CHAPTER 4: III—ADMIRALTY HOUSE
The premises are the freehold of the Crown, and are used as the
residence of the First Lord of the Admiralty.
History of the site.
The plan of 1670 (see p. 8) shows between the north end of the
Horse Guards building and "the Passage into ye Park," a block of property
marked R, i.e. "Mrs. Kirke." The southernmost portion of this property,
where the four trees are shown, but extending along the eastern end as far as
the kink in the frontage, was that part of the Kirke property which was
acquired by Sir Robert Holmes (see p. 18). The remainder of the R block,
together with a small house on the other side of the passage into the Park, was
in 1606 held by Audrey, Lady Walsingham. (fn. 1) According to an official
survey (fn. 2) made in that year it consisted of three tenements: (i) A tenement,
"buylded harde under the parke wall of St. James," at the north end of the Tilt
Yard, containing in length 35½ feet to the passage "leading to a gate of the
said parke called the Tylte Yearde Gate," (fn. 3) and in width 10½ feet at the north
end and 8 feet at the south, with a garden 21 feet by 10 feet. (ii) A "litell
house" on the other side of the passage, next to "the house [afterwards
Wallingford House] in the tenure of the righte ho. Lorde Knolles," containing in length from the park wall to a passage into the house of Lord Knollys
13½ feet and in breath 5 feet, "Conteyning Foure Roomes viz. Twoo
belowe And twoo over them, Whereof one roome the saied Ladie Walsingham
useth for her kytchen And thother Three for Lodginges for her servauntes."
(iii) A "lytell shedde made with Boordes and tyled which … the Ladie
Scudamore did buylde onlie for a porters Lodge, sceated by himselfe on the
lefte hand behinde the Gate nexte the Kinges highwaye," 9 feet long by
6 feet wide. The premises were said to be worth only £3 a year, (fn. 4) "for that
all the Buylding excepte the Shedd is but of a lowe buylding and but ij
Stories or degrees high withoute any Garretts."
On 17th April, 1612, James I, in consideration of the fact that Lady
Walsingham had spent "One Thousand Markes & more of currant English
mony" in building, and "for … the good and acceptable Service to our
most entirelie beloved wife Queene Anne by … the said Ladye Walsingham
done," granted to her nominee, Arthur Proger, a lease of the premises for
forty years at a rent of five shillings. (fn. 5) From a comparison of the description
with that given in 1606, it is evident that Lady Walsingham's building
operations had been extensive. (i) The tenement against the Park wall has
now expanded into a messuage or mansion house "nowe in the handes …
of the said Lady Walsingham, " extending 66 feet from the passage, as well as
(a) a "littell yard or garden, " containing "from thend of the buildings
under the Gallery of the sayd Messuage towards the south" 10 feet, and
"from the sayd Parke Wall towards the East" 16 feet; (b) a range of buildings
extending from the main portion of the messuage eastwards 48 feet long and
20 feet wide; and (c) a "Stayre Case scituate in the Angell" made by the
messuage and (b). (ii) The "litell house" on the other side of the passage
has now become a "Range of buylding" 31 feet long and 10 feet wide.
(iii) The "litell shedde" is now described as a "little lodge and Chamber
over it lately buylte … for Mary, Lady Scudamore, "in length from north
to south 9 feet and from east to west 10 feet.
Walsingham and Pickering Houses before 1670
Walsingham and Pickering Houses (circa 1675)
Two plans, undated, but later than the grant to Lady Walsingham,
are here reproduced. The one is obviously earlier than the sale of the adjoining premises to Sir Robert Holmes in 1670 (see p. 18); the other subsequent
to that transaction, and probably drawn in connection with the lease to Lady
Marischal in 1675. From them, and particularly from the latter, (i) (a), (b)
and (c) and (iii) can readily be identified, through the measurements are
slightly different. The building (ii) on the other side of the passage, which
in 1606 included Lady Walsingham's kitchen, has apparently become "part
of the Duke of Buckingham's kitchen," and was no doubt added to Wallingford House after the duke had acquired the lease of Walsingham House
Walsingham House, being adjacent to the Tiltyard, afforded an
excellent view (no doubt from the gallery at its southern end) of the jousting,
and we find that in 1620 arrangements were made for preparing "Sr Thomas
Walsinghams house agaynste the Tylting day for the king of Bohemia his
Ambassador, and other Ambassadors." (fn. 6)
Proger's lease was subsequently purchased by the Duke of Buckingham. In the time of the Commonwealth the house was sequestered "as the
Duchess of Buckingham's, for the delinquency of the Earl of Antrim, her
husband." From various orders for sequestrations it appears that Mr. Fines (fn. 7)
was in residence in 1644, and Lady "Cawfield" in 1646. (fn. 8) In 1650 Sir
Gilbert Pickering (fn. 9) was there. On 13th March in that year the Committee
for Middlesex and Westminster were asked to certify whether in valuing the
two houses of Pickering the little passage which he wished to lay to his house
had been considered. The Committee on 21st March replied that they were
of opinion that he should have the passage as desired. (fn. 10)
One of the two houses was Walsingham House; the other was
Pickering House, which now for the first time emerges into the light. It had
been built by Pickering (fn. 11) on the east side of Walsingham House, fronting
In 1658 John Embree petitioned Cromwell, stating that he had purchased from the trustees for the sale of the late King's lands "a little, old
and ruinous house adjoining to Wallingford House." This was presumably
Walsingham House. "Forasmuch as some pretence hath been made that
the premises are or were formerly reputed part of Whitehall," the petitioner
found it advisable to obtain a more secure title, and asked for a lease of the
premises for ninety-nine years at a peppercorn rent. (fn. 12) Whether either Embree
or Pickering obtained their respective leases has not been ascertained, but on
the Restoration both houses came under the custody of George Kirke as
"housekeeper" of Whitehall.
