Survey of London: Volumes 31 and 32, St James Westminster, Part 2. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1963.
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One of the drawings made of Burlington House during the alterations of 1816–17 (fn. 1) offers a view of the west side of Cork Street, the only side on which houses were originally intended to be built (Plate 52a). Those that are shown appear to be typical of the early Georgian house builder, with no signs of any observance of the Palladian conventions. Varying in height and number of storeys, some have segmental-arched windows while others have flat arches, and there is no consistency in the main cornice levels. Not one of these houses survives to-day.
The present west side is numbered consecutively and begins at the north end with a building comprising Nos. 2 to 4A, dated 1910. This has a front of red brick dressed with stone, five bays wide, with bow windows accenting the second and fourth bays, and five storeys high, with an attic over the centre. The style is eclectic, but Georgian motifs predominate.
The front of No. 5–6 is four storeys high and nine windows wide, the face above the stoneframed shop-fronts being largely of grey brick with red dressings to the windows. Here the Georgian style is more convincingly used, but the central feature, consisting of the doorway and a large heavily moulded frame enclosing the middle windows of the first and second floors, is overscaled.
No. 7 is discussed below. No. 8 appears to date from around 1900 and has a five-storeyed front, three windows wide, faced with red brick and generously dressed with stone. The details are vaguely Georgian.
No. 9, a late nineteenth-century building, has a five-storeyed front of red brick and terra-cotta, Flemish early Renaissance in style. A wide canted bay window projects from the first, second and third floors, and the fourth contains a three-light window set in a pedimented gable.
No. 10–12, built in 1924–5 to a design by John Belcher and J. J. Joass, (fn. 2) has a stone front designed in a style that probably has its basis in the French neo-classic.
No. 13–14 is probably a rebuilding of 1881 by R. E. Tyler, designed to house Schlette's Hotel and the old Blue Posts public house. (fn. 3) It has a front of red brick with terra-cotta ornament, a larger and more ornate version of No. 9. The ground-floor windows form an arcade of seven bays, in stone now painted, and the upper face has a shallow canted bay rising three storeys, with two windows on either side. The front is finished with a scroll-pedimented gable, flanked by pedimented dormers.
No. 15–16 forms part of a large building including Nos. 1–5 New Bond Street erected in 1930 from designs by E. A. Stone. (fn. 4) Designed in a non-committal 'modern' style with a curious neo-Byzantine flavour, and completely faced in stone, it is conspicuous for its arcaded top storey and the corner pavilions crowned with hemispherical domes, also of stone.
The east side of the street was originally occupied only by the gardens or yards of the houses in Old Burlington Street, and Horwood's maps of 1792 and 1819 (Plate 7) show a row of trees down its length. This side began to be built up in the first three decades of the nineteenth century. Near the southern end one of these buildings (No. 19–20, described below) survives in altered form.
No. 21 was built about 1911 to serve as showrooms and workrooms for Lenygon and Company who had their main premises in No, 31 Old Burlington Street. (fn. 5) The pompous pseudo-Palladian front is in brick dressed with stucco. The lofty ground storey has a channel-jointed face of stucco and contains a large display window, flanked by round-arched doorways. The upper face of brick is four windows wide, the middle two on the first and second floors being set in a two-bay feature formed by Corinthian plain-shafted pilasters supporting an entablature. Alterations were made to the second-floor windows and upper floors by Messrs. A. E. Richardson and E. A. S. House in 1949. (fn. 6)
North of No. 21 are the two long frontages of modern buildings. The first is of pre-1939 date and character, with a line of shops and the firstfloor windows set in a stone face, and three upper storeys with long windows in a red brick face. The recently completed building to the north of this is the best in the street, unaffectedly modern, with a recessed ground storey, airy and open, its large windows set in a light framing. The upper face, with three long windows forming horizontal bands in a face plated with figured white marble, is finished with a simple iron balustrade.
No. 7 Cork Street
The first house built on the site had been one of those for which Burlington entered into a building agreement in March 1718/19 with Colonel Thomas Harrison. (fn. 9) In July 1721 Harrison assigned this and the site of No. 4 to a number of creditors who had probably been engaged on building the house. They were listed as Nicholas Dubois (the architect, here described as surveyor), John Tuffnell, joiner, Nicholas Snow, carpenter, John Reddin, bricklayer, William Ludbey, mason, William Dissell, painter, Daniel Dissell, plumber, James Winch, ironmonger, David Audsley, plasterer, George Barnes, slater, Edward Liney, paviour, Thomas Knight, blacksmith, John Home, glazier, John Duke, blacksmith, Benjamin Palmer, digger, and James Home, measurer. (fn. 10)
Colonel Harrison occurs as ratepayer in 1720– 1722. He was possibly the Brigadier-General of that name who had served at Saragossa and Sheriffmuir and had sold his colonelcy of the regiment subsequently known as the 6th Foot in 1716. (fn. 11)
In 1723 the house was empty and in 1724 Harrison and his former creditors assigned the lease to Erasmus Lewis, the friend of Swift and Pope. (fn. 12) Lewis lived here, a few doors from his friend Dr. Arbuthnot, until his death in 1754, (fn. 8) although in his latter years he also occupied a house in Cheyne Walk. (fn. 13) Pope stayed with Lewis in Cork Street at various times in 1739– 1740. (fn. 14)
The existing house has a front of yellow brick, plain in design, three windows wide and four storeys high. The stucco-faced ground storey contains an arch-headed doorway on the left of the modern display window. There is a cast-iron balcony at first-floor level, and all the windows in the upper face have sashes with narrow glazingbars, recessed in plain openings with gauged flat arches of yellow brick. The interior has been considerably altered, but retains a dog-legged staircase of the plainest kind.
No. 19–20 Cork Street
This building was erected in 1818 at the back of No. 32 Old Burlington Street, then in the occupation of Edward Howard, a conveyancer. The occupier of that house continued to pay the rates until the middle of the nineteenth century. (fn. 7) In 1836 the Cork Street house was of only two storeys. (fn. 15) Some work was done here in 1860 by the architect Eales. (fn. 16)
It now comprises a ground-floor shop and two low storeys above. The shop-front and flanking doorways are divided by wide piers with moulded caps, supporting a coarsely profiled entablature, all of stucco. The upper face is of brick, stained black and mock pointed, containing two tiers of four windows recessed in plain openings with gauged flat arches. A moulded stringcourse marks the second-floor level and a plain coping finishes the front. The general character of this building suggests that it was erected to serve as a stable block.