Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1966.
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The earliest known building lease in Gerrard Street was granted by Barbon in 1678 for a term of fifty-one years. It was granted to William Gillingham of St. Margaret's, Westminster, bricklayer, for the sites of the modern Nos. 15 and 16. (fn. 14) Another was granted in 1679 for fifty-eight years to John Shales for one of the two houses which he built on the site of the present Nos. 36–39. (fn. 15) As a partial payment for work which he had done on the 'greate' house, Barbon let the fifth house from the east end (on the site of No. 44?) to William Stephens for fifty-one years from Michaelmas 1680. (fn. 16) The house on the south corner, where No. 30 Wardour Street now stands, was let in 1681 to John Stephens, gentleman, for fifty-one years. (fn. 17) In 1682 Gerard House (on the south side) was let to Lord Macclesfield by Barbon (fn. 18) and four houses on the north side were granted from Michaelmas of that year. (fn. 19) Another lease, for a corner house, was granted in partial payment to Thomas Young, carver, and Thomas Streeter, painter, in January 1683/4; this house was still, in December 1684, 'nothing but bare Walles and not fully Tyled in'. (fn. 20)
The house on the site of No. 21 was probably finished about 1685 (fn. 21) and was let to Samuel Hunt of St. Anne's, carpenter. (fn. 22) Finally, George Capell was said to have built the former Nos. 5 and 6 Gerrard Street (fn. 23) and Joseph Ward, carpenter, built a house on the site of No. 43. (fn. 24)
From this evidence the building of Gerrard Street appears to have been spread over the period 1677 to 1685; the surviving ratebooks suggest that most of the houses were finished at the end of this period, but that the street was not fully occupied until after 1685. There are seventeen names under Gerrard Street in 1684, thirty-nine in 1685 and forty-eight in 1691.
The appearance of the original street can be deduced from the evidence of drawings and photographs of houses which have been demolished (e.g., Nos. 28, 29, 43 and Gerard House, Plates 60a, 60b, 61b, 62a) and from the surviving houses which, although much altered, seem to date from the 1680's (Nos. 10–12, 31, 41 and 47, Plates 59, 66a). At all these last six it is necessary to step down when entering the passage, an indication of how much the street level has risen since they were built.
The original buildings were, almost certainly without exception, three-storeyed houses with garrets. The finishing of the interiors with wainscot panelling, as recently existing at No. 41 (fig. 92), was common, probably, to all. The 'greate' house mentioned on page 386 was so finished, and so, too, was the original house at No. 21. An inventory of the latter, dated 1686, shows that all three floors were wainscoted and painted, and that the two garrets were partially wainscoted. All the fireplaces had painted chimneypieces, firestone and marble hearths, and were set with 'galley' tiles. At the rear of the house was the kitchen and a 'Lardery', the former fitted with a buttery and supplied by a pump with New River water. (fn. 22)
The regularity of the street, achieved by matching storey heights, was broken by the width of the house plots, which varied from about eighteen feet (e.g., Nos. 12, 13, 14 and 16) (fn. 25) to over sixty feet (one of the houses on the site of Nos. 36– 39). The largest houses, and therefore the best patronized, were on the south side, opposite Macclesfield Street; all the plots on this side were a little over sixty feet in depth and most of the gardens were contiguous to the garden of Leicester House. Only on the north side, where there was access to the mews, did some houses have attached stables at the rear, although consequently the yards and gardens were shorter. There were, however, two very large houses on the north side at the east end, Lady Wiseman's (No. 9) and the Earl of Devonshire's further east (fig. 86).
A number of the early inhabitants of the large houses in Gerrard Street were prominent in political affairs, and several were chosen to supervise the building of the parish church. From the first, however, the population was mixed, the meaner houses on the north side of the street and at the corners attracting tavern-keepers and tradespeople, several of the latter becoming suppliers to the royal household at Leicester House.
Gerrard Street's chief distinction was Dryden's occupation of a house on the south side, which, by mistaken identity, preserved the house next to the one in which he actually lived. Other men of letters associated with the street include Dr. Johnson and the other members of The Club, and in more recent times, G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, who dined in a small restaurant in Gerrard Street at their first meeting.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries many artists lived in Gerrard Street, and there was also from an early period a number of metal workers and jewellers (the most notable being Paul de Lamerie), who in the nineteenth century were superseded by engravers and electro-plate workers. Many of the buildings are now used as shops, offices, clubs, restaurants and 'clipjoints' (Plate 62c).
Notable inhabitants of Gerrard Street who occupied houses not described in the following pages are listed here: No. 14, Charles Killigrew, 1721–4, ? the master of the revels, patentee of Drury Lane Theatre, and friend of Dryden; No. 42, Colonel Brett, 1711–13, ? Henry Brett, colonel, who in 1700 married Ann, the divorced wife of the second Earl of Macclesfield; and, also at No. 42, Christian Josi, 1819–28, the engraver, a native of Utrecht who came to England in 1819 and settled in Gerrard Street (not in Dryden's house as stated in the Dictionary of National Biography). His son Henry occupied the house after his father's death in 1828, until 1835. He became keeper of prints and drawings at the British Museum in 1836. (fn. 26)
Other occupants whose lodgings cannot be assigned to particular houses include: Thomas Agar, Surveyor General of Woods to Charles II and James II, and carver in ordinary to Queen Catherine, 1685–7; (fn. 27) Charles, Lord Bruce, later third Earl of Ailesbury, March 1704/5; (fn. 28) and Sir George Savile, June 1704. (fn. 29)
Agostino Aglio, painter, 1807–9; William Barraud, painter, 1834; William Bradley, painter, 1827–8, 1832; Thomas Talbot Bury, architect, 1838; Chevalier Andrea Casali, painter, 1763, 1765–8; E. Cooper, painter, 1803, 1831; George Cooper, architect, 1801, 1805; John Sell Cotman, painter, 1800–1; John Crunden, architect, 1768; Eden Upton Ellis, painter, 1834–5; Solomon Alexander Hart, painter, 1829–36; Charles Hayter, painter, 1791–2; James Inskipp, painter, 1824–5, 1828–35; John King, painter, 1821–3; Edward Daniel Leahy, painter, 1852–3; Peter Mazell, engraver, 1790; George Morland, painter, 1794, 1797; George Mullins, painter, 1771; Sebastian Pether, painter, 1817; Sir Robert Kerr Porter, painter, 1800–1; F. Sartorius, painter, 1784–90; James Saxon, painter, 1806; Thomas Sharp, sculptor, 1837; John Thomas ('Antiquity') Smith, painter, 1787; James Ward, painter, 1826; Francis Wheatley, painter, 1784; John Wright, miniature painter, 1795–9, 1801– 2; Henry John Wyatt, architect, 1823; Benjamin Wyon, medallist, 1824; Miss Ziegler, painter, 1844.
The Earl of Devonshire's House
The site of this house lay between King Street and Gerrard Street within the block later covered by the Shaftesbury Theatre (fig. 86). Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1681–2 (Plate 2) suggests that the house faced southwards towards what is now Newport Place and was set back behind a forecourt. The garden to the west of the house (on the site of Gerrard Place) was enclosed by a wall connecting the house to the stable block, which lay on the east side of the East Military Mews.
The map of the parish reproduced on Plate 3 gives a small graphic representation of the south front of the house. On this evidence it appears that the south front was two storeys high, the lower having two windows on either side of the projecting central porch. The upper storey is shown with seven windows, and there is a range of dormers in the hipped roof, from the ridge of which rise four chimney-stacks. The house was certainly the largest in Gerrard Street, since its rateable value in 1691 was £200, compared with £120 for Gerard House and £140 for Lady Suffolk's house.
A Chancery lawsuit brought by Barbon against William Stephens (Stevens) of St. James's, Clerkenwell, joiner, in January 1682/3 mentions a 'greate house in Gerrarde Street' and probably refers to the house now under discussion. In 1680/1 a 'Considerable Quantity of Joyners worke [still needed] to bee done in and about the fitting up and finishing of the sayd house and to make the same Tennantable', and Stephens had agreed with Barbon to finish it at his own cost, supplying good oak and deal timber, the price of the work to be fixed by four independent joiners. The agreed price was then to be paid by Barbon, half in money and half 'in building', i.e., by the lease to Stephens of a house then being built elsewhere in Gerrard Street.
When Stephens had done work to the value of about three hundred pounds, a fire broke out and the building was burnt down. Barbon claimed that, in spite of his 'great industry' in trying to quench the fire, he had sustained a loss of about £3,000. Stephens denied liability for the fire both for himself and his workmen, alleging that on the day in question other tradesmen employed by Barbon were also working in the house. (fn. 16)
This suit may refer to some other house in Gerrard Street, but in his petition of January 1682/3 Barbon described it as a 'greate house' and all the other large houses in the street are known to have been occupied by 1683. The defendant Stephens, however, called the building in question 'the military house', and this raises the possibility that Barbon's reference to the 'Considerable Quantity of Joyners worke [still needed] to bee done in and about the fitting up and finishing of the sayd house' meant the enlargement and adaptation of the Military Company's armoury house. The plan of the Military Ground, reproduced on Plate 8a, shows that the armoury was a two-storeyed building near the eastern end of the enclosure, that it faced westward and that it had projecting wings. Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1681–2 (Plate 2) shows that the westward, or garden, front of the large house which stood beyond the eastern end of the old military enclosure also had projecting wings, and it may be that the house in question incorporated the old armoury. This conjecture does not, however, fit with the evidence of the apparently accurate plan of the Military Ground reproduced on Plate 8a which shows the armoury house farther west than the site of the Earl of Devonshire's house (see fig. 86).
The first occupant of the house, at some time between 1685 and 1690, was evidently William Cavendish, fourth Earl and later first Duke of Devonshire. (fn. 1) He was one of the peers who signed the invitation to the Prince of Orange to come to England, and was appointed Lord Steward of the Household in 1689. (fn. 30) He was certainly living here in January 1688/9 (fn. 31) and in 1697 there is a reference to the 'large house at the end of Gerard Street, where the Duke of Devon lived some time since'. (fn. 32)
In 1691 the house appears in the ratebook under the entry 'Mr. [? Richard] (fn. 33) Kent or Dr. Barebone' but no assessment is given, which suggests that it was empty at that time. From 1692 to 1697 Charles Montagu, fourth Earl of Manchester, was the occupant and the house was rated at £200, the highest in the street. He too was an active supporter of William of Orange and raised a troop of horse at the Revolution. He carried St. Edward's staff at the coronation of William and Mary. Several of the Earl's children were born here, their baptisms being entered in the parish registers. (fn. 34) He left the house in 1697 on being sent to Venice on a diplomatic mission, (fn. 26) and in the same year the Duke of Shrewsbury treated abortively for it with 'Mr. Jeffryes of Sheen'. (fn. 32)
The next tenant was Thomas, fifth Baron Wharton (later first Marquess of Wharton), a Whig M.P., famous for his authorship of 'Lilli Bullero', who occupied the house in 1700. (fn. 26) He was succeeded by yet another Whig, Richard Lumley, first Earl of Scarbrough, (fn. 21) who, like the Lords Devonshire and Manchester, had been one of the signatories to the invitation to the Prince of Orange to come to England. Lord Scarbrough occupied the house from 1701 until his death there from apoplexy in 1721. (fn. 30) His son Richard, the second Earl, continued to occupy the house until 1732. (fn. 21) It was demolished in that year and Whetten's Buildings erected over the site.
