Survey of London: Volume 18, St Martin-in-The-Fields II: the Strand. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1937.
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CHAPTER 12: DURHAM PLACE
Durham Place was, in the mediæval period, the most easterly of the mansions along the south side of the Strand in the parish of St. Margaret, Westminster (which originally included the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields). It extended from the boundary of York House on the west (approximately the west side of James Street) to Ivy Lane (approximately on a line running through the centre of Shell-Mex House (fn. n1) on the east.
Richard le Poor, Bishop of Durham, who had, as Bishop of Salisbury, carried out the removal of that see from Old to New Sarum in 1220, was the first known occupant of the house. The beautiful "Cathedral of the Waters" and the bishop's palace at Salisbury are sufficient evidence that he was a great builder and it is more than probable that Durham Place owed its existence to him. (fn. n2) In 1238, Otho, the papal legate, was lodged at "the Bishop of Durham's house near London" when the Oxford scholars came to ask pardon for attacking his attendants during his stay near Oxford. The scholars were required to take off their shoes and gowns on reaching the Bishop of Carlisle's Inn, which lay immediately to the east of Durham House. (fn. 263)
In 1258, Walter de Kirkham, Bishop of Durham, quarrelled with the King and refused to come to court. It was probably as a result of this quarrel that Simon de Montfort, the leader of the baronial opposition to the King, was lodged at the Bishop's house during the summer of that year. Matthew Paris relates (fn. 263) that one day, whilst Henry III was being rowed on the Thames, he was forced by a violent storm to land near Durham House. Earl Simon came out to offer him shelter, declaring that there was no cause for alarm. The King replied: "Thunder and lightning I greatly fear, but, by the head of God, I fear thee more."
Leland states (fn. 264) that Durham Inn was built by Anthony Bek, who was bishop from 1285 to 1310, while William de Chambre, a fourteenth-century Durham chronicler, says that Thomas Hatfield (bishop in 1345–81) "manerium sive hospitium episcopale Londoniæ, cum capella et cameris sumptuosissime construxi." It is probable that both bishops did a certain amount of rebuilding there. Richard de Kellawe (bishop in 1311–16) appointed Sir John Dautre to be keeper "of our houses in le Charryng" (fn. 265) in 1312, but two years later the keepership was transferred to Ralph de Blida, citizen of London, who was "to repair and make ready our houses with victuals and necessaries for our stay during the next parliament to be held at Westminster." It is interesting to note that in 1312 the Bishop sent his "victuals" by sea from Durham when he came south to attend Parliament. (fn. 265)
In 1333 Edward III appointed his former tutor, Richard de Bury, to the See of Durham in opposition to the wishes of the monks, who had elected their sub-prior. Richard de Bury was chancellor in 1334–5 and treasurer in 1336, and he must therefore have been living in London during the greater part of these years and almost certainly used Durham House, but no direct evidence has been found of his residence there. Though in actual fact he was more a statesman than a scholar he is chiefly known to fame as the reputed author of the Philobiblon.
In February, 1380–1, Thomas, Bishop of Durham, granted (fn. 4) to William de Beverley and others, who had been deputed to appoint twelve chaplains to celebrate divine service within his manor in London "two chambers in the said manor, viz a vaulted chamber under the chapel and a sollar by the entrance of the chapel towards the north, and the vestibule of the chapel with two chambers adjoining, and the whole inn with houses on the east side of the north gate of the manor, inhabited by the said William de Beverly, and a quarter of a garden within the walls thereof, extending from the garden entrance northwards as far as the king's highway, 160 feet in length and 140 in breadth, (fn. n3) and a waste without the manor opposite its north gate." The Bishop of Durham's garden originally contained about two acres of ground since it extended to the river and, prior to 1603, was wider than it is shown on the 1626 plan (see p. 92). The profits of the garden were, in mediæval times, one of the usual perquisites of the keeper of Durham Place. (fn. 4) A rough elevation of the chapel is given on the plan, where it is shown as a battlemented building with large windows at the south-east corner of the outer court adjoining the garden.
