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  • Mike Brown

Double-Name Roads on the Bridge House Farm Estate

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

A while back, we mentioned the double-name roads in Mike’s blog, ‘The Names of the Roads’. Here is some more about their origins:

This group of roads, off the east side of Brockley Grove and Ladywell Road, were originally part of what was known as the ‘Bridge House Farm Estate’. That name has long gone and they are better known today as the double-name roads -- Phoebeth, Francemary, Arthurdon, Gordonbrock, Amyruth, Henryson, and Elsiemaud.

The names were remarkable, even when the roads were laid out. The Daily Telegraph & Courier (London), of the 28th April 1899 reported: ‘Some amusement was caused at a meeting of the Lewisham Board of Works, when the following list of names of new thoroughfares was read by the chairman: Phoebeth, Francemary, Arthurdon, Gordonbrock, Amyruth, Henryson, Elsiemaud, Huxbear, and Abbotswell streets. One member described the names as the most ridiculous he had ever heard. Another pointed out that the London County Council objected to two streets of the same name in the Metropolis, and it was difficult to invent new appellations.’

The estate was built by the Heath family, and it is often said that the roads are named after the builder’s children; in fact they are named after the children of the architect and surveyor for the estate, Henry Hewitt Bridgman. The clues are in the 1891 and 1901 census returns for his family:

1891 Census (above)

No 1 Camden Square, St Pancras, London

Bridgman, Henry Hewitt 45 Architect Surveyor, b.1846 b. Torquay, Devon

Bridgman, Elizabeth 41 wife, b. 1850 City of London

Bridgman, Elsie Maud 15 daughter, b. 1876 St Pancras

Bridgman, Henry Hewitt 13 son, b. 1878 St Pancras

Bridgman, Amy Ruth 12 daughter, b. 1879 St Pancras

Bridgman, Gordon Brook 6 son, b. 1885 St Pancras

Bridgman, Arthur London 5 son, b. 1886 St Pancras

Bridgman, Gillian Victoria daughter, 4 b. 1887 St Pancras

Bridgman, Frances Mary 3 daughter, b. 1888 St Pancras

There were some minor changes: Gordon Brook was changed to Gordonbrock, and Arthur London became Arthurdon. The eldest son’s name ‘Henry Hewitt Bridgman’, is exactly the same as his father's. The Americans might have called him ‘Henry Junior’; Henryson is a similar idea.

By 1901, just a few years after the roads were built, Henry Senior was dead; Phoebe Elizabeth, 9, is the youngest of the family on the census return; born in 1892, she would have been six or seven when the roads were named.

1901 Census

No 1 Camden Square, St Pancras, London

Elizabeth Bridgman 51 1850 Head Wall E C, London

Elsie M Bridgman 25 1876 Daughter St Pancras, London

Henry H Bridgman 24 1877 Son St Pancras, London Architect

Gordon B Bridgman 16 1885 Son St Pancras, London Architect

Arthur L Bridgman 15 1886 Son St Pancras, London

Gillian V Bridgman 14 1887 Daughter St Pancras, London

Frances M Bridgman 13 1888 Daughter St Pancras, London

Phoebe E Bridgman 9 1892 Daughter St Pancras, London

Elizabeth Strowbridge 28 1873 Servant Honiton, Devon General Servant Domestic

This leaves Gillian Victoria who, alone among the children, has no street named after her in the run of roads. Not far away, just opposite the Ladywell Tavern, is Gillian Street -- which may be named after Gillian Victoria. Further research needed!

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