Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1980.
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In this section
- North Side
Nos. 1–5 (demolished).
When this site was cleared for the new American Embassy in 1957 only Nos. 2 and 3 of the five houses originally built here in c. 1729 were still recognisably early-Georgian buildings, (fn. 3) but nothing significant is known of them. No. 1 had been refaced in stone in 1911–12, and so extensively reconstructed internally that the tenant was said to be 'practically rebuilding' the house. The architects of the new front were Ralph Knott and E. Stone Collins, who based their rather subdued design on the recent refronting of No. 45 Grosvenor Square by Wimperis and East. (fn. 4) Several distinguished architects besides Knott had been associated with No. 1. Soane carried out small repairs and alterations for Mrs. Henrietta Brocas in 1792, and again in 1819; (fn. 5) C. R. Cockerell made alterations for his brother, John, in 1822–3; (fn. 6) and Maxwell Fry, with Jane Drew, planned further alterations in 1947. (fn. 7)
Nos. 4 and 5 were rebuilt as a single house (thereafter No. 4) by Samuel Baxter of Regent Street in 1826–7. (fn. 8) That house was similar in appearance to the present No. 6 (another rebuilding by Baxter), with more widely spaced windows and a heavy Doric porch. (fn. 9) Baxter expected it would sell for £8,500 but he was still looking for a purchaser when bankruptcy and death overtook him in quick succession in April 1829. (fn. 10) Auctioned by his creditors, No. 4 was advertised as 'A splendid town mansion ... of noble elevation recently erected, and finished in the most substantial manner, regardless of expense'. (fn. 11)
Occupants include: No. 1, Countess of Mar, wid. of 22nd Earl, 1736–8: her da., Lady Frances Erskine, 1738–42. Gen. Thomas Fowke, 1752–3. Herbert Mackworth, M.P., 1755–65: his wid., 1765–74. Samuel Bosanquet, banker, 1820–2. John Cockerell, brother of the architect C. R. Cockerell, 1823–31. John Dickinson, writer on India, 1870–6. Nigel C. D. Colman, M.P., 1928–30. No. 2, George Ogle, classicist and Chaucerian scholar, 1737–8. Mary Leigh, da. of 4th Baron Leigh, 1758–78. John Larpent, chief clerk at the Foreign Office, or his son, inspector of plays, 1780–4. Robert Adair, politician and diplomat, 1793–7. 1st Baron Erskine, politician, 1809–13. Gerard Vanneck, son of 1st Baron Huntingfield, 1814–20. Lieut.-gen. Thomas William Fermor, latterly 4th Earl of Pomfret, 1826–31. Adm. Sir John West, K.C.B., 1846–50. Adm. Arthur Duncombe, 1874–9. 20th Baron Borthwick, stockbroker, 1904–10. Maj.-gen. Sir Ralph St. George Claude Gore, 10th bt., 1919–26. Mrs. Caroline Grosvenor, C.B.E., da.-in-law of 1st Baron Ebury, 1927–40 (previously at No. 30). No. 3, Capt. Matthew Sewell, 1744–9. Selina De Chair, da. of Rev. John De Chair, chaplain to George III, 1807–40. Sir Thomas Spencer Wells, 1st bt., physician, 1857–97. Earl of Cassillis, later 4th Marquess of Ailsa, 1909–14. No. 4, Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, partner in brewery of Meux and Co., later 1st Baron Tweedmouth, 1849–54. 7th Viscount Midleton, 1867–70: his wid., 1870–81. Sir William Lawrence Young, 8th bt., 1899–1901.
This stucco-fronted house (Plate 60b) was erected in 1825–6 by the Regent Street builder, Samuel Baxter, on a site occupied since 1729 by the Oval public house. (fn. 12) Baxter, who may have been his own architect, was already planning to rebuild Nos. 4 and 5, and in November 1824 submitted an elevation for the redevelopment of the three houses as two, with an arched entrance to Blackburne's Mews between them. Lord Grosvenor saw the scheme (fn. 13) but evidently did not approve, and No. 6 was rebuilt within the confines of the old site. In August 1826 Baxter sold the house to Sir William Maynard Gomm for £6,000. (fn. 14) It then had no garret storey (this was added c. 1898), and the front was finished with a balustrade (removed since 1957). (fn. 15) Two pseudo-antique busts now stand on the parapet.
