Brunswick Square renumbering

For local historians or anyone wishing to research the history of a particular house, knowing which number house various documents refer to is key to ensuring you’re studying the right place.  Unfortunately, for various reasons, streets are occasionally renumbered over time.  This piece aims to explain the numbering changes around Brunswick Square.

According to Neil Bingham, biographer of Charles Busby, the timeline of development for Brunswick Town was:

  • Development of Brunswick Town started March 1824 on the Terraces
  • The northern end of Brunswick Square was laid out at the end of 1824
  • The eight houses in Brunswick Place were completed by March 1828
  • Most of Brunswick Square was completed by mid-1827
  • Formal renumbering of the square mandated in December 1834

Renumbering Timeline

It’s believed that there were some early changes to the numbering of the square during the building works between 1824 and 1828 but the details of this are not fully understood and aren’t explored here.

For most of the first century of its existence everything that happened in Brunswick Town was under the jurisdiction of the Brunswick Commissioners who were created by Act of Parliament dated 8 April 1830.  On 25 October 1830, the Commissioners requested that all the houses in the district had their numbers put up on the buildings and that road names were displayed on some permanent features. The implication being that this had not been the case previously.

There is no mention of any renumbering in Brunswick Square in the Brunswick Commissioners’ Minutes from their first meeting on 19 April 1830 until 1 December 1834.  The minutes of that later meeting (The Keep Ref: DO/A/1/1) state:

The houses in Brunswick Square being irregularly numbered in consequence of Two additional houses having been erected since the original plan of the Square was proposed…

The first mention of houses having previous numbers occurs on 23 March 1835 in relation to number 32 (previously 30) so that suggests that the renumbering occurred in the first couple of months of 1835.

The Keep stores deeds for a number of houses in Brunswick Square and all of the following mention their current and former numbers: current number 31 (formerly 29), 37 (35), 45 (43), 47 (45), 48 (46), 49 (47) and 53 (51). 

Starting with the first house in the Square proper, it appears that all of the houses on the west side of Brunswick Square had their numbers increased by two; the current number 30 is just around the corner in Brunswick Place.

Possible Cause of Renumbering in 1834

Brunswick Place appears to have originally been numbered 1 to 8 from the southeast corner, the same as Brunswick Square (ESRO Ref. HIL 6/56).  Now, the numbering runs north on the west side: 1, 3, 5, 7 with the even numbers running north on the east side: 2, 4, 6, 8.  Judy Middleton claims that Brunswick Place was renumbered in 1875.

In c.1827 Busby produced a plan for 8 Brunswick Place, then the first house after the square going north on the west side, together with a ballroom to the south.  The ballroom was not built so it’s likely that the house which was eventually built did not have a number in Brunswick Place or Brunswick Square. 

It’s likely that the two additional houses inserted after publication of the original plan are at the southern corners of Brunswick Place, now 29 and 30 Brunswick Square.  Anthony Dale makes the same assumption.

The original No. 8 Brunswick Place with the unexecuted ballroom to the south.

The map shows the current numbers of Brunswick Square in BLACK with the pre-1835 numbers in (BLUE).

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