Survey of London: Volume 21, the Parish of St Pancras Part 3: Tottenham Court Road and Neighbourhood. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1949.
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This street was laid out by John Nash (fn. 124) to divide the buildings fronting Regent's Park from the commercial district to the east of it. The more interesting buildings in the street are the following—
West Side. Nos. 29 to 33 were originally two houses, the principal front of which faces west into St. Andrew's Place that leads into the southern stretch of the Outer Circle in Regent's Park. They were built by George Thompson in 1826 and have a porticoed front to the west. The east front on Albany Street has a balanced central composition in stucco of which the principal feature is a pediment over the four windows of the first floor, the ground floor having four arched openings, the two to the south being windows and the two to the north doorways. On the second floor over the pediment is a doubly recessed arched niche enclosing the urn that stands on each side. There is a third floor over a plain string-course. (Plate 83.)
The houses immediately south and north of the above, Nos. 11 to 27 and Nos. 35 to 53, are four-storeyed (in addition to basements) in stucco with cornices above and below the top storey. Each floor has two windows, those on the first floor being furnished with moulded heads on consoles and pleasant cast-iron balconies. The ground floor has a plain arch for the entrance door, which has pilasters to the frame and a fanlight over, and a pair of windows which are of necessity smaller than those on the upper floor. Nos. 55 to 61 are also of stucco, three storeys in height, Nos. 59 and 61 having had one storey added. The ground floors have channelled joints and each house is two windows in width, those on the first floor being joined by long balconies. The doors are square-headed with rectangular fanlights. Nos. 63 to 67 are similar in build, of four storeys, but of brick with rusticated stucco ground floors, and Nos. 69 to 81 follow the same design with shops below. At the north corner of Chester Gate stands The Chester Arms, a public-house three storeys high and with a width of four windows. It is of stock brick with a modern front to the ground floor.
Nos. 85 to 115 form a long row of three-storey houses of dark brick with shops below. Nos. 105, 111 and 115 have long balconies at first-floor level. The houses then continue, chiefly without shops from 117 to 163, with a number of variations in treatment. Nos. 117 and 119 have long balconies over a stuccoed ground floor with arched doorways. Nos. 121 and 123 have square-headed doors and single balconies to the windows, while No. 125 has an arched door and fanlight, rusticated stucco ground floor, and a long balcony. No. 127 had a shop front, now converted into a bay window, and Nos. 141, 143 and 151 have also closed shops pierced with windows. Old bowed shop fronts occur at Nos. 137 and 153. The variation in stucco fronts and the use of long or short balconies continues. Nos. 165 is a four-storey building, three windows wide with an old shop front. Nos. 167 to 173 are the same height with arched recessed doors, arched windows and continuous balconies on the first floor. The buildings finish with a row of four-storey stock brick houses (Nos. 175 to 193), the two last having projecting rusticated ground floors. They all have balconies and those to the two northern houses are fitted with fan-shaped iron guards separating the sections belonging to each house. North of this are the backs of the houses fronting Regent's Park.
East Side. No. 34 was built in 1812 and is now, according to Mr. Summerson, (fn. 125) the oldest house standing on the royal estate. It is of four storeys above ground, showing brick facing on the upper two and stucco on the ground and first floors. Each floor has two windows except the ground floor, which has an entrance door to the left of one window, brought out in a curved bay. The first floor has an elaborate and well-designed balcony with a hollow curved roof. The railing to the balcony is of interlaced work and the roof is carried by two pairs of trellis pilasters. (Plate 85.)
Nos. 36 to 42, a terrace of four houses with plain stucco fronts, four storeys above the basement. The ground floor is lined with sunk joints to imitate masonry and each first-floor window (two to each house) has its own cast-iron balcony. Below the third-floor windows is a plain unmoulded string, and above, a moulded cornice to the parapet.
Nos. 44 to 54. These continue the main lines of the design with small variations. The ground floor is not "masoned," but the first-floor windows have moulded hoods on console brackets and each pair of these windows is linked by a balcony of larger and more ornamental design than those just described. The moulded cornice is below the third-floor windows while the parapet is plain. Nos. 56 and 58 have rusticated treatment and long balconies to the windows. Nos. 60 to 72 are of brick, four storeys in height, with masoned stucco to the ground floors. The windows have long balconies of unusual design. The doorways are square-headed. Nos. 74 and 76 are similar to the above but have single balconies to each window and round-headed doors and windows to the ground floor. The public-house, The Cape of Good Hope, adjoining William Road, is of the same date.
North of William Road, Nos. 80 to 90, are four-storeyed brick buildings with shops, No. 84 being an old example of the bowed type of front. Nos. 92 and 94 are of stucco (the first with contemporary shop front) and Nos. 96 to 100 are of three storeys in stucco with balustraded parapet. No. 102 balances No. 94. North of this is the Police Station and then four-storey buildings of brick alternating with stucco (Nos. 106 to 114) and three houses of brick (Nos. 116 to 120).
North of Robert Street is a row of four-storey buildings with rusticated stucco ground floors and good fanlights (Nos. 124 to 138), the corner house, No. 124, being a shop with a rounded return to the side street and three balconies over. Nos. 140 to 148 is a stuccoed block, four storeys high, with centre and side projections and five balconies. These houses were built by Norsworthy, a plasterer who worked for John Nash.