The great hall of Durham House abutted on the river from which direct access was obtained by means of a flight of steps. The hall was described by Norden circa 1592 as "stately and high, supported with loftie marble pillers. It standeth upon the Thamise very pleasantly." (fn. 266) There seems little doubt that it is a part of this building that is shown on the left of the view reproduced in Plate 2d. (fn. n4) In 1474 the hall was the scene of a rough-and-tumble fight typical of the disorders of the times. The then bishop, Lawrence Booth, was Lord Chancellor, and a certain Thomas Buyshop, grocer, who had been committed to the Counter for debt, was haled before him in his great hall for trial. The proceedings were interrupted by the arrival of "oon Thomas Gibbes, oon of the pety capitaynes in the Viage [voyage] late purposed into the parties of Burgoyne … accompanyed with other mysdoers of his affinite … defensibly arraied for the werre (who) then and there with force toke and rescued the seid Thomas Buysshop." A fight ensued which resulted in one of the sheriff's men being carried off a prisoner. (fn. 267)
There were, necessarily, long periods during which the bishop was not in residence at Durham Place, but during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, when several of the bishops of Durham held the chancellorship, the great hall must frequently have been used, as in the case cited above, for trials in equity. The buildings were also increasingly used for the accommodation of royal and other guests. In 1412 when "prynce Herry, the sone of King Herry the forthe" came to London, he "lay at the bysshoppes inne of Durham," (fn. 268) Thomas Langley, the then bishop, being one of his political supporters. Catherine of Aragon seems to have stayed there in 1502 for there is an entry in the Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York of a payment "for conveyeng the Princesse in the Quenes barge with xvi rowers from the Bisshop of Duresme Place to Westminster and from Westminster again the vith day of November." (fn. 269)
Letters to and from Wolsey show (fn. 7) that he was living at Durham House in 1516–18, probably during the completion of his building operations at York Place, (fn. n5) (fn. 9) He was on very friendly terms with the then Bishop of Durham, Thomas Ruthall, Keeper of the Privy Seal, who has been described as "singing treble to the cardinal's bass." Ruthall died at Durham House on 4th February, 1522–3, and was succeeded in his occupancy of the see by Wolsey. The latter purchased from Ruthall's executors a lot of the furnishings of Durham House, but he does not seem to have used it as a residence (fn. n6) until 1528, when he removed thither from York Place where he was rebuilding the great hall. (fn. n7)
In September, 1528, an inventory was taken of the furniture of Durham House and extra furnishings were provided from York Place and Hampton Court. (fn. 270) Late in 1529 Wolsey resigned the See of Durham, and Cuthbert Tunstall was appointed as his successor early in the following year. If Foxe's statement (fn. 271) can be trusted, Sir Thomas Boleyn (afterwards Earl of Wiltshire), the father of Anne Boleyn, was already in residence at Durham House in the summer of 1529 when Cranmer was entertained there in order that he might have quietude to write "his minde concerninge the Kinges question," i.e. the divorce. Anne Boleyn seems to have been living there in May, 1532. (fn. 7)
In July, 1536, Cuthbert, Bishop of Durham, granted to the King "all that his capytall messuage … comenly called Durham Place, wyth all Houses, Buyldyngs, Gardeyns, Orcheards, Pooles, fysshyngs, stables and all other commodytes … late in the occupacyon of the Right Honourable Thomas, Erle of Wyltshyre; and also all … other his messuages … wythin the Towne of Westminster," in exchange for the "capytall mesuage … called Cold Herbrow, sett … in Teames Strete " and messuages in the parishes of "All halowez" and "Graschurche." (fn. 272) This was probably a poor exchange for the Bishop. Henry VIII at once made use of Durham House for the entertainment of ambassadors and others. In May, 1540, "their was a great triumphe of justing at the Kinges place at Westminster," and afterwards the "chalengers rode to Durham Place, where they kept open howsehold … [and] feasted the Kings Majestie, the Queenes Grace and her ladies with all the court … [with] delicious meates and drinckes." (fn. 273)
In 1544 the King made a grant to Nicholas Fortescue, groom porter of his household, of 22 messuages and gardens lying between Durham House and Ivy Lane. (fn. n8) (fn. 274) These were the tenements known as Durham Rents, and they occupied approximately the Strand frontage between the present Ivy Bridge Lane (entered by an archway between Nos. 75 and 76, Strand) and the east side of the entrance to the old Hotel Cecil (see pp. 120–1). Humphrey Cooke, the owner of the Christopher on the site of Northumberland Street (see p. 21), and master of the King's works in Berwick-on-Tweed, was keeper of Durham Place and bailiff of "le Duresme rentes" in the early years of Henry VIII's reign. (fn. 7) Richard Fawkes was "dwellyng in duram rent" when he printed Skelton's Garlande in 1523 and The Myrroure of Oure Lady in 1530. Robert Wyer, who had his own press in York Rents soon after (see p. 58), is said to have been his apprentice.
