Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1966.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
Greek Street Area: Portland Estate
This street is mentioned by its present name in 1679, (fn. 6) and by the same name in the parish ratebooks in the following year. There seems no reason to doubt that it took its name from the Greek Church (later St. Mary's, Crown Street) which was built in 1677 in Hog Lane (see page 33, note). Since the name existed when the building-up of the street had hardly begun it was presumably bestowed intentionally by Richard Frith and his associates, and perhaps reflects, like Compton Street, their wish to gratify the Bishop of London, who had countenanced the establishment of the church and brought Frith into the negotiations for its site (see page 279). The church did not abut on Greek Street (fig. 2 on page 28) but its main entrance was towards that street and it may well have been both accessible and conspicuously visible thence for a period of four or five years before the street was lined with houses.
The ratebooks suggest that three or four houses stood in the street in 1679, and eight in the next year. By 1683 the street was more than half built, with thirty-five ratepayers: the east side was by then built upon, with gaps, throughout its length as far north (probably) as No. 4, and the west side more continuously but only as far north as Bateman Street. In 1685 the west side had been extended northward by five houses. The ratebooks for 1686–90 are missing. By 1691 the street had fifty-four houses and was virtually complete except for the west side north of No. 58 which formed part of the curtilage of No. 27 Soho Square. (fn. 7)
Little is known of the circumstances of the first building of the street. Mention has already been made of the arrangement concluded in June 1679 between Frith and a scrivener in his employment, George Taylor, by which Frith was to build Taylor a house in Greek Street in remuneration for a year's professional work (see page 33). The house, which was left unfinished, was probably on the site of No. 58, and was to have been like those which Frith's associate Cadogan Thomas was building in the same street. (fn. 8) Thomas's eight house-plots, which Frith and Pym had leased to him for building in the previous month, May 1679, were opposite, at the northern end of the east side. (fn. 6)
Only four building tradesmen, other than Frith and Thomas, can be associated by name with the street in its early years. Richard Tyler, the brickmaker who was an extensive builder in St. James's in the 1680's and 1690's, (fn. 9) had at an unknown period a lease or leases from Frith and Pym of sites including Nos. 54 and 57 on the west side of Greek Street. (fn. 10) John Chaplin, a joiner, probably held sites on the same side c. 1683–5 and may have had a yard and workshop in the street. (fn. 11) Another site on the same side was held c. 1679– 85 by Martin Heatley, a bricklayer. (fn. 12) On the east side the glazier Augustine Beare was evidently the first occupant of No. 17, by 1691; (fn. 7) his widow later owned No. 12–13 on the same side of the street, (fn. 13) which may point to his having been the building lessee hereabouts. Both the houses associated with him have survived in some degree.
From its early years until the last decade or two of the eighteenth century the street always had one or more people of title residing in it. Its occupants in 1691 included four knights or baronets, and in 1714 two earls, a lady and a baronet. (fn. 7) Among the ratepaying householders there were from the beginning at least three or four with French-sounding names. In the period c. 1710–40 the proportion was nearly a quarter of the whole, but by the 1820's only one or two of the ratepayers' names seem foreign.
Three sites in the street occupied in the early eighteenth century by taverns or coffee houses are worthy of mention. One site, at the north-western corner with Old Compton Street, was occupied from 1697 to 1714 by Edmund Andlaby (who had previously occupied the site of No. 25). (fn. 7) An ironmonger of these names worked for the parish c. 1706–8, (fn. 14) but the premises in Greek Street were known in 1711 as Andlaby's Coffee House, at the sign of the Turk's Head. It was subsequently well known under the latter name, and was particularly resorted to for masonic meetings. (fn. 15) In 1759 the proprietor removed the establishment to No. 9 Gerrard Street (see page 388).
The Pillars of Hercules public house at No. 7 Greek Street is a modern building but succeeds earlier taverns of that name (or the Hercules Pillars) which had occupied the same site since at least 1733. (fn. 16) Probably the date can be carried back further, as the 'Hercules Pillars' which was on or near this site in 1714 (fn. 17) was presumably a tavern, and the ratepayer at that time had been in occupation of the site since 1709. (fn. 7)
At Nos. 29 Greek Street and 33 Romilly Street there has been a public house called the Coach and Horses since at least the 1720's. (fn. 18)
In 1720 Strype called the street 'well built and inhabited'. (fn. 19) The rebuilding about the time of the realization of the Portland freehold in 1734 was only partial and, even when handsomely executed (as at Nos. 48 and 50 on the west side) seems sometimes to have been initiated by the lessee without the direct control of a Portland building lease. Probably four of the original late seventeenth-century houses still survive in more or less altered state, No. 12–13 and Nos. 14 and 17 on the east side and No. 47 on the west.
The Portland estate plans of c. 1792–3 (fn. 20) show more shop fronts than in Frith Street. They appear at most of the sites which are shown on the east side. On the west side, they appear at most of the sites shown in the southern half of the street, below No. 47, but in the northern half they are only recognizable at the corners of Bateman Street.
By 1850 the Post Office directory indicates that very few of the houses were in wholly private occupation. Many ordinary retail shops appear and also a considerable number of workers in wood, metal and leather, and various other small manufactories. In 1900 the types of occupation were similar, seemingly with many workshops: five restaurants are also listed.
The street now has fewer restaurants than Frith Street, and its rather drab appearance is accentuated by the return wall of the Casino Theatre, which occupies a large part of its west side. Although it has some fifteen buildings dating from the first half of the eighteenth century or earlier, most have been refronted and the street is predominantly nineteenth-century in appearance. At one site, that of No. 6, a fairly well-preserved early eighteenth-century house survives behind an elaborate front of the late nineteenth century. Externally the most interesting feature of the street is its nineteenth-century shop fronts. The best of them, at No. 17 (fig. 42 on page 179), is now protected by a Building Preservation Order, but there is another interesting one, of a slightly later date, three doors away at No. 20 (Plate 134d). No. 3 has a good example and so, until its recent rebuilding, had No. 4. These two shop fronts were closely similar in style, as can be seen from a photograph of No. 4 in the National Monuments Record. At No. 52 is an unusual shop front of the later nineteenth century, built on a corner site with five windows divided by slender columns, these windows being set tangentially beneath a curved, deeply-coved cornice of wood.
