Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1913.
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CXXI.—CATHARINE LODGE, TRAFALGAR SQUARE.
Ground landlord, leaseholder, etc.
General description and date of structure.
Catharine Lodge (formerly Bath Lodge) belongs to the border line between the 18th and the 19th centuries. The main block, comprising the principal apartments of the original house, is of two storeys, the buildings north of it having three floors. It is built mainly of stock brick with stone window casings, string course, etc.; on the garden side (looking west) is a lofty loggia, with roof supported by four stone columns. The large garden extends almost to Church Street.
The interior is spacious and well proportioned. A fine stone staircase, with wrought iron balustrade, leads to the first floor. This stair is said to have been brought from Bath House, Piccadilly, but its character is little, if any, earlier than the house itself. An opening, flanked by columns, leads from the half landing to what is the first floor of the northern block.
The first floor is occupied by three rooms:—a large drawing-room, in the proportion of the favourite double cube on the east, overlooking the square; an ante-room to the south; and a large room looking west. In the last is a good chimney-piece in white marble, with the seated figure of a woman carved on the frieze, and a bunch of flowers at either end. The other rooms have plain marble fire-places of similar design, without carving.
Condition of repair.
This house is marked "Bath Lodge" on Thompson's view of 1836, and it was known by that name until about the year 1852, when it became a girls' school under the management of Mrs. Field and Miss Lowman. The former, we are told in an account of the house contributed to The Katharine Wheel (the School's magazine) for December, 1891, re-named the house after her grand-daughter, Catharine Johns. The school was carried on later by Miss C. Hall, the writer of the paper just quoted, and among her reminiscences of the past history of the establishment, she mentions the tradition that Catharine Lodge was built to receive the staircase described above "in discharge of a gambling debt" and that it came from Bath House in Piccadilly. The further rumours of which she speaks, that Catharine Lodge itself "was used as a gambling house [and] that the Prince Regent himself was a frequent visitor," are as far as we know, entirely unverified.
In the Council's ms. collection are:—
Front (east) view (photograph).
Garden front (west) (photograph).
(fn. 1)Hall and staircase (photograph).
Staircase from half landing (photograph).
Study, chimney-piece (photograph).