Henrietta Street and Maiden Lane Area: Henrietta Street

Survey of London: Volume 36, Covent Garden. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1970.

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'Henrietta Street and Maiden Lane Area: Henrietta Street', in Survey of London: Volume 36, Covent Garden, (London, 1970) pp. 230-239. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol36/pp230-239 [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section

CHAPTER X - Henrietta Street and Maiden Lane Area

Henrietta Street

Plates 48b, 84

None of the original seventeenth-century fabric of Henrietta Street now remains. Most of the present buildings date from the nineteenth century, and even the few surviving eighteenth-century houses are disguised by fronts of mid-Victorian stucco. The street has never been widened and a number of the house sites retain their original integrity.

Henrietta Street was laid out in 1631 (see table of leases on pages 298–301 and fig. 45) and appears to have been completely built up by 1634. (fn. 2) It was first called Henrietta Street, after the consort of Charles I, in 1637. (fn. 3) Hollar's mid seventeenth-century bird's-eye view of Covent Garden (Plate 1) shows the north side of the street as a uniform row of houses with gables and balconies; Hollar is not always reliable but it is known from other evidence that at least four of the houses on the north side had 'Balcony wyndowes and Gable ends'. (fn. 4) These were built by William Newton who had in fact altered the design of his houses during the course of building at the request of the fourth Earl of Bedford, and in consideration of having exceeded the costs for which he had contracted in 'beautefyinge' his houses he was allowed to surrender his original lease in exchange for a new one. In 1633 Edward Palmer, the lessee whose site adjoined Newton's, also surrendered his original lease in exchange for a new one, presumably for the same reason. (fn. 5)

As originally laid out the frontages of the south side of Henrietta Street were aligned with the Piazza front of Bedford House garden and the easternmost of the original houses (on the site of the present No. 4) abutted directly upon the garden wall (see fig. 45). After the demolition of Bedford House in 1705–6 the south side of Henrietta Street was extended eastwards to its present position and three new houses were built between No. 4 and the corner of Southampton Street (see table of leases on pages 320–1).

Most of the street was rebuilt during the first half of the eighteenth century, (fn. 6) although at least one house had been rebuilt by 1690. (fn. 7) No doubt the 'good Buildings on the south side' noticed by Strype in 1720 (fn. 8) were new houses built there between 1712 and 1716. (fn. 6) More rebuilding took place on the south side between 1726 and 1730, vestiges of which still survive (see below). The north side was almost completely rebuilt in 1729–30. Detailed specifications were drawn up by the Bedford Office 'so that the whole Range of new Houses … may appear Regularly uniformly and handsomely built.' The houses had to be three storeys high, with windows, doors and storeys all of uniform height. The parapets were to be coped with stone and the fronts faced with grey stock bricks. The lessee of No. 31, John James, a bricklayer, covenanted to make a passage from Henrietta Street into the churchyard through the ground floor of his house 'where the old passage formerly stood'. (fn. 9) None of these houses survived rebuilding in the latter part of the nineteenth century, when many of their sites were amalgamated.

From the first the residents of Henrietta Street were predominantly tradesmen although until the mid seventeenth century three or four persons of title were usually to be found living there. (fn. 2) In 1633 the occupants included two shoemakers and four licensed victuallers. (fn. 10) When in 1667 shops were first generally specified as such in the parish ratebooks five appear in Henrietta Street, and within three years this number had doubled. (fn. 2)

The character of the street in the early eighteenth century is described by Strype as being 'generally taken up by eminent Tradesmen, as Mercers, Lacemen, Drapers, etc'. (fn. 8) Mortimer's Universal Director of 1763 lists twelve inhabitants:—a surgeon, a baker, a linen draper, a mercer, two stockbrokers, three apothecaries and three artists. In addition to the three artists listed by Mortimer several others were resident in the street during the eighteenth century, the most notable being Samuel Scott who lived at No. 2, overlooking the Piazza, from 1747 to 1758. (fn. 2) There were still as many as five artists and engravers with addresses in Henrietta Street as late as 1816. (fn. 11)

The Post Office Directory for 1850 lists a miscellany of trades, surprisingly none of them connected with the market, as well as a number of professional and private inhabitants. But only eight years later the lessee of No. 8 declined to spend any more on his house 'ornamentally' because 'the neighbourhood is all becoming "shops" and … "House property" I think is on the decline in this quarter'. (fn. 12) In the latter part of the nineteenth century there was a great influx of publishers into the street. When Williams and Norgate, the foreign-book publishers, had their premises at No. 14 rebuilt in 1874 The Builder commented that Henrietta Street 'is now fast becoming the Paternoster-row of the West End'. (fn. 13) The number of publishers has since diminished and although the number of firms connected with the market has increased Henrietta Street has been less overwhelmed by the business of the market than some of the other streets in Covent Garden.

