Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1966.
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No. 30 Soho Square: The Hospital for Women
In January 1679/80 Richard Frith and William Pym leased this house at the east corner of Frith Street and Soho Square to Cadogan Thomas of Lambeth, timber merchant, for a term of fifty years from Lady Day 1680. The rent was a peppercorn for the first year, being 'the time allowed for the finishing and improveing' the house, and £20 per annum thereafter. There was also a rent of ten shillings a year 'towards the making and keeping in repaire the Rayles, Payles, Fountaine and Garden in the middle of the said Square'. Included in the lease were a range of stables and back premises behind the house and fronting on to the east side of Frith Street. (fn. 2)
Cadogan Thomas did not at once complete the building work on the house, probably through lack of funds. By August 1685 he had agreed with Sir Samuel Grimston, third baronet, a Hertfordshire landowner and M.P., for the latter to take a three-year lease of the property from the following Michaelmas, on the understanding that Thomas completed the house by that date. Grimston further agreed to pay Thomas £400 at once towards the cost of this work and that this sum was to be allowed him out of the annual rent of the house, which was £300. (fn. 3)
By 1685 Cadogan Thomas's credit had become 'much impaired' and no building tradesman would work for him. A group of tradesmen therefore entered into a direct engagement with Sir Samuel Grimston and finished the house for him at a total cost of £448. (fn. 3) (fn. 1) The new house was complete and occupied by 21 March 1685/6 when Sir Samuel Grimston entertained the Bishop of London (Henry Compton) to dinner there, between the two parts of the ceremony of consecrating the newly finished St. Anne's Church. (fn. 4) The completion of the house did not, however, prove a profitable undertaking for the building tradesmen. By December 1692 they had still only been paid £212 out of the £448 due to them and were forced to initiate proceedings in the Court of Chancery to recover the remainder. The cause of their misfortune was the conflicting claims of both Sir Samuel Grimston and of the administrator of the insolvent estate of the nowdeceased Cadogan Thomas to the house. (fn. 3)
Sir Samuel Grimston remained in the house until 1695, when he moved to another house in the square. Other occupants include Charles Bennet, Lord Ossulston, later first Earl of Tankerville, who was living here in 1703 and later at No. 27; Daniel Finch, second Earl of Nottingham and later seventh Earl of Winchilsea, politician, c. 1706, and Sir Cecil Bishopp. (fn. 5)
From 1709 to about 1727 No. 30 was divided into two dwellings but by 1730 had been partially rebuilt as one house by Joel Johnson of St. Marylebone, bricklayer. (fn. 6) At the same time the stables and back premises of the original house were demolished for the erection of four new houses in Frith Street (see page 153). No. 30 must have been greatly improved, for the succeeding occupants include William Fitzroy, third Duke of Cleveland, 1734–9, Robert Montagu, third Duke of Manchester, 1741–4, and Constantine Phipps, second Baron Mulgrave, 1782–3. Later occupants include Charles Alexander Crickitt, Essex banker, landowner and M.P., 1787–1800, and Messrs. Wurtz and Richter, booksellers, 1813–37. In the later eighteenth and during the first half of the nineteenth century, No. 30 was intermittently occupied as two separate dwellings. (fn. 5)
In 1851 No. 30 Soho Square was taken over by the Hospital for Women, which had been founded in April 1843 in Red Lion Square, largely through the efforts of Dr. Protheroe Smith. 'It was the first Institution established in this or any other country exclusively for the treatment of those maladies which neither rank, wealth, nor character can avert from the female sex.' The hospital soon outgrew its original quarters in Red Lion Square and was installed in more spacious premises at No. 30 Soho Square by March 1852. (fn. c1) It then contained twenty beds but these had been increased to fifty by 1862. (fn. 7)
In 1865 the freehold of the adjoining house at No. 29 was purchased from the Crown by the hospital for £2,540. (fn. 8) In 1867–9 this house was rebuilt in red brick with two extra storeys, to provide accommodation for paying patients. The architect employed was E. L. Bracebridge. (fn. 9)
In 1882 No. 2 Frith Street was acquired and in 1894 was rebuilt as part of the hospital to provide an outpatients department and dormitories for nurses, at a cost of £8,000. (fn. 10)
In 1904 the suggestion was made, in the report of the King Edward's Hospital Fund for London, that the Women's Hospital in Soho Square should be removed from the centre of London. The hospital committee, after considering several alternative sites, decided that none compared favourably with the present position. They did, however, instruct their architect, H. Percy Adams, to prepare plans for a new building on their existing site. The plans which Adams submitted in the following year were for a new building providing thirty more beds at an estimated cost of £40,000. (fn. 11)
This scheme was not carried out owing to lack of money and in February 1908 new and less ambitious plans were submitted by Adams to the hospital committee. These involved the internal remodelling and modernization of the existing building (Nos. 29 and 30) and the encasement of the exterior by the present façade. Work on this scheme started in March 1909 and was complete in about a year. At the same time the adjoining two houses in Frith Street (Nos. 3 and 4) were incorporated into the hospital building. The estimated cost of these improvements was £20,500, much of this sum being provided by King Edward's Hospital Fund for London. (fn. 12)
Despite the refacing in stucco and faience the hospital still preserves the appearance of two separate buildings, No. 29 being three windows wide and five storeys high, and No. 30 having a width of four windows and its top storey in a mansard roof (Plate 71c). No vestige of old work remains in No. 30, other than the general proportions of the front.