Survey of London: Volume 10, St. Margaret, Westminster, Part I: Queen Anne's Gate Area. Originally published by [s.n.], [s.l.], 1926.
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LI.—No. 19 QUEEN ANNE'S GATE: (Formerly No. 6 Queen Square).
Ground Landlord, etc.
The freehold belongs to the Mountjoy Estates, Ltd. The present occupier is Sir Aston Webb, K.C.V.O., C.B., P.P.R.A., LL.D.
General Description and Date of Structure.
This was one of the earliest houses to be occupied (and probably built) in the square (see Historical Notes below). On 21 st November, 1726, the Trustees under the South Sea Company Act sold (fn. n1) several houses to George Harrison, including (for £815) "a parcel of ground and brick messuage thereon now or late in the occupation of Captain Vanbrugh, being the fourth house on the south side of Queen Square," containing in front 23 feet 9 inches and in depth 35 feet 7 inches, having three storeys with two rooms and a closet on each floor, a kitchen, washhouse and other conveniences below stairs, and garrets in the roof; as well as two vaults under the square, a yard behind 21 feet 2 inches deep, and an iron railing in the front.
The premises have a carved canopied entrance door like that at No. 17.
The original tiled roof has been removed, and a slated mansard roof substituted, but the wood cornice has been retained.
Some of the rooms are panelled with wood moulded cornices, while two of the rooms on the second floor have interesting carved wood mantelpieces, which probably date from the end of the 18th century (Plate 106).
The staircase has moulded close strings, turned balusters and square newels, while the walls have plain panelling and a moulded wood cornice, dado rail and skirting. The hall has a keyed segmental arch in wood with a fanlight filling.
Condition of Repair.
The names of the occupiers of this house before 1840, according to the ratebooks, are as follows:—
William "Pattison" of the ratebooks was William Paterson, founder of the Bank of England and promoter of the ill-fated Darien scheme. He was born in 1658 in Dumfriesshire. The story that "he came from Scotland in his younger years, with a pack on his back, and having travell'd this country for some years, became first a missionary and then a buccaneer in the West Indies, is not supported by evidence of any value." (fn. n2) The early part of his business life was spent in America, chiefly in the Bahamas. He returned to England in James II.'s reign and soon acquired great influence in the City. In 1691 he, with certain other merchants, proposed to the Government a scheme of which he was "chief projector," for the foundation of the Bank of England, and on its establishment three years later he became a director. In 1695, however, he retired from that position. He now applied himself to the developing of a scheme for the establishment of a Scottish East India Company with a colony in Darien, where they would "hold the key of the commerce of the world." The Scots invested very largely and when the scheme utterly failed and the colony had to be abandoned, Scottish prosperity received a grievous blow. After his return from Darien, Paterson was frequently consulted by the King and his ministers on financial questions. He was an able supporter of the union of England and Scotland, and had a great share in framing the articles of the treaty relating to trade and finance. He died in January, 1719. He is the hero of Eliot Warburton's novel Darien, or the Merchant Prince.
According to the Dictionary of National Biography his residence in Queen Square began in 1703. The first ratebook which shows the square is that for 1705 (possibly implying a residence in 1704) and that gives only two names: "Lord Dartmouth" and "Wm. Pattison Esq." Paterson was therefore one of the earliest occupants of the square. (fn. n3) The further statement in the Dictionary that he "was one of the higher ratepayers" is incorrect, his house being rated at only £45, while seven others were either £80 or £90. It would seem that Paterson left Queen Square some months before his death, as the entries in the ratebooks "for the two last quarters of that year (1718) signify that the tenant is gone away, the dwelling being 'empty.' " (fn. n4)
In the Council's Collection are:—
General exterior of premises (photograph).
(fn. n5) General exterior of premises (measured drawing).
General view of staircase balustrading (photograph).
(fn. n5) Wood mantelpiece to front room on second floor (photograph).
Wood mantelpiece to front room on second floor (photograph).
(fn. n5) Ground and first-floor plans (measured drawing).