In 1901 a speculator, William Tebb, bought the lease (expiring in 1915) and laid out (he said) £8,500 on redecorations and improvements needed to bring the house 'up to date as regards sanitary and other requirements'. (fn. 16) Unfortunately for Tebb the market in Mayfair houses had recently declined and No. 6 was to remain on his hands for several years despite being offered for sale at only £3,500. (fn. 17) When a purchaser was eventually found, in February 1907, the price appears to have dropped to a mere £700. (fn. 18) The new owner promptly spent 'a lot of money' on the house. (fn. 19) Despite the many alterations several of the original interior features survive, including a stone staircase with slim cast-iron balusters.
Occupants include: Sir William Gomm, K.C.B., later field marshal, 1828–39. 6th Lord Vaux of Harrowden, 1877–83. Humphrey Sturt, M.P., 1886–94. Lord Marcus De La Poer Beresford, son of 4th Marquess of Waterford, manager of Prince of Wales's race horses, 1896–8. Joseph Albert Pease, politician and man of business, later 1st Baron Gainford, 1899–1901. Lord Alastair Robert Innes-Ker, son of 4th Duke of Roxburghe, 1910–17. Sir James Allan Horne, kt., East India merchant, 1926–31.
No. 7 was built in about 1729 under a sub-lease to William Waddell, a plumber. (fn. 20) It was first occupied in 1734 by John Lamp, esquire, who lived here for three years and may perhaps be identified as John Frederick Lampe, the composer and bassoonist. (fn. 21) The house remains early Georgian in appearance (Plate 60b) with a largely brick façade and segmental-headed window openings, although the ground storey has been stuccoed and two extra brick storeys in a matching style added in 1872–3. (fn. 22) The first-floor balcony is probably an early nineteenth-century addition with later railings. Inside the house original panelling remains visible in the hall and ground-floor front room, and more survives under plasterwork on the stairs.
Occupants include: (Sir) John William Fisher, surgeon-in-chief to the Metropolitan Police, later kt., 1846–51. William Tyler Smith, physician, 1852–62. Rev. Sir William Lionel Darell, 4th bt., 1882.
Although never rebuilt in its entirety, No. 8 was comprehensively recast in 1927–8, and apart from two late eighteenth-century marble chimneypieces which may not in any case have been in the house before 1927, virtually all earlier features have been obliterated. The original house was erected under a lease of 1730 to the carpenter Robert Scott. (fn. 23) (This was a lease back to Scott of part of a plot leased to him in 1728 which he had recently assigned away.) It was first occupied in 1732. (fn. 21) The house had the usual three-storey brick front with garrets, the latter being replaced by a fourth storey, probably in 1873. (fn. 24) In the remodelling of 1927–8 a fifth storey was added and the house refronted in Portland stone. The architects for this work were J. Edwin Forbes and J. Duncan Tate (on behalf of the incoming occupant, the Hon. John Nivison), but the design for the new front (Plate 60b) was supplied by Sir Edwin Lutyens. He was acting as architectural adviser to the Estate, and may have been called in by his friend Detmar Blow, the estate surveyor, who was then living next door at No. 9. Lutyens was paid only £52 10s., and his work here was not publicized. The front is a largely unadorned skin of Portland stone discreetly modelled on the ground and top storeys, not quite orthodox in the height of the window openings or the proportions of the eighteenth-century-style pedimented porch in the manner of his No. 7 St. James's Square (1911). The builder was G. H. Carter Limited. (fn. 25)
Occupants include: Joshua Mauger, Nova Scotia merchant and distiller, later M.P., 1763–7. James Evan Baillie, son of West India merchant, sometime M.P., 1822–6. Spencer Kilderbee, who in 1832 took the name of De Horsey, M.P., 1830–58. Sir Henry-Mervin Vavasour, 3rd bt., 1881–92. John Nivison, latterly 2nd Baron Glendyne, 1928–36.
