Canonbury Square

Canonbury Lane and Canonbury Square,

c. 1810-25

Canonbury Lane and Square are largely  intact today, as the images on this page demonstrate. At various times the Square has been home to such figures as George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Samuel Phelps, Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Bell. Canonbury Square was formed in 1805 and by 1810, not long after their marriage, William and Emma Hills appear in the Poor Rate Books in Canonbury Lane. John Wheeler (most likely his partner and brother to Hills's brother-in-law, William Wheeler, was living in Park Street, just across Upper Street from Canonbury Lane. About this same time, Elizabeth Lanfear moved from Upper Terrace (her husband had committed suicide in 1809) to Church Street, just down from Canonbury Lane and Canonbury Square. The year before, Mary Hays had left her house at 3 Park Street, opposite Canonbury Lane along Upper Street, and moved to her brother's home on Wandsworth Common. By 1813, Sarah Hills had left her home (a widow since 1803) in the Minories and moved into a home in Felix Terrace, about three blocks from Park Terrace and the same from Church Street and Canonbury Lane. She would remain on the Rate Books at Felix Terrace until 1820, when her names disappears from the rolls. She may have remained in the house under a different Head of Household (possibly a relation of her son-in-law, William Wheeler), or she may have moved into the home of her son and daughter-in-law in Canonbury Lane. Whatever the case, she moved c. 1825-26 into a new residences in Maze Hill, Greenwich, where her son and daughter-in-law, as well as Mary Hays and several other nieces, already resided. Lanfear, however, would remain in her home in Church Street until her death in 1825.  In the 1811 Holden’s London Directory, Hills & Wheeler, Cornfactors, are listed at 8 Haydon Square, Minories (where the Hills family had lived since the late 1770s).  William Hills is still present in Canonbury Lane in 1817-18 (f. 15), 1818-19 (f. 14), and 1821, 1822, 1823, and 1824 Rate Books, but in 1823 and 1824 he is listed as in Canonbury, not Canonbury Lane. After 1825 William Hills is gone from the rate books for Canonbury Lane. Canonbury Square first appears in the Rate Books in 1826.