CHAPTER 30: XIV—NOS. 3 TO 8, WHITEHALL PLACE
History of the Site.
The row of buildings shown in the plan of 1670 as extending for
a distance of about 250 feet from the street to the open space east of 62
included, besides the house and offices of the surveyor of works, those
belonging to the master carpenter, the poulterer, the comptroller of works, (fn. 1)
the master mason and the master glazier. A plan of 1753 (fn. 2) shows that,
with some variations in the size of the different buildings, the occupation
was still the same, with the exception that in the place of the building
allocated to the master carpenter, that between the surveyor-general's office
and the poulterer's office was in the occupation of "Mrs Selwyn." (fn. 3)
The whole of the buildings in the row were demolished to make
room for the new houses on the north side of Whitehall Place.
Nos. 3 and 4, Whitehall Place.—In 1812 John Garden, learning that
it was "in contemplation to pull down several old Buildings on the North
side of Middle Scotland Yard, for the purpose of affording an opportunity to
build Houses on the Scites of them in continuation of Whitehall Place
towards the River Thames," asked for a grant of a portion of the land.
A proposal was thereupon made to Mr. Garden that he should undertake the
erection of all the houses (six in number) between the Office of Woods and
Forests and the passage to Great Scotland Yard, but he expressed doubts
as to the expediency of this, and finally obtained sufficient ground for the
erection of the two westernmost houses. It was stipulated that the fronts
should be faced with bricks resembling those used in the facing of the
Office of Woods and Forests, and the roofs slated to correspond, and that
the level of the ground-floors and the heights of all the storeys should be
similar to those of the same building. (fn. 4) Garden accordingly built Nos.
3 and 4, encountering great difficulties in obtaining a solid foundation
"on the Scite of an ancient Dock." One of the houses was ready for
occupation at least in the early part of 1815 (which points to the building
having been erected in 1814), and the other is shown in Garden's occupation
in Boyle's Court Guide for January, 1816. It was not, however, until late in
the latter year that Garden obtained (fn. 5) a 99 years' lease from 5th April, 1813,
of the two, which were then in the occupation of the Netherlands Ambassador
and himself. The houses are described as abutting east on ground or
buildings "now or late in the tenure of the Commissioners for Auditing
the Public Accounts," and west on ground or buildings in the tenure of
the Commissioners of H.M. Woods, Forests and Land Revenues and containing in front next to Whitehall Place, 66 feet 7 inches.
Nos. 5 and 6, Whitehall Place.— These houses were erected by John
Holroyd, "plumber to H.M. Office of Works," who on 12th January, 1819,
obtained leases for 99 years as from 5th April, 1813 and 1815 respectively. (fn. 6)
Both houses are said to be "lately erected," the one in the occupation of the
Commissioners for auditing the Public Accounts and the other of William
George Adam. No. 5 is described as abutting east on ground or buildings
"now or late in the tenure of John Holroyd … or of Wm. George
Adam, Esq., his undertenant" and west on ground or buildings in the
tenure of John Garden and containing in front next to Whitehall Place
29 feet and in depth 108 feet 4 inches "of which said Ground the greater
part was heretofore occupied by a certain House formerly enjoyed by Sir
Wm. Chambers, the Comptroller of H.M. Works, and was afterwards in the
occupation of John Jones, Esq., the Inspector under the Board of Works
… and the residue of the said ground was heretofore part of the open
area of Great Scotland Yard." No. 6 contained in front 28 feet and in depth
108 feet, "of which said Ground some part is part of the ground which was
heretofore occupied by … a certain house formerly enjoyed by Sir Wm
Chambers … and other part is part of the ground heretofore occupied by
… a certain House heretofore inhabited by Kenton Couse, Esq., as
Surveyor to the late Board of Works, and afterwards held by him as Examining
Clerk of the Works and lately enjoyed by John Thomas Groves, Esq.,
Clerk of the works," the residue being part of the open area of Great
Scotland Yard. (fn. 7)
No. 5 was erected in 1814, (fn. 8) but the site of No. 6 was not cleared at
the end of February, 1815 (fn. 9) , and the house does not appear in Boyle's Court
Guide until the 1818 (April) issue.
