Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1980.
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Nos. 22 and 23.
The present buildings here were erected as part of the extensive rebuilding of the block bounded by Oxford Street, North Audley Street, North Row and Park Street during the 1960's. For these and the previous buildings on the site see page 182.
Nos. 24–29 (consec.) North Audley Street and No. 1 Green Street
Nos. 24–29 (consec.) North Audley Street and No. 1 Green Street were rebuilt in 1891–3 to a uniform design by Thomas and F. T. Verity (Plate 26c). When the leases of the existing buildings on the site expired in 1890 the Grosvenor Board determined that rebuilding should take place and chose Thomas Verity as the architect. (fn. 1) He had recently designed a similar-sized block at Nos. 34–42 (consec.) South Audley Street (see page 324), and despite some difficulties there between himself and the lessees, had evidently impressed sufficiently to be given the job in North Audley Street. When he died in 1891 his son F. T. Verity was allowed to continue the work. (fn. 2) The result is a very similar design to the South Audley Street buildings with three main floors and an attic storey above ground-floor shops in the red-brick and terracotta Mount Street idiom favoured by the first Duke of Westminster. The terracotta detailing is varied only slightly between the two designs, as is the treatment of the attic storey where elaborate gables, dormer windows and projecting party walls under tall chimney-stacks provide a considerably varied skyline.
The contract for building Nos. 25–29 (incorporating No. 1 Green Street) was given to Matthews Brothers and Company of Egerton Gardens, Kensington, who offered a rent of £260 per annum for a ninety-year term. (fn. 3) Matthews had recently built houses in Egerton Gardens, and at the same time as building in North Audley Street they undertook the erection of Nos. 2–11 (consec.) Green Street and Nos. 31–33 (consec.) North Row. During its operations on the Grosvenor estate the firm was known as Matthews, Rogers and Company, Andrew Rogers being a partner. (fn. 4)
At No. 24 (the Marlborough Head) the builders were Kirk and Randall of Woolwich, the contract having been made with Frederick Dixon, the resident publican, who accepted a new eighty-year lease at £80 per annum. (fn. 5) The reticence of the original treatment of the exterior of the public house (now unfortunately marred) was probably the result of Thomas Verity's experience in South Audley Street where he had been required to amend the elevation of the Audley Hotel because the Duke thought it 'too ginpalace-y' and lacking in 'solidity on the ground floor'. The interior of the Marlborough Head was altered by Bird and Walters in 1895, (fn. 6) but nothing of this period survives.
Nos. 30–42 (consec.) North Audley Street and No. 62 Green Street.
The building at the corner with Green Street was the first to be erected. In 1894 rebuilding terms were sent to Messrs. Whippy, Steggall and Flemming (or Whippy, Steggall and Company), a firm of saddlers which had been in business on an adjoining site to the south since the 1790's when Benjamin Whipp(e)y, saddler, was the occupant. (fn. 7) Eustace Balfour, the estate surveyor, recommended that Ernest George should be the architect 'unless some other name should appear preferable', but the firm nominated Henry S. Legg, the architect to Christ's Hospital, and the Estate Board agreed. Legg's elevation was approved by the Duke of Westminster in 1896 and building took place in 1896–7 with Bywaters as the contractors. (fn. 8) Legg designed a five-storey building in red brick with Portland-stone dressings including mullionedand-transomed windows. The ground-floor business premises were numbered 30 North Audley Street, while the flats on the upper floors had a separate entrance at No. 62 Green Street. (fn. 9) Whippy, Steggall and Company continued to occupy the premises until the war of 1939–45 when the building was damaged by bombing. (fn. 10) Subsequently both the ground and top storeys have been considerably altered.
Nos. 31–38, consisting of four shops with flats above, were built in 1898–9, also by Bywaters to Legg's design (simplified and scaled-down from that of No. 30). The buildings were limited to a height of forty-five feet to the eaves at the rear in order to preserve the amenities of the garden to No. 61 Green Street, which was occupied by the Duke of Abercorn. (fn. 11)
The leases of the remaining sites up to the corner of Lees Place did not expire until 1908 and attempts to buy them in failed. It was thus ten years before the building called North Audley House could be erected to complete the rebuilding of the block. The builder was John Garlick and the architect R. G. Hammond, whose elevation 'corresponds with the rest of the block' and is, in fact, almost a carbon copy of the design of No. 30, varied to fit a slightly bigger frontage. (fn. 12)