The occurrence of the name of the "Dutches of Richmond" in the
ratebooks for 1661 and 1664 next to that of the Duke of Buckingham
suggests that she was resident at Walsingham House, and confirmation of
this is given by the following item under the date of January, 1664–5: "for
paving the yard between the Dutchess of Richmonds and wallingford howse
going into ye Park." (fn. 13)
About 1670 (fn. 14) Joseph Williamson petitioned for a reversionary grant
of Walsingham House to take effect on Kirke's death, but nothing seems to
have come of this, and on 10th August, 1675, the two houses called Little
Wallingford House (the new name for Walsingham House) and Pickering
House were granted to Anne, Countess Dowager Marischal, (fn. 15) for life. The
"passage into the Park," which the plan of 1670 shows was then still open,
had apparently now been closed, for the plan reproduced on p. 30 shows it
blocked at the western end by "the new parler." From a document of the
preceding year it appears that the countess was already in possession of the
property, the premises being described as "severall Lodgings being built
upon the Wall of Our Parke of St. James next to Our Horse Guards, wch at
her own Charges Shee hath fitted & beautified." (fn. 16) The parish ratebooks for
1686 show "Lady Marshall" in occupation. About this time Queen
Catherine claimed the property, as well as the house built by Sir Robert
Holmes, as belonging to the Manor of Westminster which had been assigned
to her as part of her dower, and in 1689 went so far as to make a lease (fn. 17) of the
houses, under the title of "Little Walsingham Houses … now or late in
the Severall tenures of the Countess Dowager Marshall and Mr. Blathwaite."
Lady Marischal was now dead, (fn. 18) but William Blathwayt, (fn. 19) the
occupier of Sir Robert Holmes' house, came forward to contest the claims of
the Queen Dowager, and to apply for a lease to himself of Lady Marischal's
house. In his application (fn. 20) he suggested (what was probably the fact) that the
object of the "certaine persons" who were "endeavouring to gett possession
of the said House" was "to build the same into severall dwelling Houses or
Tenements within your Matie's Parke," and offered that, if he were granted
a lease, he would endeavour to make out at his own charge the King's right
to the property. The matter was referred to the attorney-general, who
decided against the Queen Dowager. (fn. 21) After some further investigation into
the contents of the actual grant to Queen Catherine, the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury were satisfied that Blathwayt's application could be
complied with, and on 17th June, 1690, letters patent were issued granting
him a thirty-one years' lease of the two tenements called Little Wallingford
House and Pickering House.
Although these "two tenements" are individually named (and so
continue till the demolition of the building in 1786), they had already been
combined. (fn. 22) The name "Little Wallingford House," except in legal documents (when it was always combined with Pickering House), seems now to
have been used for a time for the whole building. (fn. 23)
By the terms of Blathwayt's lease he was not allowed to build without
licence. The demolition of Wallingford House (see p. 51) in 1694 necessitated some new building, and on 22nd June, 1694, he received the royal
licence to "raise one story and build some conveniences to the two houses
called Little Wallingford House and Pickering House." (fn. 24)
On the expiry of Blathwayt's term in 1721 (after his death) a new
lease was granted (22nd November, 1723) to his son, Lt.-Col. John
Blathwayt. The latter conveyed the premises to the Earl of Kinnoull, (fn. 25) who
in 1727 applied for a reversionary lease to make up the term to fifty years.
The house was said to be "very old and so much out of Repair" as to be not
habitable. (fn. 26) The lease asked for was granted on 8th December, 1727.
On 14th September, 1753, Lord Kinnoull assigned the premises to
his son, (fn. 27) Viscount Dupplin. (fn. 28) An encroachment had been made on St.
James's Park by the formation of a bow window and an "area" on the west
side of the house, and Lord Dupplin applied for (fn. 29) and obtained a licence (fn. 30) in
respect of the additional land, which was included in all subsequent grants.
