Home > London > East of Bloomsbury Part 3: Around Cartwright Gardens

East of Bloomsbury Part 3: Around Cartwright Gardens

This is the third part of a walking tour following a Pevsner Perambulation in part of Bloomsbury, London; the previous part is here. See the introduction for fuller details; page references are to the Pevsner Buildings of England series volume London 4: North.

We start at the south end of Cartwright Gardens, which forms a crescent on the left with gardens in the centre, but first we look at right hand (straight) side, which is filled by three uninspiring University of London Halls of Residence (see pp. 281), collectively known as the Garden Halls.

Commonwealth Hall

Commonwealth Hall, Cartwright Gardens, London WC1

Commonwealth Hall of 1960-3 (planned 1947) is the first block on the right on the corner of Leigh St.

Hughes Parry Hall

Hughes Parry Hall, Cartwright Gardens

Hughes Parry Hall of 1967-9 is furthest on the corner of Sandwich Street. Between the two and not noticed by Pevsner is Canterbury Hall, of 1937 according to its website, which is no less worthy of notice than it neighbours and has some interesting period detail at least around the entrance.

Canterbury Hall

Canterbury Hall, Cartwright Gardens


John Cartwright statue

John Cartwright statue

Opposite in centre of the east (straight) side is a statue of John Cartwright, after whom the Crescent is named. The gardens are dominated by tennis courts and are not normally open.


The main crescent is formed of two sets of substantial original (c1820) terraces. In Trollope‘s day, this was known as Burton Crescent and he used it as the setting for the boarding house where Johnny Eames lodged while in London, in his Barset Chronicle The Small House at Allington. The boarding houses of Trollope’s day have now become hotels in the south quadrant, and the bulk of the north quadrant, which was refurbished during 2008, looks like it is University accommodation.

Cartwright Gardens, northern quadrant

Cartwright Gardens, northern quadrant


4-7 Burton Place

4-7 Burton Place

In the centre between the two parts of the crescent is Burton Place, which we enter. Nos 4-7 are on the right (North side) and were built as four houses disguised as one.


Burton Street, rear of BMA building

Burton Street, rear of BMA building

Burton Place leads into Burton Street. Immediately in front and stretching northwards is the rear of British Medical Association building (1911-25, see p 265-6) of which the prominent part is Lutyens’s’ great hall. The rest is more recent and plainer.

Original terraces are to the left, which is a cul-de-sac, so there is no need to go in that direction.

Burton Street, London WC1

Burton Street


We turn right along Burton Street along the length of the BMA building, then left at the end. Almost immediately in front are Woburn Walk and Duke’s Road.

Woburn Walk

Woburn Walk


Woburn Walk is to the left with the original (1822) bay-fronted shops on both sides, Duke’s Road is to the right with similar buildings on one side only (the one facing us). They form quite a picturesque group and can occasionally be seen as a backdrop in period TV dramas or films.

Duke's Rd

Duke's Rd


Dukes's Rd, The Place

Duke's Rd, The Place

Opposite in Duke’s Road is the former Drill Hall (“The Place”) of 1888-9. This is now used by a Dance School, more modern buildings stretching out of sight behind it. It is used as a café and retains its original terracotta embellishments revealing its original identity for the Middlesex (Artists’) Rifle Volunteers.

Duke's Rd, The Place, terracotta

Terracotta decoration on The Place, Dukes's Rd


Flaxman Terrace, lodge

Flaxman Terrace, lodge

We retrace our steps back to Flaxman Terrace. The right hand side consists of an early (1907-8) public housing development by St Pancras Borough Council. Immediately on the corner is the caretaker’s lodge, and behind it on the right are the flats of 1908. Note the iron railings in front which include the St Pancras coat of arms.

Flaxman Terrace

Flaxman Terrace


Hamilton House

Hamilton House, Mabledon Place

We continue to the end of Flaxman Terrace to Mabledon Place. The Headquarters of the National Union of Teachers, Hamilton House occupies the block opposite and to the right, between Bidborough Street and Hastings Street. This is one of many current or former Trade Union Headquarters buildings, which have congregated up and down the Euston Road because of the good rail links to the rest of the country.

Hamilton House, doorway

Hamilton House, doorway

At the right hand corner of Hamilton House we find ourselves at the North end of Cartwright Gardens once again and we turn left into Hastings Street where the next section of the tour continues.

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  1. December 18, 2011 at 4:57 am

    One of my favorite neighborhoods in central London, and we’ve stayed at three or four hotels on the crescent in the last several years.

  1. December 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

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