History of 97 Mortimer Street

Mortimer Street gains its name from the earldom of Mortimer. Like most of the West-End, the street was constructed in the late 1700s. Previous to this, Mortimer Street then was at the extreme edge of London, separated from Tottenham Court Road by marshland.

Mortimer Street became an important location for the women’s reform movement in the 1880s. In the late 19th century, middle and upper class women were becoming more prominent in public life. Shopping in the new department stores and easy transport to central London gave women a new independence. To cater for their needs whilst maintaining respectability, ‘Ladies’ Clubs’ were created. These clubs such as The Summerville Club at 21 Mortimer Street aimed to provide women with a place to relax and refresh themselves and the opportunity to attend moderately radical lectures and discussions. The Club was always on the brink of closing due to the low fees designed to attract women from poorer backgrounds. Elsewhere on Mortimer Street, the clothing stores Hamilton & Co. at number 27 and Miss Franks at number 23, sold clothes endorsed by the Victorian Dress Reform; a movement which sought for less constrained corsets and clothes that enabled freer movement for more active women.

Dress Reform Movement

Dress Reform Movement. Courtesy of Love Day Lemon

97 Mortimer Street was once the home of writer Hector Hugh Munro between 1870 and 1916. The Edwardian writer began his life tragically when his mother was killed by a cow, an incident that inspired the writer’s famed dark comedy and macabre subjects.

Hector Hugh Munro

Hector Hugh Munro. Courtesy of Wikimedia

Mortimer Street also played host to Middlesex Hospital from 1757 to 2005. The hospital was established ‘for the Sick and Lame of Soho’ in 1745, founded by 20 benefactors in numbers 8-10 Windmill Street. In 1757 the Hospital moved to its purpose-built premises in Mortimer Street, which had cost £2,250 to build. The hospital went through many transformations, hosting a variety of patients. In 1796 the Hospital opened a ward for sick French clergy, who were refugees from the Revolution. During the cholera outbreak of 1854 Florence Nightingale offered her help when the Hospital was overwhelmed with the sick, dying and dead.

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

Mortimer Street lies in the district of Fitrovia which is most likely named after the Fitzroy Tavern pub situated on the corner of Charlotte Street and Windmill Street. The pub itself played host to some of London’s most famous artists, intellectuals and bohemians during the 1920s-50s, including writer and poet Dylan Thomas, artist Augustus John, and writer of “1984”, George Orwell. Fitzroy Square was a hub for a number of 19th century painters including Walter Sickert and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. George Bernard Shaw, writer of “Pygmalion”, the inspiration for My Fair Lady and Virginia Woolf also lived at number 29 Fitzroy Square at different times.

Walter Sickert

Walter Sickert. Courtesy of the Huffington Post

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 Mortimer Street that are ready for you and your business.

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