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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No. 39 (formerly No. 50) was the house of Jeffry Wyatt (latterly Sir Jeffry Wyatville) throughout his architectural career and, with the exception of the modern shop front, the exterior survives as he designed it (Plate 4a, 4c, figs. 11–12: see also Plate 22a in vol. XXXIX). The core of the house dates from 1720–3 when Thomas Phillips, a leading master carpenter, took the end plot on the Grosvenor estate on the south side of the street, and the irregular wedge-shaped plan was dictated by the angle at which Avery Row enters Brook Street. (fn. 5) The house was first rated in 1723, and Phillips occupied it till his death in 1736. His family, including his nephew John Phillips, also a noted master carpenter, continued to live here till 1775.
In 1799 Jeffry Wyatt entered into partnership with John Armstrong, a carpenter and building contractor who had his workshops and timber yard on the triangular site at the corner of Brook's Mews and Avery Row, behind No. 39 (then 50) Brook Street (see page 84). They were jointly granted a new lease of these premises, and in 1802 Wyatt alone obtained possession of No. 39 Brook Street, which had recently been vacated by John Phillips's executor. He was granted a new sixty-three-year lease of the house on payment of a fine of £2,556 and, after reroofing it and carrying out various repairs costing nearly £1,000, he lived there until his death in 1840. (fn. 6)
In 1821 Wyatt was dismayed to find that 'owing to the vicinity of the great common sewer [i.e. the Tyburn Brook, flowing beneath Avery Row] the water has evidently found its way to the foundation of my house, and it is now absolutely splitting into two pieces'. He calculated the cost of repairs at £3,000 and asked for a longer leasehold term as compensation. (fn. 7)
William Porden, the estate surveyor, reported that the original valuation had been 'calculated very low on account of the state of the premises' and added that the value of 'all property was much lower than it is now'. He suggested Wyatt might have a claim against the commissioners of sewers and left it to Wyatt's own choice whether to rebuild or not. (fn. 8) In the event Wyatt did undertake a thorough repair and reconstruction, for the ratebooks record that the house was empty for three quarters of 1821 and half of 1822 and was being 'rebuilt'. The work comprised complete refronting as well as alterations to the interior. At the same time a large new wing was built extending back at right angles from the house. This contained a drawing office on the ground floor with a gallery above for the reception of clients (fig. 11). In 1823 he reported that these works had cost more than £5,000 and again asked for some amendment of the lease in his favour. Eventually in 1827 a new lease which included the workshops and timber yard at the corner of Brook's Mews and Avery Row was granted to 1887 at an increased annual rent. (fn. 9)
The most distinctive feature of the rebuilt front (Plate 22a in vol. XXXIX) is the domed, curved corner bow, which originally contained an ingenious circular entrance hall. The shallow lead dome surmounting the bow is a feature which Wyatt had adopted from the repertoire of his uncle, Samuel Wyatt, whilst the stuccoed façade, framed with panelled pilasters, is another distinctive feature of Jeffry Wyatt's classical work, to be seen at Chatsworth, for instance. Though the original early eighteenth-century staircase, with three alternating patterns of twisted balusters per step and carved step-ends, was retained (Plate 4a, fig. 12), the top of the well was remodelled and given a glazed lantern, the Carolean-style frieze here being derived from Windsor Castle, and evidently a conscious attempt to conform to the 'antique' appearance of the staircase. The rear rooms on the ground and first floors have ceilings of exceedingly shallow segmental form. The new gallery at the rear (Plate 4c), approached through high double doors, has a less shallow segmental ceiling, originally toplit, and square alcoves half way down each side, one of which contained a patent stove (now replaced by a chimneypiece). The office beneath was purpose-fitted with metal-lined storage cabinets, but these do not survive.
After Wyatville's death in 1840 the house passed to his daughter Emily Knapp and her husband, and was occupied by the Knapps until 1876. (fn. 10) Subsequently it was occupied by a succession of doctors and dentists, one of whom added a single-storey bay window at the back in 1906. (fn. 11)
In 1926 the ground floor was converted into an antique shop and a Gothick shop front, designed by A. F. Benjamin, was inserted in the Avery Row front. (fn. 12) The sensitively designed shop front in Brook Street, with its slim fluted Ionic columns, was installed in 1927. (fn. 13) At the beginning of the war of 1939–45 the premises were taken over and are still occupied by the decorating firm of Colefax and Fowler, though part of the ground floor was used as a branch of Barclays Bank from 1957 to 1963. (fn. 14) In 1958–9 the gallery wing was converted into a separate residence by R. J. Page, architect, (fn. 15) for Mrs. Nancy Lancaster. Wyatt's gallery was fashionably redecorated by John Fowler with glazed yellow walls, marbled cornice and skirting, Venetian chandeliers and extravagant curtains. The main rooms in the old house have also been restored and light-heartedly decorated; at the back there is a paved garden with a formal pool, a mature mulberry tree and several fig trees.
Occupants include: Thomas Phillips, master carpenter, 1723–36: his wid., Mrs. Elizabeth Phillips, 1737–8: his nephews, William Phillips, 1739–41, and John Phillips, master carpenter and architect, 1741–75. John Baynes Garforth, M.P., agent to Sir James Lowther, and one of John Phillips's executors, 1780–1802. Jeffry Wyatt, latterly Sir Jeffry Wyatville, kt., architect, 1804–40.
Nos. 41 and 43
Nos. 41 and 43 (formerly Nos. 49 and 48), now both occupied by the Bath Club, were built as separate houses by different builders. The lease of No. 41 was taken in 1725 by Thomas Phillips, carpenter, while that of No. 43 was taken in the same year by David Audsley, plasterer. (fn. 16) Though both are radically altered the original four-bay houses still dictate the form of the present structure.
When the lease of No. 41 came up for renewal in 1852 Thomas Cundy II supplied one of his routine designs for the improvement of the façade, but the lessee, Robert Nasmyth, preferred to do the necessary refronting 'under Sir Charles Barry's superintendence', and in February 1853 the Marquess of Westminster agreed to Barry's proposal that the front be completely 'covered with Portland Cement'. (fn. 17) The stuccoed elevation of No. 41 remains largely as designed by Barry, with channelled ground floor and quoins, balustered balconettes at firstfloor level and eared architraves to the windows, though the raised panels proposed by Barry between the upper windows seem not to have been executed.
