This street is named after the gold coin called a guinea, which took its name from the West African gold coast. There was an elephant and castle on some of these coins, which came from the badge of the Royal African Company, the only British company allowed to trade in Africa before 1698. More merchants and ships officers lived in these houses, for example Captain Edmund Saunders at numbers 10-12, who was in charge of 20 slaving voyages. He was also a Warden of nearby St Mary Redcliffe Church from 1732-1739.
Later another local Captain from this street advertised a reward in return for information leading to the capture of a runaway slave 'a negro man, named Thomas, a native of the island of Jamaica… 5' 6' high, speaks good English and wears a brown wig.' We do not know if Thomas was captured.