The History of Tavistock Place
1792 - The Foundling Hospital decided to develop its estate in order to finance its hospital for abandoned children, which once stood on the site of present-day Coram's Fields. Samuel Pepys Cockerell negotiated with the Southampton Estate to acquire the land on either side of Tavistock Place on behalf of the Foundling Estate. Tavistock Place at that time was no more than a bendy lane passing from west to east through Lamb's Conduit Fields on the way to the ancient burial grounds now known as St George's Gardens.
1801 - "Scott's Trustees" took a lease from the Foundling Estate of the land between original numbers 31 and 32 Tavistock Place to build a proprietary chapel.
1802 - The chapel, being a neo-Gothic blend of brick and stucco, was described by the Gentleman's Magazine as "one of the first pretended revivals in this town of our Ancient Architecture." The Survey of London credits J.P. Malcolm, the topographer and author of Londinium Redivivum, as its architect.
1803 - Tavistock or Woburn Chapel opens. Beneath it were vaults for 1,000 burials. The first minister (1803-08) was William Betton Champneys.
1807 - James Burton completed the building of ten houses on the north side of Tavistock Place including original numbers 26 to 30, which ran along the front of what is now 15-17 Tavistock Place, from 81 Marchmont Street (Frank Harris Estate Agents) to the eastern wall of the chapel.
1836-1848 - Thomas Bagnall Baker was minister from 1836 to 1848. His extremely high church practices often landed him in trouble with the bishop.
1837 - An Episcopal Sunday school for 1,733 boys and girls opened behind the chapel.
1882 - The chapel continued to be administered until 1880 but became an official District church, known as St Andrew's, Tavistock Square.
1885 The roof catches fire.
1892 - The Anglicans abandoned the chapel, which became a "Salvation Catholic Church and training hostel".
1898 - Charles Booth reported that "St Andrew's Temple" had "lately closed because the Salvationist running it was defraying his expenses by ordering bicycles and then pawning them."
1900 - The original lease ran out and the building was demolished to make way for the building of 15-17 Tavistock Place as the new Headquarters of the Express Dairy Company Limited. The new building is believed to have been designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll, architect of the Russell Hotel.
1904 - The UK Headquarters of the Express Dairy Company Limited
opened at 15-17 Tavistock Place. The company had developed from the Express
County Milk Supply Company which had been established by George Barham
was in London in 1864. Barham Son of a dairyman was influential in the
milk trade and was an ardent campaigner for cleaner and better quality
milk. The company was named after the fact that they only used express
trains to get their milk to London. The company had a name change 1892
when it became the Express Dairy Company Limited and became a major name
in London. Milk was transported into London by rail, and delivered to
1940 - The building was seriously damaged by a WW II bomb, but fully repaired.
1981 - British Transport Police Headquarters (BTP HQ) moves into to 15-17 Tavistock Place.
2005? (tbc) - BTP HQ relocates to Camden Road.
Express Dairy HQ 1906 (image courtesy of Dairy Crest)