By that time No. 43 had been in use as a private hotel since 1802. In 1852 the occupant, in applying for the renewal of the lease, expressed the desire to stucco and decorate his front to match Barry's work adjoining, (fn. 18) but because of differences of opinion as to how much of the house should be rebuilt, the lease was not renewed till 1864. The front was then altered 'according to drawings and a specification of the works to be prepared by the Marquess of Westminster's surveyor', i.e. Cundy's standard package of Tuscan porch and stucco trimmings. (fn. 19)
In the late nineteenth century the houses were gradually amalgamated to form one hotel, latterly known as Buckland's. In 1871 permission was granted to add the upper storeys of No. 41 to No. 43 (fn. 20) and eleven years later a further communication was made on the first floor. (fn. 21) In 1914 Mrs. Northcote, the proprietress of the hotel, commenced large-scale internal improvements and modernisation, to the design of Charles Gordon Smith at a cost of £20,000. (fn. 22) At the end of the war of 1914–18 she sold her recently renewed lease to the Guards Club, and further internal and external alterations were then undertaken to the design of Wimperis and Simpson. (fn. 23) It seems likely that the two-storey bay window which projects from the centre of the façade was added at that time and Barry's stuccoed treatment of No. 41 was extended to No. 43 to create a nearly symmetrical elevation.
The interior now dates almost entirely from the twentieth century and the rooms display various moods of neo-Georgian decoration. Perhaps the ground-floor smoking-room with unpainted softwood panelling, Ionic columns and a bolection-moulded marble chimneypiece is the most successful. The first-floor front rooms both have good late eighteenth-century neo-classical white marble chimneypieces.
Occupants include: No. 41, 2nd Viscount Mountjoy, 1725–8. 3rd Baron Craven, 1732 9. Sir Cecil Bishopp, 6th bt., 1741. 14th Earl of Shrewsbury, 1743–6, 1748–50. 6th Earl of Salisbury, 1747. Countess of Dalkeith, wid., 1751–5, with her second husband, Charles Townshend, politician, 1755–7. 2nd Viscount Bateman, 1758–71. Sir John Dixon Dyke, 3rd bt., 1771–81. Lord William Beauclerk, latterly 8th Duke of St. Albans, 1794–1818. Henry Windsor, latterly 8th Earl of Plymouth, 1837–43: his wid., 1843–50. George Henry Vansittart, M.P., 1851–3. Buckland's Hotel (with No. 43), 1912–19. Guards Club (with No. 43), 1920–46. Bath Club (with No. 43), 1947–51, 1959. No. 43, 16th Baron Abergavenny, 1727–44. Earl of Middlesex, later 2nd Duke of Dorset, 1745. Sir Ralph Milbanke, 5th bt., 1756–75. Sir Philip Hales, 5th bt., 1776–1800 (previously at No. 82). Kirkham and Forester, 1802. Kirkham's Hotel, 1802–32 (Pellot Kirkham, 1802–30, Mrs. Kirkham, 1831–2). Scaife's Hotel, 1833–8 (Francis Scaife). Patterson's Hotel, 1838–55 (Ralph Patterson). Lillyman's Hotel, 1856–78 (George Lillyman, 1856–66, Thomas Buckland, 1867–78). Buckland's Hotel, 1879–1919 (from 1912 with No. 41). Guards Club (with No 41), 1920–46. Bath Club (with No. 41), 1947–51, 1959.
Nos. 45–57 odd
Nos. 45–57 odd (formerly Nos. 47–41 consec.), all now demolished to make way for Claridge's Hotel, were originally built under leases granted between 1723 and 1725 to a number of different artificers. George Pearce, plumber, took the leases of Nos. 45, 49 and 51; Edward Shepherd, here described as plasterer, No. 47; George Barlow and William Head, respectively bricklayer and carpenter, No. 53; and John Barnes, bricklayer, Nos. 55 (originally two houses) and 57. (fn. 24) Each house varied in size, plan and elevational treatment, No. 49 being the finest (Plate 6a). It was a substantial five-bay house with a large front hall containing the main staircase. The ceiling and walls were enlivened by sparse Palladian plasterwork, while the broad wooden staircase had elegant slender balusters and fluted Corinthian newels (Plate 6b). In the 1760's this house was occupied by the fourteenth Earl of Morton, President of the Royal Society, who kept his collection of antique vases there. (fn. 25) No. 53, though a narrower three-bay house, had a more idiosyncratically decorated elevation than its neighbours, with cut-brick aprons under the first- and second-floor windows growing out of the fluted keystones of the window heads below. Several of the houses underwent Cundy's usual elevational treatment in the mid nineteenth century, when standard porticos, balconies and stucco mouldings were applied.
