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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Park Street: West Side
Former houses on the site of Aldford House.
Seven houses were erected here under an agreement made in 1739 with Roger Blagrave, carpenter. (fn. 3) Some of them were not occupied until the later 1740's, but thanks, no doubt, to their fine position overlooking Hyde Park, their occupants were from the first persons of quality. Formerly numbered 125–131 (consec., from north to south) Park Street, they became Nos. 1–13 (odd, from south to north) in 1866, and remained good-sized, fashionable houses until their demolition for the building of the first Aldford House in 1894–7. Little is known of their respective histories and appearances, but the largest house was undoubtedly No. 13 (previously 125), at the corner with Chapel Street, where quite substantial internal alterations appear to have been made for the first Lord Harrowby under Samuel Wyatt. (fn. 1) (fn. 4)
Occupants include: No. 1 (formerly 131), Sir Bellingham Graham, 7th bt., 1840–66. Sir George Elliott, 1st bt., M.P., 1869–93. (Sir) George William Elliott, later 2nd bt., M.P., 1875–93. No. 3 (formerly 130), Gen. Thomas Panton, 1745–53. 8th Viscount Mayo, 1756. John Ward, later 2nd Viscount Dudley and Ward, 1772–4. Countess De La Warr, wid. of 2nd Earl, 1780–4. Gen. Patrick Tonyn, 1786–1804. Sir Robert Lawley, 6th bt., later 1st Baron Wenlock, 1806–7. W. F. Cooper, M.P., 1850. Sir Belford H. Wilson, diplomat, 1857–8. Prince Gustavus Bathyany, attaché to Austrian Embassy, 1862–83. No. 5 (formerly 129), Maj.-gen. Sir Adolphus J. Dalrymple, bt., 1828–60. Sir Robert N. C. Hamilton, 6th bt., Governor General of Central India, 1862–71. Samuel W. Clowes, M.P., 1872–89. No. 7 (formerly 128), Sir Stephen Anderson, 3rd bt., 1744–73. Countess or Morton, wid. of 15th Earl, 1778–1823: her son, 16th Earl, 1823–7: his wid., 1827–33. 1st Baron Methuen, 1834–49. Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th bt., M.P., 1849–69. 3rd Baron Northwick, 1871–82: his wife/wid., 1882–93. No. 9 (formerly 127), Viscount Castlereagh, later 4th Marquess of Londonderry, 1842–6. Sir John H. Lowther, 2nd bt., M.P., 1847–66: Sir Charles Lowther, 3rd bt., 1866–9. No. 11 (formerly 126), Thomas Bowlby, M.P., 1755–95: his wid., 1795–1813. No. 13 (formerly 125), Sir Chaloner Ogle, Adm. of the Fleet, 1745–50: his son-in-law, 4th Baron Kingston, 1751–61. Lady Ryder, wid. of Sir Dudley Ryder, kt., 1762–74: her son, latterly 1st Baron Harrowby, 1774–1803. Lord Morpeth, later 9th Earl of Carlisle, 1805–26. Dr. Robert Ferguson, physician-accoucheur to Queen Victoria, 1849–65. Gen. William Campbell, 1866–7.
The later history of the site of these houses is described under Park Lane on pages 266–8.
Former houses on the site of Fountain House
Former houses on the site of Fountain House (Plate 73d). Like those on the site of Aldford House, these were built in the early 1740's, following an agreement of 1739 with Thomas Skeat, bricklayer, and Richard Teage, carpenter; (fn. 5) and they too were quickly inhabited by a good class of tenant because of their fine position. The six houses which fronted only upon Park Street were numbered 15–25 (odd) from 1866, and mostly had bowed backs to the park.