In 1760 Dupplin, now Earl of Kinnoull, applied (fn. 31) for a new lease to make up
his then remaining term to fifty years. The premises are stated to be "old
buildings, wanting some repairs," and the grant was made on 9th May,
1761. At the earl's request a triangular portion of the street in front of the
premises, "containing in breadth at the north end where it adjoins to the
new wall of the Admiralty 7 ft 7Ins" and thence diminishing to a point,
was included in the grant. The new entry which apparently was then
constructed is shown in Cunego's view of the Admiralty (Plate 59).
Earl of Kinnoul
The earl subsequently parted with his interest in the property to Sir
Richard Glyn. (fn. 32) On the latter's death in 1773 his sons, Sir Richard Carr
Glyn and Thomas Glyn, obtained (26th August, 1773) a reversionary lease
to expire on 8th May, 1822, and on 23rd November, 1775, the property was
purchased (fn. 33) by Sir Robert Barker. (fn. 34) In 1785 Barker applied for a new lease
of the premises, which were said to consist of "one old Brick Messuage, with
Offices, Coach Houses and Stables," but without waiting for the result of his
application sold the house to Sir Robert Taylor (fn. 35) on 15th September, 1785.
Taylor actually was in possession for only a few months. On 16th December,
1785, he sold the premises, described as "all that messuage … heretofore
two Houses and called Little Wallingford house and Pickering House," with
the pieces of ground added, as mentioned above, from time to time, to the
Commissioners of the Navy, for £3,200. (fn. 36)
The house was pulled down in the course of the following year, (fn. 37) and
on its site was erected the present Admiralty House.
Description of Structure.
The present building was erected in 1786–8 (fn. 38) from the designs of
Samuel Pepys Cockerell, Surveyor to the Board of Admiralty, and a pupil
of Sir Robert Taylor.
The main front (Plates 46).and
47), which is set back some distance
from Whitehall, is executed in brickwork, with stone dressings, and presents
a rather austere appearance, displaying a composition of three vertical bays
with the centre recessed. Relief is afforded by a central Venetian window set
in a semicircular-headed recess, and also by balustraded panels below the
windows to the main floor. The forecourt, containing an area and offices, is
screened by a stone wall which is surmounted by an iron railing interspaced
with scroll lamp brackets.
The west front, which overlooks the park, is in plain brickwork,
relieved with stone bands at the ground and first-floor levels, and a moulded
stone cornice and blocking course at the eaves.
The building contains some handsome and lofty rooms, planned on
a generous scale, with many features of decorative interest. The walls of
the main rooms are hung with pictures painted by Hodges, Webber, Westall
and others, and record voyages and expeditions to Australia, etc. Hodges
accompanied Captain Cook in 1774 to the Cape, Eastern Islands, Marquesas
and New Zealand. Webber was with Cook in his last voyage during 1776–79,
and Westall sailed with Captain Flinders in his expedition of 1801.
The marble mantelpieces to the principal rooms are rather ornate,
and were brought from Lord Egremont's house in Piccadilly (one), from
Sir Frederick Page's house, Wricklemarsh, Blackheath (four), and from
York House (three). Though their acquisition is duly recorded, (fn. 39) , the original
purposes of the rooms in which they were placed have undergone a change,
and it has not been possible to locate all of them definitely. The records
also show that a quantity of old materials and fittings were used in the erection
of the new premises.
Some of the rooms contain sets of curious furniture made to the order
of Mr. John Fish, and presented to Greenwich Hospital in 1815 in memory
of Nelson. They were removed hither from the Governor's house when the
Hospital was closed in 1869. The various pieces are vigorously carved and
gilded, with dolphins as the chief motif of their design (Plate 52).
The entrance hall (Plate 48), originally part of the Admiralty, is entered from
the south-west corner of the Admiralty
courtyard (see Plate 62). The mantelpiece
is in grey marble, with a portrait over (in a
carved frame of martial trophies) of the Duke
of Cumberland, presented by Lord Lee of
Fareham. The walls opposite are adorned
by two large oil paintings of naval scenes
representing "Solebay Fight, 1672," left to
the Admiralty as a legacy by the 4th Earl
of Sandwich, and "Attack on Martinique,
January 16th, 1762."
Tripod Dolphin Stand
The Inner Hall has the wall surfaces
interspaced with Doric pilasters supporting
an entablature, above which springs a wagonvaulted ceiling divided into panels by bands
containing the guilloche (Plate 49). The
northern end has on each side a pair of
detached columns which support a flat arch
with a panelled soffit, thus forming an "ante"
from which starts the main staircase (Plate 49). The western wall has a semicircular
alcove containing a cast-iron stove designed
as a rostral column on a pedestal (Plate 49).