Since the 1880's, when the Bedford estate suppressed the Unicorn tavern at No. 37, there has been no public house in Henrietta Street although in the mid eighteenth century there were five. (fn. 14) It was in the Rummer tavern at No. 13 that the patentees and lessees of Drury Lane Theatre met in March 1733/4 to settle their differences. (fn. 15) The Castle tavern on the north corner with Bedford Street (fn. 16) (formerly the Cross Keys) was the scene in 1772 of Sheridan's duel with Mr. Matthews after the latter had insulted Sheridan with an advertisement in The Bath Chronicle. (fn. 17) In 1774 the Castle, together with an adjoining alehouse called the Bedford Head, was converted into showrooms and a warehouse for William Duesbury and Company, the Derby china manufacturers. (fn. 18)

The first coffee house to be recorded in Henrietta Street was Braxton's which opened in 1702 at No. 24. In 1715 it became Rawthmell's coffee house when John Rawthmell succeeded Edward Braxton as ratepayer. (fn. 19) After the rebuilding of the north side of the street in 1729–30 John Rawthmell re-opened his coffee house at No. 25, and it was here on 22 March 1754 that the meeting was held which led to the foundation of the Royal Society of Arts. (fn. 20) In 1807 William Cornelius Offley opened a tavern and eating house at No. 23, subsequently moving by 1843 to No. 24. (fn. 21) Offley's was noted for its Burton ale and its chops, served with shredded shalots. In 1865 Timbs recommended Offley's because it was free from 'pictures, placards, landscape paperhangings or vulgar coffee room finery, to disturb one's relish of the good things there provided …'. (fn. 22)

Ratepaying occupants in Henrietta Street include: Dr. Hinchloe, 1633–5; Lady Windsor, 1633–c. 1641; Sir William Cope, 1634; Thomas Erskine, first Earl of Kellie, c. 1634–6; William Herbert, first Baron Powis, 1634–7; William, Viscount Monson of Castlemaine, 1634–5, 1637–40, 1643–55, member of the Long Parliament; Sir Henry or Humphrey Croft(s), 1635–6; Sir John Cope, 1637–c. 1638; Sir Lewis Dives, 1637–c. 1641, royalist; Sir John Hamilton, 1637; Captain Witham, 1637; Francis Annesley, first Baron Mountnorris, c. 1640–c. 1645, Irish politician; Sir John Baker, c. 1640–3; Robert Long, c. 1640–3, royalist; 'Lord Ruthen', 1643; Anthony Nichols, 1644–5, member of the Long Parliament; Lady Covett, 1645; Sir William Litton, 1647, member of the Long Parliament; Lady Verney, c. 1647–50; Samuel Cooper, c. 1650–72, miniature painter; Colonel Thomas Lister, 1650, member of the Long Parliament; Lady Mary Wooton, c. 1650–7; Dr. (Sir) John Baber, 1652–70, physician; Sir Edward Greaves, 1654–80, physician; Lady Castlehaven, 1657; Sir George Booth, later first Lord Delamere, 1660–3; Lady Jennings, 1661–2; Sir Allen Apsley, 1662–4, royalist leader; Charles Hart, 1665, actor; Valentine Oldis, 1666–9, poet; Captain Samuel Boughe (Baughey), 1669–72, 1676–8; Sir Philip Mathews, 1671–5; Sir John Osborne, 1672–5; John Partridge, 1677–8, astrologer and almanac-maker; Sir Anth. St. Leger, 1679–80; Lady St. Leger, 1681–2; Edward Luttrell, 1682, ? crayon painter and mezzotint engraver; John Eccles, 1705, ? musical composer; 'Mr. Vandervert', c. 1709–11, probably John Vander Vaart, painter and mezzotint engraver; Lord Aylmer, 1721–7; Sir George Browne, 1722–8; Dr. Thomas Pellatt, 1732–44, physician; Thomas King, 1742–53, ? portrait painter; Samuel Scott, 1747–58, marine painter; Nathaniel Hone, 1748–51, ? painter; (Sir) Robert Strange, 1754–61, engraver; John Eccardt, 1760–79, portrait painter; Dr. George Fordyce, 1768–71, physician; William Duesbury and Company, 1774–99, Derby china manufacturers, and Duesbury and Keene, 1800–6; Richard Crosse, 1779, miniature painter; Thomas Attwood, 1801–16, musician; Maria Foote, 1822– 1830, actress; Lewis Doxat, 1829–56, journalist; Rev. George Hull Bowers, 1832–48, rector of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, and later Dean of Manchester; Henry George Bohn, 1844–7, bookseller and publisher; Lovell Augustus Reeve, 1850–65, conchologist; Alexander Macmillan, 1859–64, publisher; Frederick Vokes, 1870–85, actor and dancer.

Nos. 1 and 2 Henrietta Street and 25 Southampton Street

This corner building overlooking the Piazza was erected in 1876–8 under an eighty-one-year Bedford lease granted to The Investment Company Limited for the building of a 'first class hotel'. It was opened in 1881 as the Covent Garden Hotel (fn. 23) (Plate 48b).

This was the first of six buildings erected around the Piazza between 1876 and 1890, the elevational drawings of which were either supplied by the ninth Duke of Bedford's consultant architect, Henry Clutton, or in some degree related to his designs (see pages 81–2). There was some delay in constructing the new building because of a dispute between the lessee's architect, William Wimble, and the Duke's consultant, Clutton, over the designs and the materials. The Duke had requested that Clutton, who was then working on the restoration of St. Paul's Church, should 'also be consulted upon the designs for buildings adjoining the Market'. Wimble was obliged to abandon his own elevations for the Henrietta Street and Southampton Street fronts in favour of new ones prepared by Clutton. But when Clutton insisted that no Bath stone should be used for the front, only 'the best brown Portland stone', Wimble protested that his clients would not bear the extra cost as it was not required by the building agreement. At this point the Bedford Office, fearing litigation, recommended that the Duke should pay half the extra cost of using Portland stone to 'rescue the design from the depreciated appearance which it would present should the lessees be able to assert the right they claim to dispense altogether with the use of stone'. (fn. 24)

The builders were Scrivener and White of Fitzroy Road, Regent's Park. (fn. 25)

