Petty France

Petty France is a street in the City of Westminster in central London, linking Buckingham Gate with Broadway and Queen Anne's Gate.

Among the buildings that line the street is 102 Petty France, which currently houses the Ministry of Justice. The Charity Commission for England and Wales is also headquartered on the street.


The back of No. 19, York Street (1848). In 1651 John Milton moved into a "pretty garden-house" in Petty France. He lived there until the Restoration. Later it became No. 19 York Street, belonged to Jeremy Bentham, was occupied successively by James Mill and William Hazlitt, and finally demolished in 1877.[1]
Jeremy Bentham lived in a house next to 19 York street.[2] The commemorative plaque was unveiled on 12 October 2004.

In the 18th century Petty France was described by John Stow as "a considerable street between Tathill Street, E., and James Street, W".[3] The name is generally thought to refer to the settlement of Huguenot refugees in the area.[4]

The name is also used to refer to the area in the vicinity of the street, the 7th Ward of Westminster.[4] There are similar street names elsewhere in London: e.g. a short street in Billingsgate in the City of London called Petty Wales.[4]

In the second half of the 18th century "the name was changed to York Street from [Edward], Duke of York, son of George II., who had made a temporary residence amongst them".[5][a] It retained this name until around 1925, when its previous name was restored.[b]

In 1719 a house was acquired in Petty France to accommodate the Westminster Infirmary.[6] It was the first street in London to be paved for pedestrians,[7] and it was the location of the first custom built artificial ice-rink in London, called Niagara, which opened in the late 1800s.[8] The street was also the home for 50 years until 2002 of the London passport office at Clive House; it is now located at Globe House in Eccleston Square, Victoria.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Between 1746 and 1792 (Schürer 2012, p. 205).
  2. ^ In 1923 it was still called York Street, (Russan & Russan 1923, p. 230) and by 1927 it had been renamed Petty France (SFP staff 1927, p. 6).
  1. ^ Stephen 1894, p. 32.
  2. ^ Grayling 2013, "19 York Street".
  3. ^ Maskell 1849, p. 254 cites Stow (1708). New View of London. 1. p. 63.
  4. ^ a b c Maskell 1849, p. 254.
  5. ^ Maskell 1849, p. 254 cites Walcott. Memorials of Westminster. p. 289., but points out the Walcott meant Edward Augustus, Duke of York (1739–1767) — as Gorge II's son Frederick was Prince of Wales.
  6. ^ "Westminster Hospital". Lost hospitals of London. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  7. ^ Russan & Russan 1923, p. 230.
  8. ^ SFP staff 1927, p. 6.
  9. ^ Taylor 2002.
  10. ^ Wheatley & Cunningham 2011, p. 79.


  • Grayling, A.C. (2013). "19 York Street". The Quarrel Of The Age: The Life And Times Of William Hazlitt.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Maskell, J. (1849). White, William (ed.). "Note". Notes and Queries. London [etc.] : Oxford University Press [etc.]: 254.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Russan, Lilian; Russan, Ashmore (1923). Historic streets of London : an alphabetical handbook. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent. p. 230.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Schürer, Norbert, ed. (2012). Charlotte Lennox: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Documents (annotated ed.). Bucknell University Press. p. 205. ISBN 9781611483918.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • SFP staff (16 March 1927). "Ice carnivals of long ago". The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942). p. 6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Stephen, Leslie (1894). "Milton, John (1608-1674)" . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 38. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 32.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Taylor, David (9 January 2002). "New passport office opens". London Evening Standard.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Wheatley, Henry Benjamin; Cunningham, Peter (2011) [1891]. London Past and Present: Its History, Associations, and Traditions. 3. Cambridge University Press. p. 79. ISBN 9781108028080.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

Further reading

  • Hills, John (19 October 2014). "Adam & Eve, 82 York Street, St Margaret, Westminster". UK pub history and historical Street directory.
  • Walford, Edward (1878). "Westminster: Tothill Fields and neighbourhood". Old and New London. 4. London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin. pp. 14–26.

Coordinates: 51°29′58″N 0°8′10″W / 51.49944°N 0.13611°W / 51.49944; -0.13611