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: South Side
Nos. 36–47 (consec.).
The rebuilding of the south side of Green Street between Dunraven Street and Park Street together with the contiguous sides of these two streets as far as Wood's Mews was one of the major schemes of redevelopment undertaken by the Estate under the second Duke of Westminster, although it had been considered in the first Duke's time. In 1910 the Grosvenor Board decided to pull down all the existing buildings here with the exception of Nos. 1–3 Dunraven Street and some stabling in Wood's Mews which had relatively recently been rebuilt. In 1914–15 Edmund Wimperis, the estate surveyor, acting on a suggestion of his predecessor, Eustace Balfour, laid out a large communal garden in the centre of the block (Plate 50c: see also Plate 47b in vol. XXXIX), by which time most of the surrounding street frontages had been cleared and rebuilding was already under way. (fn. 1)
Most of the houses in Green Street were erected in 1912–16 but Nos. 36–37 and 47 at each end were not completed until the late 1920's. Nos. 36 and 37 were originally built to the designs of Wimperis and Simpson in c. 1924 for Sir Percy Newson, baronet, a nearby resident at No. 45, after the speculator who had first taken the site had been prevented from building by the war of 1914–18. Both houses were, however, damaged during the war of 1939–45, and No. 36 was virtually rebuilt by Trehearne and Norman, Preston and Partners in 1950–1. No. 37 was converted into flats by Lionel Bailey and P. Russell Walker in 1951–2, and the need to do some reinstatement of the front may account for the botched cornice where the two houses join. (fn. 2) Wimperis's firm also designed most of the other houses in this range, namely Nos. 38–39 and, with a pronounced change of emphasis after W.B. Simpson became a partner in 1913, Nos. 41–44 and 46. Nos. 38 and 39, both stone fronted, were built for the former occupant of No. 38 in 1912–14, Nos. 41–44, an excellent group of houses in the manner of Queen Anne's Gate with some original doorcase hoods and surrounds removed from old doorways elsewhere, were erected in 1915–16, and No. 46, an imposing five-bay neo-Georgian house, was built in 1913–15 for the Baroness Strathcona and Mount Royal (fig. 46: see also Plate 45b in vol. XXXIX). The builders were W.F. Blay of Dowgate Hill for Nos. 36 and 37, Foxley and Company for Nos. 38, 39, 41 and 46, and Prestige and Company for Nos. 42–44. (fn. 3)
No. 40, which is stone fronted, was erected by Holliday and Greenwood to the designs of Yetts, Sturdy and Ussher in 1913–15 for the occupant of one of the houses in this block which had been demolished. (fn. 4) No. 45, likewise with a stone façade, was built at the same time by Foxleys to the designs of F.W. Foster, (fn. 5) and No. 47, a nondescript brick-and-stone affair, was built by Trollope and Colls shortly after the war of 1914–18. (fn. 6)
No. 46, the largest house in this group, had a particularly good interior, several features of which have survived its conversion into offices. Much of the detail derives from Wimperis and Simpson's original work here including decorative plasterwork and a fine staircase with carved step-ends, twisted balusters and fluted newels. In 1929, however, the house underwent further enrichment to the designs of Geoffrey Lucas. An entrance vestibule was created by taking in part of a former billiard-room to the left of the entrance, and to give more space in the hall the bottom flight of the staircase was returned at the side instead of projecting at a right angle (fig. 46). Other alterations made at this time included the addition in the main rooms of panelling with naturalistic carving by Laurence Turner. (fn. 7)
Occupants include: No. 37, Sir Gervase Beckett, 1st bt., 1935–7. 13th Earl of Dundonald, 1939–45. No. 38, 3rd Earl of Dudley, 1933–6. No. 41, Sir Frederick Mills, 1st bt., 1922. No. 45, Sir Percy Newson, 1st bt., 1924–6. No. 46, Baroness Strathcona and Mount Royal, 1917–26: her son-in-law, 6th Baron Congleton, 1928–32 (formerly at No. 28).
Nos. 51–54 (consec.),
Nos. 51–54 (consec.), a group of red-brick and terracotta houses, were erected in 1882–3 on the site of St. Mary's Chapel (see page 255) by the builder Charles Fish as a speculation with J. T. Wimperis as his architect (Plate 49c). The corner tower with its bulbous cupola may owe something to the Duke of Westminster's desire to have a prominent feature here—he originally favoured an oriel window. (fn. 8)
As the first houses to be rebuilt in Green Street under the aegis of the first Duke this group set the pattern for the later rebuildings of the 1880's and 1890's both in height— four main storeys with basements and gabled attics—and in the use of red brick as the principal facing material.