The hall chairs, which are in mahogany and
date from circa 1722, bear on their backs a
shield containing the Admiralty badge. The armour is on loan from the
Tower of London. In the window recess on a tripod dolphin stand is a
glass vase on which are painted a view of the Battle of Trafalgar and a
likeness of Lord Nelson in Triumph. A brass plate on the stand records
that it was the "Gift of John Fish, Esq., of Kempton Park, and was
presented by his widow and executrix, 1815, to the memory of Lord
The Dining Room. One of the chief features in this room is the
large three-light window, which is divided by Ionic columns on a podium the
height of the chair rail (Plate 50). The doors are double-margin, six-panelled,
with moulded heads, the most important having semi-pilasters to the casings
and pediments. The mantelpiece, which is in statuary marble, has a
carved centre tablet to the frieze between scrolls of fruit, with the shelf
supported on trusses (Plate 54). The panel depicts "Hercules Rejecting
Pleasure and Choosing Virtue," from an engraving (1713) by Girbelin after
Paulo Matthei. This mantelpiece probably came from York House. The
portrait of Samuel Pepys (Plate 51). was presented by the Rt. Hon. J. W.
Croker. The "Fish" set of furniture in this room has been already referred to.
The Boudoir, or "ante" to the Dining Room, has the walls panelled
and a wagon-vaulted ceiling. The mantelpiece is in Sienna and statuary
marble with the fireplace opening flanked by tapering pilasters. The portrait
over it is of Martha Ray. (fn. 40) The frieze has entwined dolphins and shells with
urns over the pilasters. The character of these decorations suggests that this
mantelpiece was designed for the premises (Plate 50).
The South Drawing Room, or Music Room, has a statuary marble
mantelpiece with term-shaped pedestals supporting female busts on each side
of the fire opening, and the frieze decorated with a carved panel between
swags of fruit. The cast-iron grate is interesting. This mantelpiece probably
came from York House (Plate 54).
The Official Drawing Room has a statuary marble mantelpiece heavy
in execution. On each side of the fire opening are overloaded trusses with
acanthus leafage and festoons of fruit. A deep central tablet containing
swags of fruit, similar to those on the frieze, has a small broken pediment to
the mantelshelf. This room also contains examples of the "Fish" furniture
(Plates 52 and
First floor. The Vestibule has a deep coved ceiling springing above
the cornice, with bands containing guilloche and acanthus scroll ornament.
The doors are double-margin, six-panelled, set in a semicircular-headed
recess. The double doors leading from the stairs have a moulded overdoor
supported on trusses. A large painting represents Actaeon surprising Diana
and her Nymphs (Plate 55).
Reception Room. This is a handsome room, having the surface of
the walls divided into arched recesses and finished with a deep cove with
octagonal coffering, and a decorated band on the ceiling. On the east side is
the large Venetian window which overlooks Whitehall. It is divided into three
lights by fluted Ionic columns and pilasters supporting an entablature, the
cornice of which continues round the room at the springing of the cove
56). The mantelpiece is in Sienna and statuary marbles,
with Ionic columns on each side of the fire opening, and a carved central
panel between scroll ornaments to the frieze. This probably came from
York House (Plate 57).
The Library has an enriched modillion cornice. The door leading
to the Vestibule has a decorated casing with egg-and-tongue architrave lining
and Corinthian columns supporting a pedimented head. A lower frieze
contains a carved mask between swags of laurel (Plate 53). The statuary
marble mantelpiece has a carved frieze with a scroll of repeat design, while on
each side of the jambs and supporting the ends of the moulded shelf are
term-shaped pilasters with well-carved busts. This mantelpiece probably
came from Blackheath. On each side of the doorway is a carved table
with a Sienna marble top in the style of Daniel Marot. There are tables
similar in style in some of the other rooms. There is also a grandfather clock
by Thomas Mudge and William Dalton.
Carved side-table in Library
Bedroom. The mantelpiece is in statuary marble and has an eared
architrave with egg-and-tongue moulding to the fire opening. Pilasters on
each side of the jambs contain festooned trusses, which support the enriched
moulded mantelshelf. The frieze has swags of fruit and also a carved central
tablet containing a female mask between bunches of grapes and vine leaves.
This probably came from Egremonts (Plate 57).
Dressing Room. The end of this room is divided into a bay by
fluted Corinthian pilasters, supporting an entablature, above which springs a
panelled wagon-vaulted ceiling (Plate 56). The remainder of the room has a
groined ceiling and a cornice and frieze continued round the walls at the
height of the top member of the entablature to the bay. The mantelpiece is
carved in wood, and has small medallions to the frieze and shallow consoles
on each side of the jambs.
Condition of Repair.
