No. 71 Dean Street
The present building was erected in 1905 by
C. F. Kearley, builder, probably to the design of
E. Keynes Purchase. (ref. 38) It has an assertive front in
an eclectic early Renaissance style, built of red
bricks with stone dressings. It is four storeys high,
the upper part being three windows wide and
crowned with an ogee-sided and pedimented gable.
This building replaced a house of c. 1756,
built at the same time as the former Nos. 72 and
73 (see table on page 250). The first occupant,
from 1760 until his death in 1795, was Ralph
Willett, a wealthy collector of books and objets
d'art. Willett had built in 1752–60 a fine
country house at Merly, Great Canford, Dorset,
which is said to have been 'from a design of his
own', and added wings in 1772 containing elaborate stucco decorations: this house was pulled
down in the early nineteenth century. (ref. 39)
The Dean Street house was no doubt similar
externally and in plan to the contemporary Nos.
72 and 73. Photographs taken in 1905 (ref. 40) show
that it contained some noteworthy interiors
(Plates 114, 115, 128a). One room, probably
the first-floor front, had walls and ceiling
decorated with a lavish display of Rococo plasterwork, of a quality comparable with that in No. 1
Greek Street (Plate 115). Another room, perhaps the ground-floor back, had an excellent
ceiling in the Adam manner (Plate 114b). As
at No. 73 the rear wall contained a projecting
Early in 1905 the attention of the London
County Council was drawn to the impending
demolition of the house, with its fine interiors,
by C. F. Hayward, the District Surveyor, but
it was decided that the ceilings and plasterwork
were not worth preservation at the Council's
expense. (ref. 41)
||Deeds in the possession of the Legal and General
Assurance Society Ltd.; B.A.28888.
||John Hutchins, History and Antiquities of the
County of Dorset, 3rd ed., vol. III, 1868, pp.
||G.L.C., Photograph Library.
Ibid., Survey of London file.