The present volume—the fifth in the Survey of London—completes the record of the Parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields. As in
the case of the other volumes issued, the important part of the
book, from the survey point of view, is to be found in the photographs
and drawings, to which the letterpress is strictly subservient, but which
form only a portion of the actual collection in the hands of the Council.
Nevertheless, considerable attention has been devoted to history, the
more particularly because existing books on the parish, notably, Parton's
Hospital and Parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields and Blott's Blemundsbury,
are incomplete, and in many cases actually misleading. An attempt has
been made to retrace the history of each plot of land to the time before
the erection of buildings, that is, practically to the reign of Elizabeth.
No doubt, had time permitted, it would have been possible to do this
adequately in many instances where the investigation has had to remain
incomplete, though it is doubtful whether in all cases the necessary records
are in existence.
The materials for the history have been gathered from diverse
sources, and the lists of occupiers of the various houses dealt with have
been obtained principally from the parish and sewer ratebooks, supplemented by the Hearth Tax Rolls and information given in deeds. The
four Hearth Tax Rolls used were described in the previous volume (fn. 1) dealing
with St. Giles. The sewer ratebooks have not proved of so great assistance
in supplementing the parish books (which begin only in 1730) as was the
case in the previous volume, since, with the important exception of
those containing Lincoln's Inn Fields and Great Queen Street, there are
very few relating to this parish which date from the 17th century.
It is desired to take this opportunity of thanking those owners and
occupiers of houses who have kindly granted permission to the council
to make surveys of the interior of their premises, and take photographs for
reproduction in this volume. The thanks of the Council are especially due
to His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G., for information most willingly
imparted with reference to those premises which are in the Manor of
Bloomsbury, and to the Holborn Metropolitan Borough Council for the
facilities given to the Council's officers for the examination of the parish
ratebooks and other records.
I gladly repeat the acknowledgment, made in Vol. III. of this
series, of the great assistance rendered in connection with the preparation of this volume by Mr. W. W. Braines, B.A. (Lond.), the officer
in charge of the Records, Publications and Museums Branch of my
Spring Gardens, S.W.
13th March, 1914.