Nos. 152 to 154. This building at the south corner of Redhill Street, where it joins Albany Street, was, to quote Mr. Summerson, (fn. 126) "designed and built by Nash on ground leased to himself. . . . It seems to have been built as an Ophthalmic Hospital for soldiers blinded in the Egyptian Campaigns. Presumably the Government paid for it, but Sir William Adams, the oculist for whom it was built in 1818, gave his services there gratuitously until 1821. Soon after this it was taken by Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, who here constructed the steam carriage in which he managed to get to Bath and back at fifteen miles per hour. It is also said to have been used as a factory for Perkins and Bacon's 'steam guns,' prototypes of the modern machine gun. (fn. n1) Ultimately Nash let off the buildings in sections and the very last piece of business he transacted was to make an assignment of the whole property to Sir Felix Booth, a wealthy distiller who had just earned a baronetcy for promoting Arctic exploration."
The building, which has been badly damaged and partly destroyed, comprised a central portion and two wings and is treated entirely in stucco. The main block is of two storeys with a central archway, the arch of which springs from first-floor level. The ground floor, which has six semicircularheaded windows on each side of the entrance, is jointed to imitate masonry. On the first floor there are three rectangular windows on each side, enclosed in simple architraves. The entrance is flanked by pilasters carrying a horizontal entablature with a cornice of Greek character which continues across the entire building and breaks forward over substantial piers at each end. The wings, one of which no longer exists, are each a single storey, the height of the two storeys of the centre, and are detached from the latter by a recess, masked at ground level by entrance porches, finished with a level entablature. Each wing has angle piers rising to the cornice, with a section of frieze and architrave between them, supported by pilasters. One semicircular-headed window with an architrave lights each wing. The corner piers are taken up higher in the wings than in the centre and the wall between is carried up to the same height in receding planes. Over the cornice above the main entrance is an achievement of the royal arms with supporters and behind there rises a domed cupola, circular in plan, carried on eight free columns and surmounted by a weather vane. (Plate 84.)
Until 1864 Albany Street and Upper Albany Street were numbered separately, the numbers in each part being consecutive. In that year the whole street was re-numbered with odd numbers on the west side and even on the east. The old and new numbers are given for each house.
|No. 16.||(formerly No. 8.) 1849–1854, Sir William Jenner, Bt. (1815–1898), physician. He began general practice at No. 24 (12) Albany Street and both studied and held appointments at University College and University College Hospital. He established the separate identity of typhus and typhoid. President of the Royal College of Physicians, 1881–8.|
|No. 24.||(formerly No. 12.) (fn. n2) 1840–1848, Sir William Jenner, Bt. (see No. 16).|
|No. 42.||(formerly No. 21.) 1845–1847, Frederick Lablache (1815–1887), opera singer. He appeared with Jenny Lind, etc. (See also No. 51.)|
|No. 44.||(formerly No. 22.) 1831–1832, Charles Edward Horn (1786–1849). Singer and composer of songs of which "Cherry Ripe" is the most famous.|
|No. 52.||(formerly No. 26.) 1832–1840, John William Norie (1772–1843), writer on navigation. Partner with Charles Wilson in publishing naval books and charts and dealer in nautical instruments at "Navigation Warehouse," Leadenhall Street.|
|No. 54.||(formerly No. 27.) 1832–1833, John Thelwall (1764–1834), reformer and lecturer on elocution. After a stormy political career he retired from public affairs and established an institution for curing defects in speech.|
|No. 56.||(formerly No. 28.) 1835–1843, Deane Franklin Walker (1778–1865) youngest son of Adam Walker, author and inventor. He continued his father's lectures at Eton, Harrow and Rugby and gave popular lectures in London. 1861–1865, Rev. William Scott, (1813–1872) divine, high-churchman and curate, under William Dodsworth, at Christ Church, Albany Street. In 1839 he was appointed perpetual curate of Christ Church, Hoxton. He was editor of the Christian Remembrancer, and president of Sion College, 1858.|
|No. 58.||(formerly No. 29.) 1836–1837, Ramsay Richard Reinagle (1775–1862), portrait, landscape and animal painter. (See No. 17 Fitzroy Square.)|
|No. 62.||(formerly No. 31.) 1830, Abraham Wivell (1786–1849), portrait painter. Painted several members of the Royal family and other notabilities; superintendent of fire-escapes to Society for Protection of Life from Fire and wrote on Shakespeare portraits.|
|No. 66.||(formerly No. 33.) 1837–1839, Thomas Oliphant (1799–1873), musical composer and writer. Collected and published madrigals. Catalogued the music in the British Museum.|
|No. 82.||(formerly No. 41.) 1869–1887, Luigi Arditi (1822–1903), musical conductor and composer. Conductor of opera at His Majesty's Theatre, London from 1858 to 1867. He was the favourite conductor of Madame Patti.|
|No. 112.||(formerly No. 56.) 1834–1861, John Francis (1780–1861), sculptor. He was a pupil of Chantrey and made busts of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the Duke of Wellington. He died at No. 112.|
|No. 124.||(formerly No. 61.) 1834, Edward Lear (1812–1888), artist and author. He is best known for his Book of Nonsense. He painted animals and landscape and published journals of his travels.|
|No. 144.||(formerly No. 71.) 1840–1846, Sir Michael Costa (1810–1884), musical composer and conductor. Conducted festivals at Birmingham, Bradford and Leeds. Director of the Italian Opera from 1871.|