No. 36 and 38 Old Queen Street

Pages 75-77

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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In this section


Ground Landlord, Etc.

The freehold is the property of the Crown, and the premises are in the occupation of the Irish Grants Committee.

General Description and Date of Structure.

The first item dealt with in the indenture accompanying the sale by Thomas Sutton in 1704 (see p. 71) was "all that parcell of ground, being "parte of the ground neare Longditch … formerly let by lease (fn. n1) from John Toms, butcher, to the Rt. Honble George Ld Dartmouth deceased and by him assigned to Phillip Musgrove, Mathew Johnson and Richd Grahme, being on the north side of a new intended street there, at or neare the west end thereof, containing next the sd intended streete and now since called Queen street 28 feet …, next St. James Parke 40 feet … on the east side 60 feet, on which said parcell of ground there has since been erected … a new messuage or tenement of Mary Frith, widow, and now of Benson, Esq." The ratebooks show that the premises continued as a single house until 1768, when Dinah Dearden was the occupier. For a year or two they are marked "E" (empty), but in 1771–72 they reappear as two houses. It would, therefore, seem that this is the date to which the present premises should be assigned, and the architectural features are quite in accord with such a suggestion.

From 1806 the premises have been in one occupation, and have had openings cut through their party wall for the purpose of communication.

The exterior comprises a brick front of three storeys over a basement, with an attic storey in a slate roof (Plate 75). The back overlooks the Park, and each house is constructed to form a cant bay to the parapet level. The western boundary of No. 38 abuts on the passageway known as Cockpit steps, and the frontage to Old Queen Street is reduced accordingly.

The entrance doorways have semicircular fanlights, while the doorcase to No. 36 has fluted Ionic wood pilasters. The inner hall to No. 38 has a screen of wood Doric columns with block entablatures which support a semicircular archway containing a radiating fanlight (Plate 75), while the staircases to both houses have turned balusters and shaped brackets to the return nosings on the outer strings. The back room on the ground floor of No. 36 has a wood mantelpiece (Plate 76), with the frieze enriched with carved vases between swags and a carved urn to the central tablet, while decorated consoles support the jambs. The mouldings to the dado rail, skirting and window and door linings are also carved, while the doors have moulded overdoors with a carved frieze. The linings to the back room of No. 38 are similar in detail, and the wood mantelpiece has similar mouldings, but without the decorative features to the frieze and jambs. Some of the other rooms contain carved wood mantelpieces and good cast-iron grates.

Condition of Repair.


Historical Notes.

According to the ratebooks, the occupiers of these houses, and of the previous premises on the site, were as follows:—

Original house.
1699–1701 Col. Kendall.
1702–13 "Esq. Benson."
1714 Robert Bingley.
1715–28 Robert, Lord Bingley.
1729 Lord Suffolk.
1731–32 Col. Cornwallis.
1733–51 Capt. Alec. Wilson. (fn. n2)
1752–55 Capt. Bradshaw.
1756–66 Daniel Moore.
1767–68 Dinah Dearden.
No. 36. No. 38.
1772–74 Rev. Dr. Dodd. 1771–80 Samuel Martin.
1775 Janet Kelly.
1776–78 Col. Thos. Edmonds.
1779–80 Mrs. Janet Edmonds.
1782 Kitty Tibbs. 1782–89 Miss Harris.
1784 Mr. Dumanport.
1785–87 Rev. Clayton Cracherode.
1788–90 Alex. Trotter. 1790–98 Mrs. Auriol.
1791–92 Sir Ric. Worsley.
1793–96 Lady Richardson. 1800 John Woodford.
1799–1804 Mrs. Somers Cocks. 1801–02 Capt. Gardner.
1805 Wm. Boscawen. 1804–05 Geo. Garland.
1806– Irish Office.

Robert Benson, Baron Bingley, son of Robert Benson, of Wrenthorpe, Yorks, was born in 1676. From 1702 to 1705 he sat in Parliament as member for Thetford, and from the latter year to 1713 he represented York City. At first a Whig, he afterwards joined the Tories. In 1711 he became Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer, and in 1713 was raised to the peerage. Later in the same year he was appointed ambassador extraordinary to the Court of Spain. He died in 1731.