Edward VI resided at Durham Place for a time before he became king, (fn. n9) but in March, 1549–50, he granted it to Princess Elizabeth in fulfilment of his father's will. In the meantime a commission was granted (January, 1549), (fn. 4) to "John Bowes, esquire, treasurer of the mint within the king's manor called Dureham Place," (fn. n10) and others "to coin certain new moneys" there, viz., the "soveraygne of gold," the "half soveraygn or Edward Royall," the "croune" and the "half croune."
In July, 1550, the French Ambassador was lodged at Durham Place "which was richly hanged … and had at his cominge ready sett in the court of the same, for a present from the Kinges Maiestie, certeine fatt oxen, calves, sheepe, lambes and all manner of wyld foule of every sorte, a certain [number] all alive, and also of all manner of freshe fyshe of the best that might be gotten, with wyne allso in his cellar." (fn. 273) The Privy Council met at Durham Place in April, 1551, and about this time the house was made ready for the entertainment of the French Ambassadors, who came to ratify the peace. (fn. 275)
Early in 1553 John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, took possession of Durham Place and contrived to get Elizabeth's consent thereto, though not without her "conceyvinge some displeser" against him. (fn. 276) In this year three weddings "were celebrated with great magnificence there." (fn. 277) They were those of Lady Jane Grey with Guildford Dudley, Catherine, Jane's sister, with Lord Herbert, son of the Earl of Pembroke, and Catherine, youngest daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, with Lord Hastings, son of the Earl of Huntingdon.
Lady Jane lived at Durham Place until the death of King Edward, when, after her proclamation, she "was brought by water to the Tower; attended by a Noble Train of both Sexes." (fn. 278) Her brief tragedy was soon at an end, and her successor, Queen Mary, restored Durham Place to its original owner, the Bishop of Durham, Cuthbert Tunstall. (fn. 279) Tunstall was no "Vicar of Bray," and suffered in consequence. In 1551 he had been confined to his house near Coldharbour, and during his imprisonment had written his De Veritate Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi in Eucharistia, perhaps the best contemporary statement of the Catholic doctrine of the eucharist. He refused to take the oath of supremacy at the accession of Elizabeth, and "for his contumacy and disobedience" (fn. 280) was deprived of his bishopric. He died at Lambeth Palace in November, 1559.
In January, 1553–4, Durham House had been used as a lodging for the Spanish Ambassador, (fn. 281) and in the following year King Philip himself resided there. (fn. 282) After the death of Tunstall it is probable that Elizabeth again took possession. In any case the Spanish Ambassador was lodged there from 1559 until 1565. (fn. 277) Machyn tells us that on Candlemas Day, 1562–3, "ther was sertyn men whent to Duram plase … to here masse, and there was sertyn of them carved [carried] by the gard and othur men to the contur [compter, prison] and odur places." (fn. 281) A great deal of stir was made by De Quadra, the Spanish Ambassador, regarding this incident, since it concerned not only the right of an ambassador to use the ceremonies of his faith, but also his control over his ambassadorial residence. A similar incident occurred in the time of Charles I (see p. 93).
In July, 1565, Elizabeth supped at Durham Place on the occasion of the wedding there of Henry Knollys, son of Sir Francis Knollys, with Margaret, the daughter of Sir Ambrose Cave, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 277) (fn. n11) At some time in this year, Sir Henry Sidney Seems to have obtained possession of the house, (fn. n12) and he remained there until February, 1579, when he moved to Baynard's Castle. (fn. 202) In May, 1566, the Queen supped at Durham House with the Earl of Leicester (Sidney's brother-in-law), (fn. 93) and in 1572 the Earl of Essex seems to have been staying there, since he dated a letter thence. (fn. 93) In March, 1567–8, Sir Henry Sidney wrote from Durham House asking Archbishop Parker "for a licence to be granted to my boy, Philip Sidney, who is somewhat subject to sickness, for eating of flesh this Lent." (fn. 283) Philip Sidney was then at school at Shrewsbury, but probably spent some part of his holidays at his father's London house.
