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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The two most immediately noticeable features of Brook's Mews are the steep descent into it from Davies Street and its considerable width. For most of its length the mews is therefore substantially lower than either Brook Street or Grosvenor Street, a feature which had an effect on the relationship between the mews buildings and the houses to which they belonged. At No. 16 Grosvenor Street, for instance, not only were the coach-houses and stables at the same level as the basement of the house but the kitchen also occupied what was in effect the rear part of the ground floor of the mews building (fig. 15 on page 37).
Like most of the other mews on the estate, Brook's Mews originally had a narrow main entrance, but its general spaciousness nevertheless made it vulnerable to the instrusion of commerce and light industry. As the mews buildings tended to become separated from the houses in Brook Street and Grosvenor Street the Estate took particular care in its leases to guard against undesirable uses, and by the end of the nineteenth century the list of restricted trades there was as long as anywhere on the estate. (fn. 1)
From an early date, however, besides two public houses, there was also a builder's yard and workshops on the north side at the corner with Avery Row. The ground here was part of a large plot which had been leased, together with No. 39 Brook Street, in 1723 to Thomas Phillips, the well-known carpenter. (fn. 2) Phillips lived at No. 39 from 1723 until his death in 1736 and probably used the extensive back premises for his business. He appears to have been succeeded in this by his nephew John Phillips, another master carpenter of note, (fn. 3) who was the rated occupant of No. 39 Brook Street from 1741 to his death in 1775. The main building at the rear was evidently a carpenters' workshop, measuring some 55 by 25 feet, its long side to the mews being entirely lined with windows. At the corner was a small office building which was two rooms deep and had two storeys and a cellar, and elsewhere there were a number of store rooms. (fn. 4)
John Phillips's executors sub-let the yard to John Armstrong, a carpenter and builder. He was in possession by 1790 (fn. 5) but may have been established there earlier, for in 1799 he was stated to have made a number of additions within the previous twelve years. These consisted mostly of sheds for storing timber and a saw pit, but he may also have built another storey over and otherwise altered the workshop, which is described as two-storeyed in a plan of 1802. (fn. 6) In 1799 Armstrong entered into partnership with Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville), who was shortly afterwards to occupy and remodel No. 39 Brook Street (see page 22). Armstrong died in 1803 but Wyatt continued with the builder's business for several years, operating partly from Avery Row and Brook's Mews but mainly from other premises in Pimlico. (fn. 7) At some time during the nineteenth century the buildings in Brook's Mews were replaced by coach-houses and stables, (fn. 8) and these have in turn been rebuilt again, one (No. 52) as a builder's workshop (see below). (fn. c1)
There was another workshop at No. 22. Here a tailor, Louis Bazalgette, who occupied No. 22 Grosvenor Street from 1784 to 1800, (fn. 9) had a two-storey workshop over the coach-house and stables. It was lit principally from the side where a large window overlooked a passage leading off the mews which was shared with No. 21. Behind the workshop were a counting-house and a 'shop', also entered from the passage. (fn. 10) Both 'shop' and workshop communicated with the house in Grosvenor Street, which was able to retain its domestic appearance (Plate 9b) because the main access to the business premises was from the mews. Part of the passage remains but the mews buildings were rebuilt in 1898–9 at the same time as Nos. 21 and 22 Grosvenor Street.
There are few buildings of note left in Brook's Mews. The south side is now dominated by modern office blocks and the north side by the great bulk of Claridge's. To the east of Claridge's the long rear elevation of the Bath Club has a number of large projecting windows. The rear of the main premises at Nos. 41 and 43 Brook Street was largely rebuilt to the designs of Charles Gordon Smith in 1914–15, but a large bow window with small-paned sashes behind No. 43 which lights the Club's main dining-room was inserted in 1919 to the designs of Wimperis and Simpson. The additional wing of the club behind No. 39 Brook Street was originally built in 1927 to the designs of Michael Waterhouse as a three-storey mews house with two projecting bay windows on the first floor. (fn. 11) No. 52 Brook's Mews, a three-storey red-brick and stone builder's workshop which retains its projecting iron beam and lifting gear, occupies part of the site of Armstrong and Wyatt's workshop. It was built as late as 1915–16 for Jonathan Andrews and Sons of Mount Street to the designs of the firm's architect, Horace J. Helsdon, and is now occupied by the building firm of George Smith of Avery Row. (fn. 12)