At the northern end, facing Mount Street, where the corner site had been occupied by the Duke of Gloucester public house, rebuilding was undertaken by William Skeat in about 1829–31 (see page 318). Much later, in 1919–21, a short-lived but interesting rebuilding took place at the southern end. General reconstruction of the whole range was already being mooted when Cuthbert Heath, an insurance magnate, began negotiations with the Grosvenor Board in 1915 with a view to erecting a new house on a substantial site at the corner of Park Street and Aldford Street. This was allowed, but Edmund Wimperis, the estate surveyor, was disposed to criticize the first design of Heath's architect, George Crawley, thinking the elevations 'a mixture of Mr. Beit's [Aldford House] and Willett's buildings in Park Street [Nos. 44–50]'. During prolonged negotiations, Detmar Blow for the first time intervened unexpectedly in the architectural business of the estate, and Wimperis expressed further doubts 'as to Mr. Crawley's capacity to deal with a London house'. But the plans were finally approved and building work on No. 15 Aldford Street, as it was called, began in 1919 and was completed by 1921, Trollope and Colls being the contractors. (fn. 6) The result was a regular neo-Georgian house of three main storeys with an attic; because of the shortage of bricks it was stone-faced over a core of concrete blocks on all three sides, and the entrance was from Aldford Street (Plate 73d). Crawley was said to have taken 'infinite pains over the details', which included much wrought ironwork, some French-made boiseries in the drawing room, and a wooden staircase with elaborate newels. (fn. 7)
Neither this nor any of the other houses in the block could long withstand the rapid transition of Park Lane after 1918, and they were all demolished for the building of Fountain House in 1935–8.
Occupants include: corner house (formerly 15 Chapel Street), Col. Robert Brudenell, M.P., 1759–65. George Townshend, M.P., later 1st Marquess Townshend, 1766–9. Maurice Suckling, M.P., Comptroller of the Navy, 1769–78. 2nd Viscount Maynard, 1786–8. 2nd Earl of Mornington, 1789–91. Lord Robert Spencer, M.P., son of 3rd Duke of Marlborough, 1800–4. No. 15 (formerly 124), 10th Earl of Cassillis, 1776–83. 7th Earl of Cork, 1784–6. Eliot Thomas Yorke, M.P., 1849–83. No. 17 (formerly 123), Sir Thomas Head, bt., 1753–79. Richard Ford, author and critic, 1849–58. No. 19 (formerly 122), 22nd Earl of Buchan, 1744–5. Henry Strachey, M.P., 1770–85. Lady Almeria Carpenter, da. of 1st Earl of Tyrconnel, 1798–1803. 1st Viscount Pery of Newton-Pery, 1805–6: his wid., 1807–21. Luke White, bookseller, lottery-office keeper and M.P., said to have 'realised the largest fortune ever made by trade in Ireland', 1822–4. 2nd Earl of Durham, 1857–60. 1st Baron Faber, banker, 1902–20. No. 21 (formerly 121), James White, financier and racehorse owner, 1921–7. Sir Arthur du Cros, 1st bt., industrialist, 1929–32.
The later history of the site of these houses is described under Park Lane on pages 268, 269.
Former houses on the site of Grosvenor House.
Ten houses were erected on the southern half of the Park Street frontage in the late 1730's under sub-leases to William Saunders, mason, Thomas Seaton, carpenter, Thomas Skeat, bricklayer, Richard Teage, carpenter, and Henry Whitaker, brickmaker. (fn. 8) They had fairly shallow sites not extending to Park Lane, and were generally less well inhabited than their neighbours to the south. One of the more notable occupants was the art collector, H. A. J. Munro, a friend and patron of Turner, who lived at No. 113 (latterly No. 33), and for whom J. B. Papworth designed alterations to convert the attic into a picture gallery in 1839. (fn. 9) At the south corner house, numbered 64 Mount Street, a complete rebuilding seems to have taken place before 1852, for in that year it is mentioned in the Architectural Publication Society's Dictionary as an example of the constructional use of 'Atkinson's Cement'. (fn. 10) All ten houses were demolished for the expansion of Grosvenor House garden during the nineteenth century. (fn. 11)
Occupants include: No. 29 (formerly 115), Lord Henry Somerset, M.P., son of 8th Duke of Beaufort, 1874–5. No. 31 (formerly 114), Charles Heathcote Tatham, architect, 1802–6. George Otto Trevelyan, M.P., and historian, 1870–2. No. 33 (formerly 113), H. A. J. Munro, art collector, 1828–c. 1854. Thomas Hughes, M.P., author of Tom Brown's Schooldays, 1861–70 (later at No. 80).