Admiralty House was built in 1786–88 (see p. 35) as a residence for the first lords of the
admiralty, a list of whom (with biographical details of the holders of the office until 1840) is here
given. The dates up to 1841 are taken from the patents, and those from 1846 to 1905 from
Haydn's Dictionary of Dates.
|Date of Appointment.|
|16th July, 1788||John, Earl of Chatham|
|19th December, 1794||George John, Earl Spencer|
|19th February, 1801||John, Earl of St. Vincent|
|15th May, 1804||Henry, Viscount Melville|
|2nd May, 1805||Charles, Lord Barham|
|16th February, 1806||Charles Grey (afterwards Earl Grey)|
|29th September, 1806||Thomas Grenville|
|6th April, 1807||Henry, Baron (afterwards Earl of) Mulgrave|
|3rd July, 1810||Charles Yorke|
|25th March, 1812||Robert, Viscount Melville|
|2nd May, 1827||William Henry, Duke of Clarence (afterwards H.M. King
William IV), as Lord High Admiral|
|19th September, 1828||Robert, Viscount Melville|
|25th November, 1830||Sir James Robert George Graham, Bt.|
|11th June, 1834||George, Baron (afterwards Earl of) Auckland|
|23rd December, 1834||Thomas Philip, Earl De Grey|
|25th April, 1835||George, Baron Auckland|
|19th September, 1835||Gilbert, Earl of Minto|
|8th September, 1841||Thomas, Earl of Haddington|
|13th January, 1846||Edward, Earl of Ellenborough|
|24th July, 1846||George, Earl of Auckland|
|18th January, 1849||Sir Francis Thornhill Baring (afterwards Lord Northbrook)|
|28th February, 1852||Algernon, Duke of Northumberland|
|5th January, 1853||Sir James Robert George Graham, Bt.|
|24th February, 1855||Sir Charles Wood, Bt. (afterwards Viscount Halifax)|
|26th February, 1858||Sir John Somerset Pakington, Bt. (afterwards Lord Hampton)|
|June, 1859||Edward Adolphus, Duke of Somerset|
|6th July, 1866||Sir John Somerset Pakington, Bt.|
|8th March, 1867||Henry Thomas Lowly Corry|
|9th December, 1868||Hugh Culling Eardley Childers|
|9th March, 1871||George Joachim Goschen (afterwards Viscount Goschen)|
|21st February, 1874||George Ward Hunt|
|7th August, 1877 (about)||William Henry Smith|
|28th April, 1880||Thomas George, Earl of Northbrook|
|24th June, 1885||Lord George Francis Hamilton|
|6th February, 1886 (about)||George Frederick Samuel, Marquess of Ripon|
|26th July, 1886||Lord George Francis Hamilton|
|18th August, 1892||John Poyntz, Earl Spencer|
|25th June, 1895||George Joachim Goschen|
|12th November, 1900||William Waldegrave, Earl of Selborne|
|4th March, 1905||Frederick Archibald Vaughan, Earl Cawdor|
|December, 1905||Edward Marjoribanks, Baron Tweedmouth|
|April, 1908||Reginald McKenna|
|October, 1911||Winston Churchill|
|May, 1915||Arthur James Balfour (afterwards Earl of Balfour)|
|December, 1916||Sir Edward Henry Carson (afterwards Baron Carson)|
|July, 1917||Sir Eric Geddes|
|October, 1919||Walter Hume Long (afterwards Viscount Long)|
|February, 1921||Arthur Hamilton, Baron (afterwards Viscount) Lee of Fareham|
|October, 1922||Leopold Stennett Amery|
|January, 1924||Frederick John Napier, Viscount Chelmsford|
|November, 1924||William Clive Bridgeman (afterwards Viscount Bridgeman of
|June, 1929||Albert V. Alexander|
|August, 1931||Sir Austen Chamberlain|
|November, 1931||Sir Bolton Meredith Eyres Monsell|
John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, son of the 1st Earl and elder brother of William Pitt
the younger, was born in 1756. He entered the army, and served as a subaltern during the siege
of Gibraltar in 1779–83. In 1788 he joined his brother's ministry as first lord of the admiralty,
and held office until the end of 1794. He was then appointed lord privy seal, and in 1796 president
of the council, resigning in 1801. His connection with the army during this period had remained
unbroken, and in 1799 he had commanded a brigade in Holland, being wounded at the battle of
Beverwyk. From 1801 to 1806 he was master-general of the ordnance. He became lieutenantgeneral in 1802, governor of Plymouth in 1805 and governor of Jersey in 1807. In 1809 he was
placed in command of the ill-fated Walcheren expedition, and failed utterly. (fn. 41) He was promoted
to be general in 1812, and in 1820 was made governor of Gibraltar. He died in 1835. Chatham
was the first "first lord" to take up his quarters in Admiralty House. (fn. 42)
George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer, was born in 1758 and educated at Harrow
and Trinity College, Cambridge. After a period of two years abroad he entered parliament in
1780 as member for Northampton, and in 1782 was returned for Surrey. In 1783 he succeeded
to the earldom. He was a strong supporter of Pitt, and in 1794 was sent to Vienna as ambassadorextraordinary, being appointed on his return first lord of the admiralty, a position which he held
for over six years. Spencer's tenure of office was marked by the victories of St. Vincent and
Camperdown and the settlement of the mutinies at Spithead and the Nore, and it was by him that
Nelson was selected for independent command and sent out to the Mediterranean, where he won
the battle of the Nile. In 1799 he was made K.G. In 1806–7 he was home secretary. He held
no further office, devoting his time in later years chiefly to Northamptonshire affairs. He was
also one of the founders and the first president of the Roxburghe Club, but his chief work was
the rehabilitation of the famous Althorp Library (now the John Rylands Library in Manchester)
founded by his ancestor, Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland. He died in 1834.
