Survey of London: Volume 3, St Giles-in-The-Fields, Pt I: Lincoln's Inn Fields. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1912.
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XII.—No. 52 LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS.
The London County Council.
General description of the structure.
These premises were demolished in 1912.
The house, although greatly altered from its original form, contained some 17th and 18th century work, and was of more architectural interest than No. 51. Plate 60, reproduced from a water-colour drawing by Mr. Philip Norman, gives a view of this and adjoining houses to the north in 1909.
The exterior (Plate 61) followed the lines of No. 51, and had the advantage of two more of the original pilasters; otherwise the alterations carried out towards the end of the 18th century were of a similar character to those executed at the former house.
The interior had a good staircase of deal, in seven flights, running from basement to attics. The top flight (Plate 66) was certainly contemporary with the erection of the house in 1640. The well-designed Italian form of turned balusters, 3½ inches thick, rested on a continuous string, and the newel posts were capped by ball finials. The remainder of the staircase appears to have been erected early in the 18th century, and was an example of the application of the ornamental bracket as a termination to each tread. The string supporting these retained its constructive character, and the balusters, 2½ inches thick, were an example of partial spiral turning. The newels were designed as Doric columns, and the moulded handrail ramped to these columns.
The ceiling of the first floor landing was vaulted in plaster, and was supported on the side next the stairs by wood pilasters.
Considerable alterations had been made to the remainder of the house, including the removal of the service staircase.
On the first floor, the architraves to the front windows were well carved with alternate scallop and leaf ornament, and the two front rooms had their original wood cornices.
The two "off" rooms at this level had ornamental plaster ceilings of poor late 18th-century design.
On the demolition of the house the undermentioned articles were preserved by the Council from destruction and are now in the London Museum:—
Two stone Ionic capitals.
Two stone strap ornaments.
Two stone bases.
Front cast-iron door knocker (lioness' head).
Staircase balustrading from second floor to attic floor, two flights.
Two wood Ionic capitals, first floor landing.
Short sample length of architrave, first floor front room.
Two brass locks, two handles and escutcheons, and four finger plates, second floor.
The residents at No. 52, according to the rate-books, were:—
Before 1700 until after 1703. Lady Littleton.
Before 1708 until after 1732. The lord chancellors.
|1738–51.||Earls of Abingdon.|
|1787–90.||Sir F. Blake.|
In the case of this house also some attempt can be made to fill up the gap between the erection of the house and the year 1700. The Jury Presentment List for 1683 shows that Lady Littleton was then in residence. A deed of 1686 (fn. 1), however, refers to the house as being then "in the tenure or occupation of Sir Thomas Littleton, Bart," and previously in that of "Dame Mary Ingram, Widow." (fn. 2) The deed of 1659 (fn. 3) states that the house was then in the latter's occupation.
Between Lady Ingram and Lady Littleton must be placed Lord Crewe, who is shown by the Hearth Tax Rolls to have been the occupier in in 1666, 1667 and 1675.
John Crew, Baron Crew, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Crew, serjeant-atlaw. He was a prominent member of the Long Parliament, and at the outbreak of the Civil War he supported the parliament against the king. He strongly disapproved, however, of the extreme measures adopted with regard to Charles I., and subsequently moved a resolution condemning the king's execution. He was one of the deputation that met Charles II. at the Hague, and after the Restoration he was raised to the peerage as Baron Crewe of Stene. His eldest daughter Jemima married Sir Edward Montagu, afterwards Earl of Sandwich, who in 1667 was residing in a house on the same side of Lincoln's Inn Fields. Lord Crew died in December, 1679.
Details of the four lord chancellors who resided in this and the adjoining house have been given already. Of the other residents it may be mentioned that the two Earls of Abingdon who resided at No. 52, were respectively Montagu Venables Bertie, the second earl, and his nephew Willoughby Bertie, third earl. The former died in June, 1743, the latter outlived his residence here by some years, dying in 1760.
The only other resident who calls for note is Sir Francis Blake, a political writer. His principal essays were collected and published in 1788 and 1795 under the title of Political Tracts. His occupation of the house lasted from 1787 to 1790, and he had previously (1780–1784) been resident at No. 59, Lincoln's Inn Fields. He died in 1818 at the age of 81.
In the Council's collection are—
* General view of Nos. 52 to 55 inclusive, from water colour drawing by Mr.
Philip Norman (photograph).
Staircase, first floor level (photograph).
Staircase, second floor (photograph).
* Staircase, top flight (photograph).
Two ornamental plaster ceilings, first floor "off" rooms (photographs).
Internal door and dado (photograph).
Vaulting under entrance passage (photograph).