Survey of London: Volume 6, Hammersmith. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1915.
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XV.—THE VICARAGE, No. 22 LOWER MALL
Ground landlord and leaseholders.
General description and date of structure.
The house would appear to date from some time before 1746, when it was described as "formerly occupied by Lady Bridget Williams," and it is possible that the original building was erected at the same period as No. 21. If this is so, however, the house has been remodelled since, for both its plan and its detail belong to the second half of the 18th century.
The entrance hall, which is on the western side of the building, opens on to an elliptically planned staircase, from which a passage runs east dividing the two front rooms from the two at the back, the former being now thrown into one. The passage is partly covered by a vaulted ceiling, and leads to a secondary staircase at the other end. The back study has been enlarged towards the garden, and finishes in a wide bay-window.
The south front is simply treated, each of its two storeys having five sash-windows of good proportions, separated by a brick-string course. The entrance is in a slightly recessed wing, and has a square porch with columns, pilasters and entablature of the Adam period. Over the porch is a covered balcony with a balustrade of light ironwork. A cornice and a frieze ornamented with pateræ extend across the front, but are not continued round the back elevation; above is a brick parapet. The slate roof is of Mansard construction, with two dormer windows to the south and three to the north.
The interior is full of interesting architectural detail, chiefly of the Adam period. The archway between the entrance hall and staircase has pilasters with well-modelled capitals and medallions on the frieze. The little vaulted passage on the ground floor is enriched with plaster ornament, and there are a number of semi-elliptical panels over the internal doorways and recesses filled with ornament of characteristic fan design. There are also various panels on the walls, with festoons, flowers and figures modelled in plaster in low relief.
Several excellent chimney-pieces are also preserved. One at the east end of the drawing-room is of mid-18th-century date, with enriched architrave, having mitred ears, a fine frieze with a head supported by festoons of fruit and flower, and a cornice carved with egg and tongue ornament. On each side are elaborate scrolls reaching from the ears of the architrave to the plinth. In the dining-room is another carved wood chimney-piece, the detail of which is more in keeping with the decoration in the house. It has side pilasters, and at each end of the frieze are modelled figures of children.
In a room over the drawing-room is an even finer example of an Adam fireplace, the frieze and cornice being beautifully detailed, and the pilasters having twined festoons hanging from their capitals. The western chimneypiece in the drawing-room is a simple design in marble, with inlaid fluted frieze and central panel.
Condition of repair.
We have seen, in the history of No. 21 Lower Mall, that John Cartwright was admitted to this and the neighbouring property on 31st March, 1746. In his admission No. 22 is described as "The Turret House formerly occupied by Lady Bridget Williams." Cartwright's successor, Thomas Clarke, surrendered the western house to James Scott in 1772, and on the latter's death in 1794 it passed to Sir John Hale. As far as is known the Rev. James Connell was the first vicar of Hammersmith to live here, where he is found in 1860, when the entry in the Court Rolls is as follows: "Sir Charles Wheatstone surrenders all that messuage or tenement called the Turret House situate near the waterside in Hammersmith formerly in the occupation of Lady Bridget Williams with the forecourt and garden thereto adjoining being enclosed with a brick wall abutting west on a garden formerly in the possession of Jonathan Rashley but now of Frederick Aldridge Clarke, east on a messuage and garden formerly of John Cartwright and now in the occupation of Henry Poulson Bowling, which said messuage was formerly the estate of John Cartwright and was at one time in the occupation of James Scott, Esq., afterwards of William Sergison and now of James Connell, (fn. 1) to which premises amongst others the said Sir Charles Wheatstone was admitted tenant the 12th day of January, 1856, on the surrender of St. John George Paul Methuen." In 1868 the property was enfranchised, and in the record in the Court Rolls the description is the same as the above with the addition of a plan of the premises and the adjoining houses, etc., in which the lane bounding the north of the garden, now called Aspen Place, is marked "Cut-throat Lane"! The enfranchisement is made by the Rev. James Connell, although his successor, the Rev. Edward Hamilton Blyth, is referred to as occupier.
In the Council's ms. collection are:
(fn. 2) Plan of ground floor (see No. 21 Lower Mall).
(fn. 2) South front (photograph).
(fn. 2) North front (photograph).
(fn. 2) Detail of pilaster in hall (photograph).
(fn. 3) Fireplace in drawing-room, east side (photograph).
(fn. 3) Detail of the same fireplace (photograph).
(fn. 3) Fireplace in drawing-room, west side (photograph).
(fn. 3) Fireplace in dining-room (photograph).
(fn. 3) Detail of the same (photograph).