The only truly exceptional architectural feature lost by the redevelopment for Claridge's, however, was neither eighteenth century nor nineteenth century but an exotic archaeological fantasy of circa 1905. This was a partly subterranean dining-room added to the rear of No. 47 by (Sir) John Bland-Sutton, the surgeon. Based on the Hall of Honour or Apadana of Darius at Susa, it was inspired partly by a holiday in Egypt in 1898 and partly by a subsequent visit to Paris. 'In the hall of the Louvre, which contains architectural fragments from Susa, there was a model of the Apadana constructed from the designs of Marcel Dieulafoy. With this model for guidance I decided to build a dining-court for use—summer and winter— decorated with columns, and enamelled bricks as in the world-renowned hall at Susa.' This 'Metro Goldwyn Mayer' ensemble was devised by W. E. Wheeler, with F. Arthur as executant architect, while 'Monsieur Marcel Dieulafoy and Madame Jane Dieulafoy (who had collected the fragments from Susa for the Louvre) afforded much valuable assistance'. (fn. 26) The toplit room was forty feet square and twelve feet high, and surrounded by thirty-two scagliola columns with capitals in the form of sculptured bulls. The walls were lined with turquoise blue bricks, the frieze modelled with archers 'reduced in scale from the colossal specimens exhibited in the Louvre'. Between some of the columns hung curtains of white mohair with chequered borders of purple velvet and central medallion portraits of Artaxerxes. Unfortunately when the house was demolished in 1932 the dining-room went too. The Architects' Journal lamented that 'despite the skill of Messrs. Henry Boyers' expert demolition workers, men who have handled some of the most costly treasures ever involved in recent demolition work, they were unable to save the room, which might ultimately have found its way to America at a very big figure'. (fn. 27)
Occupants include: No. 45, 5th Earl of Coventry, 1725–35. 2nd Earl of Halifax, 1755. Edward Turnour Garth-Turnour, latterly 1st Baron and 1st Earl Winterton, 1757–88: his son, 2nd Earl Winterton, 1790. (Sir) Francis Milman, latterly 1st bt., physician to George III, 1799–1821 (previously at No. 51). Henry Howard of Corby Castle, Cumberland, antiquary, 1822–42. 17th Earl of Morton, 1857–8: his wid., 1858–79. Sir John Walrond, 1st bt., 1881–9: his wid., 1889–93. Sir Kenneth Matheson, 2nd bt., 1895–7. Claridge's Hotel, 1931–. No. 47, Sir John Buckworth, 2nd bt., 1725–37. Thomas Watson, latterly 3rd Earl of Rockingham, 1738 46. Lord Robert Sutton, son of 3rd Duke of Rutland, 1747–53. Henry Addington, later 1st Viscount Sidmouth and Prime Minister, 1787–90. Count De Vandes, 1801–33. William Frederick Chambers, physician, 1833–47. Alexander Tweedie, physician, 1848–61. Col. Edward Bootle–Wilbraham, son of 1st Baron Skelmersdale, 1862–9: his son-inlaw, The Master of Lindsay, latterly 26th Earl of Crawford, 1870–82: his mother, Countess of Crawford, wid. of 25th Earl, 1883–93. Sir Andrew Fairbairn, kt., chairman of Fairbairn, Lawson, Combe, Barbour Ltd., machine-makers of Leeds and Belfast, 1894–8. (Sir) John Bland-Sutton, latterly 1st bt., surgeon, 1903–30. Claridge's Hotel, 1931–. No. 49, Marquess of Hartington, later 3rd Duke of Devonshire, 1726–9. Sir Henry Liddell, 4th bt., later Baron Ravensworth, 1736–8. Lord Charles Noel Somerset, later 4th Duke of Beaufort, 1741–4. 14th Earl of Morton, 1761–8: his wid. 1768–1805. Wake's Hotel, 1806–11 (William Wake, 1806–7: John Wake, 1808: Mary Anne Wake, 1809–11). Coulson's Hotel, 1812–51 (Robert Coulson, 1812–48: Mrs. Coulson, 1849–51). Claridge's Hotel, 1853–. No. 51, 'Sir August Humes', ? Sir Gustavus Hume, bt., 1727–9. John St. John, later 2nd Viscount Saint John, 1730–7. Edward Weld, 1775: his brother, Thomas Weld, who founded the Roman Catholic College at Stonyhurst, 1775–9. (Sir) Francis Milman, later 1st bt., physician to George III, 1779–83 (later at No. 45). Charlotte, Lady Dillon, wid. of 11th Viscount Dillon, 1788–92. Lord Apsley, later 3rd Earl Bathurst, 1793–4. Sir Joseph Copley, 3rd bt., 1807–12. Mivart's Hotel, 1812–53 (James Mivart). Claridge's Hotel, 1854–. No. 53, Alexander Drury, 1757–8. Sir George Winn, 1st bt., latterly 1st Baron Headley, 1776–98: his wid., 1799–1822: their son, 2nd Baron, 1823–7. Mivart's Hotel, 1827–53 (James Mivart). Claridge's Hotel, 1854–. No. 55, Thomas Walley Partington, lawyer, 1757–88. Thomas Walley Partington and Edward Boodle, lawyers, 1789–91. Edward Boodle, lawyer, 1792–1828. John Boodle, lawyer, 1828–36. Mivart's Hotel, 1838–53 (James Mivart). Claridge's Hotel, 1854–. No. 57, Mivart's Hotel, 1817–53 (James Mivart). Claridge's Hotel, 1898–.
Claridge's (Plates 6, 7, fig. 13: see also Plates 39, 52 in vol. XXXIX). Claridge's owes its name to William Claridge, mid-Victorian hotel-keeper, but its foundation and early fame to James Edward Mivart (1781–1856), of whom all too little is known. A recent tradition that Mivart was a French chef appears to be false, for he was born in the parish of St. James, Piccadilly, probably as the son of James and Mary Mivart. (fn. 28) A sturdier and older story dating back to at least late-Victorian times claims that the Prince Regent was involved in the hotel from the start and kept a permanent suite here. According to The Caterer and Hotel-Keepers' Gazette in 1894 'it was established under Royal, but scarcely respectable auspices, George IV, when Prince of Wales, having installed a certain Mivart to keep house here'. (fn. 29)
Whether or not this tradition derives from more than the hotel's later reputation for the discreet accommodation of royalty cannot now be said. But unquestionably there were special circumstances attending the foundation of Mivart's establishment. His immediate patron was Lord William Beauclerk, then resident at No. 41 Brook Street, (fn. 1) who in 1812 purchased the lease of No. 51, a house sited approximately in the middle of the present frontage of Claridge's. Beauclerk applied to Lord Grosvenor for permission to use the house as a hotel, which involved breaking the normal covenants of Grosvenor leases. This was initially refused, as there were already several hotels in Brook Street of which two were on the estate: Kirkham's, founded in 1802 at No. 43, and Coulson's (originally Wake's), set up in 1806 at No. 49, next to No. 51. (fn. 30) Beauclerk then wrote to Lord Grosvenor explaining the situation more fully; he himself had taken the stables of No. 51, he said, while a man (evidently Mivart) whom he had known 'very well' for nearly twenty years and for whose 'orderly, quiet and good conduct' he could vouch, had taken the house with much of the furniture and would be ruined if he could not continue. Beauclerk also claimed that No. 51, which had been intermittently tenanted since 1803, had already been in use as a hotel, and hinted that he might himself soon be able to incorporate No. 43 (Kirkham's) into his own house, so that the number of hotels in the street would not be increased. Lord Grosvenor therefore agreed to see what could be done, but promised nothing. (fn. 31)
Mivart's precarious tenure was further threatened in May 1813, when Kirkham and Coulson in concert objected to his presence, referring to assurances given 'that no other Hotel should be opened on Lord Grosvenor's Estate in Brook Street'. Accordingly, he was informed that the covenant on his house could not be violated. Mivart now responded strongly, claiming, evidently successfully, that there was no violation because No. 51 was being used as 'a Private and distinct Lodging House only, the Apartments of which are always held by the Month, or for certain Periods as may be agreed, and not let by the Night to casual comers, as in Hotels. I beg also to state that no arrangement was ever made, or intended, to render it a House of that nature, that there is neither Coffee Room, Club Room, nor any sort of accommodation for Business of a Public Description.' (fn. 32) After this Mivart seems to have been left in peace, but the probability must be that influential patronage had been the key.