Plate 56d shows four of the houses which were erected on the site of the old house between Hayes Court and Nassau Street, which in their turn were demolished to make way for the Shaftesbury Theatre (see page 304). They were all built by John Whetten of St. Anne's, bricklayer, in 1733– 1734. (fn. 35) (fn. 2) Each house was three windows wide and three storeys high, with a mansard roof having two dormers. The drawing shows shops in the ground storey and the upper face stuccoed, each end house being plain and the middle two mock-jointed to imitate stonework. The east pair of houses were unified by their window-architraves, the second-floor sill-band, and the finishing bandcourse below the open balustrade that partly concealed the red tiled roof. The west end house had similar window architraves, but was finished with a cornice and blocking-course, and the neighbouring front had plain window-openings and framed name panels extending above the firstand second-floor windows. The west pair of houses had slated roofs.
Nos. 3–6 (consec.) Gerrard Street
These four houses form part of Whetten's Buildings and were built in 1733–4. (fn. 21) Building leases of Nos. 3 and 4 were granted in November 1733 by John Jeffreys to John Whetten of St. Anne's, bricklayer, for sixty-one years, (fn. 36) and Nos. 5 and 6 were let in 1734 by Jeffreys to another bricklayer, John Smither of St. James's, for sixty-one years from 1733. (fn. 37)
The original house on the site of No. 4 was occupied in 1722–3 by Peter Pelham, possibly the mezzotint engraver who published engravings in London between 1720 and 1726, including one of James Gibbs, the architect. (fn. 26)
All four houses were originally similar, each three storeys high and three windows wide, and, very probably, each having a shop on the ground floor. No. 3 (Plate 66c) at the corner of Gerrard Place (formerly Nassau Street) was occupied from 1793 to 1802 by Francis Saulieu (fn. 21) as a coffee house and continued to be referred to as Saulieu's coffee house for some years afterwards. (fn. 38) Cyrus Redding recollected breakfasting here with Benjamin Robert Haydon and (Sir) David Wilkie in about 1810 and called it the Nassau coffee house. (fn. 39) An extra storey had already been added when the house was sketched by J. P. Emslie in 1885. The Gerrard Street front, four storeys high and three windows wide, still appears much as it did then. The east front to Gerrard Place has been considerably changed in rebuilding, for in place of the present three tiers of windows Emslie shows two tiers of blind recesses below a featureless fourth storey having a parapet that is canted down at its north end to follow the slope of the mansard roof at the back of the house. Now, as in 1885, a shop fills the ground storey towards Gerrard Street, and extends halfway along the east frontage, with the house door to the north. The upper part of the exterior is faced with cement, mock-jointed to resemble stonework, and the windows are dressed with stepped architraves, those of the first floor being finished with cornices resting on heavy consoles. On the east front the first-floor middle window is replaced by an archheaded recess in which is placed a lugged tablet of stone, surmounted by a pediment. The inscription 'Nassau Street/In/Wheeten's Buildings/ 1734' has at some time been recut and should read 'Whetten's' Buildings.
Nos. 4 (Plate 66c, left) and 5 have been faced with cement, jointed in imitation of stonework, the windows being dressed with band architraves, those of the first floor having straight heads ornamented with plain paterae, and cornice-hoods. No. 5 has been heightened by the conversion of the mansard garret into a fourth storey. Only the west part survives of the early nineteenth-century shop front at No. 5, with plain-shafted Doric pilasters supporting a frieze, ornamented with three sunk panels between pretty Rococo stops, and a dentilled cornice. No. 6 has the least altered front, now uniformly painted but no doubt built in stock bricks with gauged arches of red rubbers to the segmental-headed window-openings, which have stone sills and plastered reveals. Above the arches of the secondfloor windows extends a plain brick bandcourse, surmounted by a low stone-coped parapet. A modern shop front now fills the ground storey and the windows generally have sashes of late Victorian type. Sashes of an earlier pattern survive in the two dormer windows and on the left side of the front is an old but undated rainwaterhead of cast lead.
No. 9 Gerrard Street
The earliest known occupant of the first house was a Lady Wiseman, who lived here from c. 1685 to 1697. (fn. 21) From 1701 to 1712 Robert Binnet was the occupant. (fn. 21) In 1710 Z. C. von Uffenbach visited a house in Gerrard Street called the 'Romer' tavern where the host, 'A Frenchman called Binet', held weekly concerts. There was at that time 'a large room with a small apartment adjoining it where there hung a great quantity of choice musical instruments'. (fn. 40)
Uffenbach spelt the name of the tavern in the Dutch or German manner, but the word 'rummer' (meaning a large drinking glass) appears in English as early as 1654, when it was probably introduced from the Continent. (fn. 41) (fn. 3) By 1737 the tavern was called the Bear and 'Rumer'. (fn. 42)
The house survived, presumably as a tavern, until 1758, (fn. 43) when the freehold was bought by John Spencer of St. George's, Hanover Square, carpenter. Matthew Fairless of St. James's, carpenter, was a witness to the conveyance. (fn. 44) John Spencer was associated with William Timbrell and John Barlow in the erection of Nos. 1 and 2 St. James's Square. (fn. 45)
Spencer's first tenant in 1759 was Christopher Winch, a victualler who had previously kept the Turk's Head in Greek Street. (fn. 46) He transferred the name to the new house in Gerrard Street which remained in use as a tavern under that name until 1783.
According to Henry Angelo the Turk's Head in Gerrard Street was popular among actors and artists, in particular John Hamilton Mortimer, the history painter. (fn. 47) It was also the first home of The Club, founded in 1764 by (Sir) Joshua Reynolds and Dr. Samuel Johnson. Edmund Burke was among the original members, and James Boswell was elected later; (fn. 48) both had lodgings in Gerrard Street. Charles Swinden was the landlord from 1764 to 1779, followed by Margaret Swinden until 1783. (fn. 21) During the Gordon Riots in June 1780 the Turk's Head was used as their headquarters by the magistrates for Middlesex and Westminster. (fn. 49) The tavern reverted to private use in 1783 and The Club moved to Prince's in Sackville Street. (fn. 50)
In 1805 the Linnean Society decided to vacate its premises in Panton Square and, after considering houses in Nassau Street and Dean Street, chose No. 9 Gerrard Street as being most suitable. A little over £300 was spent on the building. The society remained at No. 9 till 1821, when it removed to Soho Square. (fn. 51)
In 1825 the Westminster General Dispensary moved from No. 33 Gerrard Street, which was a smaller house, to No. 9. (fn. 21) The alterations to the house mentioned below must have been made at this time, although the dispensary trustees were only tenants until 1846, when they bought the freehold. (fn. 52) The dispensary was closed in 1957 and its function became the collection and distribution of funds under the name of the Westminster Aid in Sickness Charity. In 1961 it was absorbed into the Westminster Amalgamated Charity and No. 9 Gerrard Street was sold; it is now divided up into offices.
Although its appearance has been drastically changed, the three-storeyed front of No. 9 retains its original fenestration pattern, with four windows spaced widely and evenly in each upper storey (Plate 64a). Its present aspect is severely plain, being faced with cement mock-jointed to imitate ashlar, but this finish replaces an early nineteenth-century dress of stucco. This last was imposed on what was probably a plain brick front, stocks dressed with red rubbers, bounded by giant pilasters of brick, rising to the boldly profiled crowning cornice. These pilasters and the cornice survive, although they have also been faced over with cement. An inventory, dated 1793, mentions a column frontispiece, probably a doorcase dressing the doorway in the second bay from the west. This frontispiece was still in position in 1823. (fn. 53)
A photograph of 1932 (fn. 54) shows the front in its nineteenth-century state, with a ground storey of channel-jointed courses providing a background for the two-bay porch in the centre, formed of plain square-shafted Doric columns supporting a simple entablature, the lines of its architrave and cornice being continued by moulded bands across the front as a finish to the rusticated ground storey. The upper part of the building appears in the photograph to have been plain, but the stucco may have been mock-jointed in imitation of stonework. Although the windows of both upper storeys were without architraves, those of the first floor had cornices. Above the crowning cornice was a wide plain blocking of pedimental profile, flanked by short balustrades stopping against pedestals above the two giant pilasters. In the latest recasting of the front much detail has been omitted, the ground-storey rustication and the first-floor window cornices have gone, the porch columns are without capitals, and its architrave has been merged with the frieze.
The house contains a basement, three storeys, and garrets in the mansard roof. A substantial brick wall extends from the front to the back of the building, dividing the interior into two parts, east and west, of equal width. An east-west wall, now partly removed, divides the front rooms from the back. The east part of the house is deeper than the west and contains two rooms on each floor, the long back room having, as its only source of daylight, a two-light window in the west wall, opening to a north-west area. The west part contains a front room behind which is the spacious staircase compartment, also lit from the north-west area (see fig. 87).
Within the entrance porch are two doorways, one recently re-opened and giving access to the east front room, and the other, the original front door, opening to a passage hall leading to the staircase compartment. The passage hall is wainscoted in deal, with plain panels in two heights set in ovolo-moulded framing, finished with a moulded dado-rail and a box-cornice, the last being reduced to the cymatium only along the west side. A semi-elliptical arch, rising from panelled pilasters, dresses the opening to the staircase compartment, where the stairs rise against the north, west and south walls, round an oblong well. Deal has been used throughout, and the railing, which rises from closed strings moulded like simple entablatures, is composed of slender baluster turnings and plain Doric column-newels, supporting moulded handrails that are housed into square blockings on the newel-column shafts (fig. 88). The landing walls are lined with three-quarter-height panelling in ovolo-moulded framing, finished with a cornice-capping, and the stair walls have a panelled dado (Plate 64b). The doors to the rooms vary in quality, some having six panels and others only two.
The small room to the west of the passage is panelled and finished with a box-cornice, interrupted on the west wall by the projecting half-arch corbelling of the hearth in the room above. The fireplace in the south-west angle has a simple chimneypiece of wood, with an ovolo architrave, a pulvino frieze, and a cornice-shelf. The panelled face above has been removed, exposing the chimney-stack. Alterations probably account for the differences in the framing of the panelling, some of which is ovolo-moulded and some quite plain. This room was formerly used as the dispensary, and contained some well-designed fittings including a dresser with tiers of shelving arranged in elliptically arched bays and supported on miniature Doric columns (Plate 65a).
The ground-floor rooms have been considerably altered to suit a tenant's requirements, but records show that they were lined with ovolo-moulded panelling and finished with box-cornices. In the front room, but now boxed in, is a chimneypiece of wood and compo in the Adam manner, with Composite pilasters supporting a frieze decorated with festoons and urns, and an enriched cornice-shelf. Reference to this is made in the inventory of 1793.
