The Cockpit and Kent's Treasury

Survey of London: Volume 14, St Margaret, Westminster, Part III: Whitehall II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1931.

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'The Cockpit and Kent's Treasury', Survey of London: Volume 14, St Margaret, Westminster, Part III: Whitehall II, (London, 1931), pp. 23-36. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "The Cockpit and Kent's Treasury", in Survey of London: Volume 14, St Margaret, Westminster, Part III: Whitehall II, (London, 1931) 23-36. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "The Cockpit and Kent's Treasury", Survey of London: Volume 14, St Margaret, Westminster, Part III: Whitehall II, (London, 1931). 23-36. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

In this section


History of the Site.

In describing the approach from Whitehall to Westminster, Stow says: (fn. n1) "on the right hand be diuers fayre Tennis courtes, bowling allies, and a Cocke pit, al built by king Henry the eight." This western part of the Palace (the "Cockpit" side) was, in fact, the "recreation" portion, particularly when regarded in conjunction with the Park which bounded it on two sides.

Figure 4:

Whitehall, circa 1570, from "Agas."

The building which formed one of the most prominent objects in this quarter, and which came to give its name in a general way to the whole of this portion of the Palace, (fn. n2) was the Cockpit, occupying a portion of the site of Kent's Treasury. Several views of this building, (fn. n3) with its octagonal roof, are extant, notably in the "Agas" Map, in Wyngaerde's Sketch of Whitehall, Palace (Plate 9) and, most valuable of all, in Danckerts' View of Whitehall, circa 1674. (Plate 2).

Its original purpose is, no doubt, reflected in the name. At the end of the volume of Privy Purse "Expences" of Henry VIII, 1529–32, (fn. n4) are two mutilated documents containing references to "the Cockpitte house," and one of them mentions the "Cockepynne in the Rooffe of the [Cockepitte house]." Cock-fighting was certainly practised there in James I's reign. (fn. n5) There are no later references which can be regarded as certain, but it is possible that the building was used for that purpose until the erection of the "Royal Cockpit" in what is now Queen Anne's Gate, about 1671, (fn. n6) though its adaptation in 1629–32 for dramatic performances renders such a suggestion doubtful.

The Cockpit was, at any rate, during the later portion of its existence, used frequently for the performance of plays. The first definite reference to this use occurs in 1607, (fn. n7) but in only a few cases are details of early performances known. On 4th January, 1608–9, the Children of the Blackfriars performed there, (fn. n8) and in 1612 there is a record of a payment of £5 "to her graces plaiers for acting a Comedie in the Cocke pitt Wch her highnes lost to Mr Edward Sackvile on a Wager." (fn. n9) This was perhaps the play performed in the Cockpit on 20th September, 1612, to which the Princess Elizabeth invited the young Elector Palatine. (fn. n10)

Extensive works were carried out at the Cockpit in 1629 and successive years. The details, some of which are not without interest for the light they throw on the internal arrangements of the building, are as follows:— (fn. n11)

(1629––30) "Setting upp three wyndowes of Stone for ye newe staires leadeing to the Cockepitt … cutting & carveing divers Statues to be sett up in the Cockpitt playhouse. … Pryminge, stoppinge and payntinge stone Cullor in oyle divers Cornishes, pendaunts, and mouldings in the viij Cants of the Cockepitt, Wth the postes both belowe and in the gallery above in the insyde, all Cont' … CClvj yads di … new Couleringe over Wth fayre blewe the viijt upper squares on the wall, three of them beinge wholy shaddowed and the rest mended … pryminge and payntinge like glasse xxty panes wch had bin Lightes. … Clenzinge and washinge the gold of the pendaunts and Cornishes, and mendinge the same in divers places wth gold Cullor in oyle and mendinge the blew of the same in sondry places … framinge and settinge upp twoe stories of Collumns in the Cockepitt playhouse, beinge xen Collumns uppon every Story, Corinthia and Composita, finishinge the heads wth Architrave, freeze and Cornishe uppon each Story and finishinge a backe wrought wth crooked tymber behinde them wth five Doores in the first Story, and in the second story one open Dore & iiijer neeches in the same upper Storye. … Framinge and setting up the Deegres in the galleryes over the Cockpitt, Cuttinge fyttinge and naylinge Bracketts uppon the same, woorkinge and settinge of upright postes to the Ceelinge for the better strenthninge therof, and bourdinge the same Degrees three bourds in highte wth a bourde to stay theire feete."

(1630–1) "Sondry Extraordenary woorkes aboute the Cockpitt and playhouse (fn. n12) there, and for attendaunce and directinge the Carvers and Carpenters to followe the Designes and Draughtes given by the Surveyor. … Carpenters for sondey woorkes … aboute the Cockpitt and playhouse there. … Carvers for moulding and clensinge of twoe greate Statuaes of Plaster of Parris for the Cockpitt."

