Survey of London: Volume 10, St. Margaret, Westminster, Part I: Queen Anne's Gate Area. Originally published by [s.n.], [s.l.], 1926.
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LVIII. No. 32 QUEEN ANNE'S GATE: (Formerly No. 12 Queen Square).
On 5th April, 1726, the Trustees appointed under the South Sea Company Act sold (fn. n1) to Samuel Mason "that parcell of ground, with brick messuage thereon, late in the occupation of Sir John Humble, Bart., being the fourth house on the north side of Queen Square." The dimensions are given as 28 feet 7 inches in front by 40 feet in depth, and the house is said to contain three storeys, with three rooms on each floor, two staircases, garrets in the roof, a kitchen and other offices below stairs "with a flatt leaded over part of them from the said messuage to the Park wall," two vaults under the square, a yard behind the house 29 feet 7 inches deep on the east side and 24 feet 6 inches on the west, and an iron railing before the front of the house.
These premises comprise a brick exterior in accord with the general treatment of the square, though the upper portion of the front wall has been raised, and the entrance doorway has had a porch added with fluted Doric columns. The back appears to have been rebuilt and probably extended, at a date about the end of the 18th century. This probably occurred during the years 1785–86 (see p. 131).
It has not been found possible to make a survey of the interior of the house, but it has been observed that the staircase possesses a wrought-iron balustrading with "S" panels, dating from about the end of the 18th century, and that the wall surfaces of the hall are plastered.
Condition of Repair.
|1706–23||Sir John Humble.|
|1732–38||Jas. D. Mason.|
|1775–99||Rev. Clayton Cracherode. (fn. n2)|
Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode, son of Colonel Mordaunt Cracherode, was born at Taplow in 1730. After an education at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, he took holy orders and for some time held the Curacy of Binsey, near Oxford. His father's death in 1773 left him in possession of a comfortable fortune, and thereafter he passed his time principally in his house in Queen Square amongst his books which formed his chief joy in life. His purchases were incessant, and at the time of his death he had massed "the choicest specimens of the earliest editions in classical and biblical literature, the rarest coins and gems, and the most exquisite prints which money could purchase." (fn. n3) With the exception of two books, he left the whole to the British Museum. He died in 1799 "after a severe struggle, in great pain" at the house in Queen Square which had been occupied (since 1755) by his father. (fn. n4) His own residence at the house was broken during the years 1785–86 and probably the early part of 1787, when it would seem that certain extensive alterations were carried out. During these years his residence was at what is now No. 36 Old Queen Street. After his death his sister Anne continued to occupy the house in Queen Square. (fn. n5)
Alexander Macleay, born in 1767 in Ross-shire, was the son of William Macleay, Provost of Wick and Deputy-Lieutenant of Caithness. In 1795 he became chief clerk in the prisonersof-war office in London, in 1797 head of the correspondence department of the Transport Board, and in 1806 Secretary of the Board. On the abolition of the Board in 1818 he was pensioned. In 1825 he went to New South Wales as Colonial Secretary for that colony, a position which he held until 1837. In 1843 he was elected Speaker of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, and in 1846 retired from public life. He died at Sydney in 1848. In 1794 he had become a Fellow of the Linnean Society, and from 1798 to 1825 was Secretary. By the latter date he had amassed "what was probably the finest collection of insects then in existence." (fn. n6) Three of his sons who must have been members of the family living at the house in Queen Square, also achieved distinction: (1) William Sharp Macleay, born in 1792, zoologist; (2) Sir George Macleay, born in 1809, Australian explorer and statesman; and (3) James Robert Macleay, born in 1811, of the Foreign Office.