The rateable value of the houses in the street totalled about £1,725 in the 1740's, with an average assessment of about £30 for each house. In 1792 the total was about £2,420 and the average about £39. In 1844 the total was about £3,600 and the average about £56, and in 1896 the total about £6,480 and the average about £117. Very little amalgamation of sites had taken place. (fn. 7)
Residents and lodgers in houses in Greek Street which are not described elsewhere have included: Sir Richard Stevens, c. 1683–5; Sir David English, c. 1691–2; Sir John Huband or Huborne, c. 1691–2; Sir John Bramston the younger, lawyer, c. 1691–4; Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Rous, c. 1691–4; (fn. 21) Sir Michael Cole, c. 1691–1707; Peter Vanderbank, presumably the engraver, 1692–c. 1693; (fn. 22) Sir Walter Blunt, c. 1696–7; Hugh Boscawen, esquire, c. 1696–7, succeeded by Lady Mary Boscawen, c. 1703–15; Dr. Samuel Wall, c. 1703–6; Peter Plunkett, fourth Earl of Fingall, 1709–17; Arthur Annesley, fifth Earl of Anglesey (second creation), 1711–17; Sir William Trumbull, Secretary of State, pre-1716; (fn. 23) Lord Howard, perhaps Thomas Howard, sixth Baron Howard of Effingham, 1718; Paul Crespin, silversmith, 1720–59; Dr. Edward Dunn or Donne, 1741–5; Colonel Henry Gower, 1746–61; Dr. Delafontaine, 1753–70; William Halfpenny, possibly the architect, 1752–4; George Smith Bradshaw, upholsterer and tapestry-maker (in partnership with Paul Saunders), c. 1753–8; (fn. 24) Lady Stanley, 1754; Karl Friedrich Abel, musician, c. 1763; Felice di Giardini, musician, c. 1763; (fn. 25) John Inigo Richards, landscape painter, c. 1763–6; (fn. 26) Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, amorist, c. 1764; (fn. 27) Lady Drake, 1766–7; George Willison, portrait painter, c. 1767–73; (fn. 28) Elizabeth Farren, actress, later Countess of Derby, c. 1786; (fn. 29) General Maxwell Brown, 1790–1802; Peter Turnerelli, sculptor, 1802–3 to 1815; Henry Meyer, possibly the portrait painter and engraver, 1826–8.
John Dixon, mezzotint engraver, 1768; Edward Hodgson, flower painter, 1769–74; Philip Dawe, mezzotint engraver, 1774–5; John Laporte, watercolour painter, 1784; John James Masquerier, painter, 1802; Samuel Lane, painter, 1808 (at former No. 11).
No. 1 Greek Street
No. 3 Greek Street
This house was built (together with No. 2) at about the same time as No. 1, in c. 1744, (fn. 7) on the southern part of the curtilage of the latter house (see page 89). The builder of Nos. 2 and 3 was evidently the Joseph Pearce of St. Anne's, bricklayer, who at the same period was concerned in the rebuilding of No. 1. In December 1746 Pearce was granted a lease of No. 3, then probably only a carcase, by the Duke of Portland. (fn. 30) The house was first occupied in 1748. (fn. 7)
The brick front, now resurfaced and dyed red, is two windows wide and comprises four storeys above a basement, the top storey being a later addition probably replacing a roof-garret. In the ground storey is a slightly projecting wooden shop front of early nineteenth-century date, composed of a display window set between recessed doorways; these are flanked in turn by pilasters carrying the scrolled bracket-stops of an entablature with enriched architrave and cornice. The window is divided into small panes by slender glazing-bars, and has beneath it a panelled apron with an opening in the centre to ventilate the basement, this having a flattened four-centred head. The window is curved at the north end where it adjoins the shop door, and this also is glazed in the upper part. The house door appears to have been altered.
The back wall, except for the added fourth storey, is of original purple-red brick with segmental-headed windows containing flush frames; the window lighting the first half-space landing of the staircase is, however, taller and has a round arch. At the north end there projects a twostoreyed closet-wing, the south wall of which is timber-framed and weather-boarded.
The house has the standard plan of a front and a back room on each floor, the dog-legged staircase lying beside the back room on the south and the closet-wing beyond it on the east. Apart from the ground-floor rooms the interior finishings are unusually well preserved. The first-floor front room, though now subdivided, is complete with two heights of sunk ogee-moulded panelling finished with a moulded dado-rail and an enriched box-cornice, the back room being similarly treated but with ovolo-moulded panel-frames and fewer enrichments on the cornice; the closet has plain sunk panelling. On the second floor both rooms have plain sunk panelling finished with moulded dado-rails, the front room having a box-cornice and the back room the smaller type of moulded cornice. The staircase is of wood with uniform flights up to the third floor having moulded closed strings, turned balusters, moulded handrails, and column-newels; for the first three flights the handrail is continued over the newel, but above that the newel has a tall square head with the handrail fixed into it. The compartment has full ovolo-moulded panelling up to the point where the newels change; thence a tall dado of plain sunk panelling leads up to the second-floor landing, which has two heights of the same panelling finished with a small cornice.
No. 6 Greek Street
This house, although its front was entirely rebuilt in the late nineteenth century, dates in its main structure from 1731. Nos. 7–9 (consec.) were rebuilt at the same time, (fn. 7) but there is no record of a building lease being granted for this purpose. The first occupant of No. 6, in the year of its erection, was the medical writer, Dr. Edward Strother, who died here in 1737. (fn. 7)
The house now contains a basement and four storeys, with a front three windows wide; but it is clear that there were formerly only three storeys and a roof-garret. The back wall, built of the original but much altered purple-red brick, retains this form; the projecting closet-wing, however, appears to have been raised by the addition of a third storey.
The plan is the standard one already noted at No. 3. In the interior only fragments of the original finishings remain on the ground and first floors, but there is enough to indicate that the rooms were formerly lined with two heights of ovolo-moulded panelling finished with moulded dado-rails and box-cornices, the panels in the first-floor front room being raised-and-fielded. In the entrance passage, where the south wall is still completely panelled, the opening to the staircase compartment is marked by a Doric pilaster with a small plain section of frieze above relating it to the cornice. The second-floor rooms are almost complete with plain sunk panelling finished with moulded dado-rails and boxcornices. Two original stone chimneypieces remain, both now painted, in the ground- and second-floor back rooms. They are of the same simple pattern with flat jambs and lintel slightly moulded on the inner and outer edges.
The dog-legged staircase, which is unaltered, is of wood, running from basement to third floor. The first three flights above the ground floor have cut strings decorated with shaped step-ends, each step carrying two turned and twisted balusters; the moulded handrail is continued over plain column-newels having small moulded pendants, and the whole balustrade is voluted at the bottom of the stairs. The upper flights have only moulded closed strings with a plainer type of turned baluster, and the newels in the top flight differ in having tall square heads. The compartment is fully panelled as far as the second-floor landing and has a tall dado in the top storey; in the lower part of the compartment the panel-frames are ovolo-moulded and in the upper part plain.