The suite of rooms on the first floor, presumably the premises used by The Club, has not been greatly altered. The largest room, at the back (Plate 65b), is fully wainscoted in deal, with a plain dado finished by a cornice-rail below a series of tall and wide plain panels, in framing finished with an ovolo and an inside fillet. The box-cornice, of generous girth, is enriched with an egg-and-dart ovolo below the plain corona, and a leaf-ornamented cyma above. The wide chimney-breast, projecting centrally from the north end wall, has one large oblong panel above an advanced face, finished with a cornice-capping, against which the chimneypiece is fixed. This chimneypiece is of wood, simple in design, with an ovolo architrave framing marble slips, now painted, a plain pulvino frieze, and a cornice-shelf. The south end wall has been largely cut away, and the reveals of the wide opening are dressed with fluted Doric pilasters, probably re-used. The two front rooms (Plate 65c, 65d) are finished in much the same style as the large back room, except that the dado in the west room is panelled. The two rooms are linked by a wide doorway, centrally placed in the dividing wall, the opening being dressed with a wide stepped architrave and a panelled lining, the two leaves of the door having each six tall panels. A comparison with the width of the two panels in the wainscoting above the opening suggests that it may have been widened. In each of these front rooms is a simple 'Regency' chimneypiece of white marble, consisting of a plain architrave and angle stops turned with recessed bosses. These must have replaced the marble chimneypieces (slips) and hearth slabs, and the wooden surrounds, one with 'Composition Ornaments and Columns' and the other with 'Composition fancy Columns ornamented with Figures', noted in the inventory of 1793 as being in the two front rooms.
The second-floor rooms are of the same size and arrangement as those below, and they are wainscoted in deal with plain panels in two heights, set in unmoulded framing and finished with a moulded dado-rail and a plain box-cornice. The chimneypieces are similar to that in the large room on the first floor, except that the friezes have been omitted.
Nos. 10 and 11 Gerrard Street
As far as can be discovered these two houses appear never to have been entirely rebuilt; the interiors retain no features of note. In December 1736 John Jeffreys granted a thirty-one-year repairing lease of No. 10 to George Weston of St. James's, plasterer, (fn. 55) who occupied it until 1750. (fn. 21) In 1737 Jeffreys sold both houses, No. 10 to Stephen Gunn of St. James's, bookseller, (fn. 56) and No. 11 to Thomas Harbut of St. James's, smith, (fn. 57) who then leased No. 11 to Weston. (fn. 58) Joseph Buckoke (the carpenter who was at this time engaged in the building of Nos. 36–39 on the south side of the street) was a party to the sales of both houses.
Nos. 10 and 11 have similar fronts, each being four storeys high and three windows wide. The original brick face has been cemented and mock-jointed to resemble stonework. No. 10 has a bandcourse at second-floor level. The plain straight-headed window-openings all contain flush frames, some of those in the two upper storeys having barred sashes of late Georgian type. No. 10 is partially shown on the left of Plate 64a and No. 11 on the right of Plate 66a.
No. 10 was occupied by William Sunman or Sonmans, a portrait painter from the Netherlands, in 1691–1708 and thereafter by his widow till 1710. (fn. 26) The Earl of Macclesfield and Lord Mohun (owners of Gerard House) were rated for No. 11 in 1700 and 1701 respectively. (fn. 21) A later occupant from 1834 to 1836 was James M. Gully, the physician who established Malvern as a centre for the hydropathic treatment of the sick. (fn. 26) Between 1922 and 1925 Matheson Lang, the actor-manager, had his office at No. 11. He occupied No. 7 from 1926 to 1935. (fn. 59)
No. 12 Gerrard Street
No. 12, although refronted, appears to be one of the original houses built in Gerrard Street and was one of the earliest to be occupied by a licensed victualler. This was Robert Daniel, who was rated and licensed for the house during the period 1695–1711. (fn. 60) His successor, Thomas Mills, was a coffeeman, and No. 12 continued to be known as Mills's coffee house until the beginning of the nineteenth century. (fn. 61)
The building was subsequently used as a shop but from 1848 until 1909 it was a public house called the Grapes. (fn. 62) Its assertive front (Plate 66a) probably dates from 1848. It has a plain ground storey, containing the doorway on the left of an oblong display window, and a two-storeyed upper face bounded by giant pilasters. These are without bases but have curiously fluted shafts and spreading Ionic capitals. The wall face is finished with mock-jointed cement and the two windows of each storey have moulded architraves. Each window is furnished with casements below a radial fanlight. The giant pilasters support a cornice only, which is carried on a course of bold plain modillions across the front. Over each pilaster is a pedestal with a cornice-capping surmounted by a large scallop-shell. The pedestal was probably continued as a parapet across the front, but is now cut down to improve the lighting of the large six-light dormer.
No. 16 Gerrard Street
The present No. 16 was erected in 1730 (fn. 21) on the site of a house leased to William Gillingham in c. 1678. (fn. 63) It was let in 1730 to John Meard of St. Anne's (called 'esquire' in the lease) for sixty-one years. (fn. 64) The first occupant, from 1731 to 1738, was William Wasey, physician to the Westminster and then to St. George's Hospital. (fn. 26) He moved in 1738 to another new house, No. 36.
Before alteration the front of No. 16 would have been characteristic of the 1730's. The ground storey now contains a restaurant front but it appears to have been altered uniformly with that of No. 17 (Plate 66b). The three storeys above, each with three windows, were originally of plain brickwork with raised bandcourses between the storeys. The windows, now fitted with transomed casements, have partly visible frames recessed in segmental-headed openings, originally plain but now dressed with stucco architraves.
In 1900 G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc met for the first time in Gerrard Street. The meeting took place at or outside the Mont Blanc restaurant at No. 16 (a rendezvous of literary men), and was celebrated there with a bottle of Moulin-à-Vent. (fn. 65)
No. 17 Gerrard Street
The front of No. 17 is markedly similar to that of No. 16, but there is a straight joint between them and the floor levels are some two feet lower than those of No. 16, although the storey heights are much the same (Plate 66b). This suggests that the carcase of No. 17 is older than the front, possibly dating from the late 1670's. The ground storey of the front was altered, probably, in the 1830's, being faced with stucco in channel-jointed courses. The single large window and the doorway are dressed with panelled pilasters, having stiff foliated capitals of 'Grecian' character, supporting plain narrow friezes and cornices. The upper part of the front is generally similar to that of No. 16, except that the windows have sashes with slender glazing-bars.
No. 18 Gerrard Street
Although No. 18 has the overall height and general scale of the earliest houses in the street, the front is certainly of the late Regency period, apart from the nondescript modern shop front (Plate 66b). The upper face of two storeys, each with two widely spaced windows, is finished with stucco. The window openings are plain and straight-headed, but the tall transomed casements of the first floor are more deeply recessed than are the sashes with exposed frames on the second floor. There are elegant window guards of cast iron to the first-floor windows, but the most striking feature of the front is the series of panels at second-floor level, a plain oblong extending below the two windows and between square panels, each twice recessed and containing a wreathed patera. Two narrow raised bands emphasize the parapet.
No. 18 was occupied from 1720 to 1726 by James Gibbs, the architect. (fn. 21) In 1727 he took leases of four houses in Henrietta Street, St. Marylebone, and his name appears in the St. Marylebone ratebooks for the first time in October of that year. (fn. 66)
James Keir appears in the ratebooks in 1788 and Blair, Keir and Company from 1790 to 1798. In 1790 Keir communicated a paper to the Royal Society containing suggestions which probably contributed to the discovery of the electro-plate process. (fn. 67)
Nos. 21 and 22 Gerrard Street
The first house on the site of No. 21 was probably finished about 1685 (fn. 21) and was let to Samuel Hunt of St. Anne's, carpenter. An inventory of the house has been mentioned on page 385. In 1686 Hunt leased No. 21 to Thomas Mansell of Margam, Glamorgan, later Baron Mansell, (fn. 22) who lived here from 1686 until his removal to No. 32 Soho Square in 1691–2. Later occupants of No. 21 included the Hon. Robert Cecil in 1692–3; (fn. 68) Lord Carr or Kerr, 1710–11,? Lord Mark Kerr, general, son of the fourth Earl and first Marquis of Lothian; (fn. 26) Sir Ralph Haire, 1712, (fn. 21) ? Sir Ralph Hare, third baronet, of Stow Bardolph, Norfolk; Admiral John Baker, 1713–16, Whig M.P., who died in 1716; (fn. 26) and George Knapton, 1740–63, the portrait painter. (fn. 26)
In March 1775 James Boswell took lodgings in the house on the site of No. 22 'at Mr. Goodwin's, a tailor ... a very neat first floor at sixteen shillings' per week. Boswell's barber at this time was a Mr. Grandmain in Princes Street, who shaved him and dressed his wig for sixpence. Boswell left these lodgings after a few weeks but in 1776 he established a pied-à-terre at Goodwin's, this time on the second floor. (fn. 69)
The occupant of No. 22 from 1830 to 1861 was George Barclay, described variously as seal engraver, printer, medallist and die-sinker. (fn. 59) His shop front, illustrated on Plate 132c, was surely unique, an extravaganza of inflated Gothick detail. The engraving suggests that stone, or wood simulating stone, was used to fill the large square window with tracery, a blazon framed by a large quatrefoil with each lobe cusped, and a vesica set diagonally in each outer angle. The shop door was recessed within a cusped arch, below a quatrefoil fanlight.
The present building on the site of Nos. 21 and 22, called Gerrard Mansions, was erected about 1905. It has a mannered neo-Georgian front of two four-windowed storeys above the nondescript shop fronts and central entrance of the ground floor. The windows in the upper face have barred sashes in moulded flush frames, contained in segmental-arched openings that are set in chaines of red brickwork, projecting with quoin-like breaks from the roughcast surface of the intervening piers. Above the heavy crowning entablature of stone rises a steep roof containing four dormers, and a second tier of dormers is recessed behind an ornamental iron railing.
No. 23 Gerrard Street and No. 32 Wardour Street
The original house on the north corner of Gerrard Street was occupied by Richard Hollyday, a gunsmith, from 1685 to 1704. From 1705 until its demolition in 1728 it was a tavern called the George. (fn. 70) (fn. 4)
In 1729 two houses, numbered 23 and 24 Gerrard Street, were erected on the site, probably by Joel(l) Johnson of St. Marylebone, bricklayer. (fn. 71) No. 23, the only one to survive, was occupied by Dr. William Smellie, the distinguished Scottish man-midwife, in 1744–50; Dr. William Hunter was one of his pupils. (fn. 26) From 1786 to 1797 Peter Upsdell, architect, occupied the house. (fn. 21)
No. 24 (later No. 16 Princes Street) was occupied in 1772–8 by John Thane, printseller and engraver, and by John Callow (latterly with John Wilson), medical publisher, in 1820–32. This business was purchased by John S. M. Churchill and continued here under his name from 1833 to 1842. (fn. 72) The site is now occupied by No. 32 Wardour Street.
No. 23 has been much altered, having a plain brick front of two storeys, each with three windows, above a modern shop front. The window openings, with stone sills and segmental arches of gauged red bricks, contain exposed box frames now fitted with wooden casements. The wall face is carried up to form a parapet, partly concealing the two segmental-headed dormers in the mansard roof.
No. 27 Gerrard Street
The present No. 27 was built in 1783. It was a hotel from 1874 to 1917, but has been a restaurant since 1918. (fn. 62) The Victorianized front (Plate 62a), probably dating from 1874, is three storeys high and three windows wide. The restaurant front, formerly glazed in an Art Nouveau style, fills the ground storey and is finished with a cresting of wrought iron, incorporating flower-pot holders. The upper face of brick is now painted, and the casement windows have been dressed with stucco architraves. The front is finished with a parapet formed of projecting courses resting on corbels of diagonally-laid bricks, and dressed with a spiky Gothic cresting of ironwork. In the mansard roof are two dormers, having steep gables dressed with fretted bargeboards.