(1631–2) "John walker, Property maker, viz., for hanging the Throne and Chaire in the Cockpit wth cloth bound about wth whalebone, packthred and wyer for the better foulding of the same to come downe from the Clouds to the Stage; cutting, fitting and soweing of Callicoe to cover all the roome over head wth in the Cockpitt; cutting a great number of Starres of Assidue and setting them one the Blew Callicoe to garnish the Cloth there; setting one a great number of Coppring to Drawe the cloth to and fro … new painting the freeze in the Cockpitt over the Stage, and … painting and guilding the braunches round about and before the Stage … divers times Cullouring in Gould cullor the Braunches of xv Candlesticks in the Cockpitt, wherof tenn smaller and twoe greater then thother about and before the Stage, and … Hatching and Guilding them wth fine gould, and cullouring the great Braunches in the front of the stage, and Hatching and Guilding all the partes to be seene forwards."

Among the drawings preserved at Worcester College, Oxford, is a design for a theatre, comprising a general plan of the building and an elevation and plan of the stage drawn to a larger scale (Plate 10). The theatre in question has been rightly identified by Dr. J. Quincy Adams as that at the Cockpit, Whitehall. That the design is that which was actually carried out in 1629–32 is sufficiently proved by a comparison of the elevation of the semicircular stage with the details given above. Here we see the ten columns on each storey "Corinthia and Composita," and the "backe wrought wth crooked tymber behinde them wth five Doores in the first Story, and in the second story one open Dore & iiijer neeches in the same upper Storye." A detailed interpretation of the drawings need not be given here, but may be found in the description by Mr. Hamilton Bell in the pages of the Architectural Record. (fn. n13) The design was certainly that of Inigo Jones, who was Surveyor-General (fn. n14) at the time, though the drawings may, as contended by Mr. W. G. Keith, (fn. n15) be by the hand of John Webb. Mr. Keith's further contention that the actual design was by Webb, and was for a remodelling of the theatre in 1663–70, is quite inconsistent with the evidence given above as to the works carried out in 1629–32. (fn. n16) Dr. Adams, although unaware of this evidence, has ingeniously connected the designs with a reference to "the New Theatre at Whitehall" in a speech which was "Spoken to Their Two Excellent Majesties at the First Play Play'd" there, and probably delivered at the Christmas season of 1632–3. (fn. n17) In this he is undoubtedly correct.

From this time until the opening of the Civil War the Cockpit playhouse seems to have been in regular use. An account (fn. n18) presented by the King's men at the Blackfriars for Court performances in 1638 mentions plays given at the "Cockpit" on 26th and 27th March, 3rd April, 29th and 31st May, 8th, 13th, 15th, 20th, 22nd, 27th and 29th November, and 6th, 11th, 18th, 20th and 27th December.

During the Commonwealth dramatic performances ceased, but on at least one occasion the Cockpit was used for a concert. On 20th February, 1656–7, the members of the House of Commons were feasted by Cromwell at Whitehall, and after dinner "His Highness withdrew to the Cockpit; and there entertained them with rare music, both of voices and instruments, till the evening." (fn. n19) After the Restoration the Cockpit was again used as a playhouse. The first performance was on 19th November, 1660, as part of an entertainment given to the King and other members of the Royal Family by the Duke of Albemarle. (fn. n20) The play selected was Ben Jonson's Epicoene, or the Silent Woman. (fn. n21)

For a few years the Cockpit playhouse flourished. George Johnson was appointed keeper, (fn. n22) and we have several allusions by Pepys to plays acted there. (fn. n23) Arrangements were made for both the refreshment (fn. n24) and the convenience (fn. n25) of the actors.

In 1665 the Great Hall was adapted for use as a theatre, and the Cockpit playhouse fell into disuse.

After the death of Albemarle in 1670 the building seems at first to have been included among the property granted to Buckingham (see p. 113). It is difficult on any other supposition to explain why certain works carried out in the playhouse in 1671 (fn. n26) are included under the heading: "Charges in pulling downe & Altering severall Roomes at ye Cockepitt for his Grace the Duke of Buckingham." (fn. n27) Among the works in question were: (i) "takeing downe 60 foote of boarded partition in ye upper gallery & boxes lookeing downe into ye Cockepit playhowse," (ii) "putting up a boarded partition … in a lower roome next unto the pitt," (iii) "takeing downe ye roofe & Ceiling floore of ye gallery betwixt ye Cockepit playhowse & ye outer lodgings next ye parke."

The last references to the Cockpit playhouse which have so far been discovered are in 1672: (fn. n28) (i) "putting up the vaine at the Cockpit & taking downe the scaffold," (ii) "laying new sheete lead on the lanthorn at the cockpit playhouse," (iii) "Colouring white in oyle the Vayne at ye Cockpit playhouse & severall Irons belonging to it, and ye posts & Cornice, & painting the C.R. & Crowne on both sides of ye Vayne"; and 1674: (fn. n29) "200 l for ye repairing ye Cock Pitt to be ordered out of Some of ye Contingencyes."

Whatever rights Buckingham may have had in the building in 1671, it is certain that a few years later it was in the possession of the Earl of Danby, for both the plan (Plate 37) and the measurements of the premises leased to him in 1676 (see pp. 51–2) show that the site of the Cockpit was included therein.