John Jervis, Earl of St. Vincent, born in 1735, was the second son of Swynfen Jervis,
who became solicitor to the admiralty and treasurer of Greenwich Hospital. Jervis entered the
navy in 1749. His first command came in 1759, when he was engaged in the operations against
Quebec. From 1769 to 1772 he was in command of the Alarm in the Mediterranean, after which
he travelled in Europe, everywhere making professional notes. In 1775 he was appointed to
command the Foudroyant, and took part in Keppel's action off Ushant (afterwards giving evidence
in his favour at the subsequent court martial) and the reliefs of Gibraltar, and in 1782 greatly
distinguished himself by the capture of the French Pégase, for which he was made K.B. In 1795,
when he had attained the rank of admiral, he took command in the Mediterranean. His position
was rendered very difficult in the following year owing to the occupation of Italy by the French
armies and the alliance of Spain with France. Intense apprehension of an invasion was current
in England, and the relief was therefore great when in 1797 Jervis utterly defeated a much larger
Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent. Rewards poured in, and the King conferred on him the earldom
of St. Vincent. During the rest of 1797 and the following year he maintained a strict blockade of
Cadiz, by his stern discipline keeping his fleet intact and free from the spirit of mutiny which was
abroad, but in 1799 his health gave way and he resigned his command. In the following year he
took command of the Channel fleet and maintained the blockade of Brest for nearly five months.
In 1801 he became first lord of the admiralty, and held the position for three years. His
administration is famous in the history of the navy, for he set himself to reform the abuses which
he knew were rampant in the dockyards. In this work he necessarily incurred great unpopularity.
In 1806–7 he resumed the command of the Channel fleet. This was his last experience of active
service. In 1821 he was promoted to be admiral of the fleet, and in 1823 he died.
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, son of Robert Dundas, Lord Arniston, lord
president of the Scottish court of session, was born in 1742 and educated at Edinburgh High School
and Edinburgh University. In 1763 he was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates, and
soon rose to a leading position at the Scottish Bar. In 1766 he became solicitor-general for Scotland,
and in 1775 lord advocate. He then gradually relinquished his practice at the Bar for politics.
In the previous year he had entered parliament. In 1782–3 and again in 1784–1800 he was treasurer
of the navy. From 1791 to 1794 he was home secretary, and in the latter year was appointed
secretary of war. He was also from 1793 president of the board of control, but resigned both
positions in 1801. In the following year he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Melville and
Baron Dunira. In 1804 he became first lord of the admiralty. A commission which had been
appointed to investigate irregularities in the several naval departments reported in 1805, and
disclosed facts which raised suspicions against Melville's conduct when treasurer of the navy. As
a result Melville resigned his office at the admiralty, and in the following year he was impeached,
on the initiative of Samuel Whitbread, for the misappropriation of public money. The trial ended
in an acquittal, but Melville did not again take office. He declined the offer of an earldom in 1809,
and died in 1811.
Charles Middleton, Baron Barham, born in 1726, was second son of Robert Middleton,
collector of customs, and of Helen, daughter of Charles Dundas, of Arniston, and was thus a relative
of Melville, whom he succeeded as first lord. He entered the navy at an early age, being promoted
lieutenant in 1745. His career was not particularly distinguished, though he regularly received
promotion, being vice-admiral in 1793 and admiral in 1795. In 1794–5 he was one of the lords
of the admiralty. In 1805 he was appointed first lord and created Baron Barham. He held office
for less than a year. He died in 1813.
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, was born in 1764. On leaving Cambridge he spent some
time in travel, and in 1786 entered parliament as member for Northumberland. He attached
himself to Fox, and this fact excluded him from office for the early portion of his political career.
He early took up the question of parliamentary reform, and in 1800 opposed the union with Ireland.
