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Estate history

Trinity Church Square

The development of the estate began with the formation of Great Suffolk Street East (now Trinity Street) in 1813–14 and the construction of Trinity Square (now Trinity Church Square) between 1824 and 1832. Most of the square was built by William Chadwick, who had the contract for mason's work for the recently completed Holy Trinity Church. In 1824, he applied to the Corporation of Trinity House for a building lease "intended to form the Square round the new Church". At that date, three houses had already been built on Great Suffolk Street East, which became the north side of the square (these are now 60–62 Trinity Church Square).

William Chadwick was granted building leases for the square and the triangle of ground between Cole Street, Swan Street and Great Suffolk Street East, at ground rents of £160 and £440 respectively. By the end of 1826, most of the west side of the square (nos 1–15) had been built. In 1832, the square was completed when the south side (16–29) was finished. William Chadwick himself occupied the largest house in the square, number 29.

Although originally constructed as individual houses, much of the square has now been converted laterally into flats across two or three house widths. Numbers 48–50 were destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in 1954. Number 29 was used as a gentlemen's club in the 1930s to 1950s. It then fell into disrepair and was completely rebuilt in 1970, with seven flats replacing the original house, behind the same facade.

Cole Street

Cole Street was developed by William Chadwick and other builders between 1824 and 1830. The buildings there included 'fourth rate' houses (now only 18–24 remain), a warehouse, which was originally used for hops and then by Wallins tin box factory (now flats at 28 Cole Street) and a chapel (now flats at 26 Cole Street). Between Cole Street and the north side of Trinity Church Square there were stables (now Horsemongers Mews).

Swan Street

Swan Street was also originally built in the same style at the same time as Trinity Church Square and Cole Street. Both sides, north and south of Trinity Street, contained small houses or shops. There was a school between Trinity Street and Cole Street (now 21–27 Swan Street). The Southwark Court of Requests was built in 1824 on the west side of the street, on the site of the present Crown Court annexe.

Apart from the Trinity Arms (now converted into flats at 29 Swan Street), none of the original buildings remain. Gloucester Court, the shop at 33 Swan Street and 21–27 Swan Street were all built in the early 1960s.

Merrick Square

In 1853, the Corporation's surveyor prepared plans for 32 houses in Merrick Square. These were built by Cooper and Bottomley of Old Kent Road and completed by 1856. Holy Trinity Rectory was built in 1872 between nos 16 and 17, and sold to the Church Commissioners. It housed the rector of Holy Trinity Church and then St Matthew's Church until the latter was rebuilt in 1994. The rectory was then repurchased by Trinity House and let to Great St Helen's Church, Bishopsgate. Merrick Square is still composed of single houses.

Trinity Street

Between Swan Street and Trio Place, Trinity Chapel was built in 1835 for a Baptist congregation. It was used as a cinema before World War II. The site is now occupied by offices at nos 16 and 20 on the ground floor, with flats at 18 Trinity Street above.

At the east end of Trinity Street, between Merrick Square and Falmouth Road, Shaftesbury Hall was a Catholic Church from 1853 to 1876 and then a Primitive Methodist Chapel until 1903. The houses (now 32–42 Trinity Street) were built in 1842 as Brunswick Terrace. 42 Trinity Street was created out of 1 Brunswick Terrace and 2 Falmouth Road to form a building for the Surrey Dispensary, which moved there in 1927. In the 1970s the dispensary moved, the building was converted into a house, and the freehold was bought from Trinity House by Sam Wanamaker.

Falmouth Road

Falmouth Road was called Brunswick Street until 1868. The houses were built by various builders in the same style as Trinity Street at a similar time. The west side remains, as a terrace. The east side contained more ornate houses, faced with stucco. These were replaced by a British Telecom depot in the 1960 and are now the site of Chadwick Square, completed in 2000.

The estate today

The residential part of the estate today consists of Trinity Church Square and Merrick Square with the properties that back on to them inthe surrounding streets. The terrace on north side of Trinity Street opposite Merrick Square is no longer included.

Most of the estate was made a Conservation Area in 1968. Many of the buildings have been listed (Grade II): the church (Henry Wood Hall) in 1950; the houses and garden railings in the squares, the statue, Trinity Street houses, and the Surrey Dispensary in 1972; Wallins building (28 Cole Street) in 1996; and Falmouth Road, 22 Trinity Street and the Trinity Arms in 1998.

In 2012/13 the number of properties on the estate was increased by three new developments:

28 and 30 Trinity Street and Bedford Row On the site between Trinity Church Square and Merrick Square a new block of 22 flats was built at 28 and 30 Trinity Street. Behind the flats, a row of 10 houses was built and named Bedford Row. See here for some details about the development of this site.

Walker House, Swan Street At the corner of Cole Street and Swan Street, garages and stores were removed to make room for a new block of six flats.

Monck House, Cole Street The building known as Cole Street Chambers was demolished and rebuilt in the same style as commercial premises and seven flats, known as Monck House.

Sources include The Survey of London 1955 and BBC researchers' notes for ´The House Detectives' 1999.