Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.
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Nos. 94–95 Pall Mall: The Star and Garter
In 1759 there were two inns called the Star and Garter in Pall Mall. (fn. 2) (fn. 1) One of these had existed since at least 1740 (fn. 3) and stood on the north side of the street on the site of the present No. 44 Pall Mall, opposite to Schomberg House. (fn. 4) It continued to be known as the Star and Garter until about 1905. (fn. 5)
The other and much more famous Star and Garter stood on the south side of Pall Mall on part of the site subsequently occupied until 1940 by the Carlton club-house. Coney (pocket, drawing B) shows a four-storeyed building of early eighteenth-century character, probably two houses originally, that to the east having a narrow front projecting from its neighbour. The east house had a shop at ground-floor level, a prominent canted bay on the first floor, and two windows in each succeeding storey, the front being quoined at the angles and finished with an eaves-cornice and a hipped roof. The western house had a rusticated Doric porch to the west of the three ground-floor windows, and four windows in each upper storey. The angle quoins and eaves-cornice were uniform with those of the eastern house.
It is not known when this inn was first licensed, but in 1759 the licensee was James Fynmore, (fn. 6) whose lease the Society of Dilettanti unsuccessfully attempted to buy in 1765. The society was then in the habit of holding its monthly meetings at Fynmore's inn, and had held a meeting at 'the Star and Garter in Pall Mall' as early as 1743. (fn. 7) The famous duel in 1765 between Lord Byron, great-uncle of the poet, and his Nottinghamshire neighbour Mr. Chaworth, in which the latter was killed, undoubtedly took place at this inn, for Fynmore is mentioned in contemporary accounts as the master of the house. (fn. 8)
The 'Star and Garter in Pall Mall' was a favourite meeting-place in the eighteenth century. Which of the two inns of that name is referred to cannot always be determined, but that on the south side appears to be the more likely. In his Journal to Stella Swift states on 20 March 1711/12 that 'I made our Society change their House, and we met to-day at the Star and Garter in Pall Mall'. (fn. 9) In 1752 'the noblemen and gentlemen of the Jockey Club' were meeting at 'the Star and Garter in Pall Mall', (fn. 10) and in a letter to George Selwyn dated 18 July 1763 Gilly Williams says that 'our jovial club meets at the Star and Garter'. (fn. 11) In 1774 the laws of cricket were revised by a committee of noblemen and gentlemen which met there, an l.b.w. law being introduced for the first time. (fn. 12) In 1772 the shortlived Savoir Vivre Club was established at the Star and Garter in Pall Mall, (fn. 13) and the Society of Dilettanti met there regularly from at least 1765 until 1800. (fn. 14)
In the 1780's and 90's the licensee of the Star and Garter on the south side of Pall Mall was James Hunt. The inn came to an end in about 1800 and the premises which it had occupied remained empty for some years afterwards. (fn. 15) The Epicure's Almanack (1815) says that this inn had been 'celebrated for vending the best claret in England. The house somehow or other got out of fashion and dwindled into an office for the Light and Heat Company [see below], but the light also dwindling and the heat of the company becoming lukewarm it again changed hands and was degraded into a manufactory of shoe blacking.' (fn. 15)