The Cockpit is shown in Danckerts' view of 1674 (Plate 2), and that it remained in existence during that year is proved by the references to amounts paid (i) "for tenn sqr 88 foote of flooreing in the Cockpitt" in the few months ending September, 1674, and (ii) for "sothering severall cracks in the leads … over the Cockpitt" in December, 1674. (fn. n30) In the plan (undated) accompanying the grant to Danby in March, 1675–6 (Plate 37), the "Cockpitt" is shown, and as "the new buildings" are definitely specified on the plan, the natural inference is that the Cockpit was still standing when the plan was drawn, probably some months before, or even earlier, for the "new buildings" were completed before the end of 1674. The view reproduced in Plate 3, and dating from about 1675–6, shows the site of the Cockpit occupied by a tall brick building, and it seems probable therefore that the demolition (fn. n31) took place towards the end of 1675. No reference to the work has been found among the records.

After the Fire of 1698 steps were immediately taken to utilise the buildings on the "Cockpit" side for government offices. "Yesterday morning [13th January, 1697–8] the Cockpit was view'd in order to the fitting up some apartments for the keeping some of the offices wch were burnt in the late dreadfull fire, and sufficient conveniencys are found there for the Secretary of State, Treasury and Councill, and likewise an apartment for the King when he come to town." (fn. n32) No time was lost and the Treasury was in occupation in a little over a month. (fn. n33)

The buildings set apart for the Treasury were those in the rear, and among them was the building on the site of the Cockpit. At first the Treasury had only the lower floors, and in 1706 the rooms above were fitted up (fn. n34) for the Commissioners of Union. (fn. n35) In 1709 the rooms were allocated to the Duke of Queensberry (fn. n36) as an office, but after his death in 1711 were added to the Treasury. (fn. n37) In 1732 the Treasury building was found to be in a serious state, and a survey was ordered. On 3rd August the Board of Works reported (fn. n38) that "we have Viewed and Caused to be examined by his Majts most Experienced Workmen the Building at the Treasury Office, which in our Opinion as well as theirs is in so very ruinous and dangerous Condition that we don't think it safe for Your Lordps to Continue in it." The warning did not pass unheeded, and on the same day My Lords decided (fn. n39) to meet in future at "Mr Chancellors" house in Arlington Street, until the Lottery Office (fn. n40) was ready for them.

Steps were at once taken for the erection of a new building. In this connection it was ascertained that certain adjoining premises in the occupation of Mrs. Edith College would "very much obstruct the conveniences and the carrying up of the said offices," (fn. n41) and negotiations were thereupon entered into for the acquisition of Mrs. College's lease. (fn. n42) The purchase was completed at a cost of £1200, and on 2nd August, 1733, the Board of Works submitted (fn. n43) plans and elevations of the new building, the estimated cost "of carrying up and covering in the Carcase of the said Building" being £8000, "the two fronts to the Park being wholly Stone." The work of construction was at once put in hand, (fn. n44) and was completed in 1736, (fn. n45) from the designs of William Kent. In addition to covering the sites of the old Cockpit and of the rooms of Mrs. College to the east, the new building extended southward so as to take in a portion of the courtyard or garden (shown on the plan of 1670) formerly belonging to the Keeper's lodging.

Two illustrations of the proposed front of the new Treasury Building are shown in Plate 11. The designs, with the exception of some small architectural features, practically agree with the premises as actually erected, though only the central portion of the facade, comprising 7 bays out of 15 projected, was completed.

The second illustration bears in the left-hand corner the signature of "C. Wren del 1678," while above this are some erasions. The architectural features and details of the design are typical of Kent, and it is not conceivable that Wren could have prepared it, even if the great disparity in the dates could be accounted for. It is therefore considered that the signature bears no relation to the authorship of the illustration.

Description of the Building.

The northern elevation, overlooking Horse Guards Parade, comprises an imposing front in Portland stone (Plates 12 and 13). The general facade is divided into three horizontal and three vertical stages, the latter effect being obtained by advancing the centre. The upper stage of the central portion has engaged Ionic Columns on pedestals supporting an entablature and a pediment containing a cartouche bearing the Royal arms, with festoons of leafage and cornucopiae of fruit carved in strong relief (Plate 14). The entablature, which continues across the whole front, consists of a modillion cornice, a pulvinated frieze with carved oak leafage and crossed ribands, and a moulded architrave. The wings are terminated with a plain blocking course above the entablature, while the frieze to the central portion is interspaced with boldly carved lions' heads. The middle stage has an entablature of the Doric order continued across the front, with the metopes to the frieze occupied by devices and medallions representing respectively the royal crown, the initials "G.R." and the badge of the Garter. The general wall surface is rusticated, and the windows are square-headed in a semicircular recess with solid tympani, while the sashes are divided into small squares of glass. Below the window sills are panels with symmetrical balusters. The central window to the upper stage is treated in the Venetian three-light type, having coupled Ionic columns and entablature with a semicircular head, the whole effect being enhanced by a large ornamental key block. The middle window to the stage below is also treated decoratively, having a moulded architrave and a pedimented head on carved consoles. The rustications to the wall surface of the lower stage have a "rock-faced" finish, while the recessed surfaces to the openings and the plinth have a "tooled" face.