Clutton's elevations for the buildings surrounding the Piazza were perceptively described at the time as 'Henri deux approaching Henri quatre'. (fn. 26) Containing a basement, five storeys and a mansard attic, this building has a north front to Henrietta Street, four windows wide, and an east front to Southampton Street, six windows wide. The first two storeys are faced with Portland stone in channel-jointed blocks, but unlike Clutton's other fronts around the Piazza this one is not arcaded. Each ground-storey window has a moulded architrave broken by rustic blocks, and a triple keyblock that rises through the pulvinated frieze and bed-mouldings of the cornice. The entrance at the east end of the Henrietta Street front is flanked by Tuscan pilasters, but the office entrance at the south end of the east front is a simple opening in the rusticated face, its straightarched voussoired head having a large keystone carved with a lion's head. The second (mezzanine) storey windows have moulded architraves with side lugs top and bottom. A narrow moulded architrave, plain frieze and dentilled cornice crowns the rusticated face, but the stonework is carried up to form a blocking or plinth to the three-storeyed upper face. This is of fine red brick, with stone dressings to the windows, all of which have moulded architraves with re-entrant angles at the heads to accommodate the guttae of elongated triglyphs finished, in the third and fourth storeys, with square brackets supporting bow-shaped sills which also serve as cornicehoods to the windows below. These vertically linked windows are joined horizontally by moulded sill-bands in the fourth and fifth storeys, and by a plain frieze below the crowning cornice. The balustraded parapet is broken by stone dormer windows, each having a segmental pediment resting on elongated consoles. Tall chimney-stacks with brick shafts flank the four dormers of the east front, and the corner dies of the parapet are surmounted by low urns.

Nos. 3 and 4 Henrietta Street

Both these houses (Plate 84a) were built in 1780–1 after a fire. No new building leases were granted but the fifth Duke of Bedford extended the term of the already existing leases by eleven and a half years.

At No. 3 the lessee at the time of the fire was John Bellamy of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, a mercer, but after rebuilding the house was occupied by Herbert Laurence. (fn. 27) It is a conventionally planned terrace house containing a basement and four storeys. The front, which is three windows wide, was originally plain, but its brown stock brickwork was ornamented with stucco dressings in 1876–7 by W. Limbird. (fn. 28) The stucco face of the ground storey is mock-jointed to resemble stonework, and the windows have moulded architraves broken by vermiculated keystones. The tall windows of the second storey have panelled aprons flanked by foliated scrolls, panelled jambs, and pedimented hoods, segmental between triangular, resting on small enriched consoles. There is also a triangular pediment, without consoles, above the middle window of the third storey, where the side windows have cornices. The fourth-storey windows have moulded architraves rising from the sillband. The front is finished with a boldly moulded dentil cornice and an open balustrade.

The artificial stone doorcase probably dates from about 1800 and has an elegant neo-classical character. The round-arched opening has plain jambs and a moulded archivolt rising from cornice imposts. The flanking pilaster-strips have panelled shafts with half paterae at the top. Above these are ornamented impost blocks, supporting shallow consoles decorated with horizontal fluting on either side of a beaded moulding. The entablature consists of a fluted frieze with a central oval patera and projecting stops, also with paterae, below a mutule cornice. The deeply recessed door is of an early eighteenth-century pattern, with six raised-and-fielded panels in moulded framing. There is nothing of interest within the house.

At No. 4 the lessee at the time of the fire was Daniel Jennings of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, a tailor, who continued to occupy the house after rebuilding it. (fn. 29) It was rebuilt with different storey heights to those of its neighbour, No. 3, but its four-storeyed front is finished with the same bold dentilled cornice and open balustraded parapet. In 1865 the original brickwork of the front was entirely faced with Portland cement (now painted) for the occupier, a fruit salesman. (fn. 30) The ground storey contains a round-arched doorway to the west of an open straight-headed shop front, both openings being flanked by rusticated piers. The three windows of the second storey are each dressed with an eared architrave, pulvinated frieze and dentilled cornice. Each third-storey window has a moulded architrave, lugged at the angles, and an enriched cornice, these last being linked by a bandcourse. The three fourth-storey windows have moulded architraves, lugged at each angle, and a narrow frieze underlines the crowning cornice, already mentioned above. There are no interesting features within the house.

Nos. 5–8 (consec.) Henrietta Street

Behind nineteenth-century stucco fronts are the remains here of four eighteenth-century houses built in 1730–1 after two of the previous houses on the site had collapsed (Plates 80a, 80b, 84b, fig. 42).

On 19 June 1730 the Daily Courant reported:— 'Yesterday between Twelve and One o'clock two old Houses [Nos. 5 and 6] fell down in Henriettastreet, Covent Garden … a third House adjoining [No. 7] was much damaged by their Fall. The People being alarm'd some Minutes before by their Cracking got out; but 'tis said that an elderly woman that was come to visit annother there is missing; and 'tis fear'd that a stranger that was at the Door was killed by that sad Accident.' (fn. 31)

The Duke of Bedford's steward was out of London at the time and so the job of placating the tenants fell to his assistant, Joseph Willoughby, who recommended that Nos. 5–8 should be entirely rebuilt (No. 8, although not mentioned in the newspapers, was also in a 'ruinous condition'). Willoughby, who did not have the authority to make the necessary agreements, was afraid that if there were any delay in granting the new leases 'we should lose the Summer for the Rebuilding'. His point was apparently appreciated for two weeks later the Duke executed four building leases, each for sixty years at an annual rent of £20. (fn. 32)