No. 35 Park Street (demolished).
Between these last ten houses and the corner house in Upper Grosvenor Street the frontage remained virtually undeveloped until 1789–90 when a large house with its own stabling and garden was built here by Lady Frances Harpur, the recently-bereaved widow of Sir Henry Harpur of Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. (fn. 12) It is not known who designed this house, originally No. 107 and latterly No. 35 Park Street, but the builders were probably Messrs. Gray and Saunders of Marylebone, who employed the surveyor George Pepper to measure and cost the plasterer's work carried out here on their behalf by Humphrey Seager in 1789–90. This had included 353 feet of 'cornice with large Ionic modilions' and 761 feet of enriched entablature. (fn. 13)
Although No. 35 had its entrance in Park Street (in a three-storey canted bay) the principal elevation faced south overlooking the garden and the stable block at the far end (fig. 55 on page 244). This south-facing elevation was originally flat but later a ground-floor bow was added. (fn. 14) In photographs the front appears wholly stuccoed with a handsome verandah across the whole width at first-floor level.
In c. 1910 the house was acquired by Baron Bruno Schröder, a financier of foreign extraction who took British nationality on the outbreak of war in 1914. (fn. 15) Schröder held the house under a lease originally granted to Lord Robert Grosvenor at a nominal rent of £5 per annum which did not expire until 1944, and when the site of No. 35 was required for the redevelopment of Grosvenor House in the 1920's he refused to give it up. (fn. 16) Despite a lawyer's opinion that with building going on all around he would not wish to stay there, (fn. 17) Schröder remained in the house until his death in 1943 (fn. 18) with the walls of the uncompleted Grosvenor House looming above him (Plate 63b).
When the lease expired in 1944 nothing could be done because of the war, and afterwards planning permission for the completion of Grosvenor House and demolition of No. 35 was not granted until 1956. (fn. 19) Photographs taken at that time show that the interior had been considerably altered. (fn. 20)
Occupants include: Lady Frances Harpur, wid. of Sir Henry Harpur, 6th bt., 1791–1801. 4th Viscount Midleton, 1802–27. Lord Robert Grosvenor, latterly 1st Baron Ebury, 1837–93. William Dalziel Mackenzie, barrister and landowner, 1895–1901. Col. Thomas E. Vickers, landowner, 1902–5. 2nd Duke of Abercorn, 1906–8. Baron Bruno Schröder, financier, 1910–43.
Nos. 37–43 (odd)
Nos. 37–43 (odd) form a partially stone-fronted range of five large houses with return fronts to Upper Grosvenor Street and Culross Street (Plate 46b in vol. XXXIX). Designed by W. D. Caröe for the contractors Higgs and Hill, they were erected in 1908–11, replacing houses and stables originally developed in the 1730's. (fn. 21) In Park Street the former houses had been mostly inhabited by tradesmen and shopkeepers, (fn. 22) and when redevelopment of the site was first discussed in 1902 Eustace Balfour, the estate surveyor, recognising the commercial character of this part of the street, had suggested building 'One fairly good house' and five shops. (fn. 23) No more was heard of this, however, and in 1907 negotiations began with Higgs and Hill to build a range of high-class houses. (fn. 24)
Although willing to undertake the development, Higgs and Hill were determined to avoid a repetition of their unhappy experience at Nos. 2–12 Park Street in 1897–1901, where they had worked under an architect chosen by the Estate; and without reference to the Board they asked Frederick E. Williams to produce plans. This in itself gave offence and when Williams' plans proved 'unsatisfactory' an already delicate situation became, in Balfour's words, 'extremely difficult'. (fn. 25) Eventually Higgs and Hill were persuaded to submit a list of architects with whom they would be prepared to work. It contained ten names: five were struck out by the Board, including at their own request, Balfour and his partner Thackeray Turner, and from the five remaining the builders chose W. D. Caröe. (fn. 2) (fn. 26) The Board told Higgs and Hill that 'the general style of the whole block must be quiet classic' with 'brown Portland stone' elevations along the Upper Grosvenor Street frontage and the southern part of the return to Park Street. (fn. 27)