Once accepted, Mivart was quick to expand. In 1817 he took over No. 57 Brook Street at the south-east corner with Davies Street, and made additions at the back. (fn. 33) His policy here and at other houses was to obtain a tenancy towards the end of a long leasehold term. In this way he secured No. 48 Davies Street (a large house with stabling immediately south of the corner house) in 1826, No. 53 Brook Street in the following year and No. 55 in 1838, thus acquiring a range of five consecutive houses. (fn. 34) But Mivart also looked for houses beyond these confines; he occupied No. 52, on the north side of Brook Street, between 1821 and 1843, and No. 61, on the south side but west of Davies Street, between 1820 and his death in 1856. (fn. 35) He was also briefly at No. 66 Brook Street in 1820–1 after the Curzons had left the house, and even treated for houses in Grosvenor Street, No. 61 in 1820 and the large No. 16 in 1823, though he took on neither. (fn. 36) (fn. 2)
Nevertheless the main complex at Nos. 51–57 Brook Street and 48 Davies Street was certainly the core of Mivart's Hotel and was riddled by the 1840's with openings between the buildings. Though altered internally, they remained substantially private houses in structure. As for the fronts, a print illustrating the houses before the acquisition of No. 55 shows that Nos. 51, 53 and 57 still had their old brick façades. (fn. 37) No. 55, the largest house of the group, boasted a stucco front and dressings possibly put on during the tenancy of Edward Boodle, Mivart's predecessor, and at some date after 1838 (possibly 1851) Mivart stuccoed the corner house, No. 57. (fn. 38) But Nos. 51 and 53 kept their brick fronts, despite an undertaking made by Mivart in 1849 to stucco No. 53 in return for renewal of the lease. (fn. 39)
The inexorable expansion of Mivart's whilst its rivals in Brook Street remained static in size is the best possible indication of the hotel's success. Its particular hallmark from early days was the discreet accommodation of foreign potentates. In 1827 The Morning Post, noting that Mivart's was 'the fashionable rendez-vous for the high Corps Diplomatique', remarked among its residents several ambassadors: Baron von Bülow from Berlin, Baron Alexander von Humboldt, 'that most distinguished statesman and writer' from Hanover, the Duke de Lafoens (Ambassador from Lisbon to Brazil) and the Count and Countess Woronzow from St. Petersburg. (fn. 40) Tallis's guide of 1851, while speaking of the 'splendour of its appointments' and its 'vast extent', mentioned among recent visitors Grand Duke Alexander of Russia and the late King of Holland. (fn. 41) And in 1853, at the dawn of the age of the railway hotel, a correspondent in The Times claimed there were just three first-class London hotels, Mivart's, the Clarendon (in Bond Street), and Thomas's (in Berkeley Square). (fn. 42) (fn. 3)
In this year the running of Coulson's Hotel, next to Mivart's, passed to William Claridge and his wife Marianne, who since at least 1850 had been running a small private hotel at No. 9 Grosvenor Street. (fn. 10) By tradition they had been a butler and housekeeper, but all that is known for certain is that William Claridge was born at Aylsham in Norfolk. (fn. 43) Almost immediately they took over the adjacent hotel (with the exception of No. 57 which appears to have reverted to private occupation until at least 1881) (fn. 10) and Mivart retired, dying in 1856. (fn. 44) William Claridge promptly in 1854 connected No. 49 with the other houses, and they became 'Claridge's, late Mivart's'. (fn. 45) So styled, the hotel continued as before. The seal was put on its social success in 1860 when Empress Eugènie of France came to stay and Queen Victoria visited her here. (fn. 46) Then in 1864–5 the fronts of Nos. 49, 51 and 53 were all altered in consideration of the grant of a new thirty-year lease of No. 51, running from 1870. These brick houses had according to Marianne Claridge all been much repaired since her husband took over the hotel. The external alterations required by the Estate were therefore not extensive; No. 49 received a square attic storey while Nos. 51 and 53 were given new porches. The works were carried out partly to the Estate's specifications and partly to the designs of Claridge's surveyor, J. Crawley. (fn. 47) No later alterations are known prior to the rebuilding of the premises. In 1870, with the death of Mivart's widow, the leases of the other houses besides No. 51 passed to her son St. George Jackson Mivart, who described himself as a 'man of science', but the Claridges continued their tenancy for another eleven years without interruption. (fn. 48)
In 1881 the hotel passed into the hands of a limited company because of William Claridge's failing health (he died in the following year). (fn. 49) Though the Claridge's Hotel Company Limited retained the old name it was soon clear that rebuilding was contemplated, doubtless because of the number of purpose-built hotels then going up elsewhere in London. At this date the hotel premises consisted of Nos. 49–55 (odd) Brook Street, No. 48 Davies Street, and much of the north side of Brook's Mews, but No. 57 Brook Street on the corner site was still in private occupation and may have remained so for some years, though from 1889 its lease was renewed only on an annual basis. (fn. 50)
It was also in 1889 that the Company came forward with their plans, hoping for new leases of the whole site in return for a comprehensive rebuilding. The proposal brought before the Grosvenor Board by the Company's architect, W. D. Caröe, was complicated, for it omitted the corner house as well as Nos. 40–46 (even) Davies Street, of which the Company had no lease, though the Board thought these should be included if possible. The scheme was therefore revised, probably to include the whole block, and approved by the Duke of Westminster in 1890. Caröe's perspective view of the court in the centre (which the Duke thought 'especially good') was published; it shows a picturesque, gabled composition in brick. Of the street elevations nothing is known. (fn. 51)
