VII—No. 5 GREAT GEORGE STREET: (Demolished).
General Description and Date of Structure.
Among the leases granted to Horne and Wilkinson on 4th November,
1755, was one of a parcel of ground and messuage with other erections
intended to be built, being the 15th house from King Street on the south
side of the way. (fn. 1) The plot is described as containing in front and rear
25 feet, on the east side 79 feet, and on the west side 76 feet. The house
was first occupied in 1758. In 1910 it was demolished for the purposes of
the new building of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
The premises consisted of a plain brick front of four storeys over a
basement, with a wood pedimented doorcase (Plate 25). The latter is now
at the Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch, on loan by H.M. Office of Works.
The front room on the ground floor had wood panelling and a carved
mantelpiece and overmantel, while the doors had moulded overdoors with
carved pulvinated friezes. The chair-rails, skirtings and window linings were
similarly carved, and the room was finished with a decorated modillion
plaster cornice. The whole room has been set up at the Victoria and Albert
Museum, and is a fine example of craftsmanship of the latter half of the 18th
century (Plates 26, 27, 28, 29). The rear room had a wood mantelpiece with
enriched consoles and responds, supporting a moulded shelf, while the frieze
was decorated with a design of carved, foliated scrollwork. The first-floor
rooms had plain panelling, and the mantelpieces were in wood, with enrichments in composition.
An ornamental lead cistern in the house bore the date 1768.
The occupiers of this house before 1840, according to the ratebooks, were (fn. 2) :—
|1811–12||Executors of Francis Jenks.|
|1817–18||John Campbell (in Boyle's Court Guide "George" Campbell).|
|1835–||William Whateley (fn. 3) |
Thomas Tyrwhitt was the well-known commentator, who, among other things, produced
the (to that date) most scholarly edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and demolished the
pseudo-Rowley poems of Chatterton. He was born in 1730, the eldest son of the Rev.
Robert Tyrwhitt, then rector of St. James, Westminster, and was educated at Eton and
Queen's College, Oxford, becoming a fellow of Merton in 1755. From 1756 to 1762 he
was deputy-secretary at war. In the latter year he became clerk of the House of Commons,
and gave up No. 5 Great George Street, which the ratebooks show him to have occupied
for the previous four years. In 1768 he retired from his official position. He died in 1786.
Besides his works mentioned above he published many editions and emendations of classical
authors, as well as Elsinge's Manner of Holding Parliaments and Observations … upon
some Passages of Shakespeare.
Montague Gosset was born in 1792. Against his inclination he entered the navy in
1806, but after three years' service he was invalided home from the West Indies in a very
bad state of health. Having had enough of the sea, he resolved to take up the study of
surgery. He, therefore, joined Guy's Hospital, where he obtained his diploma in 1814.
With the exception of two years spent in Scotland he remained at Guy's until 1819, "when
he commenced practice as a consulting surgeon in Great George Street, Westminster.
Thence he removed to the City." (fn. 4) He died in 1854. According to the Dictionary of
National Biography, he practised in the City for 34 years, which implies that he left Great
George Street in 1820–21. The ratebooks give his name in respect of the house until 1825,
but it should be noted that in Boyle's Court Guide, while "Montague Gosset" is shown
for 1820 and 1821, his place is taken by "Mrs. Gosset" in the issues for 1822 to 1825.
Richard Penn, who followed Gosset in the occupation of the house, was the younger
son of Richard Penn, colonist, and great-grandson of the founder of Pennsylvania. He
was born in 1784. He is known for his humorous works of Maxims and Hints for an angler,
for a chess-player and on shooting. He was employed in the Colonial Office, and in 1829
published a pamphlet On a new mode of secret writing, illustrating a cipher which he had
arranged for use in despatches. He died in 1863.
In the Council's Collection are:—
General exterior of premises (photograph).
Entrance doorway (on loan at the Geffrye Museum) (photograph).
Chimney-piece to front room on ground floor (photograph).
General view of doors and panelling on ground floor (photograph).
Mantelpiece to rear room on ground floor (photograph).
Ground and first-floor plans (measured drawings).
(fn. 5) Entrance doorway (measured drawings).
(fn. 5) General view of panelling to front room on ground floor (measured drawings).
(fn. 5) Details of panelling to front room on ground floor (measured drawings).