In 1806 Grey (now Lord Howick) became first lord of the admiralty under Lord Grenville. On
the death of Fox later in the year he succeeded to his position as leader of the Government Whigs,
and was appointed foreign secretary. The ministry came to an end in 1807 and Grey (who towards
the end of the year succeeded to the earldom) remained out of office for nearly 24 years. In 1830,
in his speech on the address at the meeting of the new parliament, he warmly advocated parliamentary
reform, and Wellington's reply was a practical refusal to consider the question. On the defeat
of Wellington's ministry later in the year, Grey became prime minister and at once set about
preparing a scheme for reform. After great opposition the Bill passed in 1832. In 1834 Grey
resigned in consequence of a disagreement in the cabinet on the renewal of the Irish Coercion Act.
He took the opportunity of quitting public life, and lived in retirement until his death in 1845.
Thomas Grenville, third son of George Grenville (see p. 67), was born in 1755. He at
first adopted a military career, but was driven to resign. In 1780 he entered parliament and, contrary
to the politics of his family, attached himself to Fox, but after 1790 gave a general support to Pitt.
In 1794 he was sent with Earl Spencer as minister-extraordinary to the court of Vienna, and in
1799 was appointed ambassador to Berlin, to propose an alliance against France. He was
shipwrecked on the way and arrived too late. In 1806–7 he was president of the board of control
and first lord of the admiralty. He then practically retired from public life. He died in 1846.
His hobby of book-collecting resulted in the formation of the famous Grenville Library, which he
bequeathed to the British Museum.
Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave and Viscount Normanby, second son of Constantine
Phipps, Baron Mulgrave, was born in 1755. He was educated at Eton and entered the army in
1775, rising to the rank of general in 1809. He entered parliament in 1784 as a supporter of Pitt,
and became one of the latter's chief military advisers. In 1794 he was created Baron Mulgrave
in the English peerage. In 1805 he was made secretary for foreign affairs, resigning, on the death
of Pitt, in 1806. On the formation of the Portland ministry in 1807 he became first lord of the
admiralty and held the position until 1810. In that year he was appointed master-general of the
ordnance, an office which he retained until 1818, when, at his own suggestion, he was replaced
by Wellington. In 1812 he had been created Earl of Mulgrave and Viscount Normanby, and
on his retirement in 1818 was made G.C.B. He died in 1831. He was a generous patron of art.
Charles Philip Yorke, born in 1764, was the elder son of Charles Yorke, lord chancellor.
He was educated at Harrow and St. John's College, Cambridge, and was called to the Bar from
the Middle Temple in 1787. He entered parliament in 1790 as member for Cambridgeshire,
a constituency which he represented until 1810. He was afterwards returned for St. Germains
(1810–2) and Liskeard (1812–8). In 1801 he was made privy councillor and secretary-at-war.
The latter post he resigned in 1803, when he became home secretary, holding that office until
May, 1804. In 1810 he was made one of the tellers of the exchequer, and in the same year gained
great unpopularity by his opposition to the Walcheren enquiry and for enforcing the exclusion
from the gallery of strangers during the debate. A few weeks later he was appointed first lord of
the admiralty by Perceval, but resigned after barely eighteen months of service. He retired from
public life in 1818 and died in 1834.
Robert Saunders Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, was the only son of Henry Dundas,
the 1st Viscount and friend of Pitt. He was born in 1771 and entered parliament in 1794 as
member for Hastings. The two chief offices which he held were those of president of the board
of control (1807–9 and again 1809–12) and first lord of the admiralty (1812–27 and again 1828–30).
In 1811 he succeeded his father as Viscount Melville. He died in 1851.
For details of the life of the Duke of Clarence, afterwards H.M. King William IV, the
reader is referred to the standard biographies. In April, 1827, the duke accepted the office of lord
high admiral in the Canning administration. It was intended that he should be virtually first lord
of the admiralty, under a different name, with a strong board to advise him, but he refused to
acquiesce and insisted on acting as if he were lord high admiral in fact. The result was constant
friction between himself and his board and he resigned in August, 1828.
Sir James Robert George Graham, son of Sir James Graham, of Netherby, Cumberland,
was born in 1792 and was educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford. Shortly after
leaving Oxford he travelled abroad, and was unexpectedly invited to act as private secretary to
Lord Montgomerie, the British minister in Sicily. An illness of the latter threw on Graham the
responsibility for conducting a delicate negotiation with King Joachim, and he returned home in
1814 with a reputation for ability. He entered parliament in 1818 as member for Hull in the
Whig interest, but was unseated at the next election. In 1824 he succeeded his father in the
baronetcy, and effected such improvements in his ancestral estate as made Netherby a model farm.
In 1826 he produced a pamphlet, Corn and Currency, which brought him into prominence as a man
of advanced Liberal opinions, and he became one of the most energetic supporters of the Reform
Bill. He entered parliament again in 1826, and in 1830 became first lord of the admiralty in Grey's
ministry. In this position he carried out many reforms in the finance of his department. His
views gradually became more conservative, and in 1834 he resigned. His next office was that
of home secretary in Peel's ministry of 1841–6. In this he incurred great unpopularity, particularly
from his action in detaining and opening letters at the post office. From 1846 to 1852 he was out
of office, but in the latter year again became first lord of the admiralty. He resigned in 1855
owing to the appointment of a select committee to enquire into the conduct of the Crimean War.
