Survey of London: Volume 6, Hammersmith. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1915.
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XXXIV.—UPPER MALL HOUSE, UPPER MALL (Demolished)
Ground landlord, leaseholders, etc.
The property is freehold and held by the Latymer Foundation.
General description and date of structure.
To the west of Hyde Lodge, also on ground now occupied by the residence of the Head Master of the Latymer Upper School, there used to stand another fine old house known as Upper Mall House. The building was destroyed about the year 1896 after its purchase by the Latymer Foundation (in 1893), and its appearance can only be judged from the photograph (Plate 81), which was taken about the year 1890, together with the description of the house given by Faulkner. A glimpse of the house can, however, be obtained through the trees in the view of Hammersmith looking down the river, engraved by J. Boydell, 1752 (Plate 3).
Faulkner's description, (fn. 1) which does bare justice to an admirable piece of design, runs as follows: "The exterior of this mansion presents a fine front constructed of red brick, with stone dressings, with a handsome and bold cornice resting on consoles, which is continued at the rear of the building. The rooms above appear to have been a modern incumbrance, and detract much from the original style of the building; a flight of steps supporting a pediment-headed doorway opens to the hall, an oak staircase with carved brackets and spiral balustrades leads to the principal rooms, which are spacious and lofty. The grounds extend to the Great Western Road." The photograph taken by Mr. G. R. Saunders is a valuable record of a very charming house. The uppermost storey above the old cornice, the incongruity of which Faulkner himself mentions, was again altered and rebuilt by Mr. Saunders's father before the house was demolished. The front, as seen in the photograph, appears to date back at least to the early part of the 18th century.
Historical and biographical notes.
This property is now freehold, and has been so for a considerable number of years, there being in fact no record of its ever having been otherwise. This circumstance, as well as certain indications of another kind, suggests that in this property we have one of the numerous strips scattered over Fulham and Hammersmith which formed part of the free lands included in the various sub-manors of Fulham. Unfortunately, the fragmentary character of the records has prevented actual proof of the suggestion being obtained, but such facts as are known are recorded here in the hope that some more successful investigator may be able either to prove or disprove it.
On 22nd February, 1650–51, Dame Elizabeth Gurney sold (fn. 2) to Maximilian Bard those portions of the Manor of Palingswick which had not been previously disposed of to Francis Finch. (fn. 3) Included in these was "all that messuage or tenement, together with the orchard or garden plott and void ground thereto belonging, containing one acre, now or late in the occupation of Richard London . . . abutting [east] on the lands now or late of William Steek, gent., now or late in the occupation of William Hill, west on the lands now or late of Hugh Trussell, north on the London highway leading to Brainford, and south on the river of Thames." Hugh Trussell is not known to the Fulham Court Rolls, at any rate for the period 1620 to 1652, and is almost certainly a mistake for Edward Trussell, the owner of a large amount of property in the neighbourhood, and particularly of Seagreens, immediately to the west of Upper Mal House. If this is so, Steek, who is equally unknown, is in a similar way probably a mistake for Stokes, the holder at this time of Hyde Lodge, (fn. 4) and the messuage in question was Upper Mall House. The property is not traceable in subsequent transfers of the Palingswick lands, and was presumably disposed of separately by Bard. It is therefore not possible to verify the identification.
The Hearth Tax Rolls for 1666 and 1674 show a house assessed at nine hearths, immediately to the east of Seagreens, and probably to be identified with Upper Mall House. This was at the time in the occupation of "Dr. Clarke." It is known that the Rev. Samuel Clarke, a leading divine of the 17th century, retired to Hammersmith in 1666, (fn. 5) and the prefix "Dr." used in connection with the occupier renders it probable that this was his house. In view, however, of the fact that another house, assessed at eight hearths, unidentifiable, but perhaps Linden House or Grafton House, was at the same time in the occupation of a "Samuel Clarke," one cannot speak definitely on the matter.
It has been impossible to trace the names of more than two or three of the tenants of Mall House. Faulkner mentions that a William Maynard lived here in 1741, and from the scanty evidence of the rate-books it appears that in 1795 Lady Bailey and in 1796 Lady Dillon were in residence. In 1798 the house was empty.
Old prints, drawings, etc.
Wash drawing by J. G. Simkins in the Ravenscourt Park Public Library.
(fn. 6) Photograph in the possession of G. R. Saunders, Esq.