The lessees were: No. 5, Francis Child of Lincoln's Inn Fields, esquire, the assignee of the previous occupant; No. 6, John James of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, bricklayer; No. 7, Edward Emily of New Inn, gentleman; and No. 8, John Salt of St. Paul's, mercer. Each lessee covenanted to rebuild within one year a house of equal height and even front with the adjoining houses, using well-burnt bricks and good mortar. The fronts of the new houses were to be 24 feet wide; other dimensions had to correspond with those set out for houses of the second rate in the Act of Parliament of 1667 for rebuilding the City. (fn. 33) All four houses were actually built by the bricklayer, John James. (fn. 34) The first occupants were:— No. 5, Anthony Wright, a banker, 1732–82; No. 6, Dr. Thomas Pellatt, the physician, 1732–44; No. 7, Edward Emily, 1732–60; No. 8, John Salt, 1732–4. (fn. 2)

During most of the nineteenth century Nos. 5–6 were occupied by a succession of banks. The present Portland cement front, designed by W. G. Bartleet, was erected in 1873 for the London and County Bank. (fn. 35)

The most striking feature of Nos. 7–8, the ground-floor front, probably dates from 1813 when the leases of both houses were renewed. (fn. 36) The upper storeys of No. 8 were refaced in 1859 for G. S. Ford, a solicitor. (fn. 37) No. 7, which has a matching front, was probably refaced about the same time. From 1832 to c. 1934 No. 7 was occupied as the rectory house of the parish, the Duke of Bedford having exchanged it for the old rectory house in James Street. (fn. 38)

Nos. 5–6 and 7–8 are paired houses with mirrored plans, conventionally arranged with the entrance passage and staircase on one side of the front and back rooms. The proportions of the segmentally arched window-openings indicate that the brick fronts were originally typical of the 1730's, but each pair now presents a uniformly treated front of eclectic Italianate character, resulting from the Victorian refacing in Portland cement.

At Nos. 5–6 the channel-coursed ground storey has an entrance doorway on either side of the four windows, which have segmental heads but are framed by round arches, their moulded archivolts rising from rusticated Doric pilasters. The straight-headed doorways are simply dressed with cornice-hoods on consoles. A dentilled cornice, extending above the ground storey, provides a plinth for the plain architraves of the second-storey windows which are finished with pediments resting on enriched consoles. The second pediment from each end is segmental, the rest triangular. The third-storey windows also have plain architraves rising from a moulded sillband, and are finished with cornices resting on enriched consoles. In the fourth storey the window architraves are moulded, lugged top and bottom, and have segmental heads broken by keystones that rise to meet the dentilled cornice crowning the front.

Both houses have been greatly altered inside, and the forming of a banking hall on the ground floor has necessitated partial removal of the party wall. The second-storey rooms in No. 5 retain much of their original finishings, having carved and enriched chimneypieces, doors and doorcases, and window embrasures of the 1730's. Enriched cornices surround the plain ceilings.

The original brick fronts of Nos. 7–8 were uniformly refaced, the ground storey with painted stucco, and the upper part with Portland cement. In each house the two round-arched windows of the ground storey are set in a plain face coursed with channelled joints, the arches broken by slightly projecting keyblocks. The eight-panelled entrance door of each house is recessed within a handsome doorcase of Greek Ionic design, composed of two fluted columns supporting an entablature. The upper part of the front is eclectic Italianate in style and generally similar to Nos. 5–6, except that all the windows are provided with heavy stone sills projecting on plain consoles. The Victorian sashes are recessed in segmentally arched openings, those of the second storey being dressed with plain architraves and panelled heads finished with cornice-hoods resting on scrollconsoles. In the upper two storeys the openings have plain architraves lugged at the head and broken by small keyblocks. A heavy cornice, with dentils and plain modillions, extends unbroken across the two fronts, which are finished with a blocking-course.

The best internal feature of No. 8 is the handsome staircase of 1730–1. This rises on either side of a narrow well and its railing is formed of turned and twisted column-and-urn balusters, two to each tread, rising from cut strings dressed with carved scroll step-ends, to support a heavy moulded handrail. The newels, in pairs, are turned in the form of fluted Doric columns. Above the second floor the railing is of a plainer form, with simply turned balusters rising from moulded closed strings. The compartment walls are lined to dado height with raised panels in ovolo-moulded framing, and the half-landings between the ground, first and second floors open through arches to small compartments, each lit by three Gothick sash windows of early nineteenth-century character. The original dividing wall between the ground-floor rooms has been replaced by a screen of two Greek Doric columns, having partly fluted shafts. Original panelling is still exposed in the back room, but the front room is now lined with book-shelves. In the upper storeys the front rooms are generally decorated in the neoGrecian taste of the 1830's, but the back rooms still have their original panelling.

Figure 42:

No. 8 Henrietta Street, staircase detail

The staircase of No. 7 is similar to that of No. 8, but the panelled dado and wooden cornices have been removed. Some rooms retain the original panelling, although the box-cornices have generally been replaced by plasterwork. The firstfloor front rooms are the best, having raised-andfielded panelling in ovolo-moulded framing, below a modillioned cornice enriched with an egg-anddart moulding. The original chimneypieces have all been replaced with later examples, generally of late Regency character.

Nos. 9 and 10 Henrietta Street

Both these buildings are basically early eighteenth-century houses of the 'best second rate', with mid nineteenth-century stucco fronts. The ground storeys of both have subsequently been altered.

