An interesting London character from the late C17th whose legacy Londoners are familiar with on a day to day basis, is a gentleman by the name of Dr Nicholas Barbon.
- Nicholas Barbon was born in 1640
- Son of Barbon, the leather merchant who was nominated by Cromwell as Member of London, giving his name to one of the Commonwealth’s parliaments
- Honorary Fellow to the College of Physicians in 1664
- Founder of fire insurance companies
- Noted economist
- Property dealer whose activities ranged from the small scale to the large
Nicholas Barbon, was, by all accounts, a property dealer whose business dealings, building, renting, selling, buying property were astonishing. He made and lost fortunes, upset many many people, determined to develop at all costs, he would cajole, entreat others to bend to his will but when that failed he would threaten and bully.
His methods of procuring property and land to develop were unscrupulous but the results were at times brilliant.
One fascinating development was when Barbon bought the Duke of Buckingham’s house on the Strand, York Place. He pulled it down and built new smaller houses on the site.
On leaving Buckingham, who had fallen out with the government insisted on his family names and his title being honoured in the naming of the new streets on the development
Visit them now George St, Villiers St, Buckingham St, Duke St and absurdly, Of Alley, now renamed!
If you are at all interested in the history of this part of London, then read The Fascination of London, The Strand by Walter Besant 1903 available as part of the Project Gutenberg
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