Sir Walter Ralegh was in residence at Durham House in 1591 and probably earlier. (fn. n13) Norden says (fn. 266) that the Queen "committed the use" of the house to Ralegh, but it is certain, both from his and his wife's letters on the subject, that he never obtained any formal grant of the property, and it seems very doubtful that it was the Queen's to give. Aubrey says that Ralegh "after he came to his greatness" lived in Durham House, "or in some apartment of it," and adds, "I well remember his study, which was a little turret which looked into and over the Thames, and had the prospect which is pleasant perhaps as any in the world, and which not only refreshes the eiesight but cheeres the spirits and (to speake my mind) I believe enlarges an ingeniose man's thoughts." (fn. n14) (fn. 285)
Ralegh certainly merits the description "ingeniose," for his interests were exceptionally wide even in that versatile age. He was on friendly terms with most of the literary men of the day, and was as keen to investigate the metaphysical world as he was to explore the physical. His visitors at Durham House must have been many and varied, but only a few of their names have come down to us. In 1592–3 he was on intimate terms with the deist, Thomas Harriot, and the dramatist, Christopher Marlowe, whose religious views were equally unorthodox, an association which nearly got Ralegh into serious trouble with the authorities. In October, 1595, there is a note in the diary of Dr. John Dee, the mathematician and astrologer, that he "dyned with Syr Walter Rawlegh at Durham House." Dee had acquired a lifelong reputation as a magician owing to the clever stage effects he introduced into a performance of the Peace of Aristophanes at Cambridge in 1546, and he had recently been the leading spirit in a small society whose object was the discovery of the philosopher's stone. (fn. 119) He was probably an unwise associate for Ralegh, whose interest in metaphysics was already suspect.
Sir Arthur Gorges, poet, and his cousin, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, both of whom sailed with Ralegh on the Islands Voyage in 1597, dated letters from Durham House in 1595 and 1596 respectively. (fn. 201) Sir Ferdinando afterwards became a partisan of Essex, who was at enmity with Ralegh, and in February, 1599–1600, after the failure of Essex's revolt, Sir Ferdinando confessed that "Sir Christopher Blount had persuaded him to murder or seize Sir Walter," (fn. 286) though nothing came of the attempt.
Anne, Lady Cobham, was staying at Durham House in May, 1599, (fn. 201) and her husband, Sir Henry Cobham, who was associated with Ralegh in an embassy to Lord Grey in the Low Countries in July, 1600, (fn. n15) was to have been a visitor there after his return, but was prevented by the fire which consumed some of the buildings in October of that year. Lady Ralegh, in a letter (fn. 288) to Sir Robert Cecil, said that "this mischans of feeiar cam … by me cossin Darci's sarvant—a woman that delleth just under our loggong, and anoyeth us infenitly," and she suggested that "Hit will now be a fit time for you to get sum intres in that rotten howes for your selfe and your frind: other wies, I knoo none so unwies that will besto so many hundred pounes as Sur Wattar hath dun, without fardar intrest or assurans of hit. I besuch remembar hit now, soo shall not the Quine be trobled to bild the Bushope's ould stabels." Cecil wanted a strip of Durham House garden for use in connection with his own house in the Strand which was then in building (see p. 120), but he made no effort to obtain it until after Elizabeth's death. Then, thanks to the machinations of Henry Howard, afterwards Earl of Northampton, Ralegh found himself completely out of favour at Court, and Cecil wasted no time in getting him expelled from Durham House and a grant of part of the ground for himself. It is difficult to acquit Cecil of duplicity in the matter, for until the death of his mistress he to all appearances treated Ralegh as a friend and neighbour, yet a fortnight afterwards he was in treaty with the Bishop of Durham for Ralegh's eviction. (fn. n16) As he himself wrote to Sir James Harington at this time: " 'Tis a great task to prove one's honesty and yet not mar one's fortune." (fn. 290) One of James's first acts as King of England was to address a warrant to the Lord Keeper and others (fn. 200) in which, after stating that "upon examination … of the matter between the Bishop of Duresme and those that now dwell in his house … it appeareth that neither the said dwellers have any right therein nor we," he ordered that warning should be given "to Sir Walter Raliegh, Knight, and Sir Edward d' Arcy to delyver quyet possession of the said house to the said Bishop. …" Ralegh was told to give up the use of the stables and garden at once and to vacate the rest of the buildings by midsummer. He made a vigorous protest against this summary treatment, but it was of no avail, and, in fact, a month later he was a prisoner in the Tower under charge of treason. One of the chief sources of suspicion against him was his "reasonable causes for discontent"!