The passage from Horse Guards Parade to Downing Street leads through the centre of the block, a semicircular headed gateway forming the entrance. The passage has a brick barrel vault, with a projecting "tooled" stone band to the springing. The bonding of the brick courses to the groins is worthy of notice (Plate 18). The vaults around this passage are carried out in a similar manner.

The return front on the west, overlooking the Treasury garden, is of plain Ashlar, with rusticated lower stage similar to the main front. The general appearance is a series of arcaded recesses and square fenestrations, which, with the typical weathering of Portland stone in the London atmosphere, gives a very pleasing architectural effect (Plates 15 and 16). The back, or south front, overlooking the rear of Downing Street, is of plain brickwork, relieved with stone bands to the main floors, and a moulded cornice with a plain blocking course to the parapet (Plate 17).

The Board Room (Plates 19 and 20), which overlooks the Treasury garden, is of noble proportions, being approximately 30 feet square and 25 feet in height. It has a high-coved ceiling which, springing above an entablature consisting of an enriched architrave, a modelled frieze and a modillion cornice, continues through the entresol. The cove is relieved by flat bands with an interlaced fret, a water leaf and egg and tongue ornament. One of the features of interest is the elaborate chimneypiece (Plates 21 and 22), which comprises a mantel of statuary marble with coupled composite columns in coloured marble supporting a decorated entablature, with the modillion cornice as the mantelshelf, while above is a carved overmantel, consisting of a circular niche containing a bust of Charles Fox by Nollekens. The niche has a wreath of oak leaves entwined and a key cartouche containing a lion's mask. On either flank are coupled term-shaped trusses, which are surmounted by cartouches containing lion masks, from whose mouths are suspended garlands of oak leaves. The whole is surmounted by a broken ogee pediment containing the Royal crown, while similarly shaped pediments complete the flanks. The firegrate, which is of steel, is a modern replica of a late 18th-century design, and was inserted within recent years in substitution for a 19th-century grate of cast iron.

The mahogany doors to the room are double-margined, six-panelled, and have pedimented door-cases with scrolled trusses, while the pulvinated frieze to the head is enriched with oak leaves and crossed ribands (Plates 24 and 25). Term-shaped oak pedestals with carved ornament are around the room; and while some of them have hinged fronts as cupboards, others are grouped to enclose the radiators. A large fitting or bookcase has been removed from this room, and is now in the Privy Council chamber.

The Board Room was formerly used for the sittings of the Treasury Board, and here is preserved the State chair or throne in which the Sovereign sat when presiding at the meetings of the Board (Plate 23). It was customary for the King's speech to be read in this room the day before the assembly of Parliament, but this practice was discontinued in the later years of George III.

The throne-chair is elaborately carved and gilded, and upholstered in crimson velvet. It has cabriole legs with lion masks on the knees and lion's-paw feet, while the chair back is ornamented with a carved cartouche, bearing the royal monogram, and flanked with amorini as supporters. The arms terminate in dolphin heads, while the rests are covered with a scale pattern, and finish against the seat rail with dolphin tails.

The furniture in the room is of great interest, being contemporary with Kent's building, and some of it is in all probability the original furniture of Walpole's day. The great table in mahogany has massive cabriole legs, which are carved in a similar manner to the throne, and has in addition a central support (Plate 26). Twelve handsome mahogany chairs en suite, with carved cabriole legs complementary to the table, are now upholstered in leather (probably not the original covering), and though the frames are in a sound condition, the lion masks on the front knees are much worn (Plate 19). An important astronomical bracket clock (fn. n46) by Charles Clay stands near the chimneypiece (Plate 23).

The silver service (Plate 26) of the Treasury is interesting. It comprises twelve fluted candlesticks, three ink-stands, four pen-trays, and four pairs of snuffers. "One of the silver inkstands adorns the Chancellor of the Exchequer's writing-table. The arms and initials upon it are those of William III, but the stand itself is of the period of James II, 1685; its weight is approximately 90 oz. 16 dwts.; the maker's name is Francis Garthorne, a very famous silver-smith of the period, whose initials 'F.G.' are engraved upon it. Another of the inkstands has the same initials. Some of the snuffers and pen-trays are likewise of the same date and marked with the same initials 'F.G.' " (fn. n47)

The famous budget box, bearing impressions said to have been caused by Mr. Gladstone's thumps, is kept on the table. A replica of this (even to the impressions) was in 1927 sent to Canberra for use in the Parliament of the new Commonwealth.

The adjoining rooms and also the chief rooms of the floors above have marble mantelpieces designed by Kent. They are described below.

The Hall, which continues the height of two storeys, contains a boldly designed mantelpiece in stone (Plate 18). A return flight of stone stairs on opposite walls gives access to the mezzanine floor above. A landing on the end wall affords cross communication, a similar method being adopted on the opposite wall. The whole of these stairs and landings were probably inserted when the later extensions were carried out.

