North Audley Street: Balderton Street

Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1980.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'North Audley Street: Balderton Street', in Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings), (London, 1980) pp. 110-111. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section

Balderton Street

This street, which was named George Street until 1886, was principally laid out in the 1730's with small, rather mean houses. Their occupants were generally poor, and by the nineteenth century the street also contained warehouses, workshops and a small brewery. (fn. 1) From 1871 it was entirely rebuilt, mainly with blocks of artisans' dwellings or parochial buildings which were erected on the initiative of the vigorous vicar of St. Mark's, the Reverend J. W. Ayre.

Mayfair Court:

No. 1 Balderton Street and No. 35 North Row, of red brick and stone, was erected in 1910–11 by Walter Lawrence and Son to the designs of Taperell and Haase as a block of chambers with business premises on the ground floor. (fn. 2)

St. Mark's Mansions, Balderton Street

St. Mark's Mansions, Balderton Street (Plate 30c in vol. XXXIX), was built as a parochial institute in 1872–3 on the initiative of the Reverend J. W. Ayre, on a site which was leased by the third Marquess (later first Duke) of Westminster at a very low ground rent. The building, which is in a red-brick Gothic style with two prominent oriels, was designed by R. J. Withers and built by Matthew Allen and Son of Finsbury at a cost of £6,775. It included a soup kitchen, a church hall, premises for the parish working-men's club, a reading-room and library, model lodgings for parish workers and the teaching staff of St. Mark's Schools, and classrooms. (fn. 3)

No. 16 Balderton Street (The Polytechnic Annexe)

No. 16 Balderton Street (The Polytechnic Annexe) began its life as a parish gymnasium designed by William J. Bamber and partially erected in 1886–7 by J. M. Macey and Sons. The Reverend J. W. Ayre, the vicar of St. Mark's, who persuaded the Duke of Westminster to provide the site, was not able to raise sufficient money to complete the building, however, and it remained in an unfinished state, held on a yearly tenancy, until Ayre's death in 1898. His successor, the Reverend R. H. Hadden, was a governor of the Regent Street Polytechnic (now The Polytechnic of Central London), and he informed the Estate that the Polytechnic would be prepared to take over and adapt the building at a cost of some £5,000. Accordingly a new ninety-year lease was granted and in 1900 alterations were put in hand under the direction of W. B. Pinhey, architect and surveyor. At the same time the Polytechnic also took over part of St. Mark's Mansions and, in 1904, the former St. Mark's Schools. (fn. 4)

The Polytechnic Annexe is a four-storey building in a minimally Gothic style faced with red brick and painted stone or composition dressings. The windows and doorway on the ground floor are set within pointed arches but on the upper floors these give way to simple mullionedand-transomed windows with at the top three triangular gables decorated with a chequer-board pattern and, in the centre, heraldic shields which have been largely worn away.

Garage, Balderton Street.

This was built in 1925–6 by F. and H. F. Higgs to the designs of Wimperis and Simpson and, unusually for the Grosvenor estate, is a reinforced-concrete building which uses vestigial classical mouldings to relieve its otherwise plain lines. (fn. 5)

For Balderton Flats, Clarendon Flats and other blocks of model dwellings in the vicinity of Balderton Street, see Chapter VI.


  • 1. Ibid., 2/37: G.L.R.O. (M), TC/St. G./I: P.R.O., HO 107/133, bk. 11, f. 18.
  • 2. B.R. 2723.
  • 3. GBM 16/312, 489–90; 17/69–70, 269–71: W.C.L., Minute book of St. Mark's Institute: B. 17 Aug. 1872, p. 641; 19 July 1873, p. 571: The Times, 10 July 1873: P.P., 1903, XLIX, Endowed Charities (County of London), pp. 124–5.
  • 4. GBM 20/504, 528; 21/65; 22/34, 40; 23/45–8; 26/195, 240; 27/399, 426; 28/67–8: W.C.L., records of St. Mark's parish, papers relating to proposed gymnasium, 1886: D.S.R. 1886/258; 1900/84.
  • 5. B.A. 45113: D.S.R. 1925/300.