No. 7, Whitehall Place.—On 28th February, 1815, the Office of
Woods reported (fn. 10) that they had entered into an agreement with Robert
Todd, master bricklayer to the Office of Works, for a lease of a plot of
ground in Whitehall Place, but that he could not be put into possession of
the plot until the site had been cleared. The actual lease granted to Todd
was dated 6th April, 1820, and the house is described in the constat (fn. 11) as
"all that Capital Messuage … now … in the Occupation of William
Marsh, Esquire, Abbutting … Eastwards on a Messuage now or late in
the tenure … of John Holroyd, and Westwards on a Messuage now or late
in the tenure … of William George Adam, Esquire," and containing in
front 28 feet and in depth 108 feet 2 inches "of which said Ground some
part is part of the Scite of a certain House heretofore held by the Master
Manson to the Board of Works … and the residue of the said Ground
was heretofore part of the open Area of … Great Scotland Yard." The
house first appears in the occupation of Marsh in Boyle's Court Guide for
1818. Both this house and No. 6 are, however, shown as "House lately
built" in the plan of 1816 on which Plate 93 is based.
No. 8, Whitehall Place.—In November, 1822, instructions were
given for a lease for 99 years from 5th July, 1818, to be granted to John
Holroyd, the builder of Nos. 5 and 6, of a plot "situate on the North side of
Whitehall Place, adjoining west to the Avenue intended to be made to lead
to … Great Scotland Yard." (fn. 12) As the house first appears in Boyle's
Court Guide for April, 1820, it was probably built in 1819.
Description of Structure.
These houses comprise the remaining portion of a terrace at the
west end of the north side of the street. They have a brick front of three
storeys over a basement, and a slate roof with dormers. Across the fronts of
the houses at the first-floor level is a continuous balcony with a shaped
wrought-iron railing. The entrance doorways are set in an arched recess
with side lights and semicircular radiating fanlights over (Plate 101).
No. 3 has a segmental front with stone Doric columns to the entrance
door supporting a pedimented head over a semicircular fanlight. This doorway was formed when
Nos. 1–2, Whitehall Place were demolished.
Lead rainwater head in Whitehall Place
Condition of Repair
The lead rainwater-head with the Royal
monogram records the period of erection, and there
are also preserved some old lamp brackets to the
There are no interior features of interest.
The staircases are in stone with iron balustradings.
Certain structural alterations have been carried out
in connecting the houses, and some of the fireplaces
have been blocked up.
The names of the occupiers of Nos. 3 to 8, Whitehall Place, according to Boyle's Court
Guide, before the houses became used for offices, are as follows:
|1815–24||Baron Henry Fagel (fn. 13) |
|1826–32||Earl of Kingston (fn. 14) |
|1835||Rt. Hon. H. Goulburn|
|1824–27||Rt. Hon. Charles Williams Wynn|
|1828||Sir R. Vyvyan|
|In 1829 the Metropolitan Police Office was
established here and remained until 1890,
when it was removed to New Scotland Yard.
As the house, though in Whitehall Place,
backed on to Great Scotland Yard, the
police headquarters became generally referred
to as "Scotland Yard." (fn. 15) |
|This house was used as offices from the
beginning, at first as the Audit Office,
and afterwards as the Office of the
Commissioners for French Claims
and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.|
|1818||Captain Lock, W. J. Adams, (fn. 16)
|1819||Captain Lock, W. J. Adam,
|1820–33||Lord James Stuart|
|1834–37||J. Walbanke Childers|
|1838–59||Lord P. James H. Crichton-Stuart|
|1825–26||Arthur C. Marsh|
|1828–32||Sir C. Wetherell|
|1833–43||Mr. Sergeant Merewether|
|1820–32||Mr. Sergeant Cross|
|1833–42||Hon. Sir John Cross|
Henry Goulburn was born in 1784, and entered Parliament in 1808. In 1810 he was
appointed under-secretary for the home department, and in 1812 under-secretary for war and the
colonies. On resigning in 1821 he was appointed chief secretary to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, a
post which he held until 1827. In the following year he became chancellor of the exchequer in the
Duke of Wellington's administration, which lasted until 1830. In 1834–5 he was home secretary,
and from 1841 to 1846 was chancellor of the exchequer for a second time. He died in 1856.
Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, politician and friend of the poet Southey, born in
1775, was the second son of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, of Wynnstay, Denbighshire. He was
educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to the Bar from Lincoln's Inn
in 1798. In 1797 he entered Parliament as member for Old Sarum, but in '1799 was returned
for Montgomeryshire, a seat which he retained until his death in 1850, when he was "father"
of the House. He was under-secretary of state for the Home Department in 1806–7 and president
of the board of control in 1822–8. For the greater portion of the latter period he was resident
at No. 4, Whitehall Place, whither he had removed from No. 6, Whitehall (see p. 182).
Sir Richard Rawlinson Vyvyan, son of Sir Vyall Vyvyan, of Trelowarren, was born in
1800 and succeeded to the baronetcy in 1820. In 1825 he entered parliament, where he obtained
a reputation as an extreme Tory. He remained a member (with one break of four years, 1837–41)
until 1857, when he retired from public life. He was much interested in science and published
several scientific works. He died in 1879.
Lord Patrick James Herbert Crichton-Stuart, son of John, Lord Mount Stuart, and brother
of the second Marquess of Bute, was born in 1794. In 1817 he assumed by sign manual the
additional surname and arms of Crichton. It seems probable that the entries in Boyle's Court
Guide for 1820–23 of "Lord James Stuart" refer to Lord Patrick, who was certainly in residence
at No. 6 in 1820, as he was one of the five "inhabitants of Whitehall Place" who signed a petition
on 22nd April, 1820, for the thoroughfare to be 70 feet wide. (fn. 17) Lord Patrick died in 1859, and
in the following year his son, Lt.-Col. James Frederick Dudley Crichton-Stuart, sold (fn. 18) the lease of
No. 6, Whitehall Place, to Messrs. White, Barrett and White, a firm of solicitors, who, with other
solicitors, are shown at the house in the Post Office London Directory for 1861.
John Walbanke Childers was son of Col. John Walbanke Childers and Selina, daughter of
Sir Sampson Gideon, Baron Eardley. He was M.P. for Cambridgeshire in 1833 and for Malton
from 1835 to 1852.
Sir Charles Wetherell, son of Nathan Wetherell, dean of Hereford and master of
University College, Oxford, was born in 1770. In 1794 he was called to the Bar and in 1816 was
made K.C. In 1817 he distinguished himself in his defence of James Watson, who was tried for
high treason in connection with the Spa Fields riots. His parliamentary career lasted from 1812
to 1832, and was notable for his violent and extreme toryism. He became solicitor-general, and
was knighted, in 1824, and in 1826 and again in 1828 was attorney-general. From this post he
was dismissed on account of his bitter opposition to the Roman Catholic Emancipation Bill. His
visit to Bristol in 1831 as recorder led to rioting, in the course of which he was stoned and only
escaped from the city with difficulty. He died in 1846.
Wetherell was succeeded at No. 7, Whitehall Place, in 1832 by Henry Alworth Merewether. The latter was born in 1780. He was called to the Bar in 1809, and was created serjeant-atlaw in 1827. In 1842 he was elected town clerk of the City of London, relinquishing an income
of £5,000 a year by taking up the post. He resigned in 1859 and died in 1864. His last appearance
in respect of No. 7, Whitehall Place, in Boyle's Court Guide is in the issue of January, 1843, so that
he apparently gave up the house shortly after his appointment as town clerk.
Sir John Cross, born in 1766, was called to the Bar in 1795 and appointed serjeantat-law in 1819. In 1827 he was made king's serjeant and in 1831 was appointed a judge of the
court of bankruptcy and knighted. He afterwards became chief judge. He died suddenly at
No. 8, Whitehall Place, on 5th November, 1842, on his return from his court at Westminster.
In the Council's collection are:
(fn. 19) General elevation of exterior (photograph).
(fn. 19) Sketch of lead rainwater head (drawing).
(fn. 19) Ground plan of Nos. 1 and 2 (1840) (copies of drawings in the possession of H.M.
Commissioners of Crown Lands).
(fn. 19) Ground plans of Nos. 4 and 5 (1840) (copies of drawings in the possession of H.M
Commissioners of Crown Lands).
First-floor plan Nos. 3 and 4 (1840) (copies of drawings in the possession of H.M.
Commissioners of Crown Lands).
(fn. 19) Ground plan of No. 6 (1840) (copy of drawing in the possession of H.M. Commissioners
of Crown Lands).