Referenced in sources as early as 1280, the name ‘Northgate Street’ is rooted in the street’s proximity to the historic ‘north gate’ of Warwick. By the end of the thirteenth century, the north gate had been removed.
Northgate Street has always held prominence in Warwick. It was where ‘the tri-annual Assizes’ met in the law courts, on the west side of the street, and where crowds would gather to see criminals brought up from the ‘gaol’.
Northgate Street also fell along the road between Warwick Castle and Kenilworth Castle, home of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Queen Elizabeth I processed through it on her way to visit Dudley during the Royal Progress in the summer of 1572.
In September 1694, the houses of Northgate Street were destroyed by the Great Fire of Warwick and rebuilt soon afterwards. A new Act of Parliament was passed: “For the more Regular and Uniform Rebuilding [of] the Houses Demolished by the Fire”, which instructed houses to be two stories high, made from brick or stone and with oak door cases and window frames. These prescriptive regulations resulted in an elegant street of uniform houses.
Since the late seventeenth century, the houses in Northgate Street have largely escaped any external structural alterations. The inside of the houses have been altered to suit the various owners’ requirements, though many of the original features have survived.
During the late seventeenth century, the sheep of Warwick’s market were temporarily relocated to Northgate Street, which duly changed its name to Sheep Street. When the market moved to Coten End in 1823, the street reverted to its original name.
During the late 19th and early 20th century, the houses on Northgate Street were bought by Warwickshire County Council. The Education department moved in during the 1930s.