Tonbridge Street. Bidborough Street. Leigh Street. Thanet Street. Sandwich Street. Judd Street. Mabledon Street. Hastings Street.
As any cabbie would tell you, they're all streets directly south of Euston Road close to St Pancras station. As any self-respecting Kentish person would tell you, they (nearly) all have connections to the county.
Tonbridge, Bidborough and Leigh are all towns and villages in West Kent. Mabledon is a farm estate nearby. Judd is the name of a secondary school in Tonbridge. Thanet and Sandwich are areas on the east coast of Kent, and Hastings — the odd one out — is a seaside town in East Sussex.
So how did these (mostly) Kentish names end up on London street signs?
The London estate these streets are on was official known as the Skinners' (Tonbridge) Estate, which adds a further layer of intrigue as Skinners is a secondary school in Tunbridge Wells, four miles away from Tonbridge.
The link all comes from a Sir Andrew Judde, former Lord Mayor of London who hailed from Tonbridge himself. He moved to London in around 1511 to train as an apprentice in the fur trade, and became master of the Worshipful Company of Skinners in 1533.
In 1553, he was appointed by King Edward VI to found a school in Tonbridge. He invested some of the considerable fortune he'd made from the fur and wool trades to purchase the area of land in St Pancras, and used the profits from it to fund his new school. Judd School? No (if only it were that simple). He founded what is known today as Tonbridge School — although at the time it was known as Judde's Grammar School.
After his death in 1558, the Skinners' Company took over the land and used it to fund two further schools; today's Judd School in Tonbridge and Skinners School in Tunbridge Wells. To this day, the Skinners' Company still supports these three schools, as well as others that have been founded since.
So that explains Tonbridge Street and Judd Street. It's likely that Leigh Street, Mabledon Street and Bidborough Street were named after the areas of Kent where Judde's family inherited land. Further information about each of the streets can be found here.
Sandwich, Thanet and Hastings are a bit more of a mystery though. Andrew Judde and his family don't seem to have had any link to these areas, yet these streets were part of the Skinners' (Tonbridge) Estate. Think you know these streets ended up here? Let us know in the comments.
Sir Andrew Judde was buried at St Helen's Church in Bishopsgate, where a memorial to him can still be seen today