Bedford Street and Chandos Place Area: Chandos Place

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

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'Bedford Street and Chandos Place Area: Chandos Place', in Survey of London: Volume 36, Covent Garden, (London, 1970) pp. 263-265. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

In this section

Chandos Place

Plate 51c

Until 1937 this was known as Chandos Street. It takes its name from the fourth Earl of Bedford's father-in-law, the third Lord Chandos. The part comprised in the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden, extended westward from Bedford Street to include (on the north side) the eastern part of the present Peabody Estate frontage (that is, the sites of Nos. 58 and 59 Chandos Street as shown on Horwood's map) and (on the south side) approximately the eastern half of the Charing Cross Hospital frontage (that is Nos. 8– 15 consec. Chandos Street on Horwood). (fn. 1)

On the north side the site of Nos. 60–68 was granted to a single lessee, Richard Brigham, the King's coachmaker, in 1631 (see table on page 294) and was built up, with one or two gaps, in the years 1636–8. (fn. 2) On the south side most of the sites were sold by the fourth Earl in 1635 and 1637, reserving only fee-farm rents. The purchasers here included Thomas Baldwyn, perhaps the comptroller of the Office of Works, and Daniel Charlewood, the bricklayer. (fn. 3) One of the houses on this side, No. 5, had fine and distinctive woodwork that was admired by Soane and delineated by C. J. Richardson (fn. 4) (Plate 75). This was probably the house, built on ground sold by the fourth Earl to a John Browne in 1638, which appears in the ratebooks in 1644 in the occupation of a 'Mr German', succeeded in 1645 by John Trenchard, the Earl's steward. Other early occupants were probably Sir William Lister (1647) and George Kirke, esquire (c. 1648–52). By 1679, however, it seems to have become the Three Tuns tavern. It is known that by 1677 the house had a balcony, opening from the diningroom, which is mentioned in a deed of that year among the fixtures to be maintained in repair by the lessee. (fn. 5)

A few people of title occur among the early residents in the street, including Dudley, third Baron North, the courtier, littérateur and founder of Tunbridge Wells, who lived at or near No. 66 in 1647 during his service on parliamentary committees. (fn. 6) In the late 1650's the Danish agent was also rated for a house in a similar position (possibly in the vacant ground lying back from the north side).

Some idea of the character of the street in the 1660's is given by the designations of the residents in Bedford leases granted at that time. At the south-east corner, Diddier Foucaute was an apothecary: the other tenants were on the north side, and included, from west to east, a tailor, a 'gentleman' of the Inner Temple, Sir William Gideon, knight, another tailor, a coachmaker, a leather-seller, a 'chirurgeon', a 'gentleman' and a cook. (fn. 7)

The probably rather haphazard building on this side of the street occasioned considerable redevelopment under leases from the fifth Earl, particularly in the years 1685–8, when Bedford Court was laid out on the vacant ground behind the street frontage (see above).

In c. 1738 the narrow passage called Long Alley leading south to the Strand where Agar Street now runs, was rebuilt, together with adjacent frontages to Chandos Street. The site (sold by the fourth Earl in 1636–7) then belonged to William Pulteney of St. George's, Hanover Square, esquire, and in October 1737 he had concluded an agreement for the rebuilding with the architect Isaac Ware and a glazier of St. Martin's in the Fields, Charles Carne. A year later the leases of individual sites were granted. Ware and Carne were given leases of a small site fronting Chandos Street, and of two sites in Long Alley, and joined with Pulteney in granting leases of the two corner sites in Chandos Street to Thomas Paulin of Covent Garden, mercer. Ware and Carne also themselves had a lease of a site at the south-east end of Long Alley, fronting the Strand at No. 429. The eight other small sites, all on the east side of the alley, were granted by Pulteney, Ware and Carne to seven building lessees: Thomas Carter, the statuary; Leonard Phillips, timber merchant (two sites); Robert Pollard, lime merchant; John Thornhill, the serjeant painter; Thomas Wagg, smith; Stephen Whitaker, brickmaker; and William Wilton, plasterer. By 1739 Ware and Carne had mortgaged their lease of No. 429 Strand to the carver, James Richards. (fn. 8)

It was intended that the name of the passage should be changed from Long Alley to New Exchange Row but (perhaps because of the demolition of the New Exchange itself, on the south side of the Strand, at this time) that name does not seem to have been used and it is marked as Castle Court on later maps, until its replacement by Agar Street in 1830.