Nos. 28 and 29 Gerrard Street
The present building here (Plate 59b, right) forms part of St. John's Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, whose history is described on page 473. The two previous houses on this site, both probably dating from the 1680's, are shown in a photograph of 1941 which offers evidence to suggest that the houses were a pair with mirrored plans and were originally similar externally. (fn. 73)
No. 28, which had been stuccoed and altered, probably in the early nineteenth century, was three storeys high and three windows wide (Plate 62a). The windows were evenly spaced between a narrow pier on the east side and a wide pier on the west, where the chimney-stacks projected from the party wall. The smooth stucco face was broken by plain bandcourses, and moulded architraves had been added to the straight-headed windows and the round-arched doorway. A cornice with a bold corona extended across the front below the plain parapet. The basement area was protected by obelisk-topped railings of early eighteenth-century ironwork, the standards having gadrooned urn-finials, and the lengthened windows of the first floor had simple iron balconies of segmental plan, probably early nineteenth century.
The front of No. 29, which appears to have had little alteration, was of plain brickwork, with the flush-framed sash windows set in openings having stone sills and flat arches of gauged brickwork, presumably red rubbers. The chief feature was the doorcase, apparently of wood imitating stone, composed of piers of V-jointed courses and a straight arch of voussoirs with a triple keyblock, the middle block projecting to merge with the architrave of the simple entablature (Plate 62a).
No. 29 was occupied by a Nathaniel Hook in 1729–31, possibly Nathaniel Hooke, the younger, friend of Pope and Martha Blount. (Sir) Harry Burrard of Walhampton, M.P., was the occupant in 1744–55; he had lived at No. 7 in 1743–5. (fn. 21) From 1792 to 1805 the house was tenanted by John Harris, who published George Morland's sketch-books and sheltered the artist for a time. (fn. 74)
No. 30 Gerrard Street
The first house on this site was occupied in 1689 by Peter Le Neve, the scholar, antiquary, herald, deputy-chamberlain of the Exchequer and record-keeper at the Chapter House, Westminster. (fn. 75) It was subsequently occupied from 1709 to 1712 by Lady Edwin, (fn. 21) perhaps the widow of Sir Humphrey Edwin, Lord Mayor of London. From 1717 to 1723 Dean Smedley was rated for No. 30. (fn. 21) In 1736 the house was said to be in the possession of the Earl of Warwick but his name does not appear in the ratebooks. (fn. 76)
In 1774–7 the name 'Hickey' appears in the ratebooks for No. 30, but it is not certain whether this refers to John, the sculptor, or his brother Thomas, the painter, or both. The Royal Academy catalogues for this period give the address of both men as Gerrard Street, No. 34 in the case of John, but no number in the case of Thomas. Neither of the brothers appears at No. 34 in the ratebooks.
In 1778 the original No. 30 was demolished and the present building was erected in its place. (fn. 21) Auguste Marie, Comte de Caumont, the French émigré bookbinder, was said to have had a shop here for a short period between 1798 and 1801 (fn. 77) when he moved to Frith Street, and the popular Victorian painter, Augustus Egg, lived here from 1840 to 1847. (fn. 21)
The house erected in 1778 has been largely rebuilt within but little altered outside (Plate 59b). The front is three windows wide and probably had three storeys originally, the attic appearing to be an addition. It is a plain design, typical of its time, executed in yellow stock bricks with dressings of stone or cement. The ground storey, which has been stuccoed, has two windows to the west, or right, of the doorway. The doorcase, of painted stone or cement, is the one feature of interest, the arched opening being flanked by pilasters with guilloche-ornamented panels on the shafts, and fluted capitals, surmounted by large scroll-consoles supporting an open triangular pediment, enriched with dentils. The door is modern and quite plain, but the transom, with reeding between oval paterae, and the radial fanlight, of iron with lead ornaments, are original (fig. 89). The ground-storey windows contain modern fixed lights with transoms, but the windows of the first and second floors have barred sashes, probably modern, recessed in plain openings with stone sills and flat arches of gauged yellow bricks. The dentilled cornice extending below the attic storey has been shorn of its cymatium.
No. 31 Gerrard Street
This appears to be one of the few surviving original houses in Gerrard Street and several of its early occupants are of interest. The first was Lady Lucy Bright who appears in the ratebooks from 1683, presumably the year in which the house was finished, until 1693. In 1694 the second Earl of Macclesfield, who at that time was owner and occupant of Gerard House, was also rated for No. 31. In 1700–2 the house was occupied by Dr. Charles Morley, physician. (fn. 78) The ratebooks for 1703 are missing but by 1704 Morley had been succeeded by Sir Henry Sheeres, Dryden's 'most ingenious friend'. (fn. 79) Sir Henry was the author of several prose works, including translations of Lucian which were published, with a life by Dryden, in 1711. He was also acquainted with another resident of Gerrard Street, Sir William Trumbull, to whose nieces he wrote verses. (fn. 80)
The front of No. 31 is three windows wide and four storeys high, the top storey probably a recasting of an original mansard garret (Plate 59b). The brick face has been stuccoed, but the keystones of the straight-headed window openings, and the plain bandcourses between the storeys are doubtless original features, now painted uniformly with the stucco. An old rainwater-pipe of lead survives recessed in the stucco face on the pier between the first and second windows. All of the windows are modern, generally with casements and transom-lights in flush frames. The doorway, which is now quite plain, contains an original door with six raised-and-fielded panels in ovolo-moulded framing, the small panels being placed above the lock rail.
Apart from some six-panelled doors, the only feature of interest remaining inside is the dog-legged staircase, placed on the east side of the back room and approached through a passage now devoid of decoration. From the ground floor to the half-landing above the first floor, the stair has cut strings, ornamented with carved console step-ends. The moulded handrail rests on plain Doric column-newels and square-section balusters, evenly spaced two to each tread. These balusters are turned as Doric columns with twisted shafts, above square neckings and urn bases. The upper flights have railings of a late seventeenth-century character, with closed strings treated like an entablature, with a moulded architrave, a plain frieze, and a reduced cornice. The heavy moulded handrails are housed into plain square newels, with turned pendant bosses, and they rest on stout square balusters turned as Doric columns having tapered shafts above bulbous urn bases. The lower flights of the staircase compartment are finished with plain panelling in unmoulded framing.
No. 32 Gerrard Street
The first house on this site was erected in c. 1682 and was occupied in 1682–4 by Sir Edward Dering, second baronet and M.P. for Kent, who died here in 1684; Lady Dering appears as the ratepayer in 1685, and the family continued to occupy the house at least until 1687. (fn. 81) From 1691 to 1707 the house was occupied by John Stewkeley (fn. 21) and in 1712–13 it was in the possession of Rear-Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker, then commander-in-chief at Jamaica. (fn. 26) The house was demolished in 1800. (fn. 21) In 1907 the National Telephone Company's exchange was erected on this site (see below).
No. 33 Gerrard Street
The original house here (Plate 60a, 60b, right) was apparently erected a few years later than its neighbour, No. 32, (fn. 18) and the first occupant was probably Sir Philip Meadows, from 1685 to his death in 1718. (fn. 21) Sir Philip was Latin secretary to Cromwell's Council and was entrusted with several diplomatic missions during the Interregnum. During Charles II's reign he was in retirement but he returned to favour at the Revolution and held several public offices whilst he was living in Gerrard Street. (fn. 67) Sir Philip was also one of the commissioners appointed to supervise the building of the parish church of St. Anne in 1685. (fn. 82) Sir Philip Meadows the younger probably lived here during his father's lifetime.
In 1774 No. 33 was hired for use by the Westminster General Dispensary. The persons responsible for founding this charity (the second of its kind in the metropolitan area) (fn. 5) first met on 6 June 1774 at the Adelphi tavern. Among the nineteen persons present were Dr. James Sims, physician to the General Dispensary in Aldersgate Street and the Surrey Dispensary; (Sir) William Blizard, surgeon to the London Hospital; Dr. Alexander Johnson; Valentine Green (? the mezzotint engraver); and John Lind, possibly the political writer of that name, who took the chair. Also present were Edward Ford, John Millar, Robert Bland and John Marshall, who were in due course appointed surgeon, physician, man-midwife and apothecary to the dispensary respectively.
The object of the dispensary was 'the assistance of the Poor' of Westminster, St. Marylebone and the surrounding area, 'at their own Habitations'. The founders stated that many people, who 'from a decent pride are restrained from going into Hospitals, or whose little business would be totally overturned by leaving their habitations, may be made happy by this Institution', and that for lying-in women 'this method of releif [sic] is so much better adapted than Hospitals'. At their first meeting they resolved to appoint eminent and experienced physicians to attend patients at their own homes and to take a house at which an apothecary could 'constantly' reside and dispense medicines. (fn. 83) By July 1774 No. 33 Gerrard Street had been chosen as the dispensary house and the first meeting of the governors was held there in August. (fn. 84)
The dispensary remained at No. 33 until 1825, when it removed to No. 9. (fn. 85) In 1904 No. 33 was purchased by the National Telephone Company and demolished (see below).
Nos. 34 and 35 Gerrard Street: Gerard (fn. 6) House
Gerard House was built between 1677, when the whole of the Military Ground was let by Charles, Lord Gerard (later first Earl of Macclesfield), to Nicholas Barbon, and 1682, when Barbon leased back to Gerard the portion of the ground on which Gerard House had been built. (fn. 18) It was destroyed by fire on 10 August 1887. (fn. 85)
Although it was one of the more substantial houses in the street it was not the largest, the site having a frontage of fifty feet and a depth of sixty-four feet. (fn. 18)
The front of the house, after its division in the 1760's into two dwellings, is best shown in an undated drawing by C. J. Richardson. The building depicted had a front of three lofty storeys, each upper one having five windows widely and evenly spaced (Plate 60a). The facing was then of stucco, probably hiding an original finish of brickwork dressed with stone. The ground storey was rusticated and the upper part left plain, with long-and-short quoins at either end of the front, and plain bandcourses between the storeys. The window openings were without architraves, but those of the ground and first floor had flat arches of voussoirs with projecting keystones, and those of the second floor had plain lintels with keystones. At either end of the ground storey was a doorway, the east being centred beneath the first-floor window and the west being hard against the party wall line. The east doorway was evidently the original one, but both were furnished with equally imposing doorcases, the west one probably being a copy of the east. They were constructed, presumably, of wood, and consisted of a stepped architrave flanked by thin pilaster-strips, with scrolled consoles supporting a broken segmental pediment. In the straight-headed opening was a six-panelled door below a radial-patterned fanlight. The front was finished with a simply moulded cornice, returned at either end, and a blocking-course, above which rose four dormer windows, the large one at each end finished with a triangular pediment.
A watercolour dated 1887 by J. Appleton shows Gerard House closing the vista of Macclesfield Street. (fn. 86) While this view is less reliable than Richardson's drawing of the house itself, it gives a fuller and more accurate representation of the setting, and it also shows the roof to have been low in the middle but hipped and rising to a higher ridge at either end, behind the pedimented dormers (Plate 60b). The evidence of Richardson's drawing is confirmed in the main by a crudely executed drawing and a related sketch, unsigned and undated but obviously later than Richardson's view. (fn. 87) There are, however, some differences to be noted, although these are possibly due to inaccurate observation. The windows are spaced in groups of three and two, and they are shown with sashes in flush frames, set in plain openings with keystones only, whereas Richardson's windows have voussoired heads and sashes recessed in openings with stuccoed reveals. The two-windowed attic storey between the pedimented dormers must have been added after 1887. All the drawings show the massive chimney-stack and the rainwater-pipe added, presumably, when the house was divided.
