An old legal document
I took the document to the London Metropolitan Archive in Farringdon to see if any light could be shed on it, but apart from confirming it as an original lease agreement there was little they could add.They have many similar in the collection, dating as it does from that great period of Victorian development across London.It led me to explore an interesting by-way of local history of the area, and the connection with the Hall family.
Benjamin Edward Hall [1776 -1849] had inherited the Paddington Green estate from his uncle, James Crompton, in 1820, and had a house built for him called Hall Place.Crompton Street was then called Elm Tree Place.Later, the original large houses were demolished to make way for the tightly packed terraces that were being put up in the 1850s, when the name Crompton St. was adopted.Sarah Newnham Hall [nee Collingwood] had inherited the land as part of her marriage settlement in 1841.No longer the neighbourhood of gentlemen and artists, the area became better known in the 1870s as a result of the music hall song, ‘Polly Perkins.’By 1900, no streets in the area were considered wealthy, unlike Bayswater.The terraces of Crompton and Cuthbert Streets were classed as ‘mixed’ and there were people living in conditions of poverty nearby. The Borough of Westminster replaced the Victorian terraces with the Hall Place Estate in the early 1970s.
Nowhere can I discover how this document came into the possession of my late aunt, nor why she had kept it for so many years. Possibly a member of my father’s family had lived in the house built by Thomas Tidy, and the indenture had come into his or her possession.The eighty year lease expired in 1939, and then came the war. I wish I had been able to ask my aunt to shed light on the mystery. It is interesting to note that the original rent was for seven pounds and seven shillings, to be paid quarterly.