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Gray's Inn Road: Map


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A map of Gray's Inn Road
Looking south from the junction with Calthorpe Street

Gray's Inn Road is a major road in central Londonmarker, in the London Borough of Camdenmarker. It is named after Gray's Innmarker, one of the main Inns of Court.


The road starts in Holbornmarker, near Chancery Lane tube stationmarker and the boundaries of the City of Londonmarker and the London Borough of Islingtonmarker. From here it goes north and slightly west, forming the boundary between Clerkenwellmarker to the east and Holbornmarker, Bloomsburymarker and finally St Pancrasmarker to the west. Along its course it passes Gray's Innmarker, the headquarters of ITN, ITV and the Eastman Dental Hospital. Near the north end of the road, where it meets Cromer Streetmarker and Acton Street, it turns into a one-way system heading towards Kings Cross stationmarker.

Throughout its route the road keeps to the higher ground, above the valley of the River Fleetmarker to the east. In earlier times it was the principal route from London to Hampsteadmarker.


The area of Gray's Inn Road was clearly populated from palaeolithic times and, given the road's height above the Fleet valley, it may have formed part of an ancient trackway.

The manor of Portpoolmarker formerly existed in the same area as Gray's Innmarker, and although the manor is not mentioned in the Domesday Book it came into possession of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedralmarker and may have formed a separate estate of one of the Canons. From at least the 13th century onwards it was in the possession of the Grey family, after whom Gray's Innmarker is named.

The name "Purtepol Street" is recorded in the time of Henry III and this may be the first reference to the current Gray's Inn Road. In a document of 1299 it is called "Street of Pourtepol without London", which is appropriate as it lies only just outside the boundary of the Citymarker. In a document of 1468 the road is called "Graysynlane, otherwise Portpole Lane". Today's Portpool Lane, which leads off Gray's Inn Road to the east, is a separate road which is not mentioned prior to 1641.

On the Agas map of c.1570 "Greys ynne la." is shown leading from Holborn Bars to Gray's Innmarker, from where it becomes an unnamed track leading into the country. John Ogilby and William Morgan's map of 1676 shows "Grayes-Inn Lane" which is clearly built up as far as Elm Street, although that is the limit of the map. John Rocque's map of 1738 depicts "Grays Inn Lane" which clearly applies to the stretch from Holborn to the edge of the built up area (somewhat south of the present Calthorpe Street), but when it passes into the country it is called "Road to Hampsteadmarker and Highgatemarker".

Richard Horwood's map (updated by William Faden in 1813) calls the whole stretch from Holbornmarker to modern Kings Crossmarker "Grays Inn Lane", but by the mid-19th century it is Gray's Inn Road.


  1. Archaeology, The Lower Palaeolithic Age, British History Online, retrieved December 23, 2007
  2. Douthwaite, Gray's Inn - History and Associations, 1886
  3. Harben, Dictionary of London, 1918
  4. Harben, op. cit.

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