Residential Kingsland

The development of Kingsland as a residential suburb for a separate social class was concurrent with the establishment of the Shrewsbury School on its new site in Kingsland, the completion of the Bridge and the abolition of the Show.

Fig. 8 . Kingsland Estate, Shrewsbury, 1882 plan.
Fig. 8. Kingsland Estate, Shrewsbury, 1882 plan.

The 1882 plan for Kingsland Estate shows the land cut up into 80 plots of varying area (see Fig 8). These were to be let on lease for 99 years (as was the custom then). Large plots of about 3/4 acres and sloping to the Radbrook (i.e. the south side of Kennedy Road) had ground rents of about £8 per annum, while the smaller plots on the plateau contained about 1/4 acre and had ground rents between £3.10s and £4 per annum. The Kingsland Estates Committee determined that no houses worth less than £60 per annum exclusive of ground rent would be allowed to be built on the larger plots, while on the other plots the houses had to be worth £40 per annum exclusive of ground rent. The lessees had to pay for roads and sewers, the cost of which was guaranteed not to exceed 30s. per yard of frontage, special arrangements being made for corner plots. The Estates Committee reserved the right to reject plans of houses which they “may think were unsuitable or unsightly”.

The development was advertised imaginatively, one map showed a number of hypothetical grand mansions on some of the plots, to attract possible lessees. Eddowes Shrewsbury Journal for December 188422 provides an example of the publicity for the Kingsland Estates development. It noted that ” – leasehold building sites, it must be borne in mind, offer special advantages to the small capitalist, as, not having to sink capital in the land, they are enabled to apply it to building purposes, which gives a much better return”.

The article continued “the School buildings and master’s houses formed a nucleus around which a large number of residences of the better class have arisen with surprising rapidity …although the building sites have only been on the market for about two years, 30 lots have been taken out of the 75. Sixteen houses – some of them mansions, are either built or are in the course of erection … When the whole of the 75 plots are built upon, therefore, we shall have an increment in the gross estimate of rental of nearby £5,000 a year”

As noted above, 16 houses were built or in the course of erection by the end of 1884, but some were clearly using double rather than single plots eg St. Milburga’s (29 Kennedy Road), Cyngfeld (39 Kennedy Road). By the following February, the Kingsland Estates Committee proposed to give notice to those persons who had bought lots and who had not yet commenced to build, that they must commence within the term of three years as laid down in their agreements. The OS map for 1902 (Fig 7) shows Kingsland shortly after this initial development. The original idea of a through-road to the Cemetery was still viable. Thus, the Committee recommended that a portion of plot 50 (later to become “Rhadley” 1 Kennedy Road) adjoining Beehive Lane was to be reserved at the time of its sale with a view to its future use as a carriage road to the cemetery and an appropriate covenant was put in the deeds.

Roads in Kingsland

Until Shrewsbury School moved from the Town and the development of Kingsland Estate, there were no proper roads in Kingsland. The OS map of 1882 (Fig 4), reflecting recent surveys, clearly showed a wide carriage road leading from Coleham past the brewery and Burr’s lead works to the Beehive public house. This followed the exact line of the present Kingsland Road.

The continuation of this old road beyond the Beehive was lost in the new roads of the 1880’s. It used to pass west (parallel to Butler Road and on the line of the back gardens of numbers 1, 3 & 5 Butler Road), passing directly in front of The Poplars (now 7 Butler Road) and the adjoining Skinners Arbour, passing behind the Butchers & Saddlers Arbour to a confluence in open land at the gate of the House of Industry (behind Churchill’s Hall) where it split into a narrower carriage road and three footpaths. One footpath headed south (along the line of the present Greville Road) to continue as the present Cinderpath. The main carriage road headed south west across open ground to meet up with a wider road (following the south end of Kennedy Road at its junction with Ashton Road) running past the gate to Kingsland House towards Kingsland Lane (the present Roman Road). These roads and paths are shown in Figs 1, 2, 3A, 3B and 4.

The present Beehive Lane is unchanged and continues exactly the line of a probably medieval footpath from the Beehive at the end of the present Kingsland Road past the site of the Blacksmiths Arbour. The footpath between Kennedy Road south and Roman Road (now known as Sharrets Lane) is also shown on these old maps. The nomenclature of these old lanes and the new service roads is very confusing. At the eastern side of Kingsland, the Coleham-Beehive carriage road was also known for a time around the beginning of the 19th century as Kingsland Lane, later as Burr’s Lane and finally as Kingsland Road in the 1930s. At this end, all the new roads near the School were known as Kingsland Upper Road from the 1880s until 1936 when they were renamed as Ashton, Butler and Greville Roads – Thomas Ashton, Headmaster 1561-1571; Samuel Butler, Headmaster 1798-1836; Benjamin Hall Kennedy, Headmaster 1836-1866; and former pupil Sir Fulke Greville, friend & biographer of Sir Phillip Sidney 1554-1628.

At the west of Kingsland, the old lane which now forms the southern extremity of Kennedy Road (briefly known as Loxdale’s Lane in the 1840s) together with the new road completed in the 1880s was known as Kingsland – Lower Road until 1936, when it took its present name Kennedy Road. The present Roman Road bordering Kingsland follows a very old carriage way, and was usually known as Kingsland Lane until after the First World War at least.

Next chapter: Kingsland Residents & Occupations


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