During the early part of James I's resign, Durham House was shorn of its Strand and Ivy Lane frontages, both of which were granted to Cecil (then Earl of Salisbury). The stables along the Strand front were taken down and the New Exchange erected in their stead (see pp. 94–5) and the Ivy Lane frontage was used for Great and Little Salisbury Houses (see pp. 120–1). The main buildings of Durham House were nominally restored to the See of Durham, but in practice the King seems to have made use of them for state purposes whenever he wished. In 1610 Durham House was used for the ceremony of the creation of Knights of the Bath. (fn. 291) In 1619 Sir Thomas Wilson wrote that the ambassadors of France, Savoy and the States were staying there. (fn. 196) In 1623, when Prince Charles was expected to bring back the Infanta from Spain as his betrothed, Durham House was requisitioned to accommodate the "grandees" who would attend her. (fn. 93) In the following year the French Ambassador was again in occupation, and 240 feet of hangings were put up in the "Dyning roome and presence" and his bedchamber was "new matted with Bullrush matts." (fn. 292) (fn. n17) Foreign ambassadors were a constant source of disturbance about the English Court at this time, being continually involved in quarrels over questions of precedence or over their religious privileges. A serious dispute on the latter subject occurred at Durham House in 1626. (fn. 93) The King had asked the Bishop of Durham to allow the French Ambassador "some Lodgings in his house, which had stood free from infection all ye Sickness time; which the said Bishop performed, crouding vp himself and his whole family being great, into the worst and basest roomes of his house, leaving all the good and large roomes thereof, with others, to the number of 30 one with another, to the Ambassrs vse; yet reserving to himself and his family passage through the Hall and through all ye Gates and dores, leading either to the Water, or High Street." The Ambassador was, of course, allowed to have Mass celebrated within his lodging, but considerable scandal arose from the fact that many English Catholics attended. On Sunday, the 26th February, constables were sent to arrest these recusants as they came out from Mass. A fight with the Ambassador's men ensued, and afterwards a long investigation was found necessary to mollify the Ambassador's offended dignity. The rough plan of Durham House reproduced on the opposite page was drawn to show what had taken place, since the main point at issue was whether or no the English officers had trespassed on the Ambassador's domain in order to make their arrests. This, the only known plan of the area of Durham House, gives a rough idea of the disposition of the courts and buildings, but no accuracy of scale or detail can be expected from it. (fn. n18)
Considering the large cost of repairs necessary for so old a fabric and the small enjoyment he had from it, the Bishop of Durham was probably only too glad to agree to Charles I's proposal in 1641 that Durham House should be granted to Philip, 4th Earl of Pembroke, in return for the annual payment of £200. (fn. n19) An Act of Parliament to this effect was, therefore, passed. (fn. 294) Webb, the pupil of Inigo Jones, designed a large house to occupy this site, but, probably owing to the outbreak of the Civil War, the design was never carried out. (fn. n20) Parliamentary soldiers were quartered in the old buildings in 1650, (fn. n21) and the chapel became for a time a church for French Protestants. (fn. n22)
Soon after the Restoration Pembroke's son, the 5th Earl, decided to take down the dilapidated old house and lease the site in building plots. (fn. 295) The new lay-out of the ground is shown on the extract from Morden and Lea's map of 1682 (p. 27). A few moderate-sized houses were erected on the south side of Durham Yard with gardens to the river, (fn. n23) but from the first there were wharves on the river front used for commercial purposes, and soon the greater part of the site was covered with courts of little houses occupied by small traders and artisans. (fn. n24) By the middle of the eighteenth century Durham Yard had become a slum, and by the time the Adam brothers took it over, practically all the buildings were in ruins. (fn. n25)
The New Exchange (The site of Nos. 54–64, Strand).