Occupants include: No. 52, 2nd Baron Castletoun of Upper Ossory, 1902–17. No. 53, Lieut.-col. Count Aldenberg Bentinck, 1896–1903: Countess Aldenberg Bentinck, 1903–34. No. 54, Charles E. H. A. Colston, M.P., 1900–5.
Nos. 55–59 (consec.)
Nos. 55–59 (consec.) were built in 1897–9 by William Cubitt and Company as a speculation to the designs of H. O. Cresswell (fn. 9) (Plate 50a, 50b).
These were the last houses to be built in Green Street while the first Duke was alive and they provide an instructive contrast to the neighbouring group of Nos. 51–54. While retaining the general height and line of the earlier houses, Cresswell has moved from the hard, uncompromising tones of J. T. Wimperis's group towards a more cosy domesticity with small-paned windows throughout, canted bays with a horizontal rather than a vertical emphasis, and much use of stone dressings. The influence of Eustace Balfour, who became estate surveyor in 1890, may well have been instrumental in this change.
Hampden House: No. 61
Hampden House: No. 61 (formerly Nos. 60 and 61) consists of two originally quite separate houses of different size, which are now joined together at the front by a singlestorey range and at the back by a range of full height (Plate 51a, fig. 47). The main, eastern, house is the much-altered vestige of an apparent attempt by its architect and first occupant, Roger Morris, to express the idiom of the Palladian villa in the language of London street architecture. The lesser, western, house (formerly No. 60) was a small narrow-fronted house, originally entered on its east side from the courtyard which once separated the two houses. The name Hampden House derives from the long occupancy (commencing in 1756) of the main house by the Hampden family.
In 1727 Roger Morris contracted to take 180 feet of frontage on the south side of Green Street from Robert Andrews and Thomas Barlow, who held the ground by virtue of their previous building agreement with Sir Richard Grosvenor.' Morris reserved a large plot for a new house for himself and made the remaining ground available to other builders, most of whom had been associated with him in other enterprises. His own plot, which was at the eastern end of the ground, had a frontage of seventy-five feet to Green Street and was 150 feet in depth to Lees Mews (now Place) at the rear. He received a sub-lease of the site from Andrews and Barlow's executors in 1730 (Barlow having died in 1729), when he was modestly described as a bricklayer. (fn. 10) He was, in fact, then one of the master bricklayers to the Office of Ordnance and in 1735 he succeeded Sir William Ogbourne as master carpenter. (fn. 11)
The next site to the west in Green Street, with a fiftyfoot frontage, was sub-leased to James Richards, 'carver to his present Majesty', and beyond this another fifty feet to Robert Umpleby, carpenter (a passage between Richards's and Umpleby's plots accounting for the other five feet of frontage). (fn. 12) Behind these two plots other ground fronting on Lees Mews was sub-leased to William Gray and John Brown, bricklayers, and to Richard Oakman, joiner. (fn. 13) All of these craftsmen, with the exception of Brown, figure prominently in Morris's account at Hoare's Bank as recipients of payments over several years, (fn. 14) and it is likely that their building operations here were a joint enterprise. The sub-leases date from July 1730, with the exception of that to Gray and Brown, and Morris, Richards and Umpleby are all first entered in the ratebooks in 1730 as occupants of the houses on their plots.
Only the houses of Morris and Richards survive. They have undergone many changes of numbering before Nos. 61 and 60 were allotted respectively in 1884, but since 1869 the two houses have been occupied jointly.
The house built by Morris, which extends over the whole seventy-five-foot frontage of its plot, is wider than any originally built in Grosvenor Square and has a spacious garden at the rear. The three-bay centre, flanked by narrower wings set slightly back, originally had only two square storeys surmounted either by attics or by a pediment, and until the construction of a third square storey (probably in 1908) it was almost certainly lower than the wings, which always had three square storeys. A front of this kind invites comparison with the type of Palladian villa which had a three-bay centre flanked by taller and narrower tower-like wings, a combination which Morris used when he was designing Combe Bank in Kent, probably a little earlier than his own house in Green Street. (fn. 15)
The earliest plan of No. 61 Green Street is of 1828 and shows the ground floor only. (fn. 16) The entrance hall then extended across the centre of the front, as it still does, and as is sometimes the case in Palladian villa plans. On the west side of the hall an opening flanked by columns led into the main open-well staircase. These stairs no longer exist but a secondary staircase in the centre of the east wing is shown in the plan of 1828 and still remains.