No. 9 was built, like No. 8, under a lease-back of 1730 to the carpenter Robert Scott, and first occupied in 1731. (fn. 26) The Italo-Swiss stuccador, Charles Serena, was Scott's mortgagee here, but there is no evidence that he was professionally employed on the building. (fn. 27) More than any other house on the north side of the street, No. 9 retains the appearance of an early-Georgian building, though only on the second and third storeys is original brickwork to be seen (Plate 60b). The fourth storey and garrets are nineteenth-century additions of different dates, the former replacing the original garret storey. (fn. 28) On the ground storey the brickwork is covered with rusticated stucco. The chunky portico, supported on a pair of fluted Doric columns, and the first-floor balcony are both early nineteenth-century additions.
Inside, the plan has been only a little changed, and several rooms, notably the hall and first-floor back room, have early-Georgian panelling. (fn. c1) The stairs are modern (1967) but some of the iron balustrade from the former staircase has been retained. Behind the house there is a small enclosed courtyard, the walls of which are decorated with ceramic panels by the sculptor Gilbert Bayes. This curious survival probably dates from 1928 when E. Elden, the decorating firm run by Mrs. Dryden and Mrs. Bethell, made unspecified 'alterations and additions' at the house. (fn. 29) The Bayes panels, made by Doultons, (fn. 30) depict mythological subjects and are mildly art-deco in style: one of them is signed. In the centre of the courtyard are the remnants of an ornamental pool. Later in 1928 a fashionable racquets court was built at the rear. (fn. 31) The stable block, now a garage, is at right angles to the house, with an entrance in Blackburne's Mews.
Occupants include: William Edwards, Treasurer of New River Co., 1731–7. John Crewe, junior, M.P., 1740–52. Col. (latterly lieut.-gen.) William Tryon, Governor of New York, 1759–64, 1780–8. Sir John Honywood, 4th bt., 1796–1800. Gen. George Milner, 1832–6 (previously at No. 34): his wid., 1836–44, and da., 1844–52, 1854–5. 2nd Baron Templemore, 1853. Viscount Stormont, son of 4th Earl of Mansfield, 1861–2. Sir Thomas Munro, 2nd bt., 1865–89. Detmar Blow, architect, 1925–7. John Romaine Govett, Chairman of Consolidated Zinc Corporation, 1929–40.
Nos. 10 and 11 with No. 62 Park Street.
These three houses were erected as a speculation in 1843–4 by James Ponsford, an important developer in Tyburnia, and cost £18,000 to build. The architect was Henry Harrison. (fn. 32) Nos. 10 and 11 replaced an early-Georgian pair sub-let to the carpenter Benjamin Timbrell in 1728, and No. 62 Park Street occupies the site of stables and outbuildings previously attached to No. 11 Upper Grosvenor Street. (fn. 33) The former No. 10 is known to have had 'an elegant Bow window in front supported by 4 columns'. (fn. 34)
Ponsford's houses have fully stuccoed fronts in the early-Victorian Italianate style with pillared porches, pediments over the first-floor windows and balconies with curved iron balustrades (Plate 60b: see also fig. 13a in vol. XXXIX). In Upper Grosvenor Street, where they are flanked by modest early-Georgian buildings, the scale of these houses is still quite impressive. Both Nos. 10 and 11 were provided with newly built stables in King (now Culross) Street.
The interior of No. 10 has been extensively altered and the ground floor now has a rather typical Edwardian plan with a large open hall in the middle of the house, and an early eighteenth-century-style wooden staircase. Unspecified alterations and additions were made in 1917–18, and 1919, the former designed by Edmund Wimperis and carried out at the Estate's expense, and evidently included the enlargement and rebuilding of the former dining-room at the rear. (fn. 35)
No. 11 has a less radically altered interior and retains an imposing early-Victorian stone staircase rising to the third floor with an elaborate cast-iron balustrade. The walls of the deep toplit void above the stairs are decorated with heavy plaster friezes. Some of the rooms have original cornices but the general character of the decoration is Edwardian and probably dates from 1906–7, when George Elgood, of Elgood and Company, auctioneers, carried out speculative improvements, perhaps to the design of F. M. Elgood, architect. (fn. 36) In 1918 three additional rooms were built at the back by Edmund Wimperis over the existing 'boudoir'. (fn. 37)
No. 62 Park Street is smaller than the other two houses, having only two bays and correspondingly lower storey heights. All the early householders were women, including a milliner from 1850 to 1865.