By a complicated series of transactions extending over the years 1603–10, the Earl of Salisbury obtained possession of a piece of ground about 208 feet in length by 60 feet in depth on the south side of the Strand between York House and the gatehouse of Durham Place. (fn. n26) There, on the site of the old stables which, according to Stow, (fn. 301) had become "but a low ruin … ready to fall, and very unsightly," Salisbury erected "a very goodly and beautiful building … after the fashion of the Royall Exchange in London, with Sellers underneath, a walke fairely paved above it, and Rowes of Shops above, as also one beneath answerable in manner to the other, and intended for the like trades and mysteries."
According to the illustrations on Plate 58 the building consisted of two storeys, the lower having an open arcade which, on the plan from the Smithson collection reproduced here, is described as a "Closter," and figured 201 feet in length and 21 feet in width. Behind the arcade was ranged a long double row of shops with a central gangway 10 feet wide. There were three entrances from the Strand, and at each end staircases led to the upper floor. In the rear was a yard extending on the western side to a greater depth and including further buildings southwards.
The front of the market was apparently erected in brick with stone dressings and divided into bays by pilasters, which treatment, according to the Smithson drawing (Plate 58a), was repeated to the upper storey, finishing above the parapet with ball terminals. The central bay and the two wings were carried up to form gables. The Smithson drawing, which shows the design of only half of the front of the building, represents a rather ornamental exterior with scrolls and details of the Jacobean period of architecture, and the general effect is light and spirited. It is, however, doubtful whether the design according to the Smithson drawing was ever carried out, as in the later engraving by Harris (Plate 58b), the pilasters to the upper storey are omitted and a high parapet is shown, linking up pedimented dormers in a steep pitched roof. Yet though the whole front bears a more severe appearance, the basis of the Smithson design can be seen.
The third view of the building, reproduced on Plate 58c, is from an ink and wash drawing in the Council's collection. It shows all the windows as square headed, and differs in several other details from the Harris engraving and is probably of a later date. The drawing was originally in the Gardner collection, and it seems likely that the drawing of the New Exchange by T.H. Shepherd, which is now in the Westminster Public Library, (fn. n27) was made from it.
The building was completed in November, 1608, (fn. n28) and in the April following it was officially opened by the King. (fn. 93) James I suggested that it should be called Britain's Burse, but the name did not catch on, and the building was usually referred to as the New Exchange. A list of orders was issued for its government, which provided that the only persons allowed to keep shops there were haberdashers, stocking-sellers, linen-drapers, seamsters, goldsmiths, jewellers, milliners, perfumers, silk mercers, tiremakers, hoodmakers, stationers, booksellers, (fn. n29) confectioners, girdlers and those who sold china ware, pictures, maps or prints. The shops were to be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in summer, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in winter. (fn. 93) The citizens of London at first opposed the enterprise as a possible rival to the Royal Exchange, (fn. 62) but their objections were overruled and were, indeed, ill-founded. The New Exchange did not meet with the success which was expected, though it enjoyed a considerable vogue in the reign of Charles II, when it became a favourite resort of ladies and their beaux. On 27th October, 1666, Pepys recorded that he and his wife took Mrs. Pierce and her boy and Knipp there, and "my wife bought things, and I did give each of them a pair of Jesimy plain gloves and another of white. Here Knipp and I walked up and down to see handsome faces, and did see several." Many such visits are mentioned in the Diary. (fn. n30)
The New Exchange survived until 1737, (fn. n31) though little is heard of it during the last few years of its existence. Eleven houses were built on the site, the centre and largest of which (afterwards numbered 59, Strand) was leased to George Middleton, goldsmith, the flourishing banking business of the firm of Middleton and Campbell being moved thither from the Three Crowns near Hungerford Market. Middleton died in 1747, and his brother-in-law, George Campbell, in 1761. Neither of them left a male heir, and the firm passed into the hands of the brothers, James and Thomas Coutts, (fn. n32) the elder of whom had married George Campbell's niece. No. 59 remained the "shop" of Coutts' Bank until 1904. The premises were extended to include Nos. 58, 57 and 56 early in the nineteenth century. Plans of the three houses are given on Plate 62a.
The 11 houses were designed as a comprehensive composition and comprised three storeys over shops and basement. They had a plain brick front relieved with a stone modillion cornice above the second-floor windows. No. 59 had a break forward with a pedimented front and formed the central feature of the block; the end houses forming the wings, though of less frontage, were treated in a complementary manner. A good illustration of the whole front as it was in 1852 is shown on Plate 59.