No. 8 Greek Street
This house, although greatly altered both internally and externally, dates in its main structure from 1731, (fn. 7) when a Portland lease (not a building lease) from Michaelmas 1734 was held by John Hassell the younger, of St. Giles in the Fields, gentleman (probably a brewer). (fn. 31)
The brick front, which comprises four storeys above a basement, is two windows wide. It was clearly rebuilt in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century in conjunction with that of No. 9, and later, in the nineteenth century, had its windows decorated with stucco surrounds. The back wall, though much altered, is of the original purple-red brick.
The plan consists simply of a front and back room on each floor, with a dog-legged staircase beside the back room on the south. The only original finishings to survive are the staircase and the panelling of the first-floor back room; the former is of wood, with moulded closed strings, turned balusters, column-newels and moulded handrail, while the latter, virtually complete, is in two heights with ovolo-moulded panel-frames, a moulded dado-rail and a box-cornice.
No. 12–13 Greek Street
This building, now subdivided, was originally the largest house in the street (Plate 122b, 122c, fig. 40). The late seventeenth-century carcase remains, although the interior has been entirely altered and the front rendered with cement. Nothing is known of the circumstances of its building, but Augustine Beare, the glazier who lived at No. 17, may have been chiefly responsible, as his widow evidently owned the house in 1701, when she insured it for £1,000. (fn. 13)
The first ratepayer's name in the parish books is Elizabeth Price in 1684, but it is uncertain whether she was ever actually resident. (fn. 7) She was perhaps the lady of those names who by 1688 had taken No. 60 Frith Street (see page 164).
By 1691 the house was occupied by Abraham Meure, who remained the ratepayer until 1714. (fn. 7) He had probably come to England from France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, as he had been naturalized in 1687. (fn. 33) In Greek Street he kept a boarding school or 'academy'. It was doubtless intended primarily for French Protestants, and in 1692 access was made to the adjacent French church in Hog Lane. It was of good repute among the English, however, and its pupils included a son of the Earl of Montagu, a kinsman of the Earl of Egmont, and two sons of Governor Thomas Pitt (owner of the Pitt estate): one of the latter was subsequently first Earl of Londonderry. In 1704 it was said the school was esteemed the best in England. The subjects taught included Latin, French, accounts, fencing, dancing and drawing. (fn. 34) Meure's will, made in 1703 in French, was proved in 1716: (fn. 35) the Mr. Meure who was a ratepayer in Frith Street in 1714–21 was probably a son.
Meure's successor in occupation of the house, probably c. 1715, was the Sicilian (Savoyard) ambassador, the Marquis of Trevi. (fn. 36) He was perhaps a tenant of a former British ambassador to the House of Savoy, William Chetwynd, later third Viscount Chetwynd, who was the ratepayer for the house in 1715–16, and who in the latter year obtained a Portland lease of the house from 1734 to 1769, (fn. 37) presumably in extension of an existing tenure. William Chetwynd was followed as ratepayer in 1717 by his brother John Chetwynd, M.P., envoy to Spain 1717–18 and Lord of the Admiralty 1717–27, until the latter's succession as second Viscount in 1736. The second Viscount was again ratepayer from 1742 to 1744. (fn. 1) In the latter year he assigned his leasehold interest in the house (which by then lasted until 1799) (fn. 38) to Peter Legh of Lyme Hall, Cheshire, esquire. (fn. 39) The price was later said to have been £3,000. (fn. 40) Legh's name continues as ratepayer until 1764.
In 1766 (when the house had been empty for two years) (fn. 7) the leasehold interest was assigned by Legh for £900 to James Cullen, upholsterer, (fn. 41) of No. 59 Greek Street. (fn. 7) (fn. 2) Cullen, who later became manager of the Ladies' Club or Coterie in Arlington Street, (fn. 42) was at this period associated with Mrs. Cornelys, entrepreneuse at Carlisle House in Soho Square, and it appears that they joined in a similar undertaking in Greek Street. Cullen later said that he and his undertenant (presumably Mrs. Cornelys) spent £1,500 'in Erecting different Buildings' at the back of No. 12–13. (fn. 40) From 1768 to the year of her bankruptcy in 1772 Mrs. Cornelys was ratepayer for No. 12–13, which was called in the ratebooks her 'Great House' and was also known as Portland House. She was also rated for No. 11 (which in 1701 had been the King's Square Coffee House) (fn. 13) as her 'Little House', until 1771. Assemblies were being advertised at 'Portland House' in 1771 when tickets were obtainable from Cullen. (fn. 43)
In 1774 it was taken at £200 per annum on a twenty-one-year lease from Cullen by the potter, Josiah Wedgwood. (fn. 44) The property, which by this time included back premises extending to Rose (now Manette) Street, was used for the firm's London warehouse and showrooms (hitherto in Great Newport Street) and enamelling rooms (hitherto at Chelsea). (fn. 45) The adjacent house, No. 11, was also taken (fn. 7) and used partly as a dwelling by Wedgwood's partner, Thomas Bentley, until 1777. (fn. 46) (fn. 3) Wedgwood and Bentley had been considering a new location for their premises since 1770, including the Adelphi, Newcastle House, and two sites in Soho Square— Mrs. Cornelys's rooms and Lord Bateman's house. (fn. 47) The last had been thought too dear at £400 per annum. (fn. 48)
The Greek Street house was fitted for the display of wares by May 1774, and in the following two months the famous dinner service made for the Empress Catherine of Russia was displayed to the world of high fashion. (fn. 49) The display occupied five rooms on two floors. (fn. 50)
By 1775 Wedgwood was paying additional parish rates on 'Improvements and Ware Rooms'. It is not known whether Joseph Pickford, Wedgwood's architect in Great Newport Street and at Etruria, was responsible for any work here. In 1786 minor repairs were carried out by T. Freeman of Great Pulteney Street who in 1790 made a valuation of fixtures on the premises. The rooms mentioned on the ground floor were a 'Hall', 'Counting house' and 'Shop' and on the first floor a 'Great room', another room, a 'Flowerpot room' and a 'Gallery'. Outside, mention is made of 'Painting Shops, Stable, damaged ware room, Scowering room, retort room, Pearl ware room, Laboratory, Printing and Pattern rooms' and of a 'Chapel-Building with Packing and unpacking House'. (fn. 51) Nothing is known of the 'Chapel-Building', although the former existence of a supposed 'chapel' behind the house was recollected in 1898. (fn. 52) The groundfloor plan of the house and back premises appears on the Portland estate map of c. 1792–3 (fn. 20) (fig. 40). (fn. c1)
Until 1797 the rates for the two houses continued to be paid in the name of Josiah Wedgwood (latterly the son, after his father's death in 1795). The firm's premises were then removed to No. 8 St. James's Square. (fn. 53)
The succeeding occupants of No. 12–13 were a firm of coachmakers, but the premises were soon afterwards in divided occupation. In 1803–7 James Sheridan Knowles, doubtless the dramatist, occupied all or part of the house. Until midcentury various artists lived at or exhibited from this address, including the painters William Barraud (1835 or 1836), (fn. 54) Robert Edmonstone (1833–4), (fn. 28) and John Lucas (1837), and the sculptor, William Cramphorn (1819). (fn. 28) It was between 1799 and 1869 (perhaps in 1846) (fn. 55) that the present division at ground level was made between No. 12 and No. 13 by the construction of an entrance to the yard at the rear. (fn. 56)
The exterior of the building before it was rendered with cement is shown in a photograph of 1914 (fn. 57) when it was occupied by Wedde's hotel and restaurant (Plate 122c). It then (as now) contained a basement, two storeys and a garret, having a brick front seven windows wide. The ground storey had already been altered and the roof rebuilt in the early or mid nineteenth century, but the two upper storeys retained their original character. These had wide, flat-headed windows containing flush frames, the central voussoirs of the gauged brick arches being raised to form keyblocks. There was a sill-band in the second storey, but no bandcourses, surprisingly, above it or in the third storey. At the southern end of the front was a pilaster and above the top storey a tall parapet decorated with recessed panels having stone sills; but possibly the parapet was a later addition, replacing the original eavescornice.
