CHAPTER 18: LXXV—NO. 1 WHITEHALL GARDENS
The property is the freehold of the Crown, and is used for the
purposes of the Ministry of Labour.
No. 1 Whitehall Gardens was erected apparently in 1806–7. (fn. 1) In 1818
a lease of the property was granted (fn. 2) to Archibald, Earl of Cassilis, for 99 years
as from 5th July, 1806. The premises are described (see plan on p. 212) as
a piece of ground in or near the Privy Garden, abutting eastwards on the
river, northwards on "ground or buildings lately demised to Richard Henry
Alexander Bennett" [No. 2], and southwards on the property of the Duke
of Buccleuch, containing 63½ feet width on the east, and a length of 242¼
feet on the north side and 246 feet on the south, "on part of which said
piece … of ground has been lately erected and is now standing a capital messuage with a wing building (containing a spacious drawing-room) on the
south side thereof, now … in the occupation of Archibald, Earl of Cassilis."
The dimensions of the house are given as: 68 feet 1 inch towards Privy
Garden, "and in depth from west to east, exclusive of the two bows (one
in the messuage and the other in the wing building) projecting from the
east front, and also exclusive of the bow projecting from the west front of
the wing building, and also exclusive of the subterraneous offices thereto
with the terrace over the same of like breadth, and adjoining or projecting
from the east front of the said messuage … (which subterraneous offices
extend from west to east, exclusive of the bow, 28 feet) … 56 feet 4 inches."
The remainder of the ground towards the Thames is said to have been enclosed
with an iron railing and was used as an ornamental garden, while the rest
of the ground towards the Privy Garden was also used as a pleasure ground
"excepting only such part … as is … used as … an open carriage way …
which open carriage way is and is to continue to be freely used by the occupiers of the neighbouring messuages and buildings in common." The lease
also included (but only during the King's pleasure) a triangular portion of
Privy Garden, running the whole width of the premises, 15 feet wide at the
north end and terminating in a point at the south end.
The house consists of a basement, with four storeys over and an
attic in a slated mansard roof. It has a brick front with stucco dressings
above a rusticated ground storey, and a balustraded parapet over a modillion
cornice completes the composition. The windows to the first floor have
curved iron trellis balconies. The entrance doorway is set in a portico with
Doric columns and projects over the area.
The eastern front of the premises, overlooking the terrace, was
recently taken down and rebuilt.
The main staircase which terminates at the first floor, is in stone,
with an elliptical skylight to the well. The iron balustrading is interspaced
with panels of geometrical design, while the wall of the landing is decorated
with a series of niches, two of which contain plaster replicas of Grecian female
statues (Plate 99). The dining-room extends the full depth of the house
and has the ceiling divided by a bressummer supported on coupled Corinthian
columns. The drawing-room (which is now divided) on the floor above had
its walls decorated with framed tapestries (Plate 98), stated to date from
1620 and brought from Brussels by Lord Ailsa, but these have now been
removed. There are two marble mantelpieces in this room of similar design
having coupled columns supporting the shelf and a pier glass over. The
other rooms contain carved marble mantelpieces: the one illustrated in
Plate 99 has a central tablet of sea horses. The portrait over represents
William III, but this also has been removed.
No. 1 Whitehall Gardens: survey of ground to be leased to Earl of Cassilis.
From plan in the possession of H. M. Commissioners of Crown Lands
Tablet on Mantelpiece.
Condition of Repair.
The occupiers of No. 1, as given by directories, etc., until the time when the house was taken
over for official purposes were:
|1808–46||Earl of Cassilis (Marquess of Ailsa)|
|1853–1916||The National Club|
Archibald Kennedy, 1st Marquess of Ailsa, born in 1770, was the eldest son of Capt.
Archibald Kennedy, R.N., and became Lord Kennedy in 1793 on his father succeeding a distant
cousin in the earldom of Cassilis. On the death of his father at the close of 1794 he became the
12th earl, and in 1806 was created a peer of the United Kingdom by the title of Baron Ailsa. In
1821 he was made K.T., and in 1831 was made a marquess. He died at St. Margaret's, near Isleworth, on 8th September, 1846.
Kennedy, Marquess of Ailsa.
In the Council's collection are:—
(fn. 3) Ground and first-floor plans (copy of plan in possession of H.M. Office of Works).
Elevation of eastern wall as re-erected (copy of plan in possession of H.M. Office of Works).
(fn. 3) General view of front (photograph).
(fn. 3) General view of garden front (photograph).
(fn. 3) General view of main staircase (photograph).
General view of dining-room (photograph).
View of mantelpiece in dining-room (photograph).
(fn. 3) General view of drawing-room (photograph).
(fn. 3) General view of mantelpiece, north-east room, first floor (photograph).
(fn. 3) Plan of survey in Privy Garden for the Earl of Cassilis, 1808 (copy of plan in possession
of H.M. Commissioners of Crown Lands).