The Waiting Room, No. 69, has a mottled grey marble mantelpiece, with an eared architrave and a central keyed block, while above is a pulvinated frieze and moulded shelf. The walls of the room are panelled, and have a moulded entablature, and the chair-rail and skirting are similarly treated.

Room No. 60 contains a mottled grey marble mantelpiece, with a central tablet to the frieze, and a carved swag of flowers and fruit between scrolled leafage and flanked by trusses in profile. Above is a carved wood overmantel panel, and the walls to the rooms are also panelled (Plate 28).

In Room No. 64 the mantelpiece is in statuary marble, with Ionic columns in Sicilian jasper supporting a delicately moulded entablature, which has a pulvinated frieze also in jasper (Plate 28).

Room No. 62 contains a mantelpiece in mottled marble, with a square tablet to the frieze between shell and leaf scroll ornament in strong relief. The shelf is heavily moulded, and has the egg and leaf ornament. The jambs have scrolled trusses and responds with acanthus leafage and ropes of conventional husks on the face (Plate 27). The walls are panelled, and the chair-rail and skirtings carved.

Room No. 65 is a well-proportioned room, lined with oak panelling, which screens the shelving and cupboards, and is interspaced with Corinthian pilasters. Above an enriched entablature springs a deep plaster cove, which, rising through an entresol, terminates with a heavily moulded rib, forming a flat oblong panel to the ceiling (Plate 29). The mantelpiece is in mottled grey marble with an eared architrave. The frieze has a plain central tablet, while the moulded shelf is supported by scrolled trusses to the flanks. On the opposite wall is a semicircular-headed alcove containing a statue standing on a base block (Plate 30).

Room No. 16, on the second floor over the Board Room, is a lofty room embracing two floors. The walls are panelled in large squares, and above a decorative entablature springs a coved ceiling. The doors to the room are double-margined, six-panelled in mahogany, while the doorcases have scrolled trusses with acanthus leafage supporting the pediment, which has the egg and tongue, while the pulvinated frieze has carved oak leafage and ribands. The panelling of the jambs is similar to the window reveals (Plate 24). The mantelpiece, in mottled grey marble, has a sculptured central tablet representing a swag of fruit, while the mouldings of the shelf above form a small pediment (Plate 27). The fireplace has a moulded architrave with trusses to the flanks, in profile, and containing conventional husks.

The room contains a large break-fronted oak bookcase or cupboard, which was in all probability designed for its situation by Kent (Plate 26). It is divided into two heights by a carved rail similar to the chair-rail around the room, while the base mouldings are complementary to the skirting. The cornice is enriched with the egg and tongue. The cupboard comprises five compartments, the centre being emphasised by a moulded pediment, which is supported on scrolled trusses with acanthus leafage, while the frieze between the trusses is pulvinated and carved. The flanks are slightly recessed and have shallow pilasters defining their respective faces.

Room No. 22 has the wall panelled and a moulded entablature, while the chair-rail and skirting are carved. The marble mantelpiece has a decorative tablet to the frieze between scrolled trusses supporting the shelf, and the jambs are flanked with sculptured trusses in profile (Plate 31).

Room No. 21 is a handsome apartment over Room No. 65, and contains the large Venetian window overlooking Horse Guards Parade. It embraces two floors, and has panelled walls and a decorative entablature. The chair-rail and skirting are carved. The ceiling is coffered by means of ornamental ribs the depth of the frieze. The marble mantelpiece has scrolled trusses and a sculptured frieze containing a plain tablet between shells and leafage, while the mantelshelf is supported on modillions. The chimney breast has a modillioned pediment, the line of the springing being carried round the room as a band with the wave-crest ornament. The Venetian window comprises three lights in a deep semicircular-headed recess, with Ionic pilasters supporting an enriched entablature. The central light has a semicircular head, and the small side lights are squareheaded between the pilasters (Plates 33 and 34). The six-panelled, double-margined mahogany doors have carved and moulded heads with the frieze pulvinated (Plate 32).

Figure 5:

Kent's Treasury—Iron balustrade.

Room No. 12 has a stone mantelpiece, consisting of a moulded entablature supported on shaped trusses to the jambs of the fire opening.

In Room No. 11 is a wood mantelpiece (Plate 35) with a moulded shelf, the frieze being ornamented with a fret pattern which is suggestive of the Chippendale school, and must therefore have been fixed at a later date. The walls are panelled above the chair-rail.

The main staircase, which continues from the ground floor to the second floor around an open well, is in stone, with a wrought-iron balustrading comprising panels with a scroll and leaf repeat design, and a mahogany hand-rail. The landings are supported on boldly shaped consoles, while the walls to the top floor are panelled and completed with a deep modillion cornice. Two stone spiral staircases from the vaults to the top floor were also provided in the main block, but one has been converted into a lift shaft.

