CHAPTER 28: WHITEHALL PLACE—GENERAL
The entrance to Middle Scotland Yard was in 1670 (see Plate 92)
only 10 feet 4 inches wide. On its southern side was a house, 35 ("To Mr
Lisle"), with garden, etc., containing about 100 feet in length and 16 feet
in breadth. This was for many years the residence of the King's barber. (fn. 1)
In 1766 John Garstin, one of the King's messengers, applied for a lease of
the "old low building situate on the south side of the gateway leading into
Middle Scotland Yard." In the report (fn. 2) on the application it was stated
that the building had long been occupied by one Jane Latimer, rent free,
without any title other than possession, but that "one Mr Vincent pretends
some right to the premises in Right of his office as the Kings Barber." The
ground was said to contain in depth 107 feet, and in front to the street 16
feet, (fn. 3) out of which latter dimension Garstin proposed to give up 4 feet throughout to enable the passage, "which at present is strait &
inconvenient," to be widened. Garstin also asked for leave to take down the
old wall of the Palace at the western end. The Board of Works now intervened with a proposal that the passage should be widened to 15 feet, and
that the remainder of the ground should be handed over to them for use as
a storeyard. (fn. 4) This was agreed to, but before actually fencing off the ground
the Board of Works, "thinking it may be of greater utillity to His Majestys
Offices & the Public to have a wider Passage," made the further suggestion
that the whole of the ground should be incorporated in the passage. (fn. 5) The
proposal was approved and the width of the passage (at that time called
Caddick's Row, see p. 184) was increased to 27½ feet. On the building
of the office of the Land Revenue on the north side of the way in 1796
(see p. 195) the width was further increased to 33 feet. In connection with
the extension eastward of Caddick's Row as Whitehall Place, a width of
60 feet between the buildings was allowed for the greater part, but "at the
East End, where there will be three Houses on each Side, separated from
the other part of the Street by a transverse Public Way, the width will be
74 feet, the width and Houses having been so arranged as to preserve the
view of St. Paul's Cathedral from Whitehall Street, which otherwise would
have been partly excluded by the length of Whitehall Place." (fn. 6) The
building of houses in Whitehall Place seems to have occupied about 10 years,
No. 3 having been erected in 1814 and Nos. 21 and 22 in 1823–4.
||See order on 28th April, 1691, "to marke the roomes which alwaies did belong to His
Mats Barber in Whitehall (which are at the Gate entring into Scotland yard) for Mr Firmin,
His Mats Barber." (P.R.O., L.C. 5/150, p. 240.)
||P.R.O., T. 55/14, p. 271.
||With the memorandum from the Office of Works, dated 4th February, 1767, however,
"an exact plan" was submitted showing the frontage as 17 feet 4 inches.
||P.R.O., Works, 6/18, p. 153 (27th January, 1767) and p. 154 (4th February, 1767).
Ibid., p. 162 (18th September, 1767).
||Records of H.M. Commissioners of Crown Lands, R. 6, p. 32 (6th May, 1820).