This article summarises the research results of a project I undertook to establish the history of my own house, 16 Cloudesley Square, in "House Through Time" style.  You can find more information on selected occupants or topics by clicking on the highlighted links in the narrative below.  The methodology I used is described here.  And you can download a "work-in-progress" spreadsheet with detailed findings in note form here (Nick Collin, 2019):

Download: "16 Cloudesley Square Spreadsheet"

 

Year

Name

 

Occupation

Narrative

1828

(John Emmett)

Carpenter

The houses in Cloudesley Square were built on the "Stony Fields" land originally bequeathed by Sir Richard Cloudesley in 1517 to the parish of St Mary's Islington.  Three centuries later, the Cloudesley Trust, which owned the freehold, was allowed by the 1811 Stonefields Act of Parliament to lease this land in plots to speculative builders.

 

16 Cloudesley Square was most probably built by John Emmett, a carpenter, who was responsible for many of the houses in the Square and indeed other streets in the Cloudesley Estate.  Building progressed sporadically through the 1820s (it was a time of recession) and No 16 was first recorded as being occupied in 1829 by Charles Haydon, according to "Poor Rate" Books for the time (source: Islington Local History Centre - ILHC).  The map of the Cloudesley Estate in 1830 here shows building mostly completed and the location of No 16 marked by a red spot.

 

Map Of Cloudesley Estate with No 16

The Rate Books only record the main tenant and not  family members or others sharing the house.  But we know that, in common with most tenants in the Square, he paid an annual Poor Rate rent of £30 to St Mary's Parish. Other tenants paid £34 or £36 pa (for example Nos 28 and 34 paid a little extra for stables). 

 

The precise ownership of the houses is difficult to establish.  The Cloudesley Trust always owned the freehold and sold ground-leaseholds, most commonly of 81 years, renewable in 1900, to the builders.  But the builders then sold on their leaseholds or sold sub-leases to other parties, in a chain.  The eventual tenants identified here such as Charles Haydon, probably rented their properties either directly from the Trust or more probably from a builder or intermediary, although it is possible that some had bought the leasehold to their properties.

 

No 16, along with another 8 houses, was offered at auction in 1825 as a half-completed "carcass" with a 76 year lease.  So it seems likely that John Emmett started building in 1820, raised money through a sub-lease in 1820, but maintained some kind of ground-lease since his name is still associated with most of the Cloudesley Square leases when they were renewed in 1900 (source: Cathy Ross - "Cloudesley: 500 Years in Islington").

 

The Cloudesley Square properties were all "3rd Rate" houses (more than 17 ft wide) with 8 rooms each arranged over 4 stories, a small garden and forecourt.  They were intended for "respectable middle class" families and indeed the census records for 1841 through 1881, which identify all occupants and their employment status, reveal that No 16 was mainly lived in by single families with middle class occupations, usually with a servant and perhaps a lodger or two.  This is also typical of most houses in the Square.

 

The London Diocese image below of Holy Trinity Church, probably in 1844, gives some idea of what Cloudesley Square looked like at the time, with a couple of houses on the South side of the Square in the background, more or less unchanged today.  Although No 16 is not shown, it will have been effectively identical to these other houses.  Note the respectable looking residents strolling about in their finery!

 

Holy Trinity Church 0605 Cropped

 

In the first available census record for 1841 we find Anne Coxwell, of "Independent" means, her husband John, another lady who could be a lodger or companion, and one servant.  In 1951 (censuses were carried out every 10 years) the house is occupied by Matthew Type, a "Japanner", with his wife and 29 year old daughter.  Japanning is a type of laquerwork and in Matthew Type's case he appears to have applied it mainly to manufacturing tea trays. As a skilled artisan, he is typical of many Cloudesley Estate residents of the time.

 

In 1961 there is Elizabeth Brecknell, a "Proprietoress of Houses", with just one servant, and in 1871 Robert Reed, a surveyor, with his wife, one housekeeper and a lodger, George Snell, an Engineer's Assistant, who ended up as Draughtsman and Secretary to Wombwell Colliery in Yorkshire, where he died in 1915 aged 67.  Thanks to Ancestry, we have the fine photo of him, below:

 

George Snell 1871

 

1881 sees the start of a decline in the area with No 16 now housing two families, the Spratts and the Deanes - 8 individuals altogether.  Multi-occupancy is increasingly a feature of other houses in the Square, and even more so in neighbouring Stonesfield Street.