Condition of Repair


In the Council's Collection are:—

(fn. n48) Design for alterations at the Cockpit Playhouse (photograph of drawing preserved in the Library of Worcester College, Oxford).
(fn. n48) "Whitehall Stairs" (photograph of sketch by A. van den Wyngaerde in the Sutherland Collection, Bodleian Library).
(fn. n48) North elevation of Treasury to Horse Guards Parade (photograph).
(fn. n48) North elevation of Treasury to Horse Guards Parade (measured drawing).
(fn. n48) Detail of upper storey and pediment (photograph).
(fn. n48) West elevation of Treasury overlooking garden (photograph).
(fn. n48) West elevation of Treasury overlooking garden (measured drawing).
(fn. n48) South elevation to passage from Downing Street (photograph).
(fn. n48) View looking through passage from Downing Street (photograph).
(fn. n48) Stone mantelpiece in Hall (photograph).
(fn. n48) Iron balustrading to main staircase (photograph).
General view of Board Room (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of chimneypiece in Board Room (photograph).
(fn. n48) Detail of chimneypiece in Board Room (measured drawing).
(fn. n48) General views of Board Room (measured drawing).
(fn. n48) General view of table and chairs in Board Room (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of throne chair in Board Room (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of clock and stand in Board Room (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of silver service and budget box (photograph).
(fn. n48) Detail of door-case and pedestal in Board Room (measured drawing).
Details of mouldings to door-case and pedestal in Board Room (measured drawing).
(fn. n48) General view of door-case in Board Room (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of marble mantelpiece in Room No. 60 (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of marble mantelpiece in No. 62 (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of marble mantelpiece in No. 64 (photograph).
Plan and elevations of panelling to Room No. 65 (measured drawing).
(fn. n48) General view of panelling and mantelpiece in Room No. 65 (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of panelling and niche in Room No. 65 (photograph).
Details of panelling and mantelpiece in Room No. 6 (measured drawing).
General view of marble mantelpiece in Room No. 69 (photograph).
(fn. n48) Detail of marble mantelpiece in Room No. 22 (measured drawing).
(fn. n48) General view of door-case and chimneypiece in Room No. 21 (photograph).
General view of mantelpiece in Room No. 21 (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of Venetian window in Room No. 21 (photograph).
(fn. n48) Detail of Venetian window in Room No. 21 (measured drawing).
General view of Room No. 16 (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of door-case in Room No. 16 (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of marble mantelpiece in Room No. 16 (photograph).
(fn. n48) General view of book-case in Room No. 16 (photograph).
Detail of stone mantelpiece in Room No. 12 (measured drawing).
(fn. n48) Detail of wood mantelpiece in Room No. 11 (measured drawing).