He died at Netherby in 1861.
George Eden, Earl of Auckland, born in 1784, was the second son of William, 1st Baron
Auckland. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to the Bar from Lincoln's
Inn in 1809. On the death of his elder brother in 1810 he took the latter's place in parliament,
and in 1814 he succeeded his father in the barony. He was a steady supporter of the Reform
party, and in 1830 became president of the board of trade in Grey's ministry. In 1834 and again
in 1835 he was for a few months first lord of the admiralty. In the latter year he was appointed
governor-general of India. The outstanding event in his tenure of office was the Afghan War,
for which he was directly responsible. The early operations were crowned with success, and he
received an earldom (1839). Reverses, however, followed, and the British troops suffered disaster,
but before the news of this arrived Auckland had been superseded by Lord Ellenborough.
He left India in 1842, and in 1846 was again appointed first lord of the admiralty. He died while
still in office at the beginning of 1849.
Thomas Philip De Grey, Earl De Grey, elder son of Thomas, 2nd Baron Grantham,
was born in 1781 and was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge. In 1786 he succeeded his
father in the barony. In 1803 he assumed the surname and arms of Weddell in place of Robinson.
On the death of his aunt, Countess De Grey, in 1833, he became 2nd Earl De Grey and Baron
Lucas of Crudwell, Wilts, and a few weeks later assumed the name of De Grey. In 1834 he
succeeded Lord Auckland as first Lord of the Admiralty, and held the office for four months.
From 1841 to 1844 he was lord lieutenant of Ireland, and on his return was made K.G. He
was the first president of the R.I.B.A. founded in 1834 and continued in the presidency until
his death in 1859.
Gilbert Elliot, 2nd Earl of Minto, was born in 1782 and educated at Edinburgh
University. In 1806 he entered parliament as member for Ashburton, and afterwards represented
Roxburghshire until he succeeded to the earldom in 1814. From 1832 to 1834 he was ambassador
at Berlin, and in 1835 succeeded Auckland as first lord of the admiralty. He held the position until
1841. In 1846 he was made lord privy seal and in the following year was sent on a diplomatic
mission to Italy, which was a practical failure. He left office in 1852 and died in 1859.
In the Council's Collection are:
Plan of basement floor (copy of drawing in the possession of H.M. Office of Works).
(fn. 43) Plan of ground, first and second floors (copy of drawing in the possession of H.M. Office
(fn. 43) Elevation to Whitehall and cross section (copy of drawing in the possession of H.M.
Office of Works).
(fn. 43) General exterior to Whitehall (photograph).
General exterior to the park (photograph).
Kitchen, general view (photograph).
(fn. 43) Entrance Hall, general view showing mantelpiece (photograph).
Oil painting showing "Solebay Fight, 1672" (photograph).
Oil painting showing "Attack on Martinique, January 16th, 1762" (photograph).
(fn. 43) Inner Hall, general view showing stairs (photograph).
(fn. 43) Inner Hall, general view showing niche with stove (photograph).
Inner Hall, general view showing window and doors, also Nelson Memorial (photograph).
(fn. 43) Dining Room, general views (2) (photographs).
Dining Room, view of three-light window (photograph).
(fn. 43) Dining Room, detail of mantelpiece (photograph).
(fn. 43) Dining Room, portrait of Samuel Pepys (photograph).
Boudoir (ante), general view (photograph).
(fn. 43) Boudoir (ante), detail of mantelpiece (photograph).
South Drawing Room, formerly Music Room, general views (2) (photographs).
South Drawing Room, general views (2) (photographs).
(fn. 43) South Drawing Room, detail of mantelpiece (photograph).
(fn. 43) Drawing Room, general views (2) (photographs).
(fn. 43) Drawing Room, detail of mantelpiece (photograph).
(fn. 43) First floor, Vestibule, general view showing doorway and stairs (photograph).
First floor, Vestibule, general view showing window (photograph).
(fn. 43) Reception Room, general view (photograph).
(fn. 43) Reception Room, view of Venetian window (photograph).
(fn. 43) Reception Room, detail of mantelpiece (photograph).
(fn. 43) Library, general view showing door case (photograph).
Library, detail of grandfather clock (photograph).
Library, detail of mantelpiece (photograph).
(fn. 43) Library, detail of side table (photograph).
(fn. 43) Dressing Room, general view (photograph).
Dressing Room, detail of mantelpiece (photograph).
Bedroom, general view (photograph).
(fn. 43) Bedroom, detail of mantelpiece (photograph).