No. 9 was erected in 1726–7 under a sixtyone-year Bedford building lease granted to Peter Guerin, a mercer of the parish; Guerin himself was the first occupant. (fn. 39) In 1839 the house was leased to Thomas Warne, an army and navy contractor, who on renewing his lease in 1861 put in a shop front and refaced the building with Portland cement to match No. 10. (fn. 40)

No. 10 was erected in 1726 under a sixty-oneyear building lease granted to Samuel Denton of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, linen draper. The first occupant was a Mr. Bedford Loddington. (fn. 41) Between 1807 and 1816 the house was occupied by the bankers Austen, Maunde and Tilson, of whom Jane Austen's brother Henry was a partner; the novelist herself stayed here with her brother in 1813 and 1814. (fn. 42)

In 1855 a Portland cement front, designed by James Lockyer, was put up for the lessee, Lewis Solomon, a fruit salesman. (fn. 43) By 1930 the building had been acquired by St. Peter's Hospital for use as a pathology laboratory, museum and nurses' hostel. It is now the Institute of Urology. The building was adapted for the Institute by D. Jefferiss Mathews in 1954. (fn. 44)

Both houses are four storeys high and have fronts three windows wide. In the hall of No. 9 the opening to the stair compartment is dressed with a pair of fluted Doric pilasters, each surmounted by an architrave and frieze supporting a corniced beam, the soffit of which has three small rectangular coffers. The best original feature of the house is the staircase, with cut strings, bracket step-ends, three twisted balusters to a tread, column-newels and a moulded handrail. Above the second-floor landing the staircase takes on a plainer form with simply turned balusters, and the full-height, ovolo-moulded panelling is reduced to dado-height. The second- and thirdfloor rooms are panelled and on the third floor there is an early eighteenth-century chimneypiece, its ovolo-moulded surround carved with bead-andreel ornament and a shell-leaf motif.

The interior of No. 10 has little of interest save for the original staircase. This has two differing types of turned baluster, two to a tread, the change of type occurring at second-floor level. The bracketed step-ends are similar to those at No. 9, as is the panelling in the stair compartment. The second-floor rooms retain features of interest, the front room having its original panelling and box-cornice, and the main rear room a chimneypiece of Adam character.

Nos. 12 and 13 Henrietta Street and 31 and 32 Maiden Lane

This building extends south from Henrietta Street to a rear frontage in Maiden Lane. It was erected in 1876–9 under a seventy-year Bedford building lease to the designs of Messrs. Pennington and Bridges for Richard Michell, the proprietor of Ashley's Hotel, which had occupied No. 13 since about 1857. (fn. 45) The builder was W. Hearn of Craven Terrace, Lancaster Gate. W. S. Cross, the Bedford Office surveyor, criticised the elevations for their sparse fenestration but he did not insist on any alterations. (fn. 46) The Henrietta Street front incorporates the monogram of the hotel.

The building is conspicuous for its large-scaled front, designed in a debased Italianate style and built in white brick with stone dressings. There are four lofty storeys, each upper one containing three widely spaced windows. The central doorway, its richly moulded frame set in a channelled face, is flanked by three-light windows. The second-storey windows are dressed with moulded architraves and segmental pediments, the middle window being set in a slightly projecting face. The third storey is similarly treated though less elaborately, the side windows being dressed with Doric columns supporting entablatures. The fourth storey is finished with a high bracketed cornice, with segmental pediments above the three windows. Three stone dormers, with round-arched windows, light the mansard attic.

The front to Maiden Lane is similar in scale but more simply treated, the projecting threelight window of the second storey providing the chief interest.

Nos. 14 Henrietta Street and 30 Maiden Lane

This building, which also extends south to Maiden Lane, was erected in 1874–5 under a proposal for a seventy-year Bedford building lease granted in January 1874 to Sydney Williams, esquire, of Messrs. Williams and Norgate, the publishers and booksellers: the architect was R. E. Worsley. The elaborate shop front, executed in freestone and oak by Mr. Hockley of Kensington, was thought sufficiently interesting to warrant an illustration in The Builder. (fn. 47)

Nos. 15 and 16 Henrietta Street and 28 and 29 Maiden Lane

This building, also backing on to Maiden Lane, was erected in 1887–8 under a proposal for an eighty-year Bedford building lease granted in November 1886 to William Howard of The Grove, Teddington, a builder: the architect was H. E. Pollard. (fn. 48)

Nos. 15 and 16 are paired premises which share a four-storeyed front of florid Anglo-Dutch Renaissance style, built in red brick with dressings of moulded brick and terra-cotta. Above the shop fronts, the principal stage of two storeys is treated as two shallow three-light bays projecting between crudely detailed Ionic pilasters, supporting an entablature that follows the profile of the bays. The fourth-storey face, with two windows to each house, is divided by pilasters with tapered shafts and surmounted by two scroll-sided and pedimented gables.

The Maiden Lane front is a simplified version of the main front, with Doric pilasters dividing the two wide bays, each containing three windows, wide between narrow, to each upper storey. The pediments to the scroll-sided gables appear to have been altered.

Nos. 17 and 18 Henrietta Street

These paired premises share a front of four storeys, eclectic early Renaissance in character, built in red brick with stone dressings. They were designed by J. T. Woodward and erected in 1891–2 under a proposal for an eighty-year Bedford building lease granted to W. A. and J. H. Colls of Coleman Street, City, the builders and contractors. Pearson's Weekly was the first occupant. (fn. 49) The two shop fronts are set in a panelled framing of blue and green mottled faience, and the second storey contains one large round-angled window to each house. The twostoreyed upper face is divided by Ionic pilasters into two bays, each three windows wide, and the main cornice is surmounted by two curvilinear gables, finished with small broken pediments.