Caröe submitted his designs in March 1908 and, after revision, they were approved in July. (fn. 28) (A perspective drawing which he had prepared for submission to the Duke was ordered to be framed and hung in the Grosvenor Office. (fn. 29) ) The site was cleared in the autumn, (fn. 30) and the new houses were completed between 1910 and 1911. (fn. 31) Though a purchaser was soon found for the stone-faced house with an entrance at No. 14 Upper Grosvenor Street, there was no great demand for the houses, and the others sold at the rate of about one a year, No. 43 apparently remaining unoccupied until 1917. (fn. 32) Higgs and Hill claimed that they had 'spent much more than they wished' on the development in order to meet 'the requirement of Mr Caroe with regard to decoration'. (fn. 31)
In accordance with the requirement of the Board the range is stone fronted at its southern end, but whether the style adopted can be called 'quiet classic' is another matter; one modern critic has described it as 'rather wildly Baroque'. (fn. 33) It is certainly a vigorous amalgam of elements drawn from a wide variety of sources: English seventeenth century for the lower tier of dormer windows, French Beaux Arts for the stone elevations and a dash of Flemish mannerism in the porches, particularly that at No. 14 Upper Grosvenor Street, now removed; but the dominant influence is perhaps Danish. The combination of big segmental pediments and a steep slated mansard roof recalls Laurids Thurah's royal hunting lodge of c. 1734, the Hermitage at Dyrehaven, just north of Copenhagen. (fn. 34) A Danish precedent seems less improbable when it is remembered that Caröe was himself the son of a Dane who had settled in Liverpool as Danish consul there (a post still retained by the Caröe family) and that according to an obituarist 'his interest in things Scandinavian was … immense'. (fn. 35)
The most interesting feature of the Park Street elevation is its self-conscious ambiguity, epitomising the Edwardian preoccupation with breaking the architectural tyranny of the traditional London terrace. The composition can be read as two conjoined pavilions as well as a single terraced unit. The continuity is expressed in the even fenestration, uniform detailing, and the unbroken cornice; while the break in the mansard roof, the bridged gap at second-and third-floor levels and the change from Portland stone to red brick between Nos. 37 and 39 all help to divide the group into two separate parts. The detail throughout is of the high quality to be expected of an architect working under Arts and Crafts influence, particularly the carved stonework of the porches and pediments and the ironwork of the area railings. The interiors, though less original than the outside, are richly appointed in fashionable variations of the 'Louis XVI' and 'early Georgian' styles with handsome joinery, chimneypieces and plasterwork.
Upper Brook Feilde: Nos. 45–49 (odd) Park Street and 43 Upper Brook Street.
This is the second and largest of the three ranges of flats at this important corner, and was built in 1926–7 (Plate 49b in vol. XXXIX). The architects were Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie working for Sir Laurence Philipps (later first Baron Milford), and the builders were Walter Lawrence and Son. (fn. 36) The main elevation faces Park Street, where giant Corinthian columns built into projections at either end of the front combine with some classical detailing over the entrance to break up the bulk of the building, which has seven storeys above ground. The side elevations to Upper Brook Street and Culross Street are less formal but incorporate modest projections. The materials are red bricks with copious stone dressings.