 

Then in both 1891 and 1901 the house is marked as Uninhabited!  It is not clear what is happening at this time.  It may be that the property had fallen into such a state of disrepair (see below) that it was, literally, uninhabitable.  Three other houses in the Square were uninhabited in the 1891 census and four in 1901.  Or there is a suggestion that some sort of legal dispute over ownership may have been involved (source: Cathy Ross, personal communication).

 

Whatever the reasons, by 1911 a major change had taken place with a new leasehold of 43 years agreed in 1901 between the Trust and one Walter Conway of 2 Stonefield Street.  The new lease was contingent on Conway making really quite extensive repairs and improvements, including the construction of a two-storey rear extension - now a feature of most, if not all houses in the Square.  The original lease document is available at ILHC and we have the plan for the extension, below (now a utility room on the ground floor with a flat-topped bathroom above).

 

No 16 Extension Plan 1901

 

The character of No 16 now changes markedly with Conway renting out the house to no less than four families, comprising a total of 15 individuals altogether.  Even with the new extension, it must have been a tight fit!  In Stonefield Street the situation was even worse, with one instance of 27 individuals in a house and several with over 20!  The inescapable conclusion is that the Cloudesley Estate had become very downmarket with a relatively impoverished population renting cramped and dismal accomodation from slum landlords.  The reasons for this decline have been covered elsewhere and Cloudesley Square appears to have remained a somewhat run-down neighbourhood until the 1960s (see below).

 

On the other hand there is evidence that the area became a real, thriving community, albeit solidly working class, with many shops in nearby Cloudesley Road, busy pubs, and the Dove Brothers building firm active in Milton Grove just over the wall at the bottom of the garden of No 16.

 

1921 sees the appearance for the first time of the remarkable Chesterman family, who occupied No 16 in one form or another until the early 1960s.  The Chestermans were part of a large extended Islington clan with friends and relatives throughout the Cloudesley Estate and beyond.  Thanks to the Chesterman family tree on Ancestry we have several splendid photos, including the one below of the marriage of James Cecil, son of James Christopher and Jessie, to Sarah Faulkner in 1935 (sadly, not at Holy Trinity, although James Cecil and his siblings were all baptised there in 1907).

 

James Cecil Chesterman and wife Sarah Faulkner Marriage 1935 Cropped

 

Jessie Chesterman was still living at No 16 in 1961 where she died in 1964 aged 83.  Also in the house was Charles Arthur Holland-Goodwin, who astonishingly, had been born illegitimately in 1902 in the neighbouring workhouse on Liverpool Road.  The other occupants were Albert Lambeth and his German-born wife Waltraut.  Courtesy of ILHC, here's a photo of No 16 taken in 1970, together with the larger photo from which it was cropped, including the church, and another photo of the SW corner of Cloudesley Square including No 16 taken in 1916 - note the lack of cars!

 

Church Nos 151617 1970 CroppedChurch plus Nos 15,16,17 1970

CSq SW Corner Incl No 16 1961

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waltraut and her two sons continued living at No 16 until 1988 when it passed back to the Cloudesley Trust who undertook extensive renovations, including turning the concrete backyard into a proper garden before renting it out in 1991 to the present owner - me (Nick Collin)!

 

By this time the Cloudesley Estate, and Islington generally, was thoroughly gentrified, a subject covered extensively elsewhere.  The Collin family bought the leasehold in 1993 from the Cloudesley Trust and then the freehold in 1998, thus establishing an almost 500 year old debt to Sir Richard Cloudesley and his will of 1517!  We have "knocked through" the kitchen in the basement (the first floor living room was knocked through when we arrived, probably by the Cloudesley Trust), but apart from this and the extension, the house is more or less the same as it was in the early 18th century - a testament to the quality of Georgian builders! 

 

Here's a photo of us all having Christmas lunch in the kitchen of No 16 in 2016.