No. 22 Henrietta Street

This handsome building, originally called Woburn Chambers and now known as Alginate House, was erected as a block of professional or business apartments in 1857–8 (Plate 71a). The architect was Charles Gray, the builder E. Rowlands of Islington, and the executant of the distinctive stone carving J. W. Seale of Lambeth. (fn. 50) Gray had prepared designs by March 1856 when an eighty-year Bedford building lease of the site to him had been drafted, (fn. 51) but he evidently made over his lien on the site (presumably for financial backing) to Charles Poland, an architect and surveyor, of Margaret Street, St. Marylebone, to whom the lease was eventually granted in January 1858. (fn. 52)

Gray, who in 1856 was aged about twentyeight, was seemingly launched on a successful career. At eighteen he had been co-founder of the Architectural Association, and enjoyed some prominence among the young and ambitious eclectic designers of the 1850's. (fn. 53) His address in 1856 was given as Buckingham Street, Strand (where at No. 22 a good example of his work in brick can still be seen), but by 1857 he was established in Covent Garden, in Tavistock Chambers (now demolished) which he had recently designed, on the east corner of Southampton and Tavistock Streets: (fn. 54) that building was similar in massing to this, but had Venetian Gothic details. A less acceptable example of Gray's work can be seen in Covent Garden, at Nos. 11–13 Burleigh Street and No. 20 Tavistock Street, where his characteristic carved ornamentation appears.

The designs for Woburn Chambers were shown at the Architectural Exhibition in Suffolk Street in 1857 and 1858. Like others of Gray's works the building enjoyed a prominent corner site, but where his previous buildings had been in polychromatic brick or variegated materials this was a design in cement. The Builder commented that, as in his work generally, Woburn Chambers exhibited 'something to interest the observer', and gave qualified praise to the novelty, verging on eccentricity, of his details. But the want of good proportions was noticed. (fn. 55)

Subsequently Gray, who in the early 1850's had evidently had an interest in a firm of estate agents and auctioneers, Wren and Charles Gray, (fn. 56) took to 'building speculation', in which he was not successful. At his death many years later The Builder published a respectful obituary. Recollecting his early success, it lamented that he had 'to be numbered amongst those who have left a family unprovided for'. (fn. 57)

Alginate House dominates the northern corner of Henrietta and Bedford Streets by its bold scale and striking composition. Four storeys high, both fronts are alike in having three windows to each of the principal storeys, though they are closely grouped in Bedford Street and widely spaced in Henrietta Street. Recalling in its massing and general character a quattrocento Florentine palazzo, Gray's design owes something to Sir Charles Barry and to John Ruskin but generally reflects his own individual eclecticism. There are three well-defined stages, each less high than that below. The first lofty stage embraces two storeys and is strongly bounded by massive piers of channel-jointed courses rising from a high plain plinth. The ground-storey windows, their straight heads surmounted by lunettes modelled with floral and cereal motifs, are flanked by plain-shafted pilasters having foliage caps below richly modelled trusses that rise to support flat projecting hoods, originally furnished with ornamental iron window-guards. The round-arched doorway, centred in Henrietta Street, is prominently framed by engaged columns, matching with the pilasters. The pilasters flanking the second-storey windows are without caps but also carry trusses to support a dentilled cornice, which also serves as a sill for the third-storey windows. The wall face of the second stage is plain, but the round-arched windows there are recessed with moulded reveals in arches having boldly moulded archivolts, rising from plain pilasters with foliated caps. A heavy plain bandcourse underlines the third stage containing the fourth-storey windows. These are small and are set in a continuous arcade, its moulded archivolts having narrow keyblocks and rising from a foliated impost, now reduced to a cavetto on the Henrietta Street front. The crowning cornicione is the dominating feature of the whole composition, its corona boldly projecting to rest on concaveprofiled brackets that spring from a corbel-table of small trefoils. Above the blocking-course rise two of the original three chimney-stacks, each finished with a corbelled cornice.

An engraving of 1858 shows a doorway centred in the Bedford Street front, (fn. 58) but if this ever existed no trace of it remains.

Nos. 23 and 24 Henrietta Street

This building was erected in 1885–6 under a seventy-five-year Bedford building lease granted in 1886 to Spencer Chadwick, the architect. The lessee himself was presumably responsible for the design of the building, which was first occupied in 1887 by the Theatrical Mission Institute. (fn. 59)

Despite recent alterations to the ground storey, and the earlier addition of ill-designed dormers above the attic storey, the front still impresses as a charming and scholarly composition in the Dutch-derived Renaissance style of the 1660's (Plate 71a). It is finely executed in plain and moulded red brick, except for the stone bases and capitals of the Ionic order of pilasters dividing the second and third storeys into four equal bays, each one window wide. The second-storey windows are each dressed with a moulded architrave, pulvinated frieze, and triangular pediment that rises against the projecting apron of the window above, which is dressed with a moulded architrave only. Between the window-architraves and the Ionic pilasters are narrow margins of rusticated brickwork. A plain frieze and moulded cornice, broken forwards above each pilaster, completes the order. Short rusticated pilasters are used to divide the attic storey, where each bay contains a window framed by a moulded architrave. A secondary entablature of frieze and cornice extends across the attic, below the added dormers. All the windows are appropriately furnished with barred sashes.

Nos. 25–29 (consec.) Henrietta Street: St. Peter's Hospital for Stone

This hospital, founded by public subscription in 1860 at No. 42 Great Marylebone Street, (fn. 1) was originally called The Hospital for Stone. Its name was changed to St. Peter's Hospital for Stone in 1863 when the hospital moved to No. 54 Berners Street, where it remained until removing to Henrietta Street in 1882 (fn. 60) (Plate 62d).