  • n1. Kingsford's edition of Stow's Survey, II, p. 102.
  • n2. "In the Cockpit" frequently (one might almost say "usually") means nothing more than "in one of the buildings lying between the street and the Park."
  • n3. It was apparently adorned at the top with the figure of a Lion. "Fittinge and settinge a newe Lyon on the toppe of the Cockpitt … settinge upp the Phane on the Lyon on the toppe of the Cockpitt." (P.R.O., E. 351/3238–Ao. 1602–3.)
  • n4. B.M. Addl. MS., 20030.
  • n5. "Matt upon the Cockpitt being broken and torne withe Cockes fighting there" (P.R.O., E. 351/3239–Ao. 1603–4); "Making ready the Cockpitt for Cocking." (Accounts of Treasurer of the Chamber, 1617–18.)
  • n6. Survey of London, Vol. X, pp. 80–1. Charles I in 1631 appointed Sir Henry Browne royal cockmaster. (P.R.O., C. 66/2561.) In 1678 the office was vested in Benedicta Browne, widow of Sir Henry's son and heir, and Charles II in that year appointed John Archer her deputy. (P.R.O., L.C. 5/143, p. 142.)
  • n7. "Making ready the Cockpitt at Whitehall for the plaies there three severall times … Decembr', 1607." (Accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber.) References to "making ready the Cockpitt" occur in the first year of the reign and onwards, but there is nothing to show whether it was for plays or cock-fighting.
  • n8. "To the same Roberte Kayser … for one play presented by the Children of the blackfriers before his highnes in the Cockpitt at Whitehall iiij Januarii, 1608 … xli. (Ibid.)
  • n9. P.R.O., E. 407/57 (2).
  • n10. "On Tuesday she sent to invite him, as he sat at supper, to a Play of her own servants in the Cock-pit." (Letter to Sir Dudley Carleton, dated 22nd September, 1612, quoted in Nicholas' Progresses of James I, II, p. 466.)
  • n11. P.R.O., E. 351/3263/5.
  • n12. The references to (i) the Cockpit, (ii) the Cockpit playhouse and (iii) the Cockpit and Playhouse, might be taken to indicate that the Cockpit and the Cockpit playhouse were two distinct buildings. No other evidence suggesting this has, however, come to light, and the references to "the stage" at "the Cockpit" make it fairly certain that only one building is intended. The following entry, dated November, 1660, relating to "the Cockpit" certainly refers to the playhouse: "Making of v large boxes wth severall degrees in them at ye cockpit and doores in them, taking up the floore of ye stage and pitt and laying against the floore of the stage & pitt pendant, making of severall seats round and in ye pitt, making of two partitions in the gallery there for the Musick and players, setting up a rayle & ballisters upon the stage, making two other seats for ye gentlemen Ushers … making a paire of stayres … to goe into ye Gallery over the stage & incloseing the said stayres wth a doore in it Cont' about one square, making of two new doores goeing Under the degrees. (P.R.O., Works, 5/1.)
  • n13. New York, March, 1913. The description has been copied by Dr. Adams in his Shakespearean Playhouses, pp. 396–400.
  • n14. "For attendaunce and directinge the Carvers and Carpenters to followe the Designes and Draughtes given by the Surveyor."
  • n15. Architectural Review, LVII, p. 54.
  • n16. It is, moreover, rendered highly improbable by the fact that the Cockpit theatre fell into disuse from 1665, when the Great Hall was permanently altered for use as a theatre (Survey of London, XIII, p. 51).
  • n17. Shakespearean Playhouses, p. 395.
  • n18. Illustrated in facsimile in the Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 1860.
  • n19. Carlyle's Cromwell, ed. S. C. Lomas, 1904, III, p. 15.
  • n20. See "The Prologue to his Majesty at the first Play presented at the Cock-pit in Whitehall, Being part of that Noble Entertainment which Their Majesties received Novemb. 19 from his Grace the Duke of Albemarle. 'Greatest of Monarchs, welcome to this place, Which Majesty so oft was wont to grace Before our Exile, to divert the Court, And ballance weighty Cares with harmless sport.'"
  • n21. "Yesternight the King, Queen, Princess, &c., supped at the Duke d' Albemarle's, where they had the Silent Woman acted in the Cock-pit, where on Sunday he had a sermon." (Letter, 20th November, 1660, from Ed. Gower to Sir R. Leveson, Hist. MSS. Comm. 5 Rept., p. 200.) If "he" refers to the duke, it would seem that the latter had a certain control over the building. This is consistent with the fact that it is shown as part of the duke's lodgings in the plan of 1670, but is difficult to reconcile with the use of the building as a royal theatre from 1660 to 1664.
  • n22. "These are to signifie unto you his Maties pleasure that you forthwith prepare a Bill fitt for his Maties Royall Signature conteyninge a Warrant under the Signett only to the Treasurer of the Chamber … to pay unto George Johnson, Keeper of his Maties Playhouse called the Cockpitt in St. James Parke the Wages and Fee of Thyrtie poundes by the yeare dureinge his naturall to bee payd him by even and equall portions … the first payment to commence from the Feast of St John Baptist which was in the yeare one Thousand Six hundred and Sixtie. … 29th Sept. 1662." (P.R.O., L.C. 5/137, p. 278.)
  • n23. "So back to the Cockpitt, and there, by the favour of one Mr. Bowman, he [Creed] and I got in … and so saw "The Humersome Lieutenant" acted before the King, but not very well done." (Pepys' Diary, 20th April, 1661.) Pepys visited the theatre on four other occasions: 2nd October, 17th November, and 1st December, 1662, and 5th January, 1663.
  • n24. P.R.O., L.C. 5/137, p. 353. The details are identical with those of the provision made later in respect of the actors at the theatre in the Great Hall. (Survey of London, Vol. XIII, p. 52.)
  • n25. Order, dated 10th December, 1662, to deliver "for the upper Tyring roome in the Cockpitt, the Walls being unfitt for the rich cloathes, one hundred and tenn yards of Green Bayes at three shillings foure pence the yard, one Looking Glasse of twenty seaven Inches for the Woemen Comaedians dressing themselves, twenty Chayres and stooles, three Tables, two stands, six Candlesticks, two peices of Hangings and great Curtaine Rodds to make partitions between the Men and Woemen." It is explained that the 27-inch looking glass was necessary "by reason the woemen have great difficulty in theire dressing and such a glasse too big to bee brought every night from their howse." (P.R.O., L.C. 5/119.)
