Paradise Row, south side: Gough House

Pages 8-9

Survey of London: Volume 2, Chelsea, Pt I. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1909.

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Ground landlord, etc.

The freehold belongs to the Hospital.

General description and date of structure.

The house was probably built in the year 1707, the date of a note among the Cadogan papers referring to the grant to John, Earl of Carbery, "of a way or passage of nine feet broad" and also "a new gate passage entering into the garden ground," which were part of premises conveyed to him by William, Lord Cheyne. The house was preserved practically intact till 1866, when it was converted into a hospital. In 1898 the building was considered inadequate for the accommodation required, and another block was built, separated, however, from Gough House. The latter was then altered, the bold wooden cornice taken down, and the house raised another storey. A new entrance was made to Tite Street and the centre, shown on Plate 9, was rebuilt: otherwise Gough House is still, externally, very much what it was. The fine 18th century brickwork shows no sign of decay, and the window openings have not been altered, save where stone keys have been inserted on the road front. The house retains the two wings which flanked the front door on the side towards Paradise Row, and there is still a door in the centre of the south-west elevation, in the place of the garden door shown on the old drawings. This door opened on to a beautiful garden laid out in broad terraces that led to the river-side where was an iron gateway with steps down to the water. The river views show also a summer-house on the wall not unlike the octagonal one of Walpole House. This disappeared, like its fellows on the old waterside, when the new Embankment was made. The interior of the house has been entirely altered and swept of all its original features. Tite Street runs now close beside its south-west wall, and few people would recognise in this hospital, standing right in the public way, the treeembowered Queen Anne mansion which used to look over its trim walks and lawns to the River Thames.

Condition of repair.

The building is in perfect repair.

Historical notes.

John Vaughan, third Earl of Carbery, who had acquired a fortune in Jamaica, where he was made governor by Charles II., bought the property from Lord Cheyne, the lord of the manor, in or about the year 1707, the date of the note of conveyance to which reference was made above. The character of the architecture suggests that he was the builder of the house which occupied a position west of Walpole House, on a slip of land reaching from Paradise Row to the Thames. The Earl of Carbery was President of the Royal Society. He lived at Chelsea until his death in 1713. It is supposed that his daughter (who married and was deserted by Charles Paulet, Marquis of Winchester and afterwards Duke of Bolton) sold the property to the Gough family who gave their name to the house. We have seen that Sir Richard Gough occupied Walpole House from 1714 to 1719, and apparently he it was who sold some portion of the garden of Gough House to Sir Robert Walpole. From a comparison of the site with the sketch of the house, dated 1720, in Faulkner's Chelsea it seems that he must have moved the garden wall which divided the properties several feet westward and at the same time relinquished the little summer-house which stood in the angle of the garden, on the river wall. He stayed here till 1726, and in 1727–1728 we find the name of Lady Gough in the rate-lists. His son Henry, who retained possession of the property but does not seem to have lived here after 1730, was made a baronet in 1728 and married as his second wife Barbara Calthorpe. Their son Henry was made heir to the property of his uncle Sir Henry Calthorpe, and took his name. He was made Baron Calthorpe in 1796. Calthorpe Terrace, now part of King's Road, derived its name from him.

The evidence of the rate-books shows that Thomas Pemberton, in the service of the East India Company, was resident here. The name of George Davis appears 1748 to 1755. Richard Rogers came in 1758, and from 1772 to 1780 the house is under the joint names of Pemberton and Rogers. From 1781 to 1801 the name of Thomas Pemberton appears alone and is replaced in 1802 by that of Maria Pemberton. His widow established a girls' school in the house, and her daughter carried on the work. Mr. Beaver tells us that it was later opened as a boys' school by Dr. Wilson.

Under the new Embankment Scheme the Metropolitan Board of Works acquired the property and the house was bought by the Victoria Hospital for Children. An additional block of buildings was built to the south and by 1903 a larger block was completed towards the north; it now possesses 107 beds.

Bibliographical references.

Thomas Faulkner, Chelsea and its Environs (2nd edition, 1829).
Alfred Beaver, Memorials of Old Chelsea (1892).
Reginald Blunt, Paradise Row (1906).

Old prints.

(fn. 1) View of south front (1720), lithograph in Faulkner's Chelsea.
View of north front (1829), lithograph in Faulkner's Chelsea.
View of north front, original sketch in Guildhall copy of Lysons.
(fn. 1) View of north front, original drawing by M. J. Rush, Chelsea Public Library.

In the committee's ms. collection are—

3133. View from the south-east (photograph).
3134. (fn. 1) View from the south-west (photograph).


  • 1. Reproduced here.