Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1980.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
The present Mount Row was formed from two stable yards, the longer one being entered from Davies Street and the shorter, originally known as Bishop's Yard (Plate 88e), from Charles Street (now Carlos Place). They were divided in part by a wall and in part by a workshop which jutted out into the mews approximately in front of the present No. 13 and which was for many years part of the premises of the cabinet-making and upholstery concern of Marsh and Tatham and their successors (see page 317). This separation had come about because William and Benjamin Benson, the first occupants of the old Nos. 45 and 46 Grosvenor Street, had the benefit of a building agreement for a plot of land which extended the whole depth between Grosvenor Street and Mount Street, and refused to give up parts of their plot for a public stable yard, William Benson compounding matters by building a wall along the western edge of his plot. (fn. 1) The small yard on the west side of this wall was known as Bishop's Yard because it served the stables belonging to No. 43 Grosvenor Street, whose first occupant was Bishop Benjamin Hoadly. The two mews were joined together when the east side of Carlos Place and the adjacent part of Mount Street were rebuilt in 1891–3.
The north side of Mount Row was taken up with coachhouses and stabling but on the south side there were a number of small houses. Seven of these, on either side of the entrance to Carpenter Street and including the Oliver's Mount public house on the west corner with that street, were built by John Jenner, bricklayer. (fn. 2) He himself lived in one of them, and after his early death in 1728 his widow continued to live there in impoverished circumstances, while several of the other houses were let by the room. (fn. 3) The rebuilding of the south side took place in conjunction with the redevelopment of Mount Street and is described on page 322.
The north side of Mount Row has been completely rebuilt or refronted within the last half century, in some cases with the same kind of commercial buildings of little interest to be found in Brook's Mews or Grosvenor Hill, but also with one range of buildings, all dating from 1926 to 1931, of considerable distinction and charm.
Nos. 6–10 (even) Mount Row
Nos. 6–10 (even) Mount Row comprise a particularly surprising group of houses in the Tudor style with carefully laid red brickwork and intricately carved woodwork which looks to belong more to the Surrey stockbroker belt than to a Mayfair mews (fig. 24: see also Plate 51d in vol. xxxix). Designed by Frederick Etchells and built in 1929–31 by T. Downer, who had previously done excellent work at the adjoining Wren House (see below), the group consists of two new houses with a passage in the middle at ground-floor level leading to a third house at the rear which was a conversion of one of the back buildings formerly belonging to No. 52 Grosvenor Street. (fn. 4) The central passage is lit by a narrow well in the middle, the walls of which are pargetted with naive patterns of trees. Similar plasterwork adorns a seat alcove in the little courtyard in front of No. 8. This seat is balanced on the east side by an imported lead cistern dated '1761 S.W.'
Nos. 12 and 14 Mount Row was either a rebuilding or a drastic conversion of former stabling in 1926–7 by T. Downer of Sarratt, Hertfordshire, to the designs of T. P. Bennett and Son (fn. 5) (fig. 24: see also Plate 51c in vol. xxxix). Greeted as 'a bold confession of faith in good brickwork' and 'a most engaging and fresh piece of work', the building was also praised for its ingenious plan in which space was found for no less than eight bedrooms and even a small central area to give more light. (fn. 6)
This essay in the Hampton Court manner of Wren obviously struck a sympathetic chord with the Grosvenor Estate, which, by 1928, was 'wishing to refront as many houses as possible in this street and bring them up to the same standard'. (fn. 7) T. P. Bennett and Son were accordingly given the task of supervising the refashioning of several other buildings in Mount Row.
Nos. 16 and 18 Mount Row
Nos. 16 and 18 Mount Row (fig. 24) were products of this resolve. No. 16 was a rebuilding of 1929–30 for which Joseph Emberton was the architect, and was partly designed as premises for the dressmaking firm of Reville, Terry at No. 50 Grosvenor Street and partly as an extension to the Sesame Club which occupied No. 49 Grosvenor Street and its mews buildings at the rear (now No. 18 Mount Row). Emberton provided an elevation for the façade to Mount Row which was modified by T. P. Bennett and Son. The latter, however, had a free hand at No. 18, which was a straightforward refronting undertaken in 1929 by George Trollope and Sons for the Grosvenor Estate. (fn. 8)
Nos. 20 and 22 Mount Row.
The present building on this site, a five-storey neo-Georgian office block erected in 1935 6 to the designs of J. M. Sheppard and Partners, (fn. 9) replaced another intricate conversion, done in 1929 by John Garlick and Sons for which T. P. Bennett and Son had provided the elevational design (fig. 24) and Clyde Young the interior planning. (fn. 10)