Occupants include: No. 10, (Sir) Robert Grosvenor, latterly 6th bt., M.P., 1730–3. Robert Nedham, M.P., 1734–6. Herbert Windsor, latterly 2nd Viscount Windsor, 1737–52. Mrs. Catherine Lowther, wid. of Robert Lowther, Governor of Barbados, 1753–65: her son-in-law, Lord Harry Powlett, latterly 6th Duke of Bolton, 1765–70. 6th Earl of Dumfries, 1799–1800. Col. R. E. Roberts, 1803–35. Henry Kingscote, philanthropist, 1846–50 (previously at No. 29). Sir Edward Buxton, 2nd bt., 1850–8. Robert Hanbury, M.P., 1859–67. Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th bt., 1870–8. Dow. Duchess of Northumberland, wid. of 4th Duke and da. of 2nd Marquess of Westminster, 1881–1909. Col. Wilford Neville Lloyd, private secretary to 2nd Duke of Westminster, 1910–17 (previously at No. 36). Lord Stanley, son of 17th Earl of Derby, 1927–31. No. 11, Rev. Philip Carter, 1743: his wife, Dow. Countess of Rochford, formerly wid. of 3rd Earl, 1743–5. 4th Baron Craven, 1759–64: his cousin, (latterly Rear-adm.) Thomas Craven, 1765–72. 4th Earl of Lichfield, 1772–6. Francis Hale, who in 1788 took the name of Rigby, M.P., 1787–1827: his wid., 1827–31, 1833–6. Lieut.-col. Robert Clive, son of Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive of Plassey, 1832–4. Dow. Lady Rivers, wid. of 3rd Baron Rivers, and da. of Francis Hale/Rigby (see above), 1837–42. George Vivian, a commissioner on rebuilding Houses of Parliament, 1850–73. 7th Earl, later 1st Marquess, of Breadalbane, 1877–82. 2nd Baron Templemore, 1887–1906. Lady Mary Inverclyde, wid. of 2nd Baron Inverclyde, Chairman of Cunard Steamship Co., 1908–10: her 2nd husband, Gen. Sir Archibald Hunter, G.C.B., 1912–25.
No. 12 was built in about 1728 under a sub-lease to the carpenter Benjamin Timbrell who was himself the first occupant from 1729 until 1751. (fn. 38) Timbrell mortgaged his lease to the architect Henry Flitcroft for £400 (fn. 39) but it seems unlikely that Flitcroft was professionally involved in the construction of the house. Documentary sources for subsequent changes and alterations, of which there have clearly been a great many, are generally lacking, and until modern times the only recorded works are some very minor repairs by the Mount Street upholsterer, John Whitby, in 1756–7, and a little interior decoration by Cowtans in 1881–4. (fn. 40) Substantial improvements evidently took place after 1896, when an intending occupant thought the house 'unsafe', for by 1902 it was, in the opinion of the estate surveyor, 'in good repair'. (fn. 41)
It now has four storeys and an early to mid nineteenthcentury stuccoed front but was no doubt originally three storeys high with a brick front and garrets. Inside it retains what may be the original plan but few early-Georgian features apart from some doors and doorcases in the staircase hall. There is a probably early nineteenth-century wall-hung staircase with iron balusters. On the first floor the rooms have feeble neo-Adam ceilings. The neo-Georgian chimneypiece in the ground-floor front room was brought by the present owners, the Government of Quebec, from a previous Quebec House.
Occupants include: Benjamin Timbrell, carpenter and master builder, 1729–51. Thomas Foley, M.P., later 1st Baron Foley of 2nd cr., 1753–8 (later at No. 19). Lieut.-gen. Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin, K.C.B., 1825. Edward Smith-Stanley, latterly Baron Stanley of Bickerstaffe and 13th Earl of Derby, 1826–36. John Tidd Pratt, registrar of friendly societies, 1849–57. Mrs. Jane Ashley, da.-in-law of 6th Earl of Shaftesbury, 1860–93.
