Survey of London: Volume 16, St Martin-in-The-Fields I: Charing Cross. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1935.
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CHAPTER 24: XII—NOS. 21 TO 24, COCKSPUR STREET (DEMOLISHED) AND THE TWO CHAIRMEN
History of the Site.
The site of these premises was during the greater part of the seventeenth century occupied by the White Hart inn. By some means this, as well as the property adjoining to the west on the south side of Warwick (now Warwick House) Street, had come into the hands of Thomas, Viscount Falconbridge, (fn. n1) who on 30th December, 1684, granted the inn to Samuel Aubery on a building lease (fn. n2) for 70 years from the preceding Christmas.
Little is known of The White Hart, which seems nevertheless to have been one of the most important inns in the neighbourhood. The earliest occupier who can be identified with certainty was Thomas Sparkes, or Parkes, (fn. n3) who was there from 1628 to 1641. In 1644–5 Richard "Sparks" is shown in the ratebooks for what appears to be the inn, and his widow from 1652 to 1657. From 1659 to 1668 John Howard (fn. n4) was the occupier, and was succeeded by his widow until 1672. "Mrs Hill at the White Hart" is shown in the ratebook for 1673. In the following year Bryan Westland appears and continues until 1684. "Widow Buckler" is shown in 1685, and thereafter the inn disappears. This was the result of the operations of Samuel Aubery, who pulled the inn down, and on its site erected eight houses, some of which had frontages on Cockspur Street, while the others were disposed in a court called White Hart Court. The court, which appears to have had its entrance on or close to the site of The Two Chairmen, first appears in the ratebook for 1687. The ground leased to Aubery constituted only a portion of the Falconbridge property, which extended 116 feet further west. (fn. n5)
Falconbridge died in 1701, leaving (fn. n6) all his freehold messuages "scituate … in Warwick Streete in the Parish of St. Martins in the Feilds and St. James Westminster" to his wife for life and afterwards to his godson, Thomas Frankland. On the death of the latter (then Sir Thomas) in 1747 all his landed property was bequeathed (fn. n7) to trustees with instructions to dispose of it by sale. No record of such sale has been found, but the property in Cockspur Street and Warwick Street is found in the following year in the possession of Sir Jeremy Sambrooke. Aubery's lease expired at Christmas, 1754, and on 2nd November, 1753, Sambrooke granted to Joseph Pearce another building lease (fn. n8) of the premises. The plot is described as containing "in front next Cock Spurr Street from East to West 62 feet 2 Inches, (fn. n9) and from thence Runneth in a Straight Line west or south westwards 16 feet, and from thence … Southward 3 feet and 6 Inches, and from thence … westwards or south westwards 12 feet and 5 inches, and from thence … Southwards 36 feet and 5 Inches quite up to a wall Called Old Spring garden wall, and from thence … Eastwards 63 feet and 6 Inches, and from thence … Northwards Inclining towards the East 16 feet, and from thence… northwards Inclining a Little more towards the East Fifty Three feet and 5 Inches, and … Eight messuages standing on the same peice of ground in the Occupations of Timothy Sheldrick, Henry Hadley, Christopher Moore, Sam1 Greenfield, Thos Cockran and Charles Simes." The first four of these are shown by the ratebooks to have occupied the street frontage. Pearce effected three sub-leases, (1) to William Crompton (24th May, 1754) (fn. n10) of 56 feet frontage, containing the houses of Sheldrick, Hadley and Moore and part of that of Greenfield; (2) to John Showrd (14th May, 1755) (fn. n11) with a frontage of 17 feet 2 inches; and (3) to Thomas Cockran (23rd May, 1754) (fn. n12) with a front of 12 feet 6 inches "with a messuage and part of a messuage standing thereon in the Occupation of the said Thos Cockran." The result was the erection of Nos. 22–24 (1), No. 21 (2) and The Two Chairmen (3). The new premises appear in the ratebook for 1756.
Description of Structure.
Nos. 21 to 24, Cockspur Street. These each comprised three storeys and an attic, over shops (Plate 91). Nos. 22–24 had a stucco front. No. 23 had a slight break forward, with quoins to the external angles and a bay window of three storeys with a flat roof which finished below the main cornice. No. 21 had a brick front, with a bay window to the first and second floors terminating with a wood modillion cornice. The interiors were uninteresting.
The Two Chairmen. This house comprises three storeys with an attic, over the public quarters. It has a bay window to the first and second floors which is surmounted by an iron railing. The interior contains no features of interest.
Condition of Repair.
|1777–90||Crompton and Son|
|1799–1803||Fras. Pontet (fn. n13)|
|1834–||Maria H. Cawthorn|
|1756–70||Messrs. Crompton and Spinnage|
|1771–90||Crompton and Son|
|1799–1825||Paul Colnaghi (fn. n14)|
|1833–34||Martin H. Lewis|
|1835–38||Fras. Graves & Co.|
|1840–||Martin H. Lewis|
|1786–93||Richd Jeston Case|
|1810–32||John Main & Son|
|1806–12||John & Wm Frost|
|The Two Chairmen.|
|1778–83||Wm Lord (fn. n15)|
|1784–85||Wm Wilson (fn. n16)|
|1786||John Barber (fn. n16)|