The original name of Victoria Street was Kingsland Park, which was developed from 1865 by Frederick Stokes. Some of the houses in this street remained empty for some time after they were built and were frequented by "ladies of the night", who catered to the nearby Portobello Barracks. As a result, the street acquired a bad reputation and respectable families moved out. Even after the ladies moved on, the bad reputation of the street remained, and thus the name was changed to Victoria Street. For a similar reason, Liverpool Road became Portobello Road and Bloomfield Place/Rosanna Place became Windsor Terrace. 

Part of Lennox Street, Victoria Street and Florence Street stretching from the canal to the South Circular Road were part of the Kingsland estate, which contained a park with a large pond and fountains, which opened as the Royal Portobello Gardens in 1839. The name survives in Kingsland Park Avenue. From 1858, Mssrs. Kirby and Webb leased the Portobello Gardens. Kirby was a pyrotechnician who lived in Sackville Street. 

During the summer months, gas and Chinese lamps illuminated the gardens, a band played outdoors, and the public were entertained by acrobats, dancers and "a highly trained troupe of performing dogs". And of course, fireworks. In June 1850, the celebrated circus owner and performer, Pablo Fanque (a black man, later immortalised in The Beatles song "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" written entirely from his circus advertisement) announced that the sponsor of the events at the gardens "has the honor to inform the Nobility, Gentry, and the Public that he has entered into an arrangement with Mr. Pablo Fanque for three Grand Equestrian Day fetes, which will take place on the 10th, 12th, and 14th of June in an immense Pavilion which will be erected for the purpose." The same advertisements announced performances by R. W. Pelham, the American minstrel.