No. 6 Great George Street

Pages 24-25

Survey of London: Volume 10, St. Margaret, Westminster, Part I: Queen Anne's Gate Area. Originally published by [s.n.], [s.l.], 1926.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.


In this section


General Description and Date of Structure.

Among the leases granted to Horne and Wilkinson on 4th November, 1755, was one of a plot of ground with a messuage "thereafter to be erected," which messuage was to be "the fourteenth house on the south side of the "… street, reckoning from King Street." (fn. n1) The plot is described as containing 27 feet 2 inches in front and rear, 116 feet 3 inches on the east side and 79 feet on the west. Although the house was (according to the ratebooks) not occupied until 1765, it must have been at least partly built before 2nd March, 1757, for on that date the above-mentioned lease was assigned (fn. n2) by Horne and Wilkinson to Samuel Cox as security for the repayment of a sum of £1000. The house was demolished in 1910 to make room for the new building of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

The premises were treated externally in a similar way to those adjoining. The main staircase to the first floor had a balustrade of wrought-iron, with panels of scroll design, and continued above with turned wood balusters. The staircase walls on the first-floor landing were panelled in plaster, and decorated with clusters of emblematic musical instruments and foliage suspended on looped ribands. The front room on the first floor had a plaster cornice over a deep-coved frieze, which was enriched with masks and foliage. The mantelpiece in this room was in statuary marble, and had fluted Ionic columns and pilasters, with the frieze decorated with festoons of laurel leaves and a central tablet containing a representation of Androcles and the Lion (Plate 30).

Historical Notes.

The occupiers of No. 6, Great George Street before 1840, according to the ratebooks, were (fn. n3) :—

1765–80 Esther Lamb.
1784–86 James Nealson.
1787–88 Thomas Johns.
1789–93 Lady Jennings Clark.
1794–1800 Sir Richard Perryn.
1801–04 George Stubbs.
1805–18 Cordell Brooks.
1819–36 Charles Bedford.
1837– William Cubitt.

Sir Richard Perryn was born in 1723 and educated at Ruthin Grammar School and Queen's College, Oxford. He was called to the Bar in 1747. In 1770 he became Vicechamberlain of Chester, a K.C., and a bencher of the Inner Temple. In 1776 he was appointed Baron of the Exchequer and knighted. He retired from the bench in 1799 and died at Twickenham in 1803. (fn. n4)

Sir william Cubitt was the son of a miller at Bacton Wood, Norfolk, and was born in 1785. He received a small amount of education at the village school. After a short apprenticeship to a cabinet maker, he entered into partnership with an agricultural-machine maker, in the course of which he invented self-regulating windmill sails. In 1814 he became chief engineer to the firm of Messrs. Ransome, of Ipswich, and afterwards a partner. At this period of his career his attention was directed to the utilisation of the labour of convicts, and in 1818 he brought out his invention of the treadmill, which he intended to be used for the purpose of grinding corn, etc., and not as a method of punishment. In 1826 he removed to London, where he was engaged in all the important undertakings of the day. Among the many works on which he was employed may be mentioned the construction of the Oxford and the Liverpool Junction Canals, the Bute Docks at Cardiff, docks at Middlesborough, and the South Eastern Railway. He was also consulting engineer to the Great Northern Railway and the Boulogne and Amiens Railway. In 1830 he became F.R.S., and in 1850–51 was president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. In 1851 he was knighted for his services in connection with the erection of the Great Exhibition building in Hyde Park. He retired from business in 1858, and died at his residence at Clapham Common in 1861.

From the issues of Boyle's Court Guide for 1855 and 1856 it would seem that in the former year Sir William moved to No. 19 Great George Street, and was succeeded in his occupation of No. 6 by his son Joseph.

Joseph Cubitt was born in 1811. He was trained as a civil engineer by his father, and carried out many notable undertakings, including the construction of the Great Northern, and London, Chatham and Dover Railways and a great part of the London and South-Western Railway, and the building of Blackfriars Bridge. He died in 1872.

In the Council's Collection are:—

Main staircase at first-floor landing (photograph).
Coved frieze and cornice, front room on first floor (photograph).
(fn. n5) General view of mantelpiece to front room on first floor (photograph).


  • n1. Middlesex Memorials, 1757, I., 588.
  • n2. Ibid., 1757, II., 175.
  • n3. In the issues of Boyle's Court Guide the house is referred to as No. 5 until the year 1825.
  • n4. For other residences of Perryn see Survey of London, Vol. III., p. 102 (Lincoln's Inn Fields), and Vol. V., p. 172 (Bedford Square).
  • n5. Reproduced here.