But the promoters lacked the capital to carry out this scheme, even by piecemeal execution. In October 1890 the building contract entered into with the Estate was mortgaged to the Grainger Permanent Building Society of Newcastle to raise funds, but this was of no avail. Caröe suggested that Colls and Sons the builders should finance the proposal, but this was disallowed because of the existing mortgage, and in May 1892 the Hotel Company was asked to return the contract. Even a scheme for alterations and improvements to the value of £9,000 seems to have been beyond the Company's resources. (fn. 52) Indeed Claridge's had ceased to make a profit in the face of 'competing establishments of a more modern nature'. There were only twelve lettable suites of rooms altogether, and although these yielded an average annual return of £10,000, this was not enough to meet the costs of service and the ground rent of £1,475. (fn. 53)
By this time other hoteliers were beginning to prick up their ears, the most important being Cesar Ritz, at this point briefly manager of the new Savoy Hotel, opened in 1889. Negotiations with the Savoy Hotel Company began in 1892, but a year later the bargain was still not concluded and Claridge's was now in distinctly low water with the Grainger Society 'in possession practically'. Then in July 1893 Caröe submitted an elevation for the Brook Street front on behalf of Cesar Ritz, and in October the mortgage was transferred. Two months later Ritz and Richard D'Oyly Carte, as principals in an intended new company to be called New Claridge's Limited, made a formal proposal of rebuilding to include Nos. 40–46 (even) Davies Street and 57 Brook Street. To this the Duke consented with the proviso that he did not want 'anything like a repetition of the Savoy Hotel in Brook Street'. (fn. 54) The new owners were just in time to save the hotel from 'a vulgar application on the part of its butchers to wind it up. Happily', reported The Caterer and Hotel-Proprietors' Gazette, 'money has been forthcoming to satisfy Mr. James Ginger's meat-bill and costs, and Claridge's Hotel (Limited) still waves'. (fn. 55)
One of the first acts of the new company was to replace Caröe by C. W. Stephens, an architect who had built much on the Cadogan and Smith's Charity estates in Chelsea, and was later to be the designer of Harrods. This time there was little delay. Stephens submitted his first plans in June 1894 and his revised ones in October, in which month an auction began of 'the whole of the quaint old contents of the labyrinthine building'. Demolition began in November, and on 22 December 1894 Countess de Grey laid the foundation stone of the new Claridge's. (fn. 56)
The new Claridge's was to be 'a high-class residential hotel, with private entrances to private suites of rooms, and all the accessories of that American life which some believe will grow more and more among us'. (fn. 57) Its seven storeys, containing some 260 rooms, took four years to build, during which the leases of Nos. 40–46 Davies Street and No. 57 Brook Street were successfully acquired. The work, which was carried out by George Trollope and Sons and included newly complex provision for fireproofing and means of escape, was substantially complete by February 1898 and the hotel was formally opened in November. (fn. 58)
The exterior of Stephens' building remains substantially as it was finished, a massive four-square block faced in red bricks from Sible Hedingham, Essex, with dressings of red Mansfield stone and a plethora of small iron balconies (fn. 59) (Plate 6c: see also Plate 39a in vol. XXXIX). The three fronts, to Brook Street, Davies Street and Brook's Mews, all have the same pedestrian character, with many minor projections but no strong accents. Apart from the addition of extra storeys and the blocking of the private entrance to the royal suite in Brook Street close to the corner, the only major change has been the removal of the granite double entrance in the centre of the main front.
Within, Claridge's has naturally seen greater vicissitudes. The decoration of ground floor and staircase was imaginatively assigned to Ernest George and Yeates. (fn. 60) Rich and masculine in tone, their scheme included a panelled coffee- and dining-room divided by arches between piers (Plate 7a), a timber-ceiled smoking-room with high fireplace, and a billiard-room with ornate frieze (Plate 39b in vol. XXXIX). The centre of circulation was a toplit winter garden immediately behind the vestibule. Most of these rooms have disappeared or been radically changed, but there are two good survivals from George and Yeates's works, the first ballroom (originally the drawing-room) and the principal staircase, a spacious affair with a wrought-iron balustrade and occasional beaten panels. The upper floors, planned in suites of three and four rooms, and the larger royal suite, occupying the whole of the first-floor frontage towards Davies Street, appear all to have been left to Stephens. The Builder praised his treatment as 'very dissimilar from the orthodox hotel decoration ... The green paper filling to the corridors was generally admired, and it must be admitted that the darkstained doors, white paint and varied tone of some of the rooms is admirable.' (fn. 61) Several of these rooms, which were given a mild French or Adam flavour, have not been greatly changed.