  • n26. P.R.O., Works, 5/15.
  • n27. These comprised generally the new buildings and alteration of the old premises at the west end of the Albemarle lodgings on the site of the northern portion of No. 10, Downing Street.
  • n28. P.R.O., Works, 5/19.
  • n29. B.M. Addl. MS. 28077, f. 52.
  • n30. P.R.O., Works, 5/23.
  • n31. It is possible that the new brick building, so far as the exterior was concerned, represented an alteration and heightening of the original Cockpit walls rather than a rebuilding from the ground, and this suggestion is to some slight extent confirmed by the fact that in 1732 the building was found to be in such a dangerous condition that steps had at once to be taken to rebuild. This is somewhat surprising if the building was only 56 years old, but by no means impossible, for the soil in this neighbourhood seems to have been very treacherous. Examples may be found in the case of the new tennis court, which collapsed when building (see p. 42), and the cost of works at No. 10, Downing Street, in 1781 (see p. 122), and the unexplained rebuilding of the Duke of Buckingham's house after only about 5 years' existence (see p. 116) may be due to the same cause. On the other hand, the statement in 1682 (see p. 110) that "the said Cockpitt or the greater part thereof is since demolished," cannot be quoted in support of the demolition, since the reference is to "our house called the Cockpit," in other words, the Cockpit lodgings.
  • n32. Letter from Thos. Hopkins to Sir J. Williamson. (P.R.O., S.P. 32/9, 33.) An official list is provided in the Order, dated 28th February, 1697–8, to provide locks and keys "for the following Apartments and Offices att the Cockpitt, viz. his Majesties Lodgings. For the Secretary of State. The Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterburys. Likewise for the Privy Council Chamber and Office. The Treasury. The Secretaries Office." (P.R.O., L.C. 5/152, p. 63.) Orders are extant for the provision of "Two Barbary Matts for his Majesties Lodgings att the Cockpitt," and for "Cleaning a Suit of white and Yellow feathers with Spriggs for his Mats Bed att the Cockpitt." (P.R.O., L.C. 5/152, pp. 61, 70.) The position of the Royal Apartment has not been identified.
  • n33. "Memd, on the 17th day of February, 1697[–8], the Lords Comrs of his Mats Treary had their first sitting at the new Office in the Cockpit." (P.R.O., T. 29/10, p. 112.)
  • n34. "These are to Signify to your Grace her Majestys Pleasure that You provide and deliver to Peter Hume Esq., Yeoman of her Majestys Removing Wardrobe, four Umbrells for the Windows, eight Quilts of red Serge each thirteen foot long and one four foot for the Seates that are made in the Room att the Cockpitt where the Comrs who are to Treat of a Union of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland are to meet." (P.R.O., L.C. 5/154, p. 166–27th April, 1706.)
  • n35. Wren, when reporting in that year on accommodation for the Paper Office, suggested that one means of meeting the situation would be "by removing the Office to the Rooms over the Treasury Chambers in the Cockpit, which were lately fitted for the Commrs of ye Union." (P.R.O., T. 1/99, p. 55.)
  • n36. "Her Majesty having signifyd her Pleasure … that the Duke of Queensberry and Dover … should have the Rooms at the Cockpitt over the Treasury Chambr for the use of his Office," etc. (P.R.O., L.C. 5/154, p. 406, 15th March, 1708–9.)
  • n37. See petition of the Earl of Mar (Cal. of Treasury Papers, 1714–19, p. 174) stating that on his appointment there was "no convenient apartment in the Cockpit for keeping his office," by reason that most of the rooms which had belonged to that office whilst enjoyed by the Duke of Queensberry were, after his decease, taken in as an enlargement to the Treasury Office.
  • n38. P.R.O., T. 56/18, p. 399.
  • n39. P.R.O., T. 29/27, p. 144.
  • n40. Survey of London, Vol. XIII, p. 221.
  • n41. Cal. of Treasury Books and Papers, 1731–4, p. 377.
  • n42. The lease had been granted in 1719, when the premises were described as "scituate in that part of the pallace of Whitehall comonly called ye Cockpit," 11 feet by 41½ feet, fronting Lord Stanhope's garden on the north, a passage leading to the Archbishop of Canterbury's lodgings east, a staircase belonging to the Commissioners of Trade south, and a passage leading from the Park to the Treasury west. (P.R.O., E. 366/4042.) The lease was in 1731 extended to 30½ years from 12th February, 1749–50. (Ibid., E. 366/4289.)
  • n43. P.R.O., T. 56/18, p. 435.
  • n44. In 1734 Ralph (A Critical Review of the Public Buildings, etc., p. 46) writes: "Hard by, the new Treasury is erecting, and if we may judge by the foundation, of stone too: I hope it will be grand and magnificent."
  • n45. "That by the frequent passage of Carts, loaden with Stone and other heavy Materials during the Rebuilding the Office of his Mats Treasury, the Opening in St. James Park called the Parade has been very much worn and Rendred almost impassable. That as the said Building is now so far Compleated as no longer to require passage for Materials of those heavy kinds it may be a proper time to Repair the said Parade, to restore the Park to its Beauty and Convenience." (31st January, 1735–6, P.R.O., T. 56/19, p. 38.)
  • n46. This clock is "evidently the one referred to in an entry of 6th November, 1740, in the Treasury Minute Book: 'Mr. Lowther is to pay out of the King's money in his hands a sum not exceeding £160 for the great clock and all its furniture set up in the Lords' room here, to Mrs, Clay, widow of Mr. Clay who made the same…' A further entry of 4th May, 1742, records a petition from Mrs. Clay for an allowance for keeping in order the Treasury clock in their Lordships' room, which was made by her husband. The Secretaries to the Treasury were to agree with her as to a payment for this service, which they did at £4 per annum." (The Treasury, by Sir Thos. L. Heath, pp. 227–8.)
  • n47. Ibid., p. 228.
  • n48. Reproduced here.