The plan shown on the Portland estate map of c. 1792–3 (fn. 20) (fig. 40) probably represents the original arrangement of the house. This shows the front part divided between a spacious entrance hall and, on the south side, a large room with four windows. The back part has a small room at either end, the southern one with a small projecting closetwing behind, while in the centre are the two staircases. The more northerly of these is the main staircase, built round a narrow well and with a slight projection from the rear wall of the house.
The plan of the buildings in the rear of the premises is now of little interest, since they have been completely swept away and no illustration of them survives. The curious building which lay immediately behind the house is, however, worth a comment. It was secluded from the buildings around the Manette Street entrance and had its own small courtyard with a pair of large gates. It consisted of a square compartment with entrances into both its courtyard and the yard behind the house, this compartment having a circular room opening off it on either side. No windows are shown, so that it must have been lit either by windows high up in the walls, or by a glazed roof.
No. 14 Greek Street
This house has been refaced with tiles and stucco and some of its interior features removed since it was examined by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in 1914. (fn. 58) However, its fabric, together with the staircase, evidently dates from the late seventeenth century. The parish ratebooks suggest that substantial alterations or additions were made in 1770, 1773 and 1807. The earlier alterations were perhaps made to provide the 'elaboratory' for scientific experiments, where courses of lectures were given to 'philosophic and literary Gentlemen' by Dr. Bryan Higgins, the physician and chemist, who occupied the house from 1774 to 1796. (fn. 59)
The front, comprising four storeys above a basement, is two windows wide and built of brick; its former appearance is partly shown in a photograph of 1914, (fn. 57) but by that date considerable alterations, including the addition of the fourth storey and possibly the complete refacing of the brickwork, had already been made, mainly in the early nineteenth century. The back wall has been largely rebuilt.
The plan is the standard one already noted at No. 3, except that here the staircase is on the north side, as was the original entrance passage. The dog-legged staircase is of wood, running from basement to third floor; it has heavily moulded closed strings, stout turned balusters (now boxed in) and a flat moulded handrail continued over plain square newels; the bottom newel differs in being an enlarged version of the balusters. There is a continuous dado of raised bolection-moulded panelling up to the second-floor landing and attached to it on the first-floor landing and the half-space landing above is a plain pilaster corresponding to the newel.
No. 16 Greek Street
This was, until its demolition in 1965, the only one of the surviving late seventeenth-century houses in the street to retain part of its original front. In 1715–16 the ratepayer was John Chetwynd, later second Viscount Chetwynd, who then removed to No. 12–13. He was again ratepayer (for both houses) from 1732, when substantial alterations or additions were evidently made, (fn. 7) until 1736. In 1753 the ratepayer was Alexander Leslie, seventh Earl of Leven. Later in that year Colonel Lord George Bentinck, M.P., younger brother of the second Duke of Portland, became ratepayer until his death in 1759. He had evidently taken this house on the family's Soho estate at the time of his marriage to a Mary Davies. (fn. 4) He was succeeded here, for a year, by Dr. Peter Shaw, physician in ordinary to George II. (fn. 7)
At the time of demolition the house had a front of purple-red brick, three windows wide, comprising four storeys above a basement (Plate 122b). The top storey was, however, a later addition in yellow brick, perhaps replacing an original roof-garret, and the ground storey contained a shop front inserted early in the present century. The windows in the second and third storeys had flat arches of red gauged brick and contained moulded flush frames, while above them in each storey ran a raised bandcourse, then stuccoed. The back wall, which had been much altered, was of the same brick as the front, the windows containing modern box-frames.
The plan was the standard one of a single front and back room on each floor, the back room having a dog-legged staircase beside it on the north and a closet projecting beyond it on the east. Very little remained of the original interior finishings, except for part of the staircase and a dado of raised bolection-moulded panelling in the first-floor back room. The front room on this floor had a stone chimneypiece, then painted, with flat jambs and lintel slightly moulded on the inner and outer edges, but this had possibly been inserted in the early eighteenth century. The staircase was of wood, running from basement to third floor, but the first three flights above the ground floor had quite clearly been rebuilt, probably in 1732. This later part was not strictly dog-legged even though no space was left for a well, since the strings ran into separate, paired, newels at the landings. The cut strings were decorated with carved step-ends, each step carrying three turned and twisted balusters, and the moulded handrail was ramped up over fluted column-newels with Composite capitals; the balusters in the first flight were of a slightly plainer pattern, and it is possible that they were modern replacements. The upper flights were of a much earlier character, with heavily moulded closed strings, stout turned balusters, and a broad moulded handrail continued over thick square newels. The lower part of the compartment had a dado of sunk ovolo-moulded panelling, and the upper part, as far as the second floor, one of sunk bolection-moulded panelling. The first half-space landing of the staircase had originally been lit by a tall round-arched window, later blocked.
No. 17 Greek Street
This is a medium-sized house of the late seventeenth century, much altered in the early nineteenth century and later, but of interest as one of the few built in Soho Fields to retain any quantity of original work (Plate 122b, figs. 41,42). The first known ratepayer, in 1691, was Augustine Beare, a glazier and one of the first churchwardens of the parish, who had worked on the construction of the church (see page 259); he may, therefore, have been the builder of the house. He died in the following year (fn. 60) and was succeeded as ratepayer by his widow. Later occupants included Sir Arthur Kaye, third baronet, 1713–17, and Lady Crowley (perhaps widow of Sir Ambrose Crowley, knight), 1718– 1725. (fn. 7) In 1789 the house was taken until 1793 by Charles Clagget, who opened a 'Musical Museum' here where he exhibited and sold instruments incorporating inventions of his own which won Haydn's approbation: he also advertised an academy for musical instruction. (fn. 61) Clagget was succeeded in 1796 by (Sir William) Addington until 1802, (fn. 7) and he by Michael (later William) Tijou, carvers and gilders, (fn. 62) from 1803 until 1832. It was perhaps Michael Tijou who had the present shop front inserted, possibly in 1824. (fn. 7)
The front, three windows wide and comprising five storeys above a basement, has been drastically altered by the addition of two extra storeys, and by the insertion of the shop front (Plate 122b). The purple-red brickwork and flat gauged window-arches of red brick in the second and third storeys may be original, but the bandcourse above the second storey is probably a stucco addition, while the cornice above the third storey is entirely nineteenth-century.