No. 55 had a wood staircase continuing in short flights around a top-lighted well. It had turned balusters and newels with a straight string and panelled dado. These details were typical of the staircases in the other houses.
No. 59 (Coutts' Bank) formerly had a pedimented doorcase to the private house. A doorway inserted in one of the windows formed the bank entrance (Plate 57b), but when No. 58 was added to it a stone front to the ground storey was introduced, which was divided into bays by Greek Doric pilasters supporting an entablature (Plate 59). Internal alterations were also carried out consequent upon the linking-up of the houses. The rooms generally were panelled and the mantelpieces carved. When the houses were demolished some of the panelling and mantelpieces were retained by the Council and are now preserved at the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch.
No. 59 had a stone staircase with iron bar balustrading. The doors leading from the landing on the first floor had good semicircular fanlights with radiating bars in lead and iron (Plate 65a), and there were also some elliptical borrowed lights in the walls to the staircase of a similar nature. In the basement was a cast-lead cistern with interlaced ribs on the front forming three decorative panels—the centre contained initials M/GM and the date 17–9 along the top (Plate 63a).
Thomas Coutts employed the brothers Adam, who were recommended to him by Lord Bute, an important customer at the bank, to reconstruct and redecorate his apartments. At various times between 1775 and 1817 Coutts bought most of the houses between John Street and William Street, and in 1799 he obtained authority by Act of Parliament to throw a bridge across William Street, thus connecting the two parts of the bank. The bridge (Plate 68b), which is of brick and stone, was designed by William Adam. The fee simple is now the property of the Council, and during the erection of the new premises on the site of Coutts' old bank, arrangements were made for this charming bridge to be preserved.
The famous Chinese wallpaper, which Lord Macartney brought back from China and presented to Thomas Coutts, was removed from the old drawing-room and fixed in the board room of the new bank premises across the Strand, as was also one of the eighteenth-century marble mantelpieces.
Durham House Gate and the Strand Frontage between it and Ivy Bridge Lane (the site of Nos. 65–75, Strand, The Tivoli, etc.).
When Salisbury acquired the stables of Durham House he also bought the gatehouse and lodgings adjoining. (fn. 288) These he demolished and rebuilt, making a way under the gatehouse and behind the New Exchange down to the river, which afterwards became Durham House Street. The gatehouse survived until circa 1790. (fn. 302) On Plate 56b is a view of it just before its demolition, which shows the steep incline of the street.
The remainder of the Strand frontage eastward to Ivy Bridge Lane was sold with the rest of Durham House in 1641, but was in separate ownerships before the end of the century. It was built up in small tenements, and at the beginning of the eighteenth century when it is possible to list the shops and their owners such varied signs are found among them as: The Golden Lion (John Holden), The White Lion (John Bignall), The King's Head (Daniel Duke), The Katherine Wheel and Shovell (Nicholas Sweeting), and the Golden Tun (Charles Wheeler, goldsmith). Charles Wheeler was a descendant of William Wheeler, goldsmith, whose daughter, Elizabeth, married Francis Child, the founder of Child's Bank. (fn. 39) It is probable that Child's Court, formed between 1720 and 1740 approximately on the site of Wheeler's shop near Ivy Bridge Lane, was so named because of this family connection. At about the same time a second court was formed further west nearer Durham Gate. This was called Theobald's Court after the Theobald family who owned part of the frontage there. (fn. 99)
Robert Adam leased the ground between Durham Gate and Ivy Bridge Lane in order to complete the Adelphi scheme. Adam Street was cut through to the Strand between Theobald's Court and Child's Court (the latter disappearing), and the house at the east corner (afterwards No. 73, Strand), was let to Thomas Becket, the bookseller and friend of Garrick. This house, which was then in the occupation of Mr. Fearn, jeweller and silversmith, was burnt down in June, 1822, (fn. 129) and afterwards rebuilt to the same design. A photograph of it is reproduced on Plate 61. The New Exchange Coffee House was the fourth house west of Adam Street, afterwards No. 69, Strand. The houses west of Adam Street were pulled down in 1924, and those east of Adam Street in 1927, the new premises on the site being set back to widen the Strand.