The Perils of Speculative Building

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

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.

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

A lithograph of 1827, by George Scharf.



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


Page 57
Page 59