A fine watercolour by John Crowther, dated 1884, shows the principal staircase viewed from the first half-landing (Plate 61a). The stairs, broad and of easy ascent, rose between the ground and first floors in two parallel flights, flanking a narrow well. Massively constructed, and apparently of oak, the flights and landing were finished with closed strings, moulded to the profile of an entablature and having a richly carved frieze of acanthus leaves. The balusters, turned as colonnettes with twisted shafts rising from carved urn-bases, supported a heavy mahogany-capped handrail, its cyma face carved with acanthus leaves, which was ramped up over a solid spandrel before each turn of the staircase. The newel posts, square with a panel sunk in each face, were paired on the half-landing. Against the walls was a dado of raised-and-fielded panels framed in bolection mouldings, between a skirting and capping-rail matching those of the balustrade. Apart from the dado and the wainscoted firstfloor landing, the walls of the lofty compartment were of plain plaster and intended, no doubt, as a field for history painting, although Crowther shows a marbled finish. The first-floor landing had a doorway in each of the three faces, all finished with eared and shouldered architraves. The principal doorway was emphasized with a broken segmental pediment resting on consoles, whereas the side doors had cornices only. The surrounding wainscot was formed with raisedand-fielded panels in bolection mouldings, rising to the modillioned cornice of plaster surrounding the flat ceiling. This was decorated with raised and enriched mouldings to form three panels, the middle one having semi-circular projections at each end. Crowther's drawing shows the elliptically arched screen to the entrance hall, fitted with a small door and panelling below a simple radial fanlight, probably a later alteration. The hall floor, which can be seen through the open door, was paved with marble or stone slabs.
Lord Macclesfield's occupation began in 1682 and ended with his death in 1694. He was in exile, however, between 1685 and 1688 and during this time his son, Lord Brandon, was under sentence of death for his complicity in the Rye House plot. Both returned to royal favour on the accession of William and Mary. Lord Brandon succeeded to his father's title in 1694 and, apparently, continued to live at Gerard House until his death in 1701. (fn. 30) The second Earl's heir, Lord Mohun (see page 384), succeeded him as occupant of the house, from 1701 to 1710, (fn. 21) but at the time of his death in 1712 he was living in the recently erected No. 12 Great Marlborough Street. (fn. 88)
In 1711–12 Gerard House was let to Thomas Howard, thirteenth Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 21) In 1713 Lady Mohun's name appears in the ratebooks and, with her third husband, Colonel, later Lieutenant-General, Charles Mordaunt, she occupied the house until her death in 1725. Charles Mordaunt subsequently married Anne, daughter of a former neighbour, Viscount Howe (see page 401). He continued to live at Gerard House until his death in 1762. (fn. 89) The house then passed to his son, who in the following year sold it to Commodore (Sir) William James. (fn. 90)
James had served in the East India Company, become commodore of the Bombay marine and retired to England in 1759 with the proverbial fortune. (fn. 67) He bought a country estate near Eltham and for a London residence purchased Gerard House from Charles Mordaunt, junior.
James had the house divided into two and this was probably the occasion for the insertion of the western doorway shown in the drawings reproduced on Plate 60a, 60b. Both parts of the house were later given numbers (33 and 34) but these were subsequently changed and at the time of demolition they were known as No. 34 (the western part) and No. 35 (the eastern part).
The larger part of the house (No. 35) was retained by the James for their own occupation and No. 34 was let. The rooms in No. 35, later described by Fanny Kemble (see below), were probably decorated at this time.
Laurence Sterne frequently visited Mr. and Mrs. James and in a letter addressed to them in October 1767 (a few months before his death) Sterne wrote 'Good God! to think I could be in town, and not go the first step I made to Gerrard-street! My mind and body must be at sad variance with each other, should it ever fall out that it is not both the first and last place also where I shall betake myself, were it only to say "God bless you".' (fn. 91)
James's neighbours at No. 34 included Edmund Francis Calze, the portrait painter, in 1772–3; (fn. 92) another painter, Martin F. Quadal, who exhibited from this address in 1772; Thomas Lyttelton, the second Baron (the 'wicked' Lord Lyttelton), in 1776–9 (fn. 21) and his uncle, William Henry Lyttelton, Baron Westcote. (fn. 93)
In 1778 William James was granted a baronetcy and, perhaps in order to mark his new status, considered 'Adamizing' the front of Gerard House. Among the Adam drawings in Sir John Soane's Museum is an unfinished elevational design, dated 1781 and inscribed 'Elevation of Sir William James's House in Gerrard Street'. (fn. 94) This design has much in common with the Adam transformation of the front to No. 11 St. James's Square, completed probably in 1775. (fn. 95) At Gerard House, the Adams proposed to dress the front of five bays and three storeys with a giant order of Corinthian plain-shafted pilasters, rising from an arcaded ground storey, through the first and second floors, to support an entablature finished with a pediment extending above the middle three bays, and placed against a simply pilastered attic storey (Plate 60c). The middle three arches of the ground storey, framing rectangular windows, are unmoulded and plain but for the leaf-ornamented impost and the circular paterae in the spandrels. The smaller arch in each slightly recessed end bay frames a door below a radial fanlight. A guilloche band, marking the secondfloor level, extends between the pilasters; the frieze of the crowning entablature is ornamented with widely spaced paterae, and the pediment tympanum contains a shield between huskfestoons. The pilastered attic is flanked by open balustrades, and surmounted by a low blocking broken centrally by a plain pedestal supporting a recumbent beast. Presumably, the design was intended to be executed in Liardet's stonepaste.
The Adams' refronting was never carried out and in 1783 Sir William James died of apoplexy amid the festivities attendant upon his only daughter's wedding. (fn. 30) His widow erected to his memory the famous Severndroog Castle at Shooter's Hill, recalling the place in India where James had fought a spirited and successful action against pirates. (fn. 67) Lady James appears from the ratebooks to have continued living at No. 35 until 1791 but in 1793 she settled both No. 34 and No. 35 upon her daughter, Elizabeth Anne, and her son-in-law, Thomas Boothby Parkyns, later first Baron Rancliffe. (fn. 93) They did not occupy either house and after their deaths (Lady Rancliffe's in 1797, Lord Rancliffe's in 1800) (fn. 30) the property passed to their son, the second Baron. (fn. 93)
In 1820 Charles Kemble took lodgings at No. 35 in order to be near Covent Garden Theatre. (fn. 96) Although he spent only two years here and his family were more often at their '"rural" residence' at Craven Hill, Fanny Kemble had some vivid recollections of the Gerrard Street house even in her old age: 'It was a handsome old house . . . At the time I speak of, we occupied only a part of it, the rest remaining in the possession of the proprietor, who was a picture dealer [Joseph Woodin, (fn. 97) Lord Rancliffe's tenant], and his collection of dusky chefs d'œuvre covered the walls of the passages and staircases with dark canvas, over whose varnished surface ill-defined figures and ill-discerned faces seemed to flit, as with some trepidation I ran past them . . . Our dining-room was a very large, lofty, ground-floor room, fitted up partially as a library with my father's books, and having at the farther end opposite the windows, two heavy, fluted pillars, which gave it rather a dignified appearance. My mother's drawing-room, which was on the first floor and at the back of the house, was oval in shape and lighted only by a skylight; and one entrance to it was through a small anteroom or boudoir, with looking-glass doors and ceiling all incrusted with scrolls and foliage and rococo Louis Quinze style of ornamentation, either in plaster or carved in wood and painted white. There were back staircases and back doors without number, leading in all directions to unknown regions; and the whole house, with its remains of magnificence and curious lumber of objects of art and vertu, was a very appropriate frame for the traditional ill-repute of its former noble owners.' (fn. 98)
No. 34 continued to be popular with artists. It was occupied by Arthur William Devis, a portrait and history painter, in 1800–2, (fn. 26) and by Andrew Robertson, a miniature painter, in 1805–30. (fn. 26) Other artists who may have lived in the house were William Dyce, portrait and history painter, and George F. Mulvany, who exhibited from this address in 1827 and 1836 respectively.
Nos. 34 and 35 were eventually converted to commercial uses and in 1876 the whole house was purchased by G. F. Tomlinson and V. A. Rettich, lamp manufacturers and importers, who had occupied the house since 1873. (fn. 99) It was during the occupation by this firm that the house was burnt down early in the morning of 10 August 1887 and 'condemned to speedy demolition'. (fn. 85)
The Pelican Club
In 1888 the site of Gerard House, together with all building materials still remaining, was sold by V. A. Rettich to Arthur E. Wells and Hubert H. G. Wells for £3,500. (fn. 100) A. E. Wells was the proprietor of the Pelican Club in Denman Street and in 1889 he erected a new house for the club on the site of Gerard House.
There was apparently a change in the design before building began. The Builder for January 1889 announced that Walter Emden was to be the architect and that B. G. Stephenson's tender had been accepted, (fn. 101) but in March another announcement named Martin and Purchase as the architects and Messrs. Perry and Company as the builders. (fn. 102)
Messrs. Martin and Purchase's designs were published in The Building News. (fn. 103) Internally, the building was principally an iron construction. The front was typical of Martin and Purchase's work, being eclectic Renaissance in style and built in red brick dressed with stone. The canopied entrance was in a prominent central bay with canted sides, rising through three storeys to finish with a balcony in front of the three-light window in the fourth storey. The wall face on either side of the bay contained two widely spaced windows in each storey. The openings in the first two storeys were round arched, those of the third storey were segmental-headed, and those of the top storey had straight heads. Cornices or moulded strings defined each storey, and the front was finished with a balustrade, stopped against a large central dormer, flanked by consoles and pedimented. Within the pediment was a statue of a pelican in her piety.
The club-house was arranged 'on an entirely novel principle, consisting practically of three large and lofty rooms, connected by a grand 5 ft. staircase, which is built in the rooms themselves, and quite open'. The basement contained a gymnasium 'for boxing entertainments and other amusements', (fn. 7) the ground floor accommodated the general club-room, the first floor the billiardroom, with a kitchen and servants' rooms on the top floor. On the roof was a glass construction used as a smoking-lounge in summer.
In just over three years after the completion of the new premises the Pelican Club became bankrupt and the club-house was put up for sale on 18 January 1893. (fn. 104) It was purchased by the National Telephone Company (fn. 105) and converted for use as a telephone exchange. The building soon proved too small and a new exchange was built by the company in 1907–8 on this and the adjoining site (see below).
