Survey of London: Volume 1, Bromley-By-Bow. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1900.
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VI.—TUDOR HOUSE, ST. LEONARD'S STREET.
Ground Landlord, Leaseholders, &c.
The property was held by the trustees of the late George Gammon Rutty, and was purchased on 13 June, 1898, by the London County Council for the purpose of converting the grounds into a public garden.
General description and date of structure.
The house is situated between Grace-street and the Congregational Church. In plan it is square, with a projecting porch on the eastern side, and additions on the south and west, and it contains work of three periods—(i.) Elizabethan (late 16th century); (ii.) William III.; (iii.) Early 19th century (c. 1805).
The hall is carried through from the east to the west side of the house, the stairs are at the west end. The fireplaces are grouped together in two large stacks, which rise symmetrically through the roof near the centre of the north and south fronts.
Of the first period the chief remains are, besides the whole planning and grouping of the house, some carved oak woodwork and panelling in kitchen, fireplace in south-east room on first floor, which is of oak, and has a moulded and block cornice supported by fluted pilasters, and an oak door, now reversed in position, with elliptical panel at the top and semi-circular headed panel at the bottom, fixed at the west side of hall.
The greater part of the house appears to have been refitted in the second or William III. period. The staircase, with its massive newels and handrails, and large turned balusters, is of this date, also the panelling of the drawing-room, and the principal rooms of the ground floor. In the north-east room on the ground floor is a fireplace with a moulded and carved cornice and frieze and carved wood architrave of this date.
The walls of the south-east room of first, and the south-west room of ground floor, together with some other parts of the house, are covered with wood panelling of similar character to the small panels and moulded stiles of the Elizabethan period, but in deal.
The eastern or principal front is also of the second period. It is nearly square in elevation, and has, in the centre of the first-floor level, a small square room lighted by a three light window, carried out from the large drawing-room, and supported at its outer corners by circular wooden Doric columns on pedestals. Above it on the second floor is a balcony with an iron railing. The entrance doorway is of wood, with elliptical arched head, and flanked by rusticated wooden pilasters. The face of this front is also divided up from the ground to the underside of the parapet with flat brick pilasters, and between these are placed the windows, which have red brick jambs and moulded sills.
All the other fronts of the house have flat horizontal brick bands between each storey, and the original ovolo-moulded brick plinth at the bottom of the walls. The original windows have all been removed and replaced by sliding sashes of various dates.
The work of the third period consists mainly in small alterations in the house, the windows of the west front, and the additions on the south and west sides.
The gardens and grounds cover an area of about 1½ acres, and have a frontage to St. Leonard's-street of over 200 feet. Only the part of the ground which extends from the ground to the Congregational Church is now used as garden, the remainder being occupied by the workshops and stables. At the northern end of the garden is one of the old entrance gateways from Northumberland House, Whitehall, destroyed some years since. There is also an interesting wooden ship's figure-head of last century's date, and some groups of statuary and figures of comparatively recent date.
In Rocque's Map of London the grounds are shown stretching westward as far as Devons-road, or "Bromley-lane" as it is called.
Condition of repair.
The house, when it came into the hands of the London County Council, was in excellent condition, especially the old work.
This house, although of late 16th century date, is so named from its having been the residence of one of the Tudor family, who, according to tradition, came to Bromley and joined the Scotch colony founded by James I., who is supposed to have built the Old Palace, which stood next to it on the north side.
The house is one of several buildings which still remain as relics of the village of Bromley. The village is marked by the winding High-street, which widens into a triangular space before the churchyard. In the High-street are several interesting specimens of architecture of the village type, and in the triangle before alluded to are interesting houses included in the Register, while on the south side abutting on the churchyard are several houses occupying the site of the ancient Manor House, formerly the site of the Priory. St. Leonard's-street branches off from the south side of this triangle, and a short way down on the right hand side is Tudor House. Its position therefore is one of great interest as illustrating the early topographical condition of Bromley, and if it were destroyed a very distinctive landmark would have perished.
For further evidence as to the Scotch colony at Bromley founded by James I., see the description of the Old Palace of Bromley, and the reference to the ceiling preserved at South Kensington Museum, and the one by the same hand in the "Panel Room" at Balcarres House, Fife.
There are no references to this house in any of the parish histories or general histories of London, but it is marked on Rocque's Map of London, 1741–5.
In the Committee's MS. collection are—
* (1.) Plan of ground floor (measured drawing).
* (2.) Plan of first floor (measured drawing).
* (3.) Elevation of east front (measured drawing).
* (4.) Elevation of west front (measured drawing).
* (5.) Detail of doorway, east front (measured drawing).
* (6.) General view (water colour drawing).
* (7.) North-east view from garden (colour drawing).
* (8.) Porch from south side (colour drawing).
* (9.) Entrance door and railings in front (colour drawing).
* (10.) Old gateway of Northumberland House (colour drawing).
* (11.) Stairs and oak door in the hall, ground floor (two drawings, in colour and line).
* (12.) Stairs, first floor (colour drawing).
* (13.) Cupboard and panelling in kitchen (line drawing).
* [Those marked with an asterisk are reproduced here.]