The remarkable record of William Dodd, LL.D., popular preacher, royal chaplain and convicted forger, is well known, and only the salient points need be mentioned here. He was born in 1729, the son of the vicar of Bourne. Coming to London in 1751, he entered the ministry, and soon attained great popularity. He identified himself particularly with the interests of the Magdalen Charity, to which he was appointed chaplain, and purchased for himself a proprietary chapel in Pimlico called Charlotte Chapel, where he attracted a fashionable congregation. In 1772 he entered into occupation of the house in Queen Street, and a letter dated 24th November, 1773, addressed by Gainsborough, the painter, to "the Rev. "Dr. Dodd, Queen Street, Westminster," is extant. (fn. n3) A few months later the simony scandal occurred (Mrs. Dodd had written anonymously offering money for the reversion of the living of St. George, Hanover Square) and Dodd lost much of his popularity. He soon became involved in debt, and had to leave the house in Queen Street. (fn. n4) In 1777 he forged the signature of the Earl of Chesterfield to a bond for £4200, was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. In spite of numerous petitions on his behalf the sentence was duly carried out.

For details of the Rev. Clayton Cracherode see p. 131.

Sir Richard Worsley, son of Sir Thomas Worsley, of Appuldurcomb, Isle of Wight, was born in 1751. He is chiefly known for the remarkable collection of antiques which he amassed in his journeys in the East during the period 1785–87, and which he arranged at his seat at Appuldurcomb. After a short career in the Civil Service, he became British Resident at Venice, and an F.S.A. With a few breaks he was Member of Parliament from 1774 to 1801. He died in 1805. The house in Queen Street formed his town house for only two years.

In the Council's Collection are:—

(fn. n5) General exterior of premises to Old Queen Street (photograph).
General exterior of premises overlooking the Park (photograph).
(fn. n5) View of screen to Hall (No. 38) (photograph).
(fn. n5) Mantelpiece to back room on ground floor (No. 36) (photograph).
General view of door-heads on ground floor (No. 36) (photograph).
Mantelpiece and grate, front room on ground floor (No. 36) (photograph).
Mantelpiece to back room on ground floor (No. 38) (photograph).
Cast-iron hob grate, first-floor back room (No. 38) (photograph).
Mantelpiece and grate, second-floor front room (No. 38) (photograph).


  • n1. This looks like a building lease. If so, we have to take into consideration in this connection the statement (14th October, 1690) that "Doctor Nicholas Barbon has purchased the said Liquorish Garden Ground." (Westminster Commission of Sewers, Orders of Court, p. 117.) Barebone had already had business relations with Lord Dartmouth, having in 1683 demolished Carew House (Lord Dartmouth's residence) and erected Dartmouth Street on its site. (Hist. MSS. Commission, MSS. of the Earl of Dartmouth, Vol. III., p. 125.)
  • n2. See letter dated 30th September, 1743, from William Lockhart to the Earl of Wigton: "I cannot let your Lordship know where to direct for me, but if you'll send it to Captain Wilson our agent, at his house in Queen Street, Westminster, he knows where we march to." (Hist. MSS. Commission, App. to 9th Report, Part II., p. 202b.)
  • n3. After acknowledging the present of a handsome dress from Mrs. Dodd to Mrs. Gainsborough, he writes: "Be assured, dear sir, such politeness cannot be soon or easily forgotten; and if I was "not afraid of taking from the partiality Mrs. Dodd has for your picture as it is now, and I thought it possible to make it ten times handsomer, I would give it a few touches in the warmth of my gratitude, though the ladies say it is very handsome as it is: for I peep and listen through the keyhole in the door of the painting room on purpose to see how you touch them out of the Pulpit as well as in it. Lord, says one, what a lively eye that gentleman has." (Historical MSS. Commission, App. to 9th Report, Part II., p. 480a.)
  • n4. The ratebook for 1774 has the note: "Dr. Dodd had distraint and left the house."
  • n5. Reproduced here.