.depaul.edu/sgrais/panorama.htm

And apparently Charlie Chaplin lived at no.39 for a short while as a child!

A view of West Square with one of the mulberry trees in the square
A view of West Square with one of the mulberry trees in the square

You may be interested in
English Heritage
London Gardens Online
The Development of St George’s Fields

I would love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.