Morris lived in Green Street from 1730 until his death in 1749, by which time he was wealthy enough to make bequests worth upwards of £1,500 to each of his seven surviving children. In his will he directed that his house should be disposed of, and in 1750 his executors, who were his son James, his 'good friend' Robert Andrews and his 'faithful servant' Richard Jennings, sold it for £1,260 to the third Earl of Hyndford. (fn. 17)
The latter was a diplomat who two years later was appointed Ambassador to Vienna. Although he kept up the house in Green Street for a while, he in turn sold it in January 1756 to the Hon. Robert Hampden. (fn. 18)
Hampden was the son of Thomas Trevor, first Baron Trevor. His great-grandfather through the female line was John Hampden of Ship Money fame, and in 1754 he had taken the name of Hampden by royal licence in order to inherit the Hampden estates. He lived in the house from 1756 to 1759, but from the latter year until 1765 he held the office of joint Postmaster-General, a position perhaps accompanied by an official residence, for during these years No. 61 Green Street was occupied by Robert Lane, M.P. (fn. 19) In 1765, however, Hampden returned to Green Street. He had succeeded his brother as fourth Baron Trevor in 1764 and was created Viscount Hampden in 1776.
Three years earlier he had purchased No. 60, and from that date the two houses have been owned jointly, although they were not to be occupied as one for many years. In comparison with Roger Morris's large town villa, the house built by James Richards was very modest. It had three storeys and a basement, but with a frontage only twenty feet wide and a depth of forty feet it was relatively small. It was separated from Morris's house by a courtyard thirty feet wide, and its entrance, from the courtyard, was in the centre of the east front, where a small hallway led to a central dog-leg staircase which survives. This courtyard has been partially built over, the single-storey linking corridor between the two houses having perhaps replaced a screen wall and gates. Richards's plot did not extend to the mews at the rear and he may have put up workshops and, perhaps, a stable and coach-house at the south end of the courtyard where an extension to No. 61 was later built.
The interior of No. 60, where the surviving evidence indicates a general lack of adornment, does not reflect Richards's distinguished position as one of the major craftsmen of his time. In 1722 he had succeeded Grinling Gibbons as 'Master Sculptor and Master Carver in Wood' to the Office of Works, and had subsequently worked at Kensington Palace and the Horse Guards, as well as being one of the craftsmen under Morris at Marble Hill, Twickenham. (fn. 20)
Richards died in 1759 and in 1762 the house was sold to John Spencer, carpenter, (fn. 21) one of the most important builders working on the Grosvenor estate in the later stages of its development. In 1762 he was living in a house recently built by himself at the north-west corner of Green Street and Park Street. In 1771, however, he was declared bankrupt, and in 1773 No. 60, described as a 'dwelling house, large yard and workshop', was sold by his mortgagees and creditors, the purchaser, as stated earlier, being Robert Hampden, at that time Baron Trevor, the occupant of No. 61. (fn. 22)
Hampden installed his agent and banker, George Brooks, in No. 60, (fn. 23) but he, or his son, the second Viscount Hampden, appropriated a substantial part of the original plot leased to Richards for an extension to No. 61. This took the form of a long east-west block two storeys high at the rear of No. 60 and linked to No. 61 only by a small lobby. This additional wing survives although it has twice been heightened. The date of its building, and of that of the single-storey linking block along the Green Street frontage, is uncertain, but they are shown on a rough sketch plan of 1789 (fn. 16) and are evidently the 'recent improvement' referred to in that year by William Porden, the estate surveyor, which, in his estimation, raised the annual value of the house from £300 to £400. (fn. 24)
Hampden died in 1783 and was succeeded as second Viscount by his eldest son Thomas, who lived at No. 61 Green Street until his death there in 1824. (fn. 25) Two years earlier he had obtained reversionary terms in the plots on the north side of Lees Place originally leased to Richard Oakman and to William Gray and John Brown, on which six houses were then standing. (fn. 26) Part of this ground lay behind No. 60 and here the houses were demolished and stabling erected for No. 61 which survives in part today at No. 23 Lees Place.
