CHAPTER 33: XVI—NOS. 45 AND 47, WHITEHALL
The premises are the freehold of the Crown.
History of the Site.
On the southern portion of the land granted to Basil in 1611 (see
p. 213) he built a large house which he leased for a term expiring on
25th March, 1643, to Sir Charles Wilmot. (fn. 1) Sir Charles first appears in the
ratebooks in respect of this house in 1612. In 1627 Elizabeth, Basil's widow,
granted a further lease of 28 years from 1643 to Arthur Wilmot on behalf
of Sir Charles, then Viscount, Wilmot. Lord Wilmot died in the latter
part of 1643 or early in 1644, leaving the house (fn. 2) "neere Charinge Crosse &
adioyninge upon Scotland Yard wherein hee then dwelt" to his son Henry
(afterwards 1st Earl of Rochester) for life, and afterwards to Charles his
grandson. Both died intestate, and the property came into the hands of
Anne, Countess of Rochester, in trust for her son John, the 2nd Earl. "By
reason of the Warr & great distemper of the tymes," Henry the 1st Earl
had not been "in a capacity to looke after or take possession of the premisses," (fn. 3)
and the rent due under the lease had not been paid, with the result that
Elizabeth Basil had re-entered, and the house had been let to Lady Mary
Harvey, who first appears in the ratebooks as occupier in 1649. A survey
of the house made in 1650 runs as follows: (fn. 4)
"All that Messuage or Tenemt built wth Brick and Covered
wth Tyle, scituate … at Cheringe Crosse, adjoyninge to Scotland
yard on ye west, consistinge of one Halle Wainscoted halfe way
and paved wth Tyle pavemts, one Parlor Wainscoted, one Pantry
and one Seller under the same, alsoe backward one Kitchen paved,
one Larder, and betweene th'aforesaid Parlor and Kitchen an
Open place like a Cloyster, and two Chambers over the same
Kitchen and Larder. And above stayres in the first story one large
and spacious Roome called the Dyneing Roome, well floored, seeled
and Lighted, and one wth drawinge Roome, and one other faire
Chamber adioyninge to the same, alsoe backwards one other
Chamber Well Wainscoted, and in the second story 4 Chambers and
two Closetts Wainscoted, and a Belcony leaded lyeinge towards
Scotland yard, and in the third story 4 handsom garretts. th'aforesaid Roomes are well in repaire, and well Lighted & seeled and
floored, and contayne by admeasuremt 94 feete of assize in Length
and 34 feete in breadth now in the occupation of the Lady Harvey
and is worth per annum .........................lxiiijli."
From the facts that the street frontage was 34 feet and that Wilmot
House was the northern boundary of Denham Buildings (see p. 209) it
follows that the site corresponded, at any rate towards the street, with that
of the present Nos. 45 and 47, Whitehall.
Lady Harvey let the premises on 7th June, 1660, to "Mr Willoughby," and the ratebooks for 1660 and 1661 show "Coll. Willowby"
in occupation. In 1663 his place is taken by George Stepney (fn. 5) who
continues until 1668, when he was succeeded by his widow, Jane. The Hearth
Tax Rolls for 1666 and 1674 show the house as assessed at 15 and 14 hearths
respectively. In the latter year the Countess Dowager of Rochester leased
to Jane Stepney "a Messuage call'd Wilmott-house … adjoyning to
Scotland Yard" for 31 years. (fn. 6) In 1738 the house comprised two messuages
described (fn. 7) as: (i) "All that Messuage … situate … on the East
side of Charing Cross Street … now in the possession of John Millan,
Bookseller … and also All those severall Tenemts Rooms and appartments
comonly called the Lodgings, being in part over the Shop now in the
possession of the said John Millan and now in the several tenures …
of John Winbush, John Cox Esqr, — Norint and Philip Davies,"
abutting north on the house of Edward Hurst and Old Man's Coffee
House and south on Scotland Yard and Denhams Buildings; and (ii) "All
that Messuage … situate … in the First Scotland Yard near Whitehall …
late in the possession of … William Burton & now of … Mary Johnstone"
abutting west and north on Millan's house, and south on Scotland Yard.
John Millan, whose shop, according to the above, occupied the whole
of the street frontage, was a well-known bookseller and publisher. (fn. 8)
Millan's occupation (fn. 9) lasted from 1735 to 1781, when he was succeeded
by Mary Egerton in 1782 and Thomas Egerton in 1783.
Humphrey Edwin (see p. 213) had in 1738 obtained a reversionary
lease for 30 years from Christmas, 1756, and on 20 May, 1759, a further
lease for 22½ years from 5th January, 1786. On its termination Thomas
Egerton in 1814 obtained a new lease for 80 years from 5th April, 1808.
The site is described (fn. 10) as "containing in front towards Charing Cross
Street … 35 feet … and extending from thence Eastwards on the North
Side thereof 93 feet 10 inches … then turning Southwards 47 feet
4 inches … from thence extending Westwards 48 feet … then turning
Northwards 17 feet 3 inches … from thence extending Westwards 17 feet
… then turning Northwards 9 inches … and from thence extending
Westwards to Charing Cross Street … 31 feet … On part of which
… Ground there having been lately erected and are now standing Two
Messuages … fronting towards Charing Cross Street … numbered respectively 31 and 32." From the fact that the lease contained a clause for
the completion of the two houses it is evident that they were not yet finished.
On the other hand two leases (fn. 11) of Nos. 31 and 32, Charing Cross, by Egerton
to Thomas Harrison, dated 2nd and 3rd January, 1815, mention the houses
as built and occupied by Richard Langford and John Taylor respectively.
The date of erection is therefore 1814. On the renumbering of the street
in 1930 the houses became Nos. 45 and 47, Whitehall.
Description of Structure.
These houses consist of three storeys over shops and basements.
The first-floor windows are set in a brick recess. The rest of the front is
in plain brickwork.
No. 45 retains an iron balcony railing across the front, of the
familiar mass-produced pattern of the period.
There are no internal features of interest.
Condition of Repair.
In the Council's collection is:
General exterior to Whitehall (photograph).