Shortly after the opening, the Savoy Hotel Company formally acquired the shares of New Claridge's Limited. Under the direction of Henri Menge, previously manager of the Grand Hotel at Monte Carlo, the new Claridge's flourished as much as the old one in its heyday and regained its sobriquet as 'The Resort of Kings and Princes'. (fn. 62) Minor changes were however frequently under consideration. In 1901 a small hood designed by J. Starkie Gardner was erected over the Davies Street entrance; (fn. 63) this has now disappeared. Relations between the hotel and its landlords were not ideal in the Edwardian period; there were frequent complaints by householders about disturbances from Claridge's, while the hotel authorities frequently felt themselves thwarted in their attempts to keep up to date by the Estate's attitude. In 1907 the company was anxious to alter the restaurant (formerly the coffee- and dining-room) and make some consequent external changes towards Brook's Mews, claiming that 'since the Ritz Hotel was opened Claridge's has suffered a good deal by reason of the inadequate accommodation for balls, large private dinners, wedding receptions etc.'. After resisting for some time, the Estate finally gave in. (fn. 64) So in 1909–10, a corridor was made between restaurant and drawing-room, and a ballroom (now the second ballroom) was formed facing Brook's Mews. The contractors for this work were John Garlick Limited, but the ballroom was designed and decorated by Parisians in the Louis XV style, with reliefs by Marcel Boulanger, paintings in the manner of Watteau, and lighting by Bagues. Its architect, René Sergent, was probably recommended by Joseph (later Lord) Duveen, who took a special interest in Claridge's and soon afterwards employed Sergent to design his firm's headquarters in New York. (fn. 65)
In 1912 and 1913 the hotel suffered minor fires, and after a major one in 1916 on the upper floors reinstatement work was done under the direction of T. E. Collcutt, for many years architect to the Savoy Hotel. (fn. 66) But the first radical change in conception did not come until 1925–6, when the company called in Basil Ionides, who specialised in interiors and was a pioneer of the eclectic school of decoration prevalent in the 1930's. Ionides, with the help of craftsmen such as William Ranken and Byron Inison, altered the corridor leading to the side entrance in Davies Street and transformed the restaurant, retaining the arches but replacing the panelling with engraved glass and smart light fittings in the shape of elephants surmounted by pagodas (Plate 7b); he also worked on some of the suites. (fn. 67)
Though this scheme heralded the start of a new style for Claridge's interiors, it was short-lived. In 1929 the awkward carriage drive was done away with and a new main entrance to the hotel substituted by Oswald P. Milne, the builders being F. and H. F. Higgs (Plate 52a in vol. XXXIX). This façade of Roman stone with granite urns carrying coloured flowers in earthenware, together with a mirrored foyer resplendent in primrose and silver-grey and shiny-black details, followed Ionides' lead but was more jazz-moderne in tone. Immediately afterwards Milne altered the restaurant again, removing the arches, putting in new piers and lighting, but keeping the glass and the elephants (Plate 7c). This was followed in 1930 by the reconstruction of the billiard-room as a grill-room (now the Causerie). (fn. 68)
These first works of Milne's were the prelude to a stream of jobs carried out by him at Claridge's in the 1930's. The most important of these was the Claridge's Hotel Extension immediately to the east of the main building. Since at least 1914 the hotel had wished to expand, at one time entertaining thoughts of building on ground to the south along Davies Street. (fn. 69) But the adjacent houses to the east had always been the natural direction for any extension. In 1930 therefore, the hotel company secured from the Grosvenor Estate a new lease of their main site together with a building contract for the adjacent Nos. 45 and 47 Brook Street. The new arrangement prompted the Estate to agree to sell the freehold of the whole site; this was concluded in about June 1930 for £113,500. (fn. 70)
The extension building was erected in 1930–1 by Messrs. Bovis. It is a tall brick block, harmonising with the main hotel but simpler and more cubic in outline, and with shops along the front on either side of the entrance. The chief interior feature is a fine suite of reception rooms entirely separate from the main hotel, leading through from the entrance to a long hall at the back, which in turn is connected with the three ballrooms along Brook's Mews. The rooms were finished in the same smart eclectic style as Milne's previous work, and were widely praised in the press (fn. 71) (Plate 6d: see also Plate 52b in vol. XXXIX). For these interiors and the private rooms upstairs an array of British craftsmen was assembled, (fn. 4) much to the delight of Christopher Hussey, who noted that the rooms were 'obviously of to-day and as obviously English'. (fn. 72) The reception rooms have since been somewhat simplified, but the permanent features of Milne's scheme remain.
In the main hotel, a number of suites were also altered in the 1930's under Milne's supervision, others by the architects Stanley Hall, Easton and Robertson, the furnishings being largely provided by the firm of Betty Joel. (fn. 73) A characteristic of such jobs was the speed with which they had to be carried out so as to minimize the disturbance to the day-to-day running of the hotel. In 1936 Milne added a small penthouse suite, and subsequently altered the top floors again in 1952 and 1961. (fn. 74) Since then further minor changes of plan and decoration have taken place, but the basic character of Claridge's has been maintained.
Nos. 59 and 61 Brook Street with Nos. 39–49 (odd) Davies Street
Nos. 59 and 61 Brook Street with Nos. 39–49 (odd) Davies Street were built to a uniform design by (Sir) Robert William Edis in 1883–6 and form a distinctive interpolation on the south side of Brook Street, introducing the taste of the first Duke of Westminster alongside the refrontings previously begotten by the second Marquess and Thomas Cundy II (Plate 4b). The original 59 and 61 Brook Street (formerly 40 and 39) were erected under separate leases granted to Edward Liney, paviour, and William Jackling, bricklayer, in 1723 and 1725 respectively, (fn. 75) and both had canted bay windows at firstfloor level supported on columns. (fn. 76) Edis's replacements are in the Jacobean style, with shaped Flemish gables, mullion-and-transom windows and tall shafted chimneystacks. The use of hard red brick and vivid terracotta reflects the predilection of the first Duke of Westminster for these materials, while the two canted bay windows are repeated but rise through all the principal storeys. Edis's design forms a picturesque punctuation of this prominent corner site and the long return elevation along the west side of Davies Street is a nicely varied composition. Edis was particularly keen to have an archway over the widened entrance to Three Kings Yard at the rear and was even prepared to pay for it himself should the Duke not agree to do so, but nothing came of this proposal. (fn. 77) Edis's design for the houses was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1884 and was reproduced in The Architect. (fn. 78) The building contractor was Thomas Boyce of Hackney. (fn. 79) The twentieth-century stone classical shop front at No. 59 and along the Davies Street flank is an inappropriate alteration while the modernisation of the interior as offices in 1977 has left the rooms devoid of features of interest. At the same time No. 61 was extended at the rear.
Occupants include: No. 59, Francis Sibson, physician, 1852–75. (Sir) Henry Howse, latterly kt., surgeon, 1888–1903. No. 61, Sir Henry Cosby, kt., lieut.-gen., 1788–91. James Mivart (Mivart's Hotel), 1820–56. John Croft, surgeon, 1872–82.