Nos. 32–35 (consec.) Gerrard Street and Nos. 8–13 (consec.) Lisle Street: Post Office and Telephone Exchange
At the beginning of the present century the telephone exchange in the old Pelican Club at Nos. 34 and 35 Gerrard Street had become inadequate to deal with the increase in business, so in 1904 the National Telephone Company took possession of Nos. 32 and 33 Gerrard Street and Nos. 8–10 (consec.) Lisle Street in order to erect a building specially designed to house a new exchange. The building was designed by the company manager's son-in-law, Leonard Stokes, Messrs. Kilby and Gayford were the contractors, and it was opened on 28 September 1907. (fn. 106)
The exchange was probably the first building in which Leonard Stokes was able to express his ideas for the logical architectural treatment of a steel-framed commercial structure, evolving a formula that he used with equal success in his later building for Messrs. Gagnière in Golden Square. (fn. 107)
The Gerrard Street front (Plate 136a), of three lofty storeys, was divided into six bays, four wide between two narrow, by sharply moulded triangular ribs of stone, rising unbroken to meet with the bold cyma of the simplified crowning cornice. Near the base, these ribs were linked by semi-circular arches, with deep splayed reveals, framing the ground-floor windows. The first-floor windows were less tall than those of the second floor, but the treatment was the same, each being divided into two tiers of five lights by plain mullions and a transom of stone, the middle three lights being slightly advanced from the outer two. The spandrels above the ground-floor arches, and the aprons of the second-floor windows were horizontally banded with stone and red brick. In each narrow end bay was a doorway, its architrave frame dressed with a concave angular pediment, broken to admit a circular window below a festooned garland depending from a lion's mask. Above the crowning cornice was a plain parapet, stopped at each end by a pedimented dormer emphasizing the end bay. The Lisle Street front was little more than half as wide as that to Gerrard Street, but the same design was employed, reduced to two wide bays between two narrow.
Stokes's building in its turn proved inadequate for the growing volume of business, and it was demolished to make way for the present telephone exchange and a new post office, which were built by the Office of Works in 1935–7, the architect being F. A. Llewellyn. (fn. 108) This building, which includes the sites of Nos. 11–13 (consec.) Lisle Street, contains a basement and five lofty storeys. The front to Gerrard Street is a good and typical example of the 'official' architecture of its time, with simple Renaissance detailing obviously inspired by Lutyens's commercial buildings. The ground-storey windows and doors are set in an arcade of eight equal bays, with voussoired arches of reconstructed stone rising from piers of grey granite. The second storey, or mezzanine, is also faced with reconstructed stone, the two-light windows being contained in openings with channel-jointed jambs and straight heads of voussoirs. Above a stone pedestal-course, and between plain piers of yellow-buff brickwork, is a series of eight tall openings each containing two superimposed mullioned-and-transomed windows. These tall openings are finished with flat arches of gauged brickwork and the brick face is carried up to form a plain parapet, in front of the recessed attic storey. The foregoing description also applies largely to the Lisle Street front, which has only seven bays, the accented middle bay containing a vertical series of doors to admit plant to the upper storeys.
Nos. 36–39 (consec.) Gerrard Street
The existing four houses numbered 36–39 were built in 1737. (fn. 21) They replaced two of the original houses, which had been erected in c. 1679 by John Shales, one of the inhabitants appointed in 1685 to supervise the building of the parish church of St. Anne. (fn. 82)
Shales was described in 1677 as a gentleman of Edmonton, (fn. 109) in 1679 as 'esquire' of London (fn. 15) and in 1682 and 1691 as 'Captain' Shales. (fn. 110) There seems little doubt that these descriptions all fit the same person and that he may also be identified with the John Shales who was purser of the Royal Prince, a captain in the Trained Bands and who, in 1685, received an appointment from James II as commissary general of the provisions for the army. (fn. 111) Shales retained this office on the accession of William and Mary and accompanied the Duke of Schomberg's expedition to Ireland. He was eventually sent home a prisoner because of his mismanagement of provisioning the army; Schomberg reported that Shales had not acted 'in good faith' and that he was said 'to have been a papist not long since'. (fn. 112) (fn. 8)
In September 1679 Barbon and Rowley let to Shales the easternmost part of this site, with a frontage of thirty-three and a half feet, for a term of fifty-eight years; Shales erected a house and mortgaged it in February 1685 (/6?) to Philip Burton of Clifford's Inn. (fn. 15) The first tenant, from 1683 to about 1685, was William Cheyne [Cheney] (fn. 21) who, like Shales, was appointed a commissioner to supervise the building of St. Anne's. (fn. 82) He married Gertrude Pierrepont, sister of the Duke of Kingston, and in 1698 succeeded his father as second Viscount Newhaven. (fn. 30) Cheyne had probably left the house by April 1689, when it was reported that Shales had turned out the tenants and left the house uninhabited. (fn. 15) The house seems to have been empty until 1691 but in 1692 Sir Edward Wood's name appears in the ratebooks. (fn. 21) He was followed by Sir William Trumbull who moved here in 1693 from No. 26 Leicester Square. Sir William, a lawyer, had accompanied Wren on his visit to France in 1664–5, and was the friend of Dryden and Pope. During his residence in Gerrard Street he was appointed, in turn, Lord of the Treasury and Secretary of State (fn. 67) and many of the letters written to him during this period, with drafts of his own letters, are extant. His correspondents included his landlord, Shales (who offered suggestions for economies in the navy and reforms in the method of paying sailors) and his neighbours, Sir Henry Sheeres (who lived at No. 31) and Sir Philip Meadows and his son (who lived at No. 33). (fn. 114)
In 1706 Sir William married for the second time. His proposal of marriage, written at his country house at Easthampstead Park, closed with this appeal to the lady—'A few words sealed up and directed to me and left at my house in Gerard Street will come hither safely and much better than by post'. (fn. 115) Sir William and his second wife continued to occupy the house in Gerrard Street until 1709; (fn. 21) he died in 1716. (fn. 68)
The next occupant of the easternmost house was Scrope Howe, 1710–12, (fn. 21) a staunch Whig who, with the Earl of Devonshire, declared for William of Orange in 1688 at Nottingham. He held public office under William III and in 1701 was created Viscount Howe. Lord Howe died in 1712 leaving a daughter, Anne, who in 1728 became the second wife of Charles Mordaunt, the owner of Gerard House. (fn. 67) Claudius Amyard, sergeant-surgeon to the King, (fn. 116) was the last occupant of the eastern house and lived here from 1722 to 1736. (fn. 21)
The lease of the eastern site to Shales mentioned his new building on the west, (fn. 117) so that it may be presumed that both houses were being built at about the same time, in c. 1679. The western house, however, was much larger than its fellow, and, indeed, larger than the neighbouring Gerard House, having a frontage of about sixtyone feet. It was described in 1720 as a 'large convenient house' with six rooms on a floor. (fn. 118) The main staircase probably provided the balusters and handrail re-used in the basement of No. 36 (see fig. 90 and below).
It is not certain who Shales's first tenant was in this house but Lord Nottingham's name appears in the ratebooks in 1683–4 at the only house on the south side rated higher than Lord Gerard's. Daniel Finch, second Earl of Nottingham, was at this time First Lord of the Admiralty. (fn. 67) By February 1684/5 Lord Nottingham's house had been taken by Theophilus Hastings, seventh Earl of Huntingdon. Some vivid letters which passed between the Earl and his Countess have survived among the family papers and several of them contain references to the house.
Lord Huntingdon was a Protestant (he was nominated by the Bishop of London as one of the supervisors of St. Anne's Church) (fn. 82) but a loyal supporter of James II. Shortly before the landing of William of Orange he was ordered to the defence of Plymouth where his regiment, the 13th Foot, was already stationed. The defection of two of his officers, the removal of the Roman Catholic officers from the fort and his own imprisonment 'to oblige me to declare for the Prince of Orange' are all related in the Earl's letters to his wife.
The Countess's letters included advice, recipes for his comfort, information and rumours from the capital, including one 'that you are a Papest', reports on her efforts for his release, and in December 1688 references to her health and condition (she was expecting a child).
Shortly after Lord Huntingdon left London, his wife wrote that because, apparently, the landlord Shales was asking for a higher rent, she intended to leave the house in Gerrard Street 'and tak a letle one in Downing Strete . . . and will live as privettly as tis posible'. The Earl approved of her decision to 'Put off the great house' and asked her to 'Get a bookseller to put up my books in boxes carefully, and take especial care of all my papers under your closet, in the wardrobe and in that next the cloth room, to be all done up in boxes and kept safe'. However, the Countess did not move and during the uneasy days of December 1688 she put her husband's papers in a box when a mob was reported to be threatening her house, 'that I might convey them away if theare were ocation'. The Earl wrote back 'Remove your best bed and furniture, keep the drawing-room above stairs as it is, and put in window curtains because of plunder, and may be stopped for house rent [sic]. I suppose you have secured the plate'.
On 23 December a warrant for the Earl's free passage to London was issued, but he did not arrive in time to see his wife alive, for she died in childbirth on the day after the warrant was issued. It is not certain when Lord Huntingdon gave up the large house in Gerrard Street, but it may have been in 1690, on the occasion of his second marriage. (fn. 119)
From 1691 to 1720 the ratebooks name the Countess of Suffolk as the occupant. This appears to be Anne, widow of the third Earl. (fn. 120) The latter died in 1689 and his widow the Countess died in 1720. (fn. 30)
The house was occupied from 1721 until his death in February 1730/1 by Sir Thomas Frederick, sometime governor of Fort St. David in the East Indies. (fn. 121) His widow continued in the house after his death until 1733. (fn. 21)
Both the eastern and the western houses were demolished in 1736 and the present four houses numbered 36–39 (consec.) were erected in their place. The new buildings were let in 1737 and occupied by 1738–9. (fn. 21)
All four were let on 25 May 1737 by John Jeffreys to Joseph Buckoke of St. James's, carpenter, for sixty-one years. (fn. 122) Buckoke was associated with other workmen concerned with the repairing of Nos. 10 and 11 at about this time (see page 391) and it is possible that the other workmen, George Weston, plasterer, and Thomas Harbut, smith, were also concerned with the building of Nos. 36–39. Another surviving example of Buckoke's work is No. 16 Sackville Street, built in 1732. (fn. 123)
Nos. 36–39 (Plates 59a, 62b) were designed as a uniform group externally, and while No. 36 was planned with the staircase placed between the front and back rooms, the other three houses have the more usual arrangement of a large front room and the staircase beside a smaller room at the back.
Each house front is four storeys high and three windows wide. Before later elaboration, the design was a fairly simple one executed in brown stock bricks, with red brick bandcourses at the first- and second-floor levels. Below the attic storey, which is carried up to form a plain parapet, is a moulded brick cornice of generous girth, returned at each end and also in the centre of the combined frontages, where there is an old rainwater-head and down pipe. The windows, all now fitted with modern sashes or casements, originally had plain openings with prominent stone sills resting on plain consoles, and flat gauged arches of red brick. Presumably, each house had a doorcase like that surviving only at No. 39, with Doric pilasters supporting a triglyphed entablature, all of wood. Stucco now covers the ground storey of No. 37 and of No. 38, where the position of the doorway has been changed to the middle opening. At No. 39, where a display window has been inserted in the ground storey, the entire front has been faced with cement, mock-jointed to resemble stonework. Moulded architraves of cement have been added to the window openings in the ground and first floors at Nos. 36, 37 and 38. The eared architraves of the ground-floor windows at No. 36 have 'Grecian' mouldings, matching the architrave of the stucco surround to the wide and elliptically arched doorway (Plate 62b). The head of the doorway architrave was broken by two consoles, projecting to support a vigorously modelled representation, probably in Coade stone, of the Admiralty Office's great seal, surmounted by a crown and placed against a trophy composed of sea-horses, flags, gun-barrels, and other nautical symbols. The inclusion of feathers in the background of the cartouche suggests that it must have been erected by the firm of upholsterers, Giles Wakeling, which supplied the Admiralty, (fn. 124) and occupied the house from 1821 to 1870. (fn. 62) In 1950 the house was severely damaged by fire (fn. 125) and, as a consequence, the cartouche was broken and removed. It was said to be signed by E. Barrett.