In March 1880 the Bedford Office agreed to grant an eighty-year building lease of a site in Henrietta Street which had become vacant with the demolition of some old houses. (fn. 61) The new building, of which only the upper storeys were to be used by the hospital, was designed by J. M. Brydon subject to the approval of Henry Clutton, the ninth Duke's consultant architect. (fn. 62) Clutton required several alterations to be made to Brydon's submitted designs, which were approved by the Bedford Office in February 1881. One of the requirements was that the building should be planned to permit its possible future conversion into 'separate dwellings or chambers in flats'. (fn. 63) The hospital was erected in 1881–2 by M. Patrick and Son of Westminster Bridge Road, (fn. 64) builders, and opened on 29 June 1882 by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. (fn. 65) The ground lease was executed in December 1885, for seventy-five years from March 1885 at an annual rent of £200. (fn. 66)

As originally built the ground floor of the hospital was occupied by shops, but as the demand for more beds increased the shops were displaced and by 1928 the hospital occupied the whole building. By 1930 the interior had been entirely remodelled and a new out-patients' department constructed on the ground floor. The limitations of the site precluded any further expansion on the north side of Henrietta Street and the hospital later acquired a house opposite on the south side of the street. (fn. 67)

J. M. Brydon's drawings show that St. Peter's Hospital was planned with two shops on either side of the central hall and staircase. On the first floor were consulting rooms, out-patients' waiting rooms, staff offices and, at the west end, a small ward. The second floor was divided into two large wards, sharing a nurses' room opposite the staircase, and on the third floor were two small wards, an operating theatre, and a flat for the warden. Bedrooms for the nurses and other staff were located in the attic storey. The building was to be constructed with fireproof floors and extra thick walls to allow for the possible conversion into suites of residential chambers mentioned above.

The Henrietta Street front is a distinguished example of the 'Queen Anne' style introduced by Norman Shaw. It is built of red brick with some architectural enrichment of rubbed and carved brickwork. Portland stone is used for the plinth, the dressings of the doorways and some of the windows, and for the cornices. The composition is divided horizontally into three well-defined stages, and vertically into wide wings extending between narrow central and end pavilions, the former emphasized by a projecting bay window in the second stage, the latter carried up as ogeecapped towers. The first stage originally contained four shop fronts as well as the central and end doorways to the hospital. The main entrance, in the centre, is emphasized by its dressing of Doric columns with blocked shafts. The second stage, of two storeys, is dressed with a widely spaced Ionic order of pilasters, dividing each wing into two bays, each two windows wide, and sustaining a simple entablature. The third stage, of one storey, is similarly dressed with a secondary order which supports the main entablature, with its bold modillioned cornice. Above this rises the steeply pitched tiled roof, with large dormers and a central cupola surmounted by a weather-vane. The central pavilion is finished with a pedimented Dutch gable.

The treatment of the windows is of interest, reflecting more strongly than anything else the influence exerted by Shaw. On the ground, first and second storeys, the windows are a curiously successful compromise between sash and casement. The opening lights themselves are in the form of vertically sliding sashes, but in front of these are placed bold mullions and transoms, and it is the pattern of these that dominates the front. For the third floor a different form of window, much used by Shaw, was adopted: a wide, roundheaded centre light set between two rectangular side lights, the whole divided vertically by a strong transom at the springing level of the arch.

The front to St. Paul's churchyard is plain, the only relief in the yellow stock brickwork being given by the cornice, stringcourses and windowarches of red brick. The windows are similar to those of the Henrietta Street front, although the centrally placed staircase is lighted by tall plain sash windows.

No. 34 Henrietta Street

This corner block with an east front to the Piazza (Plate 48b) was erected in 1889–90 for The London and County Banking Company Limited under an agreement between the bank and the ninth Duke of Bedford for an eighty-year building lease made in October 1888. (fn. 68) The architect was Alfred Williams, who had recently designed new premises for the Kensington branch of the Bank, and the builder was James Morter. (fn. 69)

This was the last of the six buildings erected around the Piazza between 1876 and 1890, the elevational drawings of which were either supplied by the Duke's consultant architect, Henry Clutton, or (as in this case) in some degree related to his designs (see page 82). The Henrietta Street front has a stone-faced 'portico stage' with four arcaded bays extending between two pedimented doorways. Each end window of the six in the third storey is elaborately emphasized as a projecting bay, but otherwise the upper part of this front is treated in the same manner as the two-bay front to the west side of the Piazza. This front was designed to provide an almost exact match with the building erected in 1883–5, on the south-east corner of King Street, north of St. Paul's Church: it is described on page 153.