 

Xmas Lunch 2017 Cropped

 

And finally, a House Through Time - 16 Cloudesley Square Today in 2019!

16 Cloudesley Square 2019

 

 

 

1829 Charles Haydon
1835 Charles Haydon
1836 Robert Griffith
1841

Anne Coxwell

Independent

1841 John Coxwell
1841 Anne Townley
1841

Mary Anne Fuller

Servant

1851

Matthew Type

Artist (Japanner)

1851 Sarah Type
1851 Julia Augusta Type
1861

Elizabeth Brecknell

Proprietoress of Houses

1861

Alice Ann Stevens

House Servant

1871

Robert Reed

Surveyor

1871

Elizabeth Reed

ex Book Folder

1871

Rosina Birchard

Housekeeper

1871

George Snell

Engineer’s Assistant

1881

Alfred J Spratt

Hairdresser

1881 Rebecca Spratt
1881

James Lowry Spratt

Scholar

1881 Henry Lowry Spratt
1881 Emily Deane
1881 Eliza Annie Deane
1881 Thomas F B Deane
1881 Alice Taylor
1891  Uninhabited
1901  Uninhabited
1901

(Walter Conway)

 

1911

Joseph J Romo

Cabinet Maker

1911 Mary Alice Romo
1911 Daisy Ethel Romo
1911 Josephine Romo
1911

Bernard Percy Webb

Pipe Polisher

1911 Ellen Smith
1911

Edith Osborne

Mantle Factory Hand

1911

Emily Smith

Book Examiner

1911

Alice Smith

Silver Polisher

1911

Mary Smith

Dress Maker

1911

Harry Pengelly

Clerk

1911 Lesley Osborne
1911

Alfred Ernest Wilkinson

Watchmaker

1911 Florence M Wilkinson
1911

Madame Claremont?

Dressmaker

1921

James Christopher Chesterman

Glazier (Pavement Lights)

1921 Jessie Louisa Chesterman
1921 James Cecil, Arthur and Ethel - Children
1921 Alice Julia Melvin
1921

John William Melvin

Wheelwright

1921

Charlotte Caroline Winter

Unpaid Domestic Duties

1921

Harry/Henry Winter

Journey Man Tailor

1930 James Christopher Chesterman, Snr
1930 Jessie Chesterman
1930 James Cecil Chesterman, Jnr
1930 Arthur Chesterman
1930 Ethel Jessie Chesterman
1930 Charlotte Caroline Winter
1930 Harry/Henry Winter
1930 John Katz
1930 Minnie Ethel Katz
1930 Caroline Norbury
1939 James Christopher Chesterman
1939 Jessie Louise Chesterman
1939 Arthur Albert Chesterman
1939 May Mary Chesterman
1939 Charlotte Caroline Winter
1939 Harry/Henry Winter
1939

George Albert Winter

Barman & Public House

1951 James Chesterman
1951 Jessie Chesterman
1951 Charles Patrick? Culbert
1951 Irene M Culbert
1951 Cyril W G Medley
1951 Rose E Medley
1961 Jessie Chesterman
1961

Charles Arthur Holland-Goodwin

Stationery Checker

1961 Rose Susannah Goodwin
1961 Albert A Lambeth
1961 Waltraut Ursula Lambeth
1971 Albert A Lambeth
1971 Waltraut Lambeth
1971 Peter Anthony Lambeth
1971 Bridget Finlay
1981 Waltraut Lambeth
1987 Christopher J Lambeth
1987 Anthony F Joseph
1988 Uninhabited
1991

Nicholas Collin

Management Consultant

1991

Gillian Collin

Teacher

1991 Laurence Collin
1991 Louis Collin
2001 Nicholas Collin
2001 Gillian Collin
2001

Laurence Collin

Student

2001

Louis Collin

Student

2011 Nicholas Collin
2011 Gillian Collin
2011 Laurence Collin
2011 Louis Collin
2019 Nicholas Collin
2019 Gillian Collin
2019

Laurence Collin

Private Maths Tutor

2019

Louis Collin

Advertising Agency

 

 

 

Cloudesley Present

Islington Past