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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Green Street: North Side
Nos. 2–11 (consec.)
Nos. 2–11 (consec.), a gabled range of four-storey houses with basements and generous attics, were built by Matthews, Rogers and Company in 1891–5 to the designs, with one exception, of the firm's architect Maurice Charles Hulbert (Plate 49e).
The houses were erected in two groups. Nos. 2–8 were taken first as a speculation by the builders in 1891 and form a nearly symmetrical grouping. Nos. 9–11 were begun in 1893 and Nos. 9 and 11 conform in all essentials to the design of the earlier range. The plot for No. 10 was, however, made directly available to the Hon. St. John Brodrick (later first Earl of Midleton) who chose Balfour and Turner as his architects, Eustace Balfour being the estate surveyor. Before building began Brodrick decided that he could not afford the house and assigned his contract to Matthews, Rogers. Surprisingly they adhered to Balfour and Turner's design. (fn. 1)
Balfour and Turner's red-brick, gabled house is designed to link up with Hulbert's houses but it is at once a simpler and immeasurably more accomplished work. To harmonize with Hulbert's run of two-storey bay windows resting on balconies carried on ponderous brackets, for instance, they provided projecting oriels in stone, and instead of the heavy entrance surrounds of the other houses, No. 10 has a wide brick arch, itself framing a subtle combination of arched openings in stone which is enriched with intricate naturalistic carving, probably by Thackeray Turner's brother Laurence (Plate 49d).
Occupants include: No. 2, Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, statesman and historian, 1894–5. Commander Sir Arthur Dawson, 1st bt., 1905–20. No. 4, Alfred Lyttelton, later colonial secretary, 1893–5. Frederick Leverton Harris, politician and collector, 1896–1900. No. 6, Dow. Lady Ribblesdale, wid. of 3rd Baron, 1893–1900. No. 7, Dow. Lady Nunburnholme, wid. of 2nd Baron, 1931–41. No. 8, Maj.-gen. Sir William Salmond, K.C.B., 1893–1904. Col. Sir Theodore Brinckman, 3rd. bt., 1917–20. No. 11, Reginald John Smith, barrister and publisher, 1908–16; his wid. to 1950.
Nos. 25–31 (consec.) Green Street and 105–115 (odd) Park Street
Nos. 25–31 (consec.) Green Street and 105–115 (odd) Park Street were built to the designs of (Sir) Robert W. Edis in 1891–4, and are characterised by shaped gables, deep porches and a lavish use of terracotta ornament (Plate 52d).
In 1891 the Grosvenor Board asked Edis, who had already rebuilt Nos. 59 and 61 Brook Street and was on the Estate's list of 'approved' architects, whether he had a client prepared to take on this large plot which was shortly to be available for rebuilding. (fn. 2) In the event Edis undertook the speculation himself. The houses were built in four stages and this is reflected in slight variations in design. Nos. 26–30 Green Street were begun in 1891 and Nos. 107–115 Park Street in 1892, but the corner site between them was not yet vacant, and the erection of No. 25 Green Street and No. 105 Park Street did not begin until late 1893. (fn. 3) At No. 31 Green Street the rebuilding contract was originally made with James Purdey, the gunsmith of South Audley Street, who was the leaseholder of the old house on the site, but he was required to use Edis as his architect, and in 1892 he assigned his contract to Edis. (fn. 4) In all cases Edis used T. J. Messom of Twickenham as his builder. (fn. 5)
This large-scale speculation soured relations between Edis and the Board. The latter considered that Edis had 'seriously departed from the specifications in building the houses' and eventually decided that it was not 'expedient that an architect should speculate on the estate'. (fn. 6) Edis was not employed there again in any capacity.
Occupants include: No. 26 Green Street, Adm. Sir Edward Sotheby, 1894–1902. No. 27, Sir Percy Daniels, K.B.E., 1933–43. No. 28, 4th Baron Congleton, 1902–6: his son, 5th Baron Congleton, 1906–14: the latter's brother, 6th Baron Congleton, 1914–25 (later at No. 46): Dow. Lady Congleton, wid. of 4th Baron, to 1931. No. 30, (Sir) James Augustus Grant, M.P., later 1st bt., 1911–12. Dow. Lady Burghclere, wid. of 1st Baron, 1924–33. No. 31, Viscount Chelsea, son of 5th Earl Cadogan, 1895–1902. No. 109 Park Street, 2nd Baron Ampthill, 1896–1900. No. 111, Marquess of Hamilton, later 3rd Duke of Abercorn, 1898–1901. Sir Patrick Hastings, Q.C., kt., playwright, 1927–31. No. 115, Dow. Duchess of Abercorn, wid. of 2nd Duke, 1920–9.
No. 32 Green Street
Shortly after this plot and those to the north in Dunraven Street had been cleared in 1896–7, Lady Ribblesdale applied to the Estate for sufficient ground to build a house of some eighteen or nineteen rooms. The Board was complaisant and left the choice of builder (Bywaters) and later of architect (Sidney R. J. Smith) to Lord Ribblesdale, Smith being apparently chosen on the strength of his design for the Tate Gallery, then in course of erection. (fn. 7)
The elevations, which were kept simple and restrained, 'at the request of Lord Ribblesdale', were executed in red Fareham bricks with Portland-stone dressings and Westmorland slates. Only in the entrance porch were Smith's natural Baroque proclivities allowed some play and here he was criticized for being too 'small in detail'. The reception rooms, which included a forty-two-foot drawing-room on the first floor, were decorated in a Georgian style in white and gold with plasterwork by Jackson and Sons, but have been much altered. The main staircase is of white marble with a wrought-iron balustrade. (fn. 8) The general result is a dignified and worthy neoGeorgian house which, however, has little of the élan of Fairfax Wade's contemporary work at No. 54 Mount Street.
In 1931 Queen Mary expressed a desire to purchase the freehold of the house, intending it as a residence for her daughter, the future Princess Royal, and her husband the sixth Earl of Harewood. The Duke of Westminster consented, provided that if the house were no longer required as a private residence, the Estate should have the right to repurchase it. The royal couple lived there until shortly after the outbreak of the war of 1939–45, and in 1946 the Grosvenor Estate bought back the freehold. (fn. 9) The house is now occupied by the Brazilian Embassy.