The doorway of No. 36 is fitted with a screen of Regency character, with reeded-and-stopped architraves framing the door and the narrow side panels, ornamented with Soanic frets. Above the reeded transom is a fanlight of simple radial pattern. The front door opens to a wide entrance passage (fig. 90), its walls lined for two-thirds of their height with plain panels of two heights in framing moulded with an ovolo and an inside fillet. This panelling is finished with a small skirting, a cornice-profiled dado-rail, and a cornice-capping. Above this is a plastered face finished with a wooden box-cornice. Flanking the opening to the stair hall are two engaged square-shafted columns, Doric with fluted shafts, each supporting a triglyphed entablature-block. Both the passage and stair hall are paved with stone flags inlaid with small diagonal lozenges of black slate or marble.
The staircase (fig. 90), which is of wooden construction, rises from floor to floor in two parallel flights flanking a narrow well, in a spacious oblong compartment. Each half-landing is set back from the party-wall face to leave a well for the passage of daylight from the roof lanternlight. From ground- to second-floor level the staircase has cut strings ornamented with well carved bracket step-ends. The railing is composed of square-section balusters turned as plainshafted Doric columns on urn-bases. These are placed three to each tread and support a moulded handrail that begins with a voluted curtail and is ramped up at the turn of each flight, resting on newels turned as Doric columns with reeded shafts. The railing of the ground to basement flights is unusually massive and elaborate, obviously a re-use of some mid to late seventeenthcentury material consisting of plain closed strings finished with a heavy moulded capping, stout square-section balusters turned with barley-sugar twisted shafts above urn-bases, and heavy moulded handrails housed into square newels, their shafts turned with stumpy Doric plain-shafted columns.
Apart from the plain wooden dado, the walls of the stair compartment are plastered and were perhaps originally finished with decorative paintings, but the principal-floor level landings are lined with ovolo-moulded panelling, two-thirds height on the ground floor and full height on the first. The six-panelled doors to the principal rooms are recessed in wooden doorcases, each having panelled reveals, a wide stepped architrave, a pulvino frieze, and a triangular pediment with a dentilled cornice (fig. 90).
Originally most of the rooms were panelled, those on the ground and first floor being finished with work of fine quality. The ground-floor back room still has a fairly complete scheme, with tall plain panels, wide between narrow, set in ovolo-moulded framing between a pedestal-dado and a dentilled cornice. The long wall opposite the windows is divided into three bays by fluted Doric pilasters supporting triglyphed entablatures, with the cornice broken into projections round them. This room had a ceiling of late Baroque character, dominated by a large central motif of roughly circular form made up of curving and interlacing ribbon-bands with foliage ornaments, arranged in a radial pattern. This was enclosed by a heavily moulded border forming a panel, rounded at each corner and broken by curves in the middle of each side, these curves being enriched with acanthus leaves and linked by ribbons and foliage-scroll motifs extending towards the central circular motif. Foliage scrolls were used to enrich the inside members of the panel frame and small interlacing ribbon motifs extended diagonally inwards from the rounded corners.
A photograph taken at the beginning of this century (fn. 87) shows that both Nos. 37 and 38 were then served by the entrance to No. 37. That of No. 38 had been converted into a window, made uniform with the rest. The entrance to No. 37 was protected by a shallow porch of iron and glass, the form of which suggested a possible conformity with a triangular-pedimented doorcase. Now the entrance to Nos. 37–38 has been moved to a plain doorway converted from the westernmost window of No. 37, and the fireplace end of the groundfloor room has been partitioned off to form the entrance passage. The position of the staircases, adjoining the party wall and rising at the side of the back room in each house, has not been changed, but the ground- to first-floor flight of the stair in No. 38 has been removed.
Generally, the surviving features suggest that these two houses were at least as well finished as No. 36. The end wall of the ground-floor front room, now the entrance passage, is panelled and finished with a dentilled box-cornice. On each side of the plain chimney-breast is an elliptically arched recess, dressed with a narrow moulded archivolt rising from concave-profiled brackets, and the wall panel at the back of each recess has a curved head to conform with the arch. There are two similar recesses flanking the chimneybreast in the back room. The staircases, although much altered and mutilated, are almost identical in their details with that in No. 36, already described.
War damage and alterations have combined to reduce the architectural interest of these houses, but the original state of the first-floor front rooms is shown, with fair accuracy of observation, in pencil drawings by J. P. Emslie. He shows the larger part of the subdivided room at No. 37 (Plate 63a), with its lining of deal wainscot arranged in a series of tall panels, wide and narrow alternately, extending between a dado with raisedand-fielded panels, and a bracket-modillion cornice. From the wide and plain chimney-breast projected a fine chimneypiece of Adam character. The one doorway shown is that leading to the back room, having a six-panelled door framed in a moulded architrave. The modelled plaster ceiling was in late Palladian taste, having a large oval panel framing a circular panel containing a foliage-boss, between two crescent-shapes filled with diaper-work. Around the large oval were arranged four spandrels, filled with foliage scrolls expanding from scallop-shells. Between the spandrels, on each long side, was a roundel containing a profile portrait. Now only the mutilated panelling of this room survives.
Emslie's second sketch illustrates the first-floor front room in No. 38 (Plate 63b), now much altered and divided. The panelling, similar to that in No. 37, is finished with a dentilled cornice. The three windows in the front wall were complemented by three doorways in the wall opposite, all of them furnished with six-panelled doors within enriched moulded architraves. Each doorcase was finished with a laurel-garland pulvino frieze and a dentilled cornice, the middle doorway being emphasized with a triangular pediment. This room also had a fine ceiling, with a circular panel containing eight pendants of graduated bell-flowers or acanthus buds radiating from a central boss. This circle, and four spandrels filled with scallop-shells and acanthus-scrolls, were contained by a square panel, plainly moulded. Outside this were four long panels of diaper-work, one on each side, and a portrait medallion set diagonally in a circular frame was placed at each corner.
There have been several interesting occupants in these four houses. Dr. William Wasey, formerly physician to the Westminster Hospital, moved to No. 36 in 1738 from No. 16 and remained until his death in 1757. (fn. 26) Between 1876 and 1882 the house was part of the Hôtel de Versailles, established at No. 37 in 1861. (fn. 59)
No. 37 was assigned in 1738 by Buckoke to Catherine Greene, of St. Andrew's, Holborn. (fn. 126) She was sister of Bishop Trimnell and the widow of Thomas Green, D.D., Bishop of Norwich and of Ely, who died in 1738. (fn. 9) Her elder son, Thomas, became Chancellor of Lichfield in 1751 and Dean of Salisbury in 1757. His name succeeded his mother's in the ratebook for 1750 and he continued to occupy the house until his death in 1780. (fn. 26)
Thomas King's name follows Dr. Greene's in the ratebooks from 1782 to 1792. He was presumably the actor and dramatist who in 1782 became manager of Drury Lane and in 1783 issued a statement from Gerrard Street contradicting the rumour that he was retiring from the stage. (fn. 67)
According to tradition the statesman Edmund Burke lived at No. 37 during the period when King's name appears in the ratebooks, and a plaque erected by the Royal Society of Arts records this association. Those of Burke's letters which bear a Gerrard Street address, but no house number, are dated between March 1787 and February 1790. (fn. 127) (fn. 10) In 1787 J. T. Smith, the painter and antiquary, was lodging in Gerrard Street and in later life he recalled how 'Many a time when I had no inclination to go to bed at the dawn of day, I have looked down from my window to see whether the author of the "Sublime and Beautiful" had left his drawing-room, where I had seen that great orator during many a night after he had left the House of Commons, seated at a table covered with papers, attended by an amanuensis who sat opposite to him'. (fn. 128)
Another lodger in Burke's house was John Money, one of the earliest English balloonists. (fn. 129)
From 1805 to 1818 No. 37 was the home of the Literary Fund (fn. 130) (now the Royal Literary Fund). (fn. 11) The fund was established at a public meeting in 1790 at the Prince of Wales's Coffee House in Conduit Street, (fn. 131) and was based on an idea of the Rev. David Williams, who had suggested a benevolent society for authors some years earlier in a paper read to a group of his friends. (fn. 132) It was hoped that the fund could assist 'properly recommended' authors in times of need, and annual subscriptions of at least one guinea were solicited. (fn. 133) The house was taken on lease by the Earl of Chichester and John McMahon, Keeper of the Privy Seal of the Prince of Wales, after the Prince had promised the fund £200 a year during his lifetime. (fn. 134) Williams ended his days in the rooms of the society in Gerrard Street, attending daily in the drawing-room to receive visits from the needy, 'with a marble bust of Mr. Newton, an eminent benefactor of the Society, on one side of him, and one of himself in the opposite corner'. (fn. 135) The two busts are still preserved at the fund's offices. Williams died in 1816 and was buried in St. Anne's Church, where a tablet was subsequently erected to his memory. (fn. 136) In 1818 the fund left Gerrard Street and rooms were taken in Great Queen Street. (fn. 137)
From 1861 to 1903 No. 37 was occupied as a hotel, first called the Hôtel de Versailles but later, the Hôtel des Étrangers. Since 1904 it has been a restaurant. (fn. 59)
Nos. 38 and 39 were both mortgaged in 1737 to the rector of St. Anne's, the Rev. John Pelling. (fn. 138) No. 38 was occupied in 1758–77 by Rose Fuller, M.P., (fn. 139) and in 1842–6 by the artist Henry B. Ziegler. (fn. 59) In 1878 it became part of the hotel established earlier at No. 37 and remained part of it until 1903, when both premises were converted into a restaurant. (fn. 59)
From 1794 to 1801 No. 39 housed the Westminster One-penny Post Office. This became the Two-penny Post Office when the charges were altered in the latter year, and the office remained here until 1834. (fn. 62) In 1808 the Post Office comptroller stated that 'I find a difficulty in attempting to describe the inconvenience and the distress that is now felt at the Westminster Office . . . the Sorting Office, in which from ten to fourteen persons are employed at a time . . . is only 17 feet long by 13 wide. The Letter Carriers Office, in which fifty persons are employed at a time . . . is but 18 feet by 16 . . . [Here] many of the Letter Carriers are obliged to wait until others have finished sorting . . . their letters, before they can begin to prepare theirs, and the delivery . . . to the public is consequently delayed . . . the air of this room . . . is so offensive that it is almost impossible to enter it'. The office was extended at the rear in 1809 by the inclusion of a house in Lisle Street. (fn. 140)
Two simply drawn elevations, referred to as sketches 1 and 2, were submitted by the Post Office architect in 1817 in connexion with a proposal to stucco the front of No. 39. Sketch No. 1 shows the new public entrance, in the middle bay of the ground storey, dressed with a projecting porch of plain-shafted Doric columns supporting an entablature, the architrave and frieze broken by a wide tablet with a recessed panel lettered GENERAL TWO PENNY POST OFFICE. Above the porch, on a low blocking, is a relief of the royal arms. The entablature, without triglyphs, is continued above the flanking doorway and window, the piers between which are coursed with recessed joints. The upper part of the front is simply stuccoed, no ornament being added to that already existing. Sketch No. 2, which shows in dotted outline the original wooden doorcase, still surviving, omits the porch from the new public entrance and places the inscription in a long panel on the first-floor apron. The horizontal jointing of the ground-storey piers is retained, and the plain upper part is given interest by placing the royal arms centrally above the second-floor bandcourse, supported by an ornamental bracket. (fn. 140)
No. 40 Gerrard Street
The first house on this site was occupied in c. 1683–95 by Christopher Packe (fn. 21) who was presumably the commissioner of that name appointed to supervise the building of St. Anne's Church. (fn. 82) From 1738 to 1751 the house was occupied by Paul de Lamerie, the goldsmith and silversmith, followed by his widow till 1765. (fn. 21)
The present No. 40 was erected in 1799. (fn. 21) It has a plain front in the austere late Georgian manner, four storeys high and three windows wide (Plate 59a). The stucco-faced ground storey now contains a large display window on the right, or west of the doorway, which has a plain round-arched opening. The upper face is of yellow stock brick, and the windows have barred sashes set in plain openings with stone sills, plastered reveals, and gauged flat arches of yellow brick. A moulded stringcourse, or cornice, and a plain parapet finish the front.