No. 63 is a stone-fronted rebuilding of 1907–9, designed by George Thomas Hine (Plate 4b). The original house on the site (formerly No. 38) had been built about 1725 under a lease to William Jackling, bricklayer. (fn. 80) 'Mr. Cockerell' surveyed it in 1819 for Lord Compton, when the lease was being renewed, but it is not known whether he designed any alterations. (fn. 81)
When rebuilding was first mooted in 1906 the estate surveyor, Eustace Balfour, was concerned that the main staircase and 'the ornamental ceiling over the same' should be preserved, 'they being of interest'. (fn. 82) Hine, who intended the new house for the joint occupation of himself and his son, a medical man, promised that 'he would endeavour to restore all the present beauties of the house', but the preservation of the ceiling proved impracticable, and although a clause was inserted in Hine's building contract requiring 'the existing staircase to be re-used, or so much of it as might be directed by the estate surveyor', no trace of it now remains. (fn. 83)
Hine's rebuilding contractors were Foster and Dicksee, (fn. 84) but when completed in 1909 neither he nor his son lived in the new house, which remained vacant until 1911, when, the drawing-room having been enlarged by the addition of a bow window, a tenant was at last found. (fn. 85) Nothing of interest now survives inside, but the façade remains as designed in 1906; it is chastely classical with some Arts and Crafts idiosyncracies to give away its date: high plinths and pronounced entasis of the porch columns, the pattern of the ironwork and the semi-circular cappings to the little piers in the crowning balustrade.
Occupants include: John Norris, benefactor of Cambridge University, 1772–6. Sir John Smith, 1st bt., 1778–87. Lord Compton, later 2nd Marquess of Northampton, 1820–1, 1824–8. Sir William Duff-Gordon, 2nd bt., 1822–3. Edward John Stanley, later 1st Baron Eddisbury and 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley, statesman, 1828–37: his uncle, Edward Stanley, Bishop of Norwich, 1838–49. 9th Earl of Cork and Orrery, 1857. Sir William Jenner, 1st bt., physician, 1869–90. (Sir) John Williams, latterly 1st bt., physician, 1891–1903. Col. Sir Theodore Brinckman, 3rd bt., 1921–37.
No. 65 (formerly No. 37). Nothing survives of the original house here, which was built under a lease of 1723 to Henry Avery, bricklayer. (fn. 86) In 1788 it was taken by Charles Elliott, the Bond Street upholsterer, and evidently let furnished by him to a succession of short-term tenants. (fn. 87) In 1806 he applied to Earl Grosvenor for a speedy renewal of the lease, as from 'the bad state of repair the House is in he thinks it must be rebuilt'. Two years later he was granted a fifty-one-year extension of his subsisting twelve-year term, (fn. 88) and in 1811–12 he completely rebuilt the house. (fn. 34) In 1866 the plain front elevation was altered to Cundy's specification. At first-floor level the iron balcony which extended in front of the windows and over the projecting porch was replaced by balustraded balconettes, Portland-cement dressings were applied to the windows, and fancy pedimented surrounds added to the semi-circular-headed dormer windows. (fn. 89) The altered Ionic front porch (which was enclosed in 1898 (fn. 90) ) and the austere stock-brick rear elevation remain from Elliott's rebuilding, but much of the interior was eclectically redecorated in or around 1897, probably to designs by A. Henley Attwater. (fn. 91) The first-floor front room, now (1978) the museum of the British Optical Association, is in a simple Louis XVI style, but its ormolu-mounted marble chimneypiece is evidently a genuine late eighteenthcentury French example. Little of Elliott's work appears to survive in the house, but at the back the charming rear elevation of the stables in Three Kings Yard, which faces the house, certainly dates from Elliott's time.
Occupants include: Col. Martin Madan, 1727–31. 13th Marquess of Winchester, 1813–17. William Sturges-Bourne, politician, 1831–40. 1st Baron Monteagle, politician, 1841–7. 2nd Baron Bateman, 1856–64. Sir John Whalley-Smythe-Gardiner, 4th bt., 1865–8. 5th Earl of Courtown, 1870–1. 7th Viscount Powerscourt, 1874–95. 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, 1922–7: his wid., 1927–32.
No. 67 (formerly No. 36), built under a lease of 1723 to Francis Bailley, carpenter, (fn. 92) retains its original early eighteenth-century plan form and some interior features. The house was altered at the end of the eighteenth century, perhaps soon after 1791, when it was bought by Miss Anne White. Her agent was 'Mr. Woolfe of Scotland Yard' who may have been John Woolfe, the colleague of James Gandon. (fn. 93) The alterations involved adding a full-height semi-circular bay window to the rear elevation, redecorating the ground-and first-floor rooms in simple neo-classical taste, stuccoing the front elevation and putting up an iron balcony at first-floor level. A sale advertisement in 1835 refers to the 'suite of three elegant drawing rooms' on the principal floor, 'finished with statuary marble chimneypieces, gold moulding and mahogany doors', while the library and dining-room on the ground floor were 'stuccoed' and also furnished with marble chimneypieces. (fn. 94)
When the lease came up for renewal in 1850, Cundy prescribed removing the iron balcony and adding cement dressings to the windows, but at the instigation of the Marquess of Westminster a Doric portico was added. Apart from the portico only minor alterations were made to the façade, which kept its plain stuccoed appearance. (fn. 95) These alterations, and the construction of a toplit kitchen under the back garden, were executed in 1851–2 for the new lessee, the Marquess of Blandford, by 'Mr. Hardwick'—almost certainly P. C. Hardwick. (fn. 96)
Since 1851 the house has been little changed, though repairs and refurbishment have been undertaken at various times. In 1907 its demolition was under consideration, but Eustace Balfour, the estate surveyor, with his usual sensitivity to Georgian architecture, advised against rebuilding because the house was 'too good'. (fn. 97)
Hardwick's Doric porch leads into the original square double-storey entrance hall, which still contains the early eighteenth-century arrangement of main staircase giving access to the first floor only. The barley-sugar balusters are much renewed but the wide moulded handrail and Composite newels are original. The secondary staircase behind, which serves the full height of the house, as well as being toplit, is lit from the front hall both by internal windows and decorative fanlights over the doors. These together with the cornice date from the late eighteenthcentury alterations. The two principal ground-floor rooms also retain cornices and chimneypieces from the end of the eighteenth century; the latter in the front room is of white marble with inlaid fluting and frieze panels of coloured marble, while that in the rear room has a central tablet with a ram reluctantly being led to sacrifice. The first-floor rooms also have simple neo-classical cornices but the contemporary chimneypieces have disappeared. The two front rooms on the second floor retain complete early eighteenth-century raised-and-fielded panelling and box cornices, the only such survival on the south side of Brook Street.