The best feature of the exterior is the wooden shop front, an example of good early nineteenth-century design which is now a rarity in London (fig. 42). It consists of a pair of rectangular display windows projecting on iron brackets some ten inches over the basement-area, having between them the double doors of the shop entrance and to the north of them the house door. Above the windows, and extending the width of the house, is an entablature having a frieze with shaped ends. Slender glazing-bars divide each window into four rows of six panes, these being finished at the top with a small moulded transom, and above this is a row of six smaller panes; around the foot of each window there ran originally a small reeded moulding, most of which has now been destroyed. An old photograph (fn. 57) shows that the lower part of the window was formerly protected by slender iron guard-rails, but these too have gone. The same photograph shows that the double doors to the shop, now replaced by poor imitations, originally had a solid flush panel in the lower part, below the level of the windows, while the upper part was glazed and divided into three panes; above the doors was a fanlight which also had three panes, the middle one slightly wider than the other two. Both the shop doorway and the house doorway are flanked by thin reeded pilasters, but the latter has an older door, perhaps late seventeenth- or eighteenth-century, with eight raised-and-fielded panels; above it is a fanlight that formerly had radial glazing-bars. The basement-area is guarded by a low iron railing of about the same date as the shop front; it consists of a series of square open panels, diagonally braced and with a small lion-head at the intersection of the braces.
In the interior the ground floor has been converted into a warehouse and some of the partition walls removed. The Portland Estate plan, however, shows that c. 1792–3 the front part was occupied by a single room with the wide entrance passage alongside it on the north, leading to the main staircase at the back. (fn. 20) The present entrance passage is some eighteen inches narrower than that shown on the plan, doubtless because it was reduced in width when the front room was converted into a shop. As at No. 50 Greek Street the only entrance to the room was through a recess at the back, this having a doorway opening off the staircase compartment; the recess was divided from the room by a screen of columns, and this still survives. Behind the recess and to the south of the staircase was the back room, beyond which on the east was a projecting closet-wing. The first-floor plan (fig. 41), which appears unaltered, is similar to that of the ground floor, but with modifications. The main staircase ends at this level and opens on to a landing extending forward as far as the front room, so forming a deep, oblong vestibule. Instead of a recess at the rear of the front room there is a cramped little staircase ascending to the third floor, behind which on the south is a closet linking the front and back rooms; originally this staircase seems to have been open to the vestibule and not, as now, shut off by a pair of doors, the western of which gives on to a cupboard below the stairs. On the second floor the back room extends the whole width of the house, while the secondary staircase is allowed a small landing, part of which is occupied by an (original) cupboard.
On the ground floor the original finishings have survived only in the entrance passage, which contains the remnants of raised bolection-moulded panelling in two heights, finished with a moulded dado-rail. Facing each other on opposite sides of the passage are two doors framed by bolectionmoulded architraves, the door on the north side, which is a dummy, being original with six sunk bolection-moulded panels. The main staircase is dog-legged, with a balustrade in the style of the 1730's, but although some of the balusters are old it is evident that considerable alteration has taken place, and in fact the Portland plan of c. 1792–3 shows that the staircase formerly had a narrow well. Beneath the treads of the existing basement stairs, which are modern, are the remains of a flight of cantilevered stone steps. In the ground storey the staircase compartment is lined with sunk bolection-moulded panelling, while the vestibule in the second storey has tall panels raised on prominent bolection mouldings and is finished with a box-cornice, the western part having a dado with sunk bolection-moulded panels beneath a moulded rail. This seems to be an authentic late seventeenth-century arrangement, except that in the south-west corner one panel is cut into by another, although this may simply be an example of inept design.
The first-floor front room, now subdivided, retains an enriched modillion cornice of plaster, while fragments of bolection-moulded panelling remain in the closet and the back room. The second-floor back room is of greater interest, having a complete dado of raised bolectionmoulded panelling and a bolection-moulded chimneypiece of stone, now painted; the closet-wing has a similar chimneypiece in wood and the frontroom fireplace a wooden architrave carved with egg-and-dart. The secondary staircase is late seventeenth-century in character with heavily moulded closed strings, stout turned balusters, and a flat moulded handrail fixed into square newels, the latter now without their original finials. There is a dado of sunk bolectionmoulded panelling extending the full length of the stairs, and the second-floor landing is complete with raised bolection-moulded panelling in two heights, finished with a moulded dado-rail and a box-cornice.
No. 18 Greek Street
This is a plain, early nineteenth-century building of yellow brick, interesting only for the curious and rather ungainly stone front to the ground storey, probably inserted in 1862–3 to the design of the architect, A. H. Morant. (fn. 63) It is a composition of two bays, these having between them and at either end fat, square columns with capitals of acanthus leaves, while above runs a heavy entablature with enriched architrave and cornice (Plate 122b). The narrow northern bay contains the relatively plain, round-headed doorway, but in the southern bay is an ornate window of three round-headed lights, the southernmost of which has now been converted into a doorway. Between the lights are columns with acanthusleaf capitals, and from them spring moulded archivolts, the spandrels of the arches being filled with carved foliage.
In 1864–5 the headquarters of the Central Council of the newly formed International Working Men's Association (the First International) were located here. (fn. 64)
No. 20 Greek Street
These premises were built in 1842 when they were in the occupation of Thomas Hopkins and H. C. Purvis, colourmen, by whose successors they are still owned and occupied for the same trade (Plate 134d). The business had been carried on in the previous building on the site by Thomas Hopkins since 1811, and had been occupied by a colourman since 1798. (fn. 65)
This is, externally, the least altered of the older buildings in Greek Street and also the most attractive visually, since its brickwork has recently been cleaned and the woodwork and stucco painted. The building now contains a basement and four storeys, with a front of pink and yellow brick two windows wide. The upper-storey windows are flat-headed with bracketed stone sills and contain barred double-hung sashes; those in the second storey are embellished with plain stucco surrounds and cornices on enriched consoles, while the rest have moulded stucco architraves. A small moulded stringcourse of stucco runs between the third and fourth storeys, and below the parapet is a modillion cornice, also of stucco.