The second Viscount's widow lived at No. 61 until her death in 1833, when her executors sold both Nos. 60 and 61 and part of the ground on the north side of Lees Place to the eleventh Earl of Kinnoull for £17,000. (fn. 27) By this transaction the Earl acquired a rectangular plot measuring 125 feet in frontage and 150 feet in depth, containing the various buildings then comprising No. 61 Green Street including its stabling in Lees Place, and No. 60 Green Street. This plot has remained intact in all subsequent leases and now forms the curtilage of Hampden House.
The Earl of Kinnoull lived in Green Street until 1857. Both during his occupancy and earlier during that of the second Viscount Hampden extensive alterations were carried out by the architect Henry Harrison. (fn. 28) The full extent of these alterations is not known, but between 1789 and 1869 the rear elevation of No. 61 was altered at least twice. In the plan of the former year the wings are shown with canted bays, but by 1828 the back of the house had been extended and the wings given bow windows; these bows had in turn been removed by 1869. The present rear elevation (fig. 47) appears to be substantially the work of Harrison with later alterations.
After a short tenancy by the fourth Baron Dinevor, No. 61 was taken by 1859 by Alexander Haldane Oswald, a Scottish landowner, who in 1863 purchased Nos. 60 and 61 from the Earl of Kinnoull and lived in No. 61 until his death in 1868. (fn. 29) At that time his nephew, Lieutenant Richard Oswald, was aide-de-camp to the recently created Duke of Abercorn, who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The Duke was then having to give up his London residence at Chesterfield House, and, prompted no doubt by Lieutenant Oswald, he looked over No. 61 Green Street. Finding it satisfactory he purchased the house from Alexander Oswald's trustees in April 1869. (fn. 30)
The Duke of Abercorn had fourteen children, twelve of whom were still alive when he moved to Green Street, and in order to increase the space available he immediately took over No. 60 from its yearly tenant, amalgamating the two houses.
An incomplete set of drawings dated August to October 1869 show several alterations which were carried out for the Duke. (fn. 31) The address on the drawings is No. 6 Stratton Street, which was William Burn's office. Burn had already acted for the Duke when he was looking for a new London house (fn. 32) and was also probably the 'Mr. Burn' who applied on behalf of Alexander Oswald to the Grosvenor Board for an extension to the lease of Hampden House shortly before Oswald's death in 1868, (fn. 33) but he was a very old man at this time—he died in 1870—and it is likely that the alterations were the work of his nephew and assistant, J. Macvicar Anderson, who advised the Duke on structural matters at the house in 1876. (fn. 34) The works done in 1869–70 included the building of the present enclosed porch and the heightening of the neo-classical wing at the rear of No. 60, where ugly openings with pierced iron panels were inserted in the raised walls. (Another unsightly addition to the roof since the war of 1939–45 has further detracted from the appearance of this wing.) The builder was George Smith of South Street. (fn. 35) In 1880 the Duke agreed, at the suggestion of Thomas Cundy III, to put 'plate glass sashes' in the front windows of the house. (fn. 36)
In the 1890's the second Duke of Abercorn was complaining to the Grosvenor Board that his house was being adversely affected by, inter alia, the nearby rebuildings in North Audley Street, and in 1903 he was trying to sell it. (fn. 37) The shortness of his lease, which only had some seventeen years to run, proved a deterrent to prospective purchasers, however, and during part of the prolonged negotiations with the Board (lasting from 1903 to 1909) for a substantial extension of his term he moved to No. 35 Park Street (now part of the site of Grosvenor House), where he lived from 1906 to 1908, Hampden House being let furnished to Mrs. Potter Palmer of Chicago. (fn. 38) Unexecuted plans made in 1905 for the Duke included 'reconstruction of top storey, raising and reroofing the house'. (fn. 39) In July 1908 he was still wanting 'to raise the height of the upper rooms', and work costing £2,400 was in fact done immediately afterwards. (fn. 40) It was probably at this time that the attics in the centre of the front were converted to a full third storey. In view of his outlay, and of the depressed state of the property market, the Board at last agreed in 1909 to grant the Duke a sixtythree-year lease at a rent of £850 and a premium of £10,000—a considerable reduction from its original demand, made in 1904, for a rent of £1,000 and a premium of £25,000. (fn. 41)
By this time the Duke was back at Hampden House, where he continued to live until his death in 1913. In 1919 the third Duke sold it to the fifth Duke of Sutherland, (fn. 42) who had previously been negotiating for a lease of Grosvenor House, then in the occupancy of the Government. He remained there at Hampden House until 1940, when he placed the house at the disposal of the Government and its long history as a private residence came to an end. (fn. 43) Since then it has been used by various institutions, both official and private, and is now the conference centre of the British Standards Institution.