Nos. 13 and 14
Nos. 13 and 14 were demolished in 1908 (fn. 42) and the sites are now occupied by the return front of Nos. 37–43 (odd) Park Street. Both houses had been built, together with the former corner house, No. 37 Park Street, under sub-leases of 1732 to the joiner, Richard Davies. (fn. 43) In 1734 Davies's executors and creditors assigned his interest in No. 14, the largest of the three sites, to the carpenter Lawrence Neale. (fn. 44) It was at No. 14 in 1803–4 that Thomas Raikes, a merchant and former Governor of the Bank of England, spent nearly £3,000 on alterations designed by John Soane. These included the construction of a three-storey bow at the back as well as decorative work in the principal rooms. The drawings show that the windows of the newly formed bow in the dining-room and back drawing-room were to be flanked by shallow recesses filled with mirrors, a typically Soanic device, which also concealed the doors to the small closet wing. (fn. 1) (fn. 45)
In 1861–2 Cundy-designed trimmings in stone and stucco and an attic storey were added to the front of No. 14 in accordance with Estate policy (fn. 46) (Plate 60a)
When Nos. 37–43 Park Street were newly built they had an elaborate carved-stone entrance in Upper Grosvenor Street numbered 14. (fn. 47)
Occupants include: No. 13, Paul Methuen, M.P., or his son Paul Cobb Methuen, M.P., 1788–92. Dow. Duchess of Marlborough, wid. of 6th Duke, 1858–63. Roger Eykyn, M.P., 1864–97. No. 14, 6th Viscount Irvine (Irwin), 1736. Sir Robert Worsley, 4th bt., 1738–41. Duchess of Bolton, wife of 3rd Duke, 1749–51. 8th Duke of Somerset, 1752–7: his son, 9th Duke, 1757–92: the latter's brother, 10th Duke, 1792–3: the latter's wid., 1793–1802. Thomas Raikes, merchant and Governor of Bank of England, 1803–12. Harriet Grimston, da. of 3rd Viscount Grimston, 1823–46. Dow. Countess of Charlemont, wid. of 2nd Earl, 1866–76: her nephew, 3rd Earl, 1876–8.
Like the former No. 14 this house was erected under a sub-lease granted in 1732 to the joiner Richard Davies, which his executors and creditors assigned to the carpenter Lawrence Neale in 1734. (fn. 48) It was first occupied in 1736. (fn. 21) When originally built the house had a two-storey front hall containing the main staircase, which rose only to the first floor. A secondary stair serving the whole house occupied a separate toplit compartment immediately behind the hall. This arrangement, which also existed at No. 14 and at several other houses where Neale was the building lessee, survived until at least 1808. (fn. 49)
The least altered of the principal rooms is the ground-floor front, where the panelling, modillion cornice and chimneypiece are all early Georgian. There was formerly a door in the wall opposite the windows. In the other principal rooms any panelling which existed originally had given way to wallpaper by the end of the century. In 1797 J. Duppa supplied the occupant, Sir George Jackson Duckett, with a 'fine Green' paper for his music room and a 'white sattin' paper with a cameo border for the two drawing-rooms. (fn. 50)
The remodelling of the hall and staircase looks like work of the 1820's or 30's. The old main staircase was removed, together with the first stage of the old secondary stairs, the hall ceiled over, and a new main staircase built nearer the back of the house. This has stone treads and an S-shaped iron balustrade with anthemion decoration, and rises only to the first floor, access to the upper floors being by a rebuilt version of the old secondary staircase. An Edwardian screen with Corinthian columns now divides the main staircase compartment from the entrance hall.
In 1863–4, at the Estate's behest, the usual Cundy-designed 'improvements', corresponding to those already effected at No. 14, were made to the front, including an open Doric portico, balconettes with Portland-stone balusters to the first-floor windows, stucco window dressings and rusticated pilaster strips, and a new cast-iron railing to the front area (Plate 60a). By then the house had been raised a full storey, to its present height, and extended behind. The garden contained a hexagonal 'fountain'. (fn. 51)
In 1876 alterations and additions were made for the lessee, Henry Savile, by Charles Allen of Mount Street, 'upholsterer and houseagent' (who tendered at £2,720), under the direction of the architect F. Todd. The work was said to have included the replacement of 'most of the timbers of the house . . . with iron girders'. (fn. 52)
Apart from the ground-floor front room, the decoration of the main rooms is late-Victorian or Edwardian in character with ornate plaster ceilings and, on the first floor, quite elaborate plaster wall panels in the French taste. Both first-floor front rooms have good early nineteenth-century marble fireplaces, that of the large room being decorated with sphinxes in the Empire style.