The ground storey contains its original wooden shop front, which appears almost unaltered. This is arranged in four bays divided and bounded by pilasters supporting an entablature with moulded architrave, dentilled cornice and carved bracketstops. The display windows, with the shop entrance between them, occupy the three northern bays, while the southern bay is occupied by the house door. Glazing-bars divide the windows into three rows of three panes, the lower part of the bay forming a pedestal with flush-panelled die and moulded capping. The shop entrance has double doors similarly designed, the glazed upper parts being covered at night by flush-panelled shutters; above the doors is a barred fanlight with an enriched transom below it. The house door is of the same pattern, but with recessed panels of wood in the upper part having heavily moulded frames. Fixed to the woodwork above and below the southern window is a big swivel-hoist decorated with scrolled wrought-iron work. Its ponderous hand-worked mechanism stands inside the shop immediately behind the window, and was used for lowering drums of paint into the basement until 1963, when fire regulations required the area to be covered in. A similar hoist was formerly attached to the front of No. 48 Greek Street opposite. (fn. 57)
Nos. 37–39 (consec.) Greek Street
No. 40A Greek Street
No. 47 Greek Street
This house, occupied by Lady Ingoldsby in 1716–17, (fn. 7) dates from the late seventeenth century, although the front and back walls have been rebuilt and the interior greatly altered. In its present form it comprises a basement and four storeys, the fourth storey being probably a later addition replacing a roof-garret; the plain front is three windows wide and built of brick with flat gauged arches to the windows in the second and third storeys. The top storey was rebuilt following bomb damage in the war of 1939–45 and the whole front has now been dyed red.
The interior is arranged on the simple plan of a front and back room to each floor, with a doglegged staircase beside the back room on the north and a closet projecting beyond it on the west. The principal surviving feature is the staircase, constructed of wood and rising to the third floor. It has heavily moulded closed strings, stout turned balusters, and a flat moulded handrail carried over thick square newels to form a cap; the top flight has been reconstructed and some of the newels have been given ball-finials, both in fairly recent times. The first-floor front room contains sunk bolection-moulded panelling in two heights, but much of it is not original; however, a bolection-moulded chimneypiece of wood in the firstfloor back room does appear to be original.
No. 48 Greek Street
This house (Plate 123, figs. 43–45) was built in 1741–2 and was first occupied by George Chardin, esquire, until his death in 1769. (fn. 66) In 1737 Thomas Richmond, the Soho carpenter, had taken an assignment of a Portland lease of the site and the old house on it (not a building lease) for sixty-five years from Michaelmas 1734. (fn. 67) In April 1741 Richmond's widow further assigned the lease to the Soho lawyer, Edmund Byron. The wife of John Sanger, the Soho carpenter with whom Richmond had been associated (see page 209), was a witness of this transaction, and in October Byron in turn assigned the site, with the house newly built or in building, to Sanger. The latter promptly mortgaged the site and new house, but by the following year he was bankrupt and it was his assignees in bankruptcy, Isaac Eeles of Lambeth and Francis Jackman of St. James's, both timber merchants, who, together with his mortgagees, assigned the house in September 1742 to Chardin. (fn. 68) This is one of the few houses of its period on the Portland estate which is known to have been assigned on lease to the first occupant.
In the period c. 1828–39 works were exhibited from this address by James Mathews Leigh, the history painter (1828), Scipio Clint, medallist and sculptor (1838), Francis Arundale, architectural artist (1839) and Mrs. Francis Arundale, miniature painter (1839). (fn. 28)
This is a good, medium-sized house containing a number of interesting and relatively well-preserved interior features. It comprises a basement, three storeys and a garret, and has a brick front three windows wide (Plate 123a). The ground storey has, however, been entirely altered in modern times and the brickwork in the upper storeys dyed red. In the second and third storeys the widely spaced windows, now containing metal casements, have moulded stone architraves, those in the second storey being finished with pulvinated friezes and moulded cornices; these surrounds appear to be original, although the architraves are unusual in projecting slightly beyond the sills. Above the ground storey is a stone bandcourse, now largely concealed, and in the second storey a continued sill. Originally, no doubt, there was a cornice above the top storey, but now there is only a plain stone stringcourse, the parapet and the mansard roof behind it having been rebuilt. Attached to the front of the ground storey, as a photograph of about 1927 shows, there was formerly a wrought-iron swivel-hoist similar to the one which still exists across the road at No. 20. (fn. 57) The plain back wall has been rendered with cement.
In the interior the ground and first floors each have a single front and back room, with an openwell staircase beside the back room on the north (fig. 43). The staircase is reached by an entrance passage of between seven and eight feet in width, and beyond it is a closet which extends westwards to form a projecting wing; on the first floor the closet could originally be entered only from the back room, as is still the case on the floor above. The second-floor plan is very similar, except that there are two rooms at the front, the smaller northern one reduced in depth to allow for a cramped dog-legged staircase up to the garret. In 1767 there was a garden behind the house, (fn. 69) but the ground is now occupied by a modern building, which immediately adjoins the closet-wing.
On the ground floor the two main rooms have been thrown into one and extended into the modern block at the back by putting a glazed roof over the courtyard, the whole being panelled in imitation of the original work. Some genuine panelling still remains in the original rooms, although considerably altered. The front room has a plain dado with moulded rail and skirting, the upper part having sunk panels in ovolo-moulded frames, finished with a dentilled box-cornice. There is a good moulded plaster ceiling composed of a square having an internal border of acanthus leaves and strapwork, this enclosing a circle in which is set a chandelier-boss of acanthus leaves. The back room is panelled like the front, but with cyma-moulded panels in two heights and a plain box-cornice; Chardin's will mentions the green bed and green window curtains of this room, where his sickbed lay. (fn. 69) The closet, also much altered, is similarly finished but with ovolomoulded panels.
The entrance passage now has only a plain dado with moulded rail and skirting, but flanking the opening to the stair compartment are two square, fluted Ionic columns supporting an elliptical arch with moulded archivolt and plain keyblock (Plate 123b, fig. 44). The wooden staircase beyond is relatively plain for a house of this size; it rises to the second floor, a flight of steps below it leading to the basement. The cut strings are decorated with architrave-mouldings and carved step-ends, and the turned balusters support a moulded handrail which is ramped up at each turn of the stair over a plain column-newel (fig. 45). At the bottom of the stair the balustrade is curved and returned to form a guard for the basement steps, but this is probably a later alteration, since the Portland estate plan of c. 1792–3 shows the more usual volute. (fn. 20) The walls of the compartment are now plain except for a dado like that in the entrance passage, its rail swept up to match the line of the balustrade. The stair is lit from above, the skylight being set in a cove, now plain, which springs from an entablature placed round the top of the walls of the compartment.
