History of 54 Poland Street

Poland Street most likely gains its name from the inn formerly on the site of North West corner of the street. The inn is first mentioned in building plans from 1689 and possibly so called to commemorate the victory of the King of Poland (Jan III Sobieski), over the Turks in 1683. The inn was later known as the Wheatsheaf and then Dickens Wine house in 1925 before being destroyed by a bomb during the war.

Jan Sobieski

Jan III Sobieski. Courtesy of Wikipedia

The building of Poland Street began in 1705 with the construction of seven houses in the site between buildings Nos. 50 and 63. Number 54 is one of the few remaining buildings from this time. Poland Street became a fashionable residence attracting peers and military officers as well as foreign legations for Poland and Sicily. Towards the 1800s, the street attracted craftsmen and tradesmen as residents.

54 Poland Street was the home of Elizabeth Billington from 1788 to 1792. In the Dictionary of National Biography she was described as ‘the greatest singer England has ever produced’. Her somewhat amorous reputation gained her the nickname of the ‘Poland Street man trap.’

Nearby at number 58, Thomas Malton, an English painter of topographical and architectural scenes, moved into the residence in 1772 to 1780. He would become a tutor to future famed landscape painter J.M.W. Turner.

Poland Street plays host to two well established pubs. The Ye Olde Kings Arms, now shortened to The King’s Arms has been at 23 Poland Street since 1718. The Star and Garter at number 62 has been at this address since 1825.

Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, resided at number 15 Poland Street in 1811 during a brief feud with his family. Nearby, poet William Blake lived at number 28 Poland Street. The building has since been demolished and rebuilt. Blake also found a home in neighbouring Broad Street, three times within his lifetime.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Poland Street also has a rather murkier history. Before the street’s construction, the southern end of the street was the site of a plague pit during the outbreak of 1665. Shortly after, the site became the St. James Workhouse for the ‘able-bodied poor. ‘By 1776 it had become one of the largest workhouseS in the UK, accomodating 650 residents. The workhouse was finally closed in 1913 and the site is now occupied by a carpark.

St James Workhouse

St James Workhouse. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Each area of London has its unique history that’s waiting to be discovered and it’s always something we look out for when choosing an office location. We currently have a number of offices on Poland Street that are ready for you and your business.

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