The Perils of Speculative Building

pic58a
No. 6 Greville Place
pic58b
Details from a drawing by Eric Frazer
for the book
'Travels of a London Schoolboy'
.1

Speculative building so far out from the centre of Town was always a chancy business. George Pocock, a speculative builder and himself the son of a speculative builder, was active along the Edgware Road in the 1820s.

The family lived at No 2 Kilburn Priory and then moved to the larger No. 7, specially built by George Pocock for the family. It is now 136 Maida Vale, with a plaque on the house to a later resident, Wiliam Friese Greene, the pioneer of cinematography. George Pocock built around Greville Place, including No, 18 (formerly No. 6) which was built as a country house for his brother, who was a City merchant, the owner of St Bride's Wharf. George had a timber yard where large mahogany baulks were sawn into planks in a saw pit. His son John started a diary at the age of 12 and kept it up all his life. Part has been published as 'Travels of a London Schoolboy, 1826-1830'; and tells a fascinating story.

The family knew the Gurneys, who ran the stage coach along Edgware Road. Tom and Fred Gurney were John's friends and they stayed in each other's houses.

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The Gurney Steam Carriage,
which the artist saw 'running up Edgware Road in style'.

A lithograph of 1827, by George Scharf.

 


Footnote

1 Travels of a London Schoolboy, Ed Tom Pocock, Historical Publications Ltd, 1996.

 

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