The first-floor front room is the best and least altered feature of the house, although the doors are modern and a window has been inserted in the back wall (Plate 123c, 123d). The room is lined with panelling having a plain dado with enriched rail and skirting, sunk upper panels with ovolomoulded frames, and an enriched modillion cornice; the shutters, set in splayed reveals, are similarly panelled, and the doors have enriched architraves. The fireplace has a moulded white marble surround enclosed by a shouldered wooden architrave carved with flower-and-dart and scallop-and-dart, over which is an enriched cornice-shelf; above it is a modern overmantel in early Georgian style. The ceiling is more elaborately moulded than the one below; it consists of a rectangle with incurving angles, bordered by six shaped panels, two on each of the longer sides and one on the shorter. Between these are cartouches made up of C-scrolls, those on the longer side containing scallop-shells and those at the angles radiant female masks surrounded by C-scrolls and strapwork. Within the rectangle is a chandelier-boss of acanthus leaves, set amid C-scrolls and foliage and enclosed by an oval, this being flanked by a pair of scallop-shells also adorned with C-scrolls and foliage. The back room has now been divided up, but most of the panelling has survived, with sunk ovolo-moulded panels above and below the moulded dado-rail, and a box-cornice. The closet has the remains of similar panelling, but it too has been subdivided and a door cut through to the staircase compartment.
The second-floor rooms have retained almost all their panelling, which is in two heights, the south front and back rooms with ovolo-moulded panel-frames and box-cornices, the north front room and the closet with plain frames and a smaller moulded cornice (fig. 44). The stairs up to the garret have moulded closed strings, thin turned balusters, a moulded handrail and square newels with rounded tops; the balusters in its second flight have, however, been altered.
No. 49 Greek Street
When this house, which had been built c. 1736, (fn. 7) was demolished in 1905 the Clerk of the London County Council was informed that it contained 'a very unusual wood staircase'. (fn. 70) Some balusters from the staircase were deposited at the London Museum.
No. 50 Greek Street
This house (Plate 124, figs. 46–7) was erected in 1736 under a building lease granted in November 1735 for sixty-three and a half years to William Frith of St. James's, carpenter. The lessors were not the Portland family but parties possessing an interest in leases of the site already granted by the Portlands. The first, dated in 1718, had been to Thomas Taylor of Kensington, esquire, for thirty-five years from Michaelmas 1734, and the second, recently granted in July 1735, was to Francis Otway of the same place, gentleman, for a further thirty years from 1769. This latter lease contained a requirement to rebuild the existing house: presumably this obligation was not effective until 1769 but was discharged promptly by the sublease to Frith. (fn. 71)
The first occupant, from 1737 to 1752, was George Crowle, esquire, perhaps identifiable with the George Crowle of Barrow, Lincolnshire, M.P. for Hull until 1747, (fn. 72) and the consul at Lisbon who died in 1754. (fn. 73) Later occupants included Major-General Thomas Clarke, 1766– 1780, and Louis H. du Mitand, the educational writer, c. 1800. (fn. 7) In the first two decades of the nineteenth century artists exhibited works from this address, including the painter, Thomas Foster, in 1820. (fn. 28)
The house is similar in style to some of the better houses on the west side of Dean Street; it is not as sophisticated in design as No. 48 Greek Street two doors away, but is nevertheless good builder's work.
The house contains a basement, three storeys and a garret, and has a brick front three windows wide (Plate 124a). This has now been faced with stucco in the ground storey and the brickwork above dyed red, but no extra storeys have been added and its plain original form is still recognizable. The windows, now containing metal casements, generally have flat gauged arches, and emphasis is limited to the taller middle window in the second storey, which has a round head with stone imposts and keyblock. Above the basement and ground storey are raised bandcourses, and above the third storey a moulded cornice of brick or stone now covered with cement. This is surmounted by a stone-coped parapet, behind which is a row of (altered) dormers set in a low-pitched mansard roof. The doorway, which occupies the southern bay of the ground storey, has its original wooden doorcase, this comprising two fluted Doric pilasters and an entablature with a triglyphed frieze; the cornice, however, is missing, and the door, recessed within deep panelled reveals, is modern. Flanking the steps leading up to the doorway are the remains of the original arearailing, stoutly constructed with large urnfinials to the standards.
In the back wall, which seems unaltered, the brickwork is purple-red with window-arches to match; the arches in the projecting closet-wing are flat but in the main block all but the topmost ones are round. Within the openings are doublehung sashes, mostly later in date, set in recessed frames of which only a small margin is exposed. The window lighting the second half-space landing of the staircase appears to have the original sashes, with thick flat glazing-bars.
In the interior the ground-floor rooms have now been thrown into one, but the original plan clearly had a single room front and back, with a closet-wing leading off the back room on the west (fig. 46). Beside the former front room on the south is the wide entrance passage, and this leads to a dog-legged staircase at the back. An unusual feature, of which the principal components still remain, was a recess contrived at the rear of the front room, leaving the back room much reduced in depth. Originally the front room could only be entered through this recess, which then had a doorway on to the staircase compartment, and, apparently, a central opening of some kind into the back room; (fn. 20) the wall at the back of the recess has, however, now been removed, and another door, which formerly connected the back room directly with the staircase compartment, blocked. The first-floor plan is entirely conventional, although the wall between the front and back rooms has now been removed; but the secondfloor plan differs in having two rooms at the front, the smaller southern one reduced in depth to allow for a lobby serving both rooms, and for a large cupboard, apparently original. One other feature of the plan is that the fireplace in the second-floor back room is placed in the centre of the back wall. In the ground- and first-floor back rooms the fireplaces were probably in corresponding positions but none is now visible.
The rooms and staircase compartment on the ground and first floors are lined with two heights of robustly moulded panelling, to which relatively few alterations have been made except in the ground-floor closet, where no panelling now remains (Plate 124b, 124c, fig. 47). The plain dado has a heavily moulded rail and skirting, while the upper part has sunk panels with ovolo-moulded frames and is finished with a box-cornice which is dentilled everywhere but in the closet; the front rooms differ from the rest in having raised-andfielded panels, these varying in width so that narrow panels alternate with wide ones. The recess in the ground-floor front room is framed by a segmental arch springing from square Doric columns with enriched capitals; the archivolt is carved with egg-and-dart and the soffit of the arch has sunk panels with leaf-and-dart frames. No finishings remain on the inside walls of the recess, but the shallow, groin-vaulted plaster ceiling does still exist. The entrance passage is panelled like the rooms, but halfway along is a pair of fluted Doric pilasters attached to the panelling at either side, each with a short length of triglyphed entablature relating it to the cornice.
