Petty France, London

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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]

Petty France is a short 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.


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 Frederick, Duke of York, son of George II., who had made a temporary residence amongst them".[5][a] A name it retained up until around 1925, when its previous name was restored.[b]

The street was the original location in 1720 of the Westminster Public Infirmary.[citation needed] It was the first street in London to be paved for pedestrians,[6] and it was the location of the first custom built artificial ice-rink in London, called Niagara, it opened in the late 1800s.[7] 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.[8]

In Fred Zinnermann's 1973 film The Day of The Jackal, the Jackal, portrayed by actor Edward Fox, addresses an envelope to "The Passport Office, Petty France, London, S.W.1"

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Russan & Russan 1923, p. 230.
  7. ^ SFP staff 1927, p. 6.
  8. ^ Taylor 2002.
  9. ^ Wheatley & Cunningham 2011, p. 79.


Further reading[edit]

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