Upper Feilde: No. 71 Park Street
Upper Feilde: No. 71 Park Street (Plate 49a in vol. XXXIX). This large range of flats at the north-west corner of Upper Brook Street and Park Street was the first of three inter-war blocks designed for this intersection by the firm of Edmund Wimperis, the estate surveyor. As early as 1913 Wimperis and Simpson were briefed to rebuild the southern part of the site on behalf of A. C. F. Hill, but war intervened. (fn. 37) When the project was resurrected, the whole site up to Wood's Mews was thrown in, and in 1922–4 Higgs and Hill undertook the present building. It is a thoughtful example of the neo-Georgian style as applied to flats, having bow windows to Upper Brook Street and pilasters and small gables towards Park Street. The ground storey is of Portland stone, the upper parts of red Daneshill bricks with delicate blue diapering. There were originally just fifteen ample flats, each fully decorated. (fn. 38)
Nos. 91–103A (odd) Park Street and No. 48 Green Street
Nos. 91–103A (odd) Park Street and No. 48 Green Street (Plate 52d). This long range was designed by Wimperis and Simpson in 1913, but partly because of the intervention of the war of 1914–18 its building history was long and complicated and the last houses were not finished until 1925. No doubt largely as a result of this long delay the range is not entirely symmetrical despite the superficial impression created of a uniform façade in a brick style harking back to the late Wren manner of Morden College. There are differences in the dormer windows, in the position and types of doorways, and even in the colour of the brickwork between No. 95, the first to be built, and the remaining houses.
Originally George Trollope and Sons agreed to take all of the sites northward of No. 95 as a speculation and had begun to buy up the existing leases here as early as 1912. (fn. 39) The three southern sites (Nos. 91–95) were contracted for by individuals who were not themselves builders. (fn. 40) Trollopes began work on their plot but a builders' strike and the outbreak of war soon stopped them. (fn. 41) Only at No. 95, where the builders were Foxleys for Herbert Marzetti, a stock-jobber, was substantial progress made and by 1916 Marzetti had moved into the finished house, which stood alone with boarded-up sites on each side for several years (fn. 42) (Plate 50c). In 1919 Trollopes recommenced work on their site and in the following year Wimperis and Simpson applied on their behalf to the London County Council for permission to construct the doorways and distinctive canopies in wood, reproducing 'a very excellent example of an old carved bracket … suitable to the style in which the new houses have been designed'. (fn. 43) No. 95 also has a wooden canopy over the doorway but Nos. 91 and 93 do not. Here the original takers dropped out and building was eventually begun in 1921 by W. J. Maddison of the Minories for Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin Thomasson, J.P., who was the first occupant of No. 91. (fn. 44) At No. 93 Holliday and Greenwood carried out alterations before the house was occupied in 1925. (fn. 45)
The earlier houses on this site were erected in the late 1730's and early 1740's in front of the complex of stabling which the architect Roger Morris had built in 1738 for the Second Troop of Horse Guards (see page 185). The stables were approached through an arched passageway from Park Street, and north and south of this Morris organized the building of twelve houses with approximately eighteenfoot frontages. He himself was the lessee of several of these houses, (fn. 46) and some of his associates were prominent craftsmen of the day including John Deval, mason, (fn. 47) and Isaac Mansfield, plasterer, son of the Isaac Mansfield who worked at several buildings designed by James Gibbs. (fn. 48) One of these houses, which was built partly over the entrance to the Guards' stables, was leased to, and occupied by, Robert Morris, the kinsman of Roger, who wrote several important architectural tracts; his house stood on the site of the present No. 97 Park Street and he lived there from 1739 until his death in 1754. (fn. 49)
Occupants include: No. 91, 2nd Earl of Inchcape, 1936–9. No. 93, Sir Louis Bernhard Baron, 1st bt., tobacco and cigarette manufacturer, 1931–4 (formerly at No. 57 Green Street). No. 99, 12th Earl of Lindsay, 1933–9. No. 101, Viscount Castlereagh, M.P., later 8th Marquess of Londonderry, 1934–41. No. 103, Sir Robert Vansittart, K.C.B., later 1st Baron Vansittart, diplomat, 1925–31. No. 103A, 4th Baron Inverclyde, 1930–3.
Nos. 105–115 (odd) Park Street
Nos. 105–115 (odd) Park Street see page 188.