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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Culross Street west of Park Street
This section of Culross Street was until its renaming and renumbering in 1914 called King Street Mews. The land at either end formed the return frontages of houses in Park Lane and Park Street, but all the rest of the ground here was occupied by the stables and coach-houses of the great houses in Upper Brook Street and Upper Grosvenor Street, the plots of which backed on to King Street Mews. Unlike the eastern part of Culross Street this has in fact always been a 'true' mews, in 1871, for instance, ten out of the twelve occupied premises here being inhabited by coachmen; (fn. 1) and even today many of the buildings are still occupied under the same tenancies as the houses in Upper Brook Street and Upper Grosvenor Street. With only one exception the architectural character of this part of Culross Street is determined by twentieth-century rebuildings and reconstructions, and, despite the fact that it occupies one of the 'best' residential situations in London, it lacks the coherence and overall quality of the refurbished eastern section of the street.
No. 22, on the north side of the street, was rebuilt as stables for No. 41 Upper Brook Street by R. Selden Wornum in 1906 and is now a utilitarian affair of yellow stock brick with red-brick dressings and segmental-headed double-hung sash windows, the ground floor occupied by twin garages. (fn. 2)
No. 24, though mutilated, is the most notable building in this range. It was doubtless erected in the early 1820's as stables for No. 40 Upper Brook Street, which was then undergoing a costly transformation by Philip Wyatt for its prodigiously rich young occupant, Edward Hughes Ball (see page 216). On stylistic grounds there can be little doubt that this stable block was built at the same time, also to the designs of Philip Wyatt. It may even be that the ballroom built by Hughes 'in his garden' at No. 40 Upper Brook Street (fn. 3) occupied the upper floor of the stables, as was the case at No. 28 Culross Street. The first floor of No. 24 comprises one large room which the character of the fenestration suggests was of some architectural ambition though no old internal features have survived its conversion into a library.
In Culross Street the ground floor was converted into a garage by R. Selden Wornum in 1906 (fn. 4) and has since been insensitively altered. This front is unremarkable, but the principal front, facing north towards No. 40 Upper Brook Street, is a neat two-storey neo-classical composition faced in stucco (fig. 58). The middle bay projects slightly and at first-floor level has a characteristic tripartite Wyatt window set within a recessed segmental arch, while the flanking bays have blank rectangular panels over the firstfloor windows. The shallow pyramidal slated roof supports a square timber cupola with a clock and a little domed top.
No. 26 was divided off from No. 39 Upper Brook Street in 1913 and in 1919 was rebuilt as a separate house to the design of Wimperis and Simpson. (fn. 5) Above the garage at street level the suave neo-Georgian elevation is executed in red brick with small-paned sashes, those on the second floor segmental-headed. The house was planned so that all the windows face Culross Street and the rear elevation is blank except for a little dormer in the roof.
No. 28 also has a neo-Georgian red-brick street elevation above a garage but this is only skin deep and behind lies an older structure. In 1819 the Grosvenor Board was informed, in connexion with No. 38 Upper Brook Street, that 'the ballroom which has been built over the stables adds very little to the value of the house'. (fn. 6) This building still exists, though the north elevation is stuccoed and in its present state looks more mid than early nineteenth century. It has a row of four round-arched windows on the first floor and two gabled dormers breaking into the coped parapet. In the nineteenth century there was a covered way from the main house but this has now disappeared and the two buildings are currently in separate occupation.
No. 30, now called 'Park Lodge', was rebuilt as a garage for No. 37 Upper Brook Street in 1908 by Matthews, Rogers and Company to the design of Maurice Hulbert. (fn. 7) This in turn was demolished in 1971 and replaced by the present undemonstrative brick-fronted house with garages at ground-floor level, the architect being Gordon Wimbourne. (fn. 8)
Nos. 32 and 34
No. 21, on the south side of the street, is a three-storeyed neo-Georgian house faced in stucco with smallpaned windows and a wooden doorcase with a broken pediment. It probably dates from 1936 (fn. 9) (Plate 51a in vol. XXXIX).
No. 23, another three-storey stuccoed neo-Georgian house, has double-hung sash windows, those on the ground and first floors of tripartite form, and louvred shutters (Plate 51a in vol. XXXIX). The wooden doorcase has lugged architraves and a swan-neck pediment. Much of the reconstruction of the house was carried out by F. W. Bernard Limited in 1929, and by Foxley and Company in 1936. (fn. 10)
No. 25 was converted into a 'bijou residence' out of a coach-house and coachman's quarters in 1929 by Ernest G. Cole and is a typical mews conversion of that date (Plate 51a in vol. XXXIX). The general fabric probably dates from 1908–9 and has segmental-headed window openings and a central gable, but the leaded panes and the louvred shutters are Cole's contribution. The house was intended for a director of the firm occupying No. 20 Upper Grosvenor Street and illustrates how, as the main streets have become more commercialised, the residential status of the mews has been enhanced. (fn. 11)
No. 27 was rebuilt in 1911–12 to the designs of Ralph Knott and E. Stone Collins as the stables to No. 21 Upper Grosvenor Street. (fn. 12) It is now a two-storeyed brick building with a garage on the ground floor and simple casement windows above. Its principal feature is the steep pantiled mansard roof which recalls that at County Hall.