On the second floor the staircase compartment and the three main rooms, but not the closet, have complete panelling in two heights, the plain dado being finished with a moulded rail and the plain sunk upper panels with a box-cornice. The fireplaces in the back room and in the north front room have ovolo-moulded architraves of wood, the one in the latter room shouldered.
The wooden staircase is of the same solid character as the panelling. Its first three flights have cut strings decorated with architravemouldings and carved step-ends, each step having a moulded nosing to the tread and carrying two turned balusters; upon these rests a moulded handrail which is carried at each main landing over a plain column-newel to form a cap. The upper flights, rising to the third floor, differ in having moulded closed strings, a simpler type of turned baluster and, above the second floor, a column-newel with a tall square head into which the handrail is fixed.
No. 51 Greek Street
This house, which has been much altered both externally and internally, was erected (like the former No. 52) in 1734, under a Portland building lease to John Gardner of St. John's, Westminster, carpenter. There had previously been one house on the site of Nos. 51 and 52. (fn. 74)
No. 51 now contains a basement and four storeys, with a front, three windows wide, which has been stuccoed and is entirely nineteenthcentury in appearance. The interior has the simple plan of two rooms to each floor, front and back, the dog-legged staircase being placed beside the back room on the south. This staircase, which rises to the third floor, retains its original upper flights with moulded closed strings, turned balusters, moulded handrail and column-newels, but the first two flights have been replaced by a single one leading straight up from the front door.
No. 58 Greek Street
This building, which has been considerably altered both externally and internally, was erected in 1733. At that time Nicholas Saunders, a baker, held a fifty-one-year lease from the Portland family, dated 1717 and operative from Michaelmas 1734, which required him to build a new house on the site. This had included in 1717 a wooden shed which had previously been a joiner's workshop, doubtless John Chaplin's (see page 170). The rebuilding slightly anticipated the commencement of the term in 1734. (fn. 75)
The first occupant, from 1733 to 1737, was John Pallairett, perhaps identifiable with the John Palairet who was agent of the StatesGeneral in London and French teacher to three of George II's children, and who in 1736 published an Abrégé sur les Sciences et sur les Arts. (fn. 76)
The brick front, three windows wide and comprising five storeys above a basement, has been painted a bright pink, perhaps to disguise the fact that the two top storeys are a later addition. However, it is possible to identify as original work the segmental gauged arches of the second- and third-storey windows, and the moulded cornice, probably of brick, above the third storey.
The interior is arranged on the same plan as No. 51. It has not been possible to investigate the rooms, but the dog-legged staircase has in the first three flights cut strings with shaped stepends, turned balusters, and a moulded handrail which is continued over column-newels; the upper flights differ in having moulded closed strings and a different type of turned baluster and column-newel.
No. 60 Greek Street
Although disguised by an ornate stucco façade of the mid nineteenth century this building probably dates in carcase from c. 1748. (fn. 7) It stands on part of the rearward (southern) portion of the former curtilage of No. 27 Soho Square, and the first ratepayer, in 1748, was the prominent upholsterer and tapestry-maker, William Bradshaw, who had hitherto occupied the house in the square. He had in 1746 obtained from the Duke of Portland an extension of his leasehold interest in the whole site (which included also that of No. 59 Greek Street to the south), (fn. 77) and evidently proceeded to build or rebuild on the rearward part, to front on to Greek Street. In 1748 the premises are described as 'house and shop'. (fn. 7) In 1751–2 Bradshaw vacated No. 60 in turn, and thereafter was rated only for workshops, probably newly built or rebuilt, at No. 59. He was succeeded at No. 60 by Robert Bristow, (fn. 7) probably the M.P. for New Shoreham, from 1752 to 1755. (fn. 78) Later occupants included Prince Galitzin, the Russian ambassador, 1756–62, Mrs. St. Clair, probably the widow of General the Hon. James St. Clair, M.P. for Fifeshire, (fn. 79) 1764–5, and Sir John Anstruther, second baronet, M.P. for Anstruther Easter Burghs, (fn. 80) 1766–70.
In 1790 the house was taken by the family of (Sir) Thomas Lawrence, who used part of the house as a studio until his complete removal here from Old Bond Street in 1797. (fn. 81) (fn. 5) Lawrence's friend, the painter Richard Westall, hired a studio here from the Lawrences until 1794. (fn. 82) Lawrence remained at the house until early in 1814, finding that 'its comparative retiredness is both pleasant and advantageous'. (fn. 83) In 1807 William Etty worked here as a pupil, (fn. 84) and the painter Samuel Lane lived here, as Lawrence's assistant. (fn. 85) When Lawrence removed to Russell Square, Lane took over the house and remained until 1853. (fn. 7)
In that year Lane and others sold the house for £1,500 to trustees for the Westminster Jews' Free School, (fn. 86) which had since 1850 been housed next door at No. 59. (fn. 62) The house was given substantially its present appearance by the architect, H. H. Collins, who was subsequently responsible for the premises of a number of Jewish institutions in London. The lowest tender, of £700, was published late in 1857. (fn. 87) The school remained here until 1884 when it removed to Hanway Place, St. Pancras. (fn. 88)
The building contains a basement and three storeys, with a front five windows wide. In the ground storey the stucco is rusticated with deep horizontal channelling, breaking forward in the centre to emphasize the round-arched doorway, while at each end is a pilaster composed of vermiculated blocks. A deep panelled pedestalcourse underlines the second storey, the windows of which have moulded architraves and cornices on enriched consoles. In the third storey the windows have shouldered architraves decorated with wheat-ear pendants, and beneath them is a continued sill-band of interlacing strapwork. The two upper storeys are bounded by raised quoins and finished with a heavy cornice, this having a bracket-stop at each end and a patterned balustrade above. A photograph of 1909 shows the cornice with dentils and the bracketstops enriched, while instead of the present iron area-railing there was a low balustrade. (fn. 57)
An undated drawing in the Council's collection, inscribed 'House of Sir Thomas Lawrence, Frith Street [sic], Soho', appears in fact to show the front of this building before it was stuccoed. (fn. 89) The front then contained the same number of storeys, but was entirely plain, except for bandcourses above the basement, at sill-level in the second storey, and below the parapet. The doorway had a moulded architrave and a cornicehood on shaped consoles, and immediately above it was a curious little window, presumably intended to light the hall.
The interior of the building has been greatly altered, but the plan still corresponds to that shown on the Portland estate plan of c. 1792–3. (fn. 20) It is L-shaped, with a courtyard in the northwest angle; on the ground floor a central entrance passage, flanked by a large room on either side, leads to a dog-legged staircase at the back, this having the single back room beside it on the south. The first-floor plan is the same, except that the north front room was originally the larger with three windows on to the street; the windows of both front rooms retain their original shutters with raised-and-fielded panels in ovolomoulded frames.