Occupants include: Sir Ralph Milbanke, 4th bt., 1730. Earl of Euston, latterly 4th Duke of Grafton, 1807–12: his step-mother, Dow. Duchess of Grafton, 1812–22. Lord Lovaine, later 2nd Earl of Beverley and 5th Duke of Northumberland, 1823–6. Sir George Manton, 1827–8. Lady Henry Fitzroy, widowed da.-inlaw of 3rd Duke of Grafton, 1829–35. Marquess of Blandford, latterly 7th Duke of Marlborough, 1852–9. Kirkman David Hodgson, partner in Baring Brothers and Co., merchants, 1860–79. Lady Sherborne, wid. of 3rd Baron, 1893–1907. Dowager Marchioness of Bristol, wid. of 3rd Marquess, 1909–27.
Nos. 69 and 71
Nos. 69 and 71 (formerly Nos. 35 and 34) have since 1927 been the premises of the Savile Club. (fn. 98) Until 1890 they were two separate houses. No. 69 was erected under a building lease of 1725 granted to Francis Bailley, carpenter. (fn. 99) In 1850, at the time of the renewal of the lease to the second Earl Digby, a Doric portico of Thomas Cundy II's designing was added and the whole front was refaced in stucco by B. W. May of Park Street, surveyor, to whom is due the channelled ground storey with its unusual headings to the windows. (fn. 100) In 1884 the house was acquired by Walter Hayes Burns of New York, brother-inlaw and business partner of J. Pierpont Morgan and, like Morgan, one of the great Edwardian art collectors. On acquiring the house Burns added an extra storey and a lift, this work being executed by G. H. Trollope and Sons. (fn. 101) Six years later Burns also bought the adjoining No. 71. (fn. 102)
This had originally been erected under a lease of 1726 granted to John Simmons, carpenter. (fn. 103) It was smaller than No. 69, having only four narrow bays as opposed to five. In 1867 the house was given a stone portico of the period and raised a full storey but the latter addition was in red brick and Cundy's usual stucco dressings were omitted. This was possibly because the Marquess of Westminster had expressed the hope that the creeper which then grew on the front would be preserved—which it was. (fn. 104) In 1891, soon after its purchase by Burns, No. 71 was demolished and completely rebuilt as part of No. 69 by G. H. Trollope. Burns had wanted to rebuild in red brick but the Duke thought this 'might make the adjoining houses look bad', and it was therefore agreed that the front should 'not be red in this case'. (fn. 105) Painted cement was adopted instead to match No. 69, as was the same nondescript classical style. The only feature of marked individuality is the rectangular first-floor bay window projecting on brackets. (fn. 106) Only the French accent of the window ironwork gives a hint of what lies behind this low-key elevation.
The interior was totally redecorated for Mrs. Burns in the most opulent Louis XV taste by William Oscar Bouwens van der Boijen, a Parisian architect of Dutch origin who had trained under Labrouste and Vaudoyer. (fn. 107) This work is one of the very few survivors on the estate of the lush Francophile taste current around the turn of the century. Such uncompromisingly opulent decoration marries uncomfortably with the somewhat haphazard plan (fig. 14), the result of piecemeal rebuilding, adaptation and make-do, but nevertheless individual rooms are of high quality. On the ground floor both the billiard-room and the former dining-room (now bar) contain splendid chimney pieces. The latter also has excellent dark oak boiseries and a large marble buffet. The Italian neo-classical caryatid chimneypiece in the ground-floor lounge was brought from the old premises of the Savile Club in Piccadilly. The front hall, at No. 69, has a staircase with a French-patterned iron and brass balustrade while the whole of the back of the former No. 71 is filled with the circular Grand Stairs (Plate 42b in vol. XXXIX). This sweeping composition, reminiscent of a stage set for Der Rosenkavalier, has a balustrade all of carved wood. The staircase opens straight into the huge ballroom at first-floor level. The opposite end has rounded corners to balance the curve of the staircase wall, and the central windows at either end are framed by fluted Composite columns. The walls are adorned with light-hearted stucco work, there is a fine marble chimneypiece (Plate 5b), and the ceiling was originally painted on canvas but is now plain. The adjoining drawing-rooms (now the club dining-rooms) are even more richly decorated, with columns of beautiful mauve-grey fleur de pêche marble and masses of gilding (Plate 5a). Nor is this high-quality decoration confined to the main floors. The present library on the second floor also has French boiseries and lightly painted singeries, while the whole of the basement is lined to eye level with Persian patterned tiles. Even the garden at the back has trompe l'oeil treillage.
After Burns's death in 1897 the house was successively occupied by his widow and by his daughter, Viscountess Harcourt, until 1927, when it was sold to its present occupants, the Savile Club. Though the original furniture has been removed, the decoration is still perfectly maintained.
Occupants include: No. 69, François de la Rochefoucauld, Marquis de Montandré, Huguenot refugee who became a field marshal in British army, 1734–9. Marquise de Montandré, 1739–72. 7th Baron Digby of Geashill, latterly 1st Earl Digby, 1773–93: his wid., 1793–4: their son, 2nd Earl Digby, 1796–1856: his nephew, George Digby Wingfield Digby, 1856–65. Dow. Duchess of Cleveland, wid. of 3rd Duke, 1866–83. Walter Hayes Burns of New York, 1884–97 (house united with No. 71, 1891): his wid., sister of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1897–1919: their da., Mary Ethel, Viscountess Harcourt, successively wife and wid. of 1st Viscount Harcourt (d. 1922), 1921–7. Savile Club, 1927–. No. 71, Capel Moore, son of 3rd Earl of Drogheda, 1729–37. Sir John Chester, 6th bt., 1742. Fulke Greville, grandson of 5th Baron Brooke, 1768–73. Samuel Merriman, physician, 1823–52. James Matthews Duncan, physician, 1879–90. House united with No. 69, 1891.
Nos. 73, 75 and 77
Nos. 73, 75 and 77 occupy the site of a block of servants' quarters at the back of No. 7 Grosvenor Square. Originally a plain two-storeyed range, it was reconstructed by the builders E. D. Winn and Company as three neo-Georgian houses in 1925–6. They were given slightly varied external treatments, No. 73 in brick and Nos. 75 and 77 in stucco. (fn. 108) No architect is known for this accomplished little job. No. 73 was demolished in 1974 and replaced by a pinkgranite office block which conspicuously lacks the neighbourly qualities of its predecessor.