52-55 Newington Green | London’s Oldest Terrace Houses
If you’re not looking closely, it’s easy to walk past 52-55 Newington Green and not appreciate their antiquity.
But it’s worth paying attention as these are London’s oldest terraced houses, built 1658!
History of Newington Green
The first recorded mention of Newington Green is 1480 and it was inhabited by wealthy Londoners including Henry Percy, the 6th Earl of Northumberland who is most famous for his romantic association with Anne Boleyn. He lived on the North side of the green from 1523 until his death in 1537.
Henry Percy’s Victorian Memorial Tablet in St John-at-Hackney – Image from Wikimedia Commons
Not long after this, in 1658, a speculative development appears. Thought to have been built by Thomas Pidcock, they’re built of red brick with tiled roofs apart from No.52 which is slate.
As you’d expect from houses this old, they’ve been extensively altered, including late 19th century shop fronts. No.55 was restored 1983-4 and no.s 53-54 in 1987-8.
By 1742 it’s been surrounded by railings, a contrast to an earlier description of ‘a most rude wilderness with large old trees’.
The earliest map I’ve found online is that of John Rocque’s 1746. It shows it neatly laid out, almost totally enclosed by new houses.
Image from layersoflondon.org – Leaflet | © Maptiler and OpenStreetMap contributors
Who would live in a house like this?
Notable residents of the terrace include Richard Price (1723-1791 at no.54) a radical philosopher and minister. With close ties with US founding fathers including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and George Washington.
Image from Wikimedia creative commons
At no.52 Samuel Rogers (1763-1855) was born. A celebrated romantic poet alongside Lord Byron and William Wordsworth, though not as well remembered today.
Newington Green was where Mary Wollstonecraft, aged 25, established a girls’ boarding school and started her writing career. Her controversial memorial was unveiled in 2020.
If you’re curious as to what they’re like inside, you’re in luck! One was recently on the market for £2.5m so you can have a snoop here.
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