This is a narrow passage in Shoreditch that slips between a brand new office block and a cluster of older offices, that was once homes and warehouses.

This particular area is named after Holy-Well Mount, the origins of which are unclear, but was associated with a nearby Holywell Priory occupied by the Augustinian Priory of St. John the Baptist. It could have been a natural mound, or a dumping ground for rubbish, as was often the case at the time.

This patch of London outside the Priory remained fields until the turn of the 19th century when early road layouts appeared with houses, and for our purposes, included Phipp Street with an undeveloped field behind.

R Horwood Map 1799

That field was swiftly filled in within 30 years and it seems that’s when New North Place was built.

The passage was lined on the eastern side by small factories, and according to Goad’s Insurance Maps, by the 1880s the area was dominated by leather and furniture makers. On the other side of the passage was lined with houses, and behind them was Scrutton Street School.

The school was badly damaged during WW2 when the row of houses on the far side was totally destroyed by a bomb.

The area was cleared and remained in ruins for a decade, and was filled in by a cluster of office and light industrial developments. Today the northern cluster is called The Old Dairy, after a very small dairy that was on the site in the 1960s.

A sole heritage survivor is the corner of the block where a group of Victorian buildings managed to survive the war.

Meanwhile, the block of houses and warehouses on the eastern side survived all this, until the 1980s when an office block and car park were built on the site, only itself to be demolished a couple of years ago to be replaced by this large and striking office block.

Although clearly of a certain taste, the quality of the construction of the brickwork is excellent, and the use of bronze recesses in the windows gives it an air of quality.


Article last updated on September 8th, 2021 at 12:19 pm

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