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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QUEEN ANNE'S GATE (EAST).
The thoroughfare known to-day as Queen Anne's Gate is formed of two streets of different origin, separated until recently by a physical barrier. The eastern was named Park Street, and the western Queen Square. The barrier, which consisted of a low dwarf wall surmounted by an iron railing (fn. n1) (see Plate 101), was removed in 1873, (fn. n2) and in the following year the names Park Street and Queen Square were abolished and the whole renamed Queen Anne's Gate.
The whole of what was formerly Park Street belongs to Christ's Hospital, and the greater portion of it (fn. n3) forms part of the land which was bequeathed to that hospital by Richard Castell. The story as given by Strype (fn. n4) is as follows:—
"This Hospital [Christ's] being thus erected, and put into good Order, there was one Richard Castel alias Casteller, Shoemaker, dwelling in Westminster, a man who was very assiduous in his Faculty, with his own Hands; and such a one as was named, The Cock of Westminster, because both Winter and Summer he was at Work before Four of the Clock in the Morning; this Man thus truly and painfully labouring for his Living, God blessed and increased his Labours so abundantly, that he purchased Lands and Tenements at Westminster, to the yearly Value of 44 l. and having no Child, with the Consent of his Wife, who survived him, and was a virtuous good Woman, gave the same Lands wholly to Christ's Hospital aforesaid, to the relief of the innocent and fatherless Children, and for the succour of the Miserable, Sore and Sick, harboured in the other Hospitals about London."
It seems rather probable that the story thus told has been somewhat idealised in certain details, (fn. n5) but the main fact is unquestionable. By his will, (fn. n6) dated 12th January, 1554[–5], "Rychard Castyll otherwyse Casteler, "of the cytie of Westminster, Cordweyner," left to his wife, Katherine, four distinct items of property, all in Westminster, viz.: (1) the tenement called the Sonne, wherein now inhabyteth one John Horner," in King Street (see p. 11); (2) four messuages with gardens and a close adjoining in the rear, "in Totehyll streete," in the tenure of Robert Smallwood, of the yearly value of £4; (3) a number of houses and gardens in the Woolstaple; (4) three houses in King Street, occupied respectively by the testator, William Ingledew and Thos. Fysher.
As regards items (1) to (3), it was provided that on the widow's death these should pass to the "Mayor and Commonalty of London as Governors "of the hospitalls of Kinge Edward the vj, called Christ, brydwell and St. Thomas thappostle." Castell died in 1559. (fn. n7) Katherine afterwards (fn. n8) married Richard Morecock, and died in 1576, (fn. n9) when the premises in Tothill Street passed to Christ's Hospital.
The Castell estate was added to nine years later when the Governors acquired (fn. n10) from John Lawrence a messuage or tenement in Tothill Street, having a frontage of 10 feet and a depth of 61 feet, and bounded on the west by a tenement already in their possession (i.e. part of the Castell property).
A lease of the northern portion of the property made in the following month (28th January, 1585–86) to John Priest gives a description which may be compared with the plan (probably of that date) reproduced in Plate 78. It runs: "All that theire close of grounde scituate in or neare Totthill Streate … which nowe or late is converted into an orcharde and gardeine, and all that Barne scituate and beinge in and uppon the southe side of the same close of grounde, which close abutteth uppon the Queenes parke walle againste the northe, and against the lande sometime the Ladie Vaughans lande (fn. n11) on the weste parte, which lande is nowe a garden plott in the tenure of one Thomas Pierson … and the said close or orchard and gardeine abutteth uppon Our Ladie grounde sometime beinge in the tenure of the Lord Awdeley on the east parte, and now beinge the inheritance of the Earle of Warwick and in the tenure of the Lorde Graye." (fn. n12)
No striking change in the character of the property took place for nearly a century. The first steps towards modern conditions seem to have been taken about 1671. In February of that year Roger Price, who was lessee of a portion of the estate consisting of a garden with an old barn and stable upon it, informed the Governors that, having a desire to improve the property by building, he had purchased a coachway into the said grounds. (fn. n13) Moreover, on 19th March, 1673–74, Price, in consideration of the surrender of this or another lease, obtained a fresh lease (from Lady Day, 1670) of a portion of the estate having a frontage to the Park of 70 feet. Further, in 1671 a lease was granted to Sir Edward de Carteret of another portion having a frontage of 162 feet to the Park, and Price's lease seems also to have come into Carteret's hands. The result of these leases may be seen in Carteret Street and Park Street. The latter is not shown in Morden and Lea's Map of 1682, but is referred to in a lease of 18th February, 1686–87, to Sir Robert Atkins as "a certain street there intended to be called Park Street." (fn. n14) In Hatton's New View of London (1708) it is described as: "Park Street, "near Carteret Str. by Tuthil str., Westminster, newly built."
Originally Park Street had its only exit by way of Carteret Street on the south, but in 1758 the Governors, in order to provide a way out to Dartmouth Street, purchased the lower portion of a house in that street for the purpose of forming an archway between the two streets. In 1829 further property in Dartmouth Street was purchased, and in the following year the archway was taken down. (fn. n15)
At the beginning of the last quarter of the 18th century Park Street was rebuilt. An agreement was entered into between the Governors and Michael Barrett whereby the latter was to receive a lease of seven houses on the north side of Park Street (occupying the sites of Nos. 14 to 24 Queen Anne's Gate), two houses on the south side (lying to the east of Carteret Street), and five and a half houses in Carteret Street. The lease was to run for 61 years from Lady Day, 1774, and Barrett undertook within 8½ years from the commencement of the lease "to erect and build on the north side "of Park Street aforesaid two or more, but not exceeding ten, substantial brick messuages or tenements … and … on the south side of Park Street aforesaid and in Carteret Street aforesaid such other substantial brick messuages or tenements, buildings or stables as … he shall think proper. (fn. n16)
As regards the old houses on the south side of Park Street west of Carteret Street (on the site of Nos. 5 to 13 Queen Anne's Gate), the Governors caused these to be pulled down and new premises to be erected without the intervention of a building lessee.
No account of Park Street would be complete without some mention of the Royal Cockpit on the easternmost portion of Christ's Hospital estate, north of the street. According to Boulton, (fn. n17) this was built about 1671 by Charles II. The date is probably correct, for the ground on which the Cockpit was erected formed a portion of that comprised in the two leases held by Sir Edward de Carteret dating from 1670 and 1671. The suggestion that it was built by Charles II, however, has its difficulties, and no records have been found to confirm it. The earliest reference to the building is contained in a news sheet, dated 11th February, 1700 , quoted by Boulton, (fn. n18) and a representation of it is given in Kip's View (Plate 77). Views of the interior by Hogarth and Rowlandson (Ackermann's Microcosm of London) are extant.
Carteret's leases expired in 1741, and in 1749 a new lease of the cockpit (with dwelling house adjoining) was granted to Robert Hardcastle for 61 years. When this ran out in 1810 the building was demolished. (fn. n19)