  • 1. This site is now No. 34 New Cavendish Street.
  • 2. R.B.
  • 3. E/BER, Rental, 1637.
  • 4. Ibid., King Street, lease of 20 Aug. 1631 to T. Turney.
  • 5. Ibid., Henrietta Street, leases of 23 Nov. 1632 and 16 July 1633 to W. Newton and E. Palmer respectively.
  • 6. R.B.; E/BER, Henrietta Street, building leases, passim.
  • 7. P.R.O., C5/78/63.
  • 8. John Strype, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, vol. 11, bk. VI, p. 93.
  • 9. R.B.; B.O.L., Contract Book 2, pp. 9–38; E/BER, Henrietta Street, building leases of 1729, passim.
  • 10. R.B.; W.P.L., F.2002, p. 143; Cal. S.P. Dom1633–4. , pp. 173, 198–9, 383; 1634–5, pp. 412–13, 423–4.
  • 11. Annals of the Fine Arts for MDCCCXVI, ed. James Elmes, 1817.
  • 12. B.O.L., Proposal Book T, no. 113a.
  • 13. The Builder, 10 April 1875, p. 323.
  • 14. G.L.R.O.(M), LV(W), 1751; CWA 1741.
  • 15. P.R.O., C11/778/28.
  • 16. G.L.R.O.(M), LV(W), passim; R.B.
  • 17. The Letters of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, ed. Cecil Price, 1966, vol. 1, pp. 27–31.
  • 18. E/BER, Misc. Estate Papers, 'An Estimate of Several Repairs and Alterations … at a House … Late the Castle Tavern, but now in the possession of Messrs. Duesbury & Co'; R.B.
  • 19. R.B.; Bryant Lillywhite, London Coffee Houses, 1963, pp. 130, 477–8.
  • 20. Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, vol. LVIII, 1910, pp. 384–5.
  • 21. R.B.; P.O.D.
  • 22. John Timbs, Walks & Talks about London, 1865, p. 181.
  • 23. M.L.R. 1878/23/471; B.O.L., London Reports, vol. 1, p. 279; P.O.D.
  • 24. E/BER, plan list 4, no. 13; B.O.L., London Reports, vol. 1, pp. 279, 488.
  • 25. G.L.R.O.(L), M.B.W., District Surveyors' Returns, 1657, St. Martin's and Soho, no. 75.
  • 26. The Builder, 24 Aug. 1878, p. 875.
  • 27. E/BER, Henrietta Street, lease of 11 June 1781 to J. Bellamy; R.B.
  • 28. G.L.R.O.(L), M.B.W., District Surveyors' Returns, 1659, Holborn and E. Strand, no. 171.
  • 29. E/BER, Henrietta Street, lease of 11 June 1781 to D. Jennings; R.B.
  • 30. E/BER, Henrietta Street, lease of 13 Nov. 1865 to D. D. Pankhurst.
  • 31. Daily Courant, 19 June 1730.
  • 32. B.O.L., Correspondence, Willoughby to Smith, 27 June 1730.
  • 33. E/BER, Henrietta Street, leases of 9, 10 and 11 July 1730 to F. Child, J. James and J. Salt respectively; B.O.L., Contract Book 2, p. 50.
  • 34. Inventory and account of estate of John James, deceased, formerly at Flaxley Abbey, Glos., now in possession of B. H. Blackwell, Ltd., Oxford, by whose courtesy it was inspected.
  • 35. B.O.L., Proposal Book W, no. 117.
  • 36. E/BER, Henrietta Street, leases of 23 and 24 Aug. 1813 to G. Dickinson and R. Haughton respectively.
  • 37. B.O.L., Proposal Book T, no. 113a.
  • 38. W.P.L., H.840, p. 137; R.B.; P.O.D.; B.O.L., Muniment Register, vol. III, p. 54, bundle 19, nos. 12–13.
  • 39. E/BER, Henrietta Street, lease of 15 April 1726 to P. Guerin; R.B.
  • 40. E/BER, Henrietta Street, leases of 1 July 1839 and 7 Nov. 1861 to T. Warne; B.O.L., Proposal Book U, no. 50.
  • 41. E/BER, Henrietta Street, lease of 15 April 1726 to S. Denton; R.B.
  • 42. Jane Austen's Letters, ed. R. W. Chapman, 2nd ed. 1952, passim; Winifred Watson, Jane Austen in London, 1960, pp. 5–6.
  • 43. B.O.L., Proposal Book S, no. 102.
  • 44. Clifford Morson (ed.), St. Peter's Hospital for Stone 1860–1960, 1960, pp. 9–10.
  • 45. M.L.R. 1877/31/954, 1879/13/16; G.L.R.O. (L), M.B.W. District Surveyors' Returns, 1659, Holborn and E. Strand, no. 67; P.O.D.
  • 46. E/BER, plan list 2, no. 47.
  • 47. The Builder, 10 April 1875, pp. 322–3; B.O.L., Proposal Book 1, no. 51a; E/BER, plan list 2, no. 48.
  • 48. B.O.L., Proposal Book for 1883–96, no. 40; E/BER, plan list 4, no. 22; G.L.R.O.(L), M.B.W., District Surveyors' Returns, 1756, Holborn and E. Strand, nos. 19–22.
  • 49. B.O.L., Proposal Book for 1883–96, no. 90; ibid., London Reports, vol. 2, p. 277; P.O.D.
  • 50. The Building News, 19 Feb. 1858, p. 190; R.B.; P.O.D.
  • 51. B.O.L., Proposal Book T, no. 19a.
  • 52. M.L.R. 1858/5/842.
  • 53. John Summerson, The Architectural Association 1847–1947, 1947, pp. 3–5, 8–9.
  • 54. The Builder, 4 July 1857, p. 374.
  • 55. Ibid., 10 Jan. 1857, p. 22, 16 Jan. 1858, p. 34.
  • 56. P.O.D.
  • 57. The Builder, 10 Sept. 1881, p. 345.
  • 58. The Building News, 19 Feb. 1858, p. 187.
  • 59. M.L.R. 1886/12/546; P.O.D.
  • 60. Morson, op. cit., pp. 1–7.
  • 61. B.O.L., Annual Report, 1880, vol. 2, p. 2.
  • 62. Ibid., loc. cit.; E/BER, plan list 3, no. 39.
  • 63. E/BER, plan list 3, no. 39.
  • 64. G.L.R.O.(L), M.B.W., District Surveyors' Returns, 1701, Holborn and E. Strand, no. 23.
  • 65. The Times, 30 June 1882.
  • 66. M.L.R. 1886/13/279.
  • 67. Morson, op. cit., pp. 7, 9–10; P.O.D.
  • 68. B.O.L., Proposal Book for 1883–96, no. 56; ibid., Annual Report, 1883, p. 176; P.O.D.
  • 69. The Builder, 30 March 1889, p. 251; Centenary of Covent Garden Branch (typescript kindly supplied by Westminster Bank); Westminster Bank Archives, 291/1, 2 and 3 (plans by Alfred Williams).