CHAPTER 23: STAMFORD STREET
Stamford Street is built on part of the demesne land of the manor of
Paris Garden. At the eastern end it roughly follows the line of an earlier road,
called Holland's Leaguer, from the notorious house of that name (see p. 96).
The eastern end from Blackfriars Bridge Road to No. 40 (i.e. as far as the
old alley known as Boddy's Bridge, which still opens into Upper Ground) was
built circa 1790. On the first edition of Horwood's map (1794–99) the ground
westward of Boddy's Bridge is, except on the river frontage, shown as open
gardens or fields. Upper Stamford Street, the continuation of Stamford Street
westward to Broad Wall, was added circa 1803. The extension to Waterloo
Road was made in 1815.
Only a few of the original houses of Stamford Street now remain.
Nos. 16, 18 and 20 Stamford Street were demolished in 1923. They
comprised four storeys and basement. They were, like all the other original
houses in the street, constructed in stock brickwork. Their generally plain
exteriors were relieved by a modillion
cornice between the second and third
floors, while a plain stone band marked
the level of the first floor, and the window
sills at this level were also carried through
to form a string course. The entrance
doors had wooden pedimented hoods
supported on shaped brackets over a
semicircular headed opening. The top
storey of the flank wall of No. 16 Stamford
Street fronting on to Bennett Street was
ramped down and continued as a parapet
above the modillion cornice, with dormer
windows in the roof.
No. 32 Stamford Street
The interiors contained some
interesting deal mantelpieces and various
types of cast-iron fire grates typical of the
last quarter of the 18th century. The
staircases were plain.
Nos. 28–40 Stamford Street were
built at about the same time as Nos. 16–20
and are of similar design, but comprise
three storeys and basement, with dormers in a slated mansard roof. The
fronts have been repaired in recent years and the ground floor of No. 38 has
been faced with stucco. The ground floor openings are arched and the majority
of the windows have their original glazing bars. Nos. 34, 38 and 40
retain their original simple pattern fanlights and at No. 30 is a bowed
oriel shop-window which was probably inserted soon after the premises
Nos. 42–48 were built circa 1803. They are four storeys high with
parapet. All the windows have gauged flat arches and most of the sashes
retain their glazing bars. Nos. 46 and 48 have original wood door cases of
simple design with open pedimented heads, flat pilasters and panelled reveals,
No. 48 having also a patterned fanlight. There is a later shop front to No. 42,
the side entrance door of which is framed as two wood panels, each heavily
studded and having a single raised panel in the centre.
No. 32 –48 Stamford Street. Elevations. Drawn by R. G. Absolson
No. 18 (Plate 89b), formerly 27 and afterwards 52, was the residence of John Rennie
from 1794 until his death there in 1821. This period covered the most important part of his career.
Among other works, he was responsible for the design and construction of Waterloo Bridge and
Southwark Bridge, the formation of London Docks and the East India Docks and the design and
erection of new machinery for the Royal Mint. His son, Sir John Rennie, who also rose to eminence
in the engineering profession and who completed his father's plans for the new London Bridge, was
born at 18, Stamford Street in 1794. This house and those round the corner in Bennett Street,
including 28 Bennett Street, the birth place of John Leech, caricaturist, were pulled down in 1923.
The London County Council has erected a tablet on the new building recording that John Rennie
and John Leech formerly resided in houses on the site. (ref. 255)
Joseph Gwilt is entered in the rate books for a house on the south side of Stamford Street
in 1810–12, and at the house next to John Rennie's in Bennett Street in 1812–17.
No. 44, formerly 39, was occupied in 1865 by the Rev. Robert Spears, minister of
Stamford Street Unitarian Chapel.
At No. 35, formerly 18, on the south side, lived Thomas Love Peacock and his mother in
1832–43. The house is now demolished.
No. 57, formerly 29, was occupied by Walter Cooper Dendy, surgeon, in 1826–39. He
was a student at Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospitals and had a private practice in Stamford Street.
He was the author of several medical and speculative works. (ref. 65)
Stamford Street Unitarian Chapel
The erection of this chapel was begun in 1821 on a piece of open
ground fronting the newly made Upper Stamford Street (now part of Stamford Street). The ground was purchased from Mr. David Bickerton for £400
and the contractors, Messrs. Bennett and Hunt, were paid £3,572 for the
building. The cost was defrayed out of the proceeds of the sale to the Westminster Improvement Commissioners of the Unitarian Chapel in Princes
Street, Westminster. The new chapel united the two congregations of
Princes Street Chapel and St. Thomas's Street Chapel, Southwark, whose
lease had run out. (ref. 252)
By 1859, the congregation had dwindled so much that it was proposed
to close the chapel, but the advent of the Rev. Robert Spears in 1861 brought
new life and a few years later the gallery was built across the back to increase
the seating capacity.
In 1882, the congregation was flourishing and the need for more
accommodation was felt. The roof was removed and a hall "capable of
holding about 500 children" was built over the chapel for the use of the
Sunday School. The organ, which came from Little Portland Street Chapel in
the 1860's and which had been installed under the gallery, was moved to the
recess between the columns at the opposite end of the building and the pulpit
was advanced in front of it. At the same time, the vestry was enlarged and
the original central entrance under the portico was replaced by two side doors.
In 1897, the congregation was joined by that of the Blackfriars
Mission from the New Cut, and the accommodation of the chapel was further
increased by the excavation of rooms below ground level. The present pulpit
was also installed at that time.
The building has some pretensions to architectural merit. A writer
at the time of its erection described the design as "chaste and grand." (ref. 232) The
front projects slightly from the adjacent houses and consists of a hexastyle
portico of the Doric order crowned by a pediment, the shafts of the columns
standing directly on the pavement.
The interior is dignified and simple in treatment, reflecting the Greek
character of the front. It has a flat ceiling with massive beams and is lit by
three plain round-arched windows on each side. Over the entrance lobby is
a shallow stepped gallery with an iron grille front of anthemion design.
Behind the rostrum is a shallow recess containing the organ and partially
screened by two fluted Doric columns.
|List of Ministers|
|1823||Dr. Thomas Rees|
|1852||J. T. Cooper|
|1858||T. L. Marshall|
|1880||W. Copeland Bowie|
|1904||William Lyddon Tucker|
|1907||John C. Ballantyne|
|1913||W. J. Piggott|
|1918||H. W. Stephenson|
|1921||J. H. Short|
|1930||A. J. Heale|
|1932||L. D. Badman|
|1935||E. W. Smith|
|1939||F. M. Ryde|
|1945||A. J. Long|