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  • Dawes Court

    To date, the earliest map I’ve found showing Dawes Court is John Ogilby and William Morgan’s large scale survey of the City of London. It was first published in 1676, ten years after the Great Fire, and shows the City ‘as newly rebuilt’. As you can see, the court contains three separate houses, one of which, presumably, would later be Polly Walker’s birthplace.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	68A3BABC-33A6-426F-8048-B2FF1689CB14.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	233.9 KB ID:	564577

  • #2
    A decade earlier than the map above (1667), Hollar’s Exact Surveigh of the City of London shows the devastation wrought by the Great Fire in the ward of Finsbury Without (ZZ on the map) in 1666. The area around Gunpowder Alley is blank, suggesting the complete destruction of the buildings there.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	CDCAE97E-B0C9-459E-934C-6DEDCADBE9CC.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	155.4 KB ID:	559334

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    • #3
      The Elizabethan maps I’ve consulted show open spaces (fields/gardens) where Dawes Court would later be situated.

      HR’s house called Dawes Court is proving somewhat elusive. My guess would be that there was no house of that name ‘on Gunpowder Alley’. Rather, Dawes Court was a court ‘off’ Gunpowder Alley in the same way that Miller’s Court was a court off Dorset Street.

      After the Great Fire, the construction of timber-framed buildings in the City was prohibited, so if the three houses shown on the 1675 map were newly-built, they would almost certainly have been made of brick.

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      • #4
        In The Five, HR has this to say about Dawes Court:

        Dawes Court, which had once been a large timber-framed and plaster house, had been subdivided into three separate dwellings, before being apportioned once more into individually rented rooms, inhabited by no fewer than forty-five people.

        According to the 1861 census there were indeed 45 people living in the three houses in Dawes Court. But Polly was born there in 1845, so we really should look at the 1841 and 1851 censuses to get an idea of the overcrowding in the Court at the time the Walker family lived there.


        1841

        No. 1 - 14 people (3 households)
        No. 2 - 12 people (2 households)
        No. 3 - 10 people (2 households)

        1851

        No. 1 - 4 people (1 household)
        No. 2 - Uninhabited
        No. 3 - 13 people (4 households)


        In 1889, nos 1 and 2, Dawes Court were advertised for sale and described as: ‘each containing four floors, landings and basements.’ So, leaving basements aside, the highest average density was 3.5 people per floor (no. 1 in 1841). Not exactly the Black Hole of Calcutta the author would have us believe.

        Hallie’s ‘no fewer’ should have read ‘no more’ and it related to a period when the Walkers were living elsewhere.

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        • #5
          Excellent work, Gary....thank you
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          • #6
            The advert of 1889 also tells us of the potential rental income of nos 1&2 Dawes Court:

            Let to the uncle of the present tenant over fifty years ago by special favour at £42 per annum, underlet weekly tenants, estimated to produce £65 per annum.

            In 1889 the houses had just been connected to the main sewer. However, by 1894, all three houses in the Court were deemed to be ‘permanently unwholesome and unfit for human habitation’ and were consequently demolished.

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            • #7
              It’s unlikely that a photo of the court exists, but if anyone has one or has any relevant maps (Goad?) they would like to share, that would be much appreciated.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                The advert of 1889 also tells us of the potential rental income of nos 1&2 Dawes Court:

                Let to the uncle of the present tenant over fifty years ago by special favour at £42 per annum, underlet weekly tenants, estimated to produce £65 per annum.

                In 1889 the houses had just been connected to the main sewer. However, by 1894, all three houses in the Court were deemed to be ‘permanently unwholesome and unfit for human habitation’ and were consequently demolished.
                I’m not sure if the £65 is a net (i.e £107 - £42) or a gross figure.

                If gross, then the weekly income would have been:

                12s 6d per house
                3s 1 1/2d per floor

                If net,

                20s 6d per house
                5s 1 1/2d per floor

                In The Five, we are told that the average rent for one large room or two smaller rooms in central London was 4s to 4s 6d a week, which seems to fit nicely in the ‘per floor’ range.

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                • #9
                  Goad, 1886:

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                  • #10
                    O for a time machine! Sigh...
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen"
                    (F. Nietzsche)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                      Goad, 1886:

                      [ATTACH]19388[/ATTACH]
                      It should be pointed out that the houses in Dawes Court are coloured red on the Goad map which signifies that they were constructed of brick or stone.

                      It would seem that HR’s ‘timber-framed and plaster house’ called Dawes Court is yet another figment of her imagination.

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                      • #12
                        Click image for larger version  Name:	A1CE1AC8-17CE-42AB-A467-0A0631F9BF50.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	161.4 KB ID:	573579

                        A view along Gunpowder Alley towards the arched entrance to Dawes Court (beneath the ‘Rowe Builder’ sign).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                          The Elizabethan maps I’ve consulted show open spaces (fields/gardens) where Dawes Court would later be situated.

                          HR’s house called Dawes Court is proving somewhat elusive. My guess would be that there was no house of that name ‘on Gunpowder Alley’. Rather, Dawes Court was a court ‘off’ Gunpowder Alley in the same way that Miller’s Court was a court off Dorset Street.

                          After the Great Fire, the construction of timber-framed buildings in the City was prohibited, so if the three houses shown on the 1675 map were newly-built, they would almost certainly have been made of brick.
                          I’ve just checked the 1666 Hearth Tax Assessments for St Bride’s and there is no return for a Dawes or Daws Court, so it may not have existed pre-Fire.

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                          • #14
                            Nice find of the photo, Gary.....thanks for sharing,
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                              Nice find of the photo, Gary.....thanks for sharing,
                              It looks a bit like the entrance to Millers Court.

                              I had to crop it and zoom in to show the arch. It’s not as clear as the original photo. The houses in Dawes court were condemned and demolished in 1894/5.

                              In revisiting Dawes Court I’ve found another example of HR editing sources and giving her readers a misleading impression. (See next post)

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