LVIII. No. 32 QUEEN ANNE'S GATE: (Formerly No. 12 Queen Square).
The freehold belongs to the Dowager Lady Allendale, who also occupies
On 5th April, 1726, the Trustees appointed under the South Sea
Company Act sold (fn. 1) to Samuel Mason "that parcell of ground, with brick
messuage thereon, late in the occupation of Sir John Humble, Bart.,
being the fourth house on the north side of Queen Square." The dimensions are given as 28 feet 7 inches in front by 40 feet in depth, and the house
is said to contain three storeys, with three rooms on each floor, two staircases,
garrets in the roof, a kitchen and other offices below stairs "with a flatt
leaded over part of them from the said messuage to the Park wall," two
vaults under the square, a yard behind the house 29 feet 7 inches deep on
the east side and 24 feet 6 inches on the west, and an iron railing before the
front of the house.
These premises comprise a brick exterior in accord with the general
treatment of the square, though the upper portion of the front wall has been
raised, and the entrance doorway has had a porch added with fluted Doric
columns. The back appears to have been rebuilt and probably extended, at
a date about the end of the 18th century. This probably occurred during
the years 1785–86 (see p. 131).
It has not been found possible to make a survey of the interior of the
house, but it has been observed that the staircase possesses a wrought-iron
balustrading with "S" panels, dating from about the end of the 18th
century, and that the wall surfaces of the hall are plastered.
Condition of Repair.
The occupiers of this house up to 1840, according to the ratebooks, were as follows:
|1706–23||Sir John Humble.|
|1732–38||Jas. D. Mason.|
|1775–99||Rev. Clayton Cracherode. (fn. 2) |
Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode, son of Colonel Mordaunt Cracherode, was born at
Taplow in 1730. After an education at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford,
he took holy orders and for some time held the Curacy of Binsey, near Oxford. His father's
death in 1773 left him in possession of a comfortable fortune, and thereafter he passed his time
principally in his house in Queen Square amongst his books which formed his chief joy in life.
His purchases were incessant, and at the time of his death he had massed "the choicest
specimens of the earliest editions in classical and biblical literature, the rarest coins and
gems, and the most exquisite prints which money could purchase." (fn. 3) With the exception of
two books, he left the whole to the British Museum. He died in 1799 "after a severe struggle,
in great pain" at the house in Queen Square which had been occupied (since 1755) by his
father. (fn. 4) His own residence at the house was broken during the years 1785–86 and probably
the early part of 1787, when it would seem that certain extensive alterations were carried out.
During these years his residence was at what is now No. 36 Old Queen Street. After his
death his sister Anne continued to occupy the house in Queen Square. (fn. 5)
Alexander Macleay, born in 1767 in Ross-shire, was the son of William Macleay, Provost
of Wick and Deputy-Lieutenant of Caithness. In 1795 he became chief clerk in the prisonersof-war office in London, in 1797 head of the correspondence department of the Transport
Board, and in 1806 Secretary of the Board. On the abolition of the Board in 1818 he was
pensioned. In 1825 he went to New South Wales as Colonial Secretary for that colony,
a position which he held until 1837. In 1843 he was elected Speaker of the Legislative
Council of New South Wales, and in 1846 retired from public life. He died at Sydney
in 1848. In 1794 he had become a Fellow of the Linnean Society, and from 1798 to 1825
was Secretary. By the latter date he had amassed "what was probably the finest collection of
insects then in existence." (fn. 6) Three of his sons who must have been members of the family
living at the house in Queen Square, also achieved distinction: (1) William Sharp Macleay,
born in 1792, zoologist; (2) Sir George Macleay, born in 1809, Australian explorer and
statesman; and (3) James Robert Macleay, born in 1811, of the Foreign Office.
In the Council's Possession is:—
General exterior of premises (photograph)