Despite having been denuded of many features the interior of Hampden House today contains some fine eighteenth-century-revival decoration of about 1870, presumably the work of Macvicar Anderson, and further interest resides in the early nineteenth-century neoclassical sculpture, introduced by the first Duke of Abercorn at the same date, which forms an integral part of the architecture. The entrance hall retains its original transverse form with a deep apse in the middle of the inner side. The unusual chimneypiece with vermiculated blocks shown in photographs of 1919 (Plate 51c) has been replaced and the columns in the opening to the west have been removed. The neo-Georgian stucco panels are perhaps Edwardian and have been simplified since 1919, but the simple moulded box cornice may be of Roger Morris's time. The original staircase to the west was removed in the early nineteenth century when its site was added to the entrance hall, but this area has since been subdivided to form a cloakroom. The version of John Gibson's marble relief of Cupid and Venus made for the Duke of Abercorn and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1839 can still be seen in one corner. The present main staircase in the centre of the west wing is possibly the work of Henry Harrison. It has an open well (now containing a lift) with a simple cast-iron balustrade and mahogany handrail and a square glazed lantern at the top. Set into the walls are a number of marble plaques made in Rome in the 1840's, including one by Pietro Tenerani of the three elder daughters of the first Duke of Abercorn, and a pair of roundels by Bertel Thorwaldsen, one depicting Prometheus and Minerva, the other Hercules and Hebe (Plate 51b). The subsidiary staircase occupies a similar position in the east wing and has wall-supported stone steps and a simple crinoline-shaped iron balustrade which is perhaps a survivor of Morris's work. The room behind on the garden front, formerly the boudoir, retains early eighteenthcentury raised-and-fielded panelling with egg-and-dart and ovolo mouldings and a dentilled cornice. The late eighteenth-century Italian marble chimneypiece is an importation made by the Duke of Abercorn. The large room on the garden front, formerly the library, which together with the entrance hall fills the whole centre of the house at ground level, also contains eighteenth-century-style panelling, now stripped. The marble chimneypiece was introduced by the fifth Duke of Sutherland.
The dining-room on the ground floor of the wing added by Viscount Hampden in c. 1787 is handsomely decorated in Victorian 'Adam' taste. Originally this was two rooms and the screen of fluted Composite columns on high plinths probably marks the position of the dividing wall. The marble chimneypiece is a Doric composition with a central plaque based on a Roman painting at Pompeii of Achilles and a satyr. Above the dining-room, the 'family' bedroom is also decorated in Victorian 'Adam' style, its ceiling inset with painted panels of mythological scenes. The Italian marble chimneypiece has flanking Doric columns and its frieze is carved with a pattern of convolvulus.
The only room of special interest in the main block at first-floor level is the huge former ballroom, which now occupies the whole of the centre of the house over both the library and the entrance hall. It was formed out of two rooms at some date after 1919 by the removal of the central wall and chimney-stack, which must have posed a difficult engineering problem as it involved the diversion of the flues from the hall and library fireplaces. The original front room was at one time the dining-room, and the stuccoed ceiling of the enlarged room, which has a central reeded oval and intertwining vines, is an expanded replica of the ceiling which formerly existed in the old dining-room. The correspondingly rich wall decorations have, however, all been removed.
In contrast to No. 61 the interior of No. 60 retains much of its simple early eighteenth-century decoration, having been used as servants' offices after its amalgamation with Hampden House. The staircase is of sturdy timber construction with turned balusters and a square moulded handrail. The sash windows overlooking the former courtyard still have thick early eighteenth-century glazing bars, an uncommon survival in central London. The firstfloor front room has panelling and a box cornice and the rear room a corner chimneypiece with egg-and-dartmoulded architraves.