No. 41 Gerrard Street
No. 41, which dates from a little before 1683, (fn. 21) was probably typical of the single-fronted houses that were built in Gerrard Street when it was first developed. Until 1965, when the interior was reconstructed, it had the usual terrace-house plan, here with the entrance passage on the east side of the front room, leading to the staircase beside the back room, which had a closet projecting on the south-west (fig. 91). The front (Plate 59a) retains its original height of three storeys and is three windows wide, with a wide pier on the west or right side. The original brickwork has been stuccoed, the first floor with channel-jointed courses finished with a moulded bandcourse, and the second floor plain, with a moulded coping to the parapet. The ground storey now has a single wide window, dressed with Ionic pilasters supporting a cornice, and, on the east side, a doorway framed by a moulded architrave.
The entrance passage (fig. 92) was lined with deal wainscoting in panels of two heights, sunk but framed with bolection mouldings raised above the framing. This panelling was finished with a small skirting, a moulded dado-rail, and a plain box-cornice. The two doorways to the front room were later insertions cut into the panelled partition, but the doors were original and had six raised-and-fielded panels, the small square panels being placed above the lock rail. The passage ended with a screen of Regency character, having a door framed in a reeded-and-stopped architrave below a plain semi-circular fanlight. Behind the screen were the customary pilasters dressing the opening between the passage and the stair compartment. Here they were Doric, with fluted shafts and moulded capitals surmounted by triglyphed entablature-blocks. These supported a cross-beam having square coffers in its soffit, and corniced faces.
The staircase (Plate 126b, fig. 92) rose and returned on either side of a narrow well. From the ground-floor level to the half-landing above the first floor it had cut strings, dressed with a moulded architrave and carved console step-ends. The moulded handrail, which began with a generous curtail and was ramped up before each landing, rested on paired newels formed as Doric plain-shafted columns, and square-ended turnings formed as Doric columns with twisted shafts above squat balusters, regularly spaced two to each tread. The walls and staircase soffits were lined with raised-and-fielded panels in ovolo-moulded framing, the wall panelling being in two heights, finished with a full box-cornice on the landings and a reduced cornice above the raking panelling on the stair flights. The basement and upper flights had moulded closed strings and railings composed of a simply moulded handrail, housed into square-section newels turned as Doric plain-shafted columns, and resting on squareended turnings formed as slender Doric columns above squat balusters. Here the walls were plastered above a dado of plain panelling.
The panelling of the rooms was unusually varied in type and quality. In the much altered ground-floor front room the surviving panelling was plain and the framing unmoulded, but the almost complete lining of the back room consisted of a dado of plain panels beneath a main face of raised-and-fielded panels, all in ovolo-moulded framing. The skirting had a moulded capping, and the dado-rail an architrave profile, perhaps a renewal. Both rooms had plain but substantial box-cornices. The front-room chimney-breast had lost its panelled face, but the original flat chimneypiece of figured white marble survived, having wide jambs and an elliptically arched lintel, each with a panel formed by incised mouldings. To this had been added a Regency surround of wood, consisting of reeded-andstopped pilaster-strips and a shelf with a reeded edge. The back-room chimney-breast was lined with deal wainscot in an arrangement of two horizontal panels above the fireplace and a tall narrow panel on either side, but the chimneypiece was of no interest.
The first-floor front room was lined with plain panels, wide and narrow alternately, in ovolo-moulded framing, but the panels of the doors and window-shutters were raised and fielded. The plain plaster cove and ceiling were modern replacements of an enriched ceiling and cornice destroyed during the war of 1939–45. The backroom panelling was like that in the entrance passage, with sunk panels framed in raised bolection mouldings. It was finished with a moulded skirting, a cornice-profiled dado-rail, and a generous box-cornice. This room had a flat marble chimneypiece similar to that in the ground-floor front room, here set in a flushpanelled chimney-breast. The wing closet had panelling of the same type as that in the back room. The second-floor rooms retained much of their lining of plain panelling in unmoulded framing, finished with a box-cornice.
James Sharples(s), the portrait painter, lived at No. 41 in 1782–4. (fn. 26) It is possible that this artist executed the painting of a statuesque woman, discovered on a panel in the entrance passage during redecoration carried out in May 1950. A further investigation in 1962 failed to produce evidence that the rest of the panelling was similarly painted.
No. 43 Gerrard Street
The original house at No. 43 Gerrard Street, which was demolished in c. 1901, (fn. 142) was long celebrated as the residence of the poet John Dryden and was commemorated as such in 1870 by a tablet erected by the Society of Arts. It is certain, however, that Dryden occupied not this house but the next to the east, the former No. 44.
No. 43 was probably built in c. 1681–2 by Joseph Ward, carpenter, (fn. 24) but like No. 44 it is not identifiable in the ratebooks until 1691. Owing perhaps to its supposed connexion with Dryden, it survived in a little-altered state until much later than other original houses in the street and was the subject of several drawings (Plate 61b). The front was recognizably of the late seventeenth century, being three storeys high, with the ground floor at pavement level, and three windows wide. The ground storey, which had been stuccoed, contained two recessed sash windows in plain openings with keystones. On the left, or east, was the house entrance, with a handsome doorcase of two Ionic plain-shafted columns supporting an entablature, returned and recessed above the doorway, and a triangular pediment. The square-headed opening, with panelled reveals, contained a six-panelled door below a radial fanlight. On the right of the two windows was a smaller doorway, probably a later insertion. Above the ground storey was a plain pedestal-course, also stuccoed. The upper part of the front was of dark brick, the flush-framed windows being set in plain openings having gauged flat arches of red brick with small keystones, those of the first floor dying into a stone bandcourse, and those of the second floor stopping against a narrow frieze and cornice of red brick. Half hidden by the brick parapet were two dormer windows, lighting the garrets in the mansard roof.
No. 43's most notable resident was Francis Ayscough, D.D. In 1740 he was appointed clerk of the closet to Frederick, Prince of Wales, (fn. 67) and in 1744 came to live at No. 43 Gerrard Street. (fn. 21) The house backed on to the garden of Leicester House, where the Prince was then living, and a communicating door was cut in the garden wall. (fn. 143) In 1747 Dr. Ayscough removed to Lisle Street, giving up the house in Gerrard Street for the accommodation of two of the royal pages, who remained there until 1755, when the doorway to Leicester House was stopped up. (fn. 144) Later occupants were Dr. Robert Bromfield, man-midwife, 1756–68, (fn. 145) and Henry Henly Wigstead, R.A., 1783–92, son of John Wigstead of Greek Street, painter. (fn. 146)
No. 44 Gerrard Street
In 1681 Nicholas Barbon agreed to grant a lease of the fifth house from the east end of Gerrard Street, then being built, to William Stephens of St. James's, Clerkenwell, joiner. (fn. 16) It seems probable that this house was on the south side, i.e., No. 44, because it was to be finished in the same manner as others being built for Barbon by Joseph Ward, carpenter, who is known to have had a lease of the next house on the west (No. 43). (fn. 24) No. 44 was granted on lease to Stephens on 30 April 1681, although it was not then finished. (fn. 16)
John Dryden appears to have moved here from Long Acre in 1687. (fn. 147) He himself wrote that 'My house is in Gerard Street, the fifth door on the left hand, comeing from Newport Street', thus clearly indicating the site of No. 44. (fn. 148) Dryden's name appears in the ratebooks from 1691 (the earliest available for St. Anne's) to 1697, when there is a gap until 1700, the date of his death. (fn. 12)
It is said that Dryden 'used most commonly to write in the ground-room next the street' (fn. 149) and Dryden himself mentions the 'best prospect' of the house, which was at the back overlooking the garden of Leicester House. (fn. 150) The great satirical poems and plays were written before he came to live in Gerrard Street, his later years being chiefly devoted to the translation of Classical authors. Few of Dryden's letters have survived and there are only two which mention the house in Gerrard Street, one dated c. October 1698 (fn. 148) and one dated February 1698/9 in which he refers to a great gale which 'blew down three of my chimneys, & dismantled all one side of my House, by throwing down the tiles'. (fn. 151)
Among Dryden's associates were three, at least, who lived in Gerrard Street—Sir William Trumbull, Sir Henry Sheeres and Charles Killigrew, although the second and third were living there after his death.
In 1740 No. 44 became an apothecary's shop and was occupied until 1765 by Benjamin Charlewood, (fn. 21) apothecary to George III's household. (fn. 152) Dr. Robert Bromfield moved into the house in 1769 from No. 43 and lived here till 1785. (fn. 21)
In 1793 No. 44 was said to be 'rebuilding' (fn. 21) but the architectural evidence suggests that it only received a new front. It was occupied between 1813 and 1832 by James Atkinson, perfumer, (fn. 62) founder of the firm of J. and E. Atkinson Limited, which is now established at Welwyn Garden City. Atkinson is said to have arrived in London from Cumberland with a live bear which he kept chained outside his shop in Gerrard Street to advertise his scented bear'sgrease pomade. (fn. 153) The truth of this seems doubtful, but a white china bear (now in the possession of the Pharmaceutical Society) with Atkinson's name and address on it may represent the form of advertising which gave rise to the story.
No. 44 appears in Plate 61b (left) and in a sketch drawn by Herbert Railton published in The Sphere. (fn. 87) Both show a front of late eighteenth-century character, three storeys high and three windows wide, built in brick dressed rather sparingly with stucco or stone. The coincidence of the window heights and floor levels with those of No. 43 suggests that No. 44 was an original house refronted. The groundstorey openings were round-arched, the doorway arch being rusticated. The windows of the upper two storeys had flat gauged arches, but those of the first floor were set in slightly recessed arches, the piers rising from a pedestal-course and having plain imposts. The front was carried up to form a plain parapet with a stone coping, partly masking the two dormers in the mansard roof.
No. 45 Gerrard Street
The present No. 45 was designed by C. F. Hayward, architect, and erected in 1878. (fn. 154) The previous house on this site had been occupied from 1733 to 1770 by Thomas Speer, carver. (fn. 155) Speer was rated for a shop as well as for a dwelling house and the re-used pediment over the doorway of the present building (fig. 93) may well be an example of his work. (fn. 13) A later occupant was Edward Ford (1777–9), (fn. 21) who in 1780 became surgeon to the Westminster General Dispensary, and in the same year removed to Golden Square. (fn. 156)
No. 48 Gerrard Street
The King's Head at No. 48 is now the only public house in Gerrard Street. Though the building is a recent one the name dates from at least 1701, when the King's Head at the corner of Gerrard Street was reported to be the resort of disaffected Frenchmen. (fn. 157) The tavern was rebuilt in 1732 (fn. 158) and again in the twentieth century.