Ten tradesmen in the Covent Garden section of Chandos Street are listed in Mortimer's Universal Director of 1763—four mercers, a hosier, two musical-instrument makers, a jeweller, a portrait painter, and a coachmaker. In the 1850 Post Office Directory coachmakers were still listed at No. 66. There were four public houses on the north side of the street. Of the other nineteen houses, three contained printers and engravers, one a bookbinder and one a bookbinder's tool cutter.

When the Peabody Buildings were erected in 1880–1 the frontage of their site on the north side of Chandos Street, which had previously aligned with the frontage west of Bedfordbury, was set back to align with Nos. 60–68.

Ratepaying occupants in Chandos Street include: Sir William Gideon, 1640–70; John Herne, 1641, ? lawyer, counsel for defence of William Laud; Lady Tufton, 1641–c. 1647; Lady Lumpton, 1645; Lady Moore, 1645; Sir William Lister, 1647, member of the Long Parliament; Dudley North, third Baron North, 1647; Adrian Scroope, 1647, ? regicide; George Kirke, c. 1648–52, ? father of Lieutenant-General Percy Kirke, colonel of 'Kirke's Lambs'; John Trenchard, 1645, agent to the fourth Earl of Bedford, member of the Long Parliament; John Kersey, 1652–77, mathematician; 'Nich Wesson', 1653, ? Nicholas Weston, member of the Long Parliament; the Danish agent, 1656–9; Esquire Hungerford, 1659, ? (Sir) Edward Hungerford, founder of Hungerford Market, Charing Cross, member of the Long Parliament; Dr. Nisbeth, 1660–1.

Nos. 1–5 (consec.) Chandos Place

See Nos. 4–6 (consec.) Bedford Street.

Nos. 62–65 (consec.) Chandos Place

Charing Cross Hospital Medical School

These buildings were erected in 1881 (Nos. 62–63) and 1889 (Nos. 64–65), under lease from the ninth Duke of Bedford, to the designs of John J. Thomson. As first designed and built the ground floor of Nos. 64–65 accommodated the southern arm of Bedford Court, which was closed in c. 1903–4. (fn. 9)

These adjoining buildings originally had uniform fronts of red brick and terra-cotta, designed in a free Renaissance style, but the upper part of the earlier (west) front has been rebuilt in a simple utilitarian manner. The later (east) front is four storeys high and three windows wide. The rusticated ground storey is finished with a dentilled cornice, and the second storey has panels of foliage ornament beneath the windows and a heavy cornice on bold brackets above. In the top storey, set between plain pilasters, are two small round-arched windows with semi-circular basinshaped sills. The front is finished with a cornice and parapet, its centre raised and ornamented with panels, flanked by decorative shell motifs.

No. 66 Chandos Place

See Nos. 10–13 (consec.) Bedford Street.

Nos. 67 and 68 Chandos Place

This building was erected in 1866–8, although its dignified shop front is suggestive of an earlier date (Plate 58a). The builder was John Clemence of Villiers Street who held an eighty-two-year Bedford building lease from Lady Day 1866. The architect is not known. Between Clemence's acceptance of the proposed form of lease in March 1866 and its signing in August 1867 its terms were made more favourable to him, by the extension from one to two years of his peppercorn term. The first occupant of the premises was a wholesale manufacturer of leather travellingcases. (fn. 10)

The display windows and arched central doorway of the projecting shop front are flanked by panelled Doric pilasters, supporting a plain fascia and a dentilled cornice, all of painted woodwork. The three-storeyed upper part of the front is of Italianate design, executed in painted stucco.


  • 1. This is the parish boundary shown on most maps and corresponds approximately both to the extent of the parish as stated in the legal enactments by which it was constituted (i.e. 40 feet beyond the brick wall built by the third Earl in c. 1610) and to the number of houses assessed for rates by the Covent Garden authorities in Chandos Street in the 1650's and 1660's. The boundary in Chandos Street was, however, sometimes in question (e.g. in 1737), and on Bedford estate maps of 1795 and 1866 it is marked to exclude Nos. 58 and 59.
  • 2. R.B.
  • 3. B.O.L., Muniment Register II, pp. 1010–11, D, bundle 4, nos. 3, 8.
  • 4. The Builder, 2. Nov. 1844, p. 554.
  • 5. Guildford Museum and Muniment Room, 97/13/900–1.
  • 6. D.N.B.; G.E.C.
  • 7. E/BER, Chandos Street leases, passim; R.B.
  • 8. M.L.R. 1738/4/496–506; 1738/5/25–6; 1739/3/337; R.B.
  • 9. E/BER, plans lists 4 (no. 8) and 5; The Builder, 2 July 1904, p. 13.
  • 10. B.O.L., Proposal Book V, no. 66a; M.L.R. 1867/30/710; The Builder, 22 July 1865, P.529; R.B.; P.O.D.