Occupants include: Bussy Mansell, M.P., latterly 4th Baron Mansell, 1736–50, d. here 'immensely rich': his wid., 1750–61: her brother, Baron Hyde, latterly 1st Earl of Clarendon, 1761–86. Sir George Jackson, 1st bt., who in 1797 assumed the name of Duckett, judge-advocate to the fleet, 1796–1822. Gen. Sir Henry John Cumming, K.C.H., 1825–56. 11th Marquess of Huntly, 1872. Sir Charles-Henry Tempest, 1st bt., 1874–5. 9th Baron Clifford of Chudleigh, 1893–1900. 10th Earl of Chesterfield, 1902. Capt. David Beatty, later Adm. of the Fleet Earl Beatty, 1903–10.
Although its front was stuccoed in 1881 (Plate 60a) this is a house of about 1730 with a little-altered floor plan (see fig. 3b in vol. XXXIX) and two good original staircases. It was erected under a sub-lease of 1730 to the mason Joshua Fletcher, (fn. 53) who promptly insured the new house with the Hand-in-Hand company (for £600), (fn. 54) but it remained empty until 1741, the last house in the street to be occupied. (fn. 21)
Appropriately for a mason's house the principal staircase is of stone. It rises from an inner hall in six dog-legged flights and has stone treads and a handsome, though heavily overpainted, wrought-iron balustrade for the first four flights (fig. 6d in vol. XXXIX): the mahogany handrail and newel post are later. The open-well back stairs, which occupy a slightly unusual position at the rear of the closet wing, are of wood with simple turned balusters on high bases, one per tread, plain newel posts and a deeply moulded handrail.
The house was thought to be 'very small' though 'very comfortable and pretty', by the wife of the occupant in January 1763. (fn. 55) Certainly its width of twenty-five feet was less than that of the adjoining houses, but the accommodation provided was not really cramped, comprising as it did the usual three storeys, basement and garrets, two or three rooms on each of the principal floors, and a separate stable block at the back with kitchens adjacent. (fn. 56)
By 1881, when the builder Charles Fish undertook speculative improvements here, the house had already been raised an extra full storey to its present height. Fish made a large single-storey addition at the back (probably a dining-room) and stuccoed the front, this rendering being surprisingly preferred by the Duke of Westminster to Fish's proposed elevation in 'coloured red brick'. (fn. 57) Decoration was done here by Cowtan and Sons (1885–7) and F. Muntzer (1902–3), the latter being probably responsible for the Jacobethan woodwork in the large room at the rear. (fn. 58) Some early-Georgian panelling has survived in the ground-floor front room.
Occupants include: Thomas Whichcot, M.P., 1741–8. Rev. Sir William Bunbury, 5th bt., 1749–62: his son, Thomas Charles Bunbury, M.P., latterly 6th bt., 1762–5. Anne, Duchess of Grafton, estranged wife of 3rd Duke, 1766. 4th Earl of Abingdon, 1767. Lord Edward Bentinck, son of 2nd Duke of Portland, 1768–74. Arthur Vansittart, M.P., 1774–8. Sir Robert Peel, 1st bt., manufacturer, 1800–22. George Robert Dawson, politician, 1823–56. 8th Marquess of Lothian, 1861. Arthur Henry Chichester, later 3rd Baron Templemore, 1882–91.
This distinctive Edwardian town house was built in 1906–7 for a businessman, Arthur Hill, replacing a house erected under a sub-lease of 1732 to the carpenter Lawrence Neale, whose brick front had subsequently been stuccoed (fn. 59) (Plate 60a). As No. 17 was directly opposite Grosvenor House the Duke of Westminster was personally consulted about 'the style of architecture to be adopted for the new building', and after discussion with the estate surveyor, Eustace Balfour, he sanctioned a rebuilding in stone. (fn. 60) The new house was designed by Balfour and his partner, Thackeray Turner, who had previously been employed by Hill for some minor alterations at No. 22 in 1902, but the internal decoration was placed in the hands of White Allom and Company. (fn. 61) The contractor was William Willett. (fn. 62) Hill was allowed to re-use the mahogany doors from the old house, and he wanted to retain some of the fireplaces too, but it seems the Estate asked too much for them. (fn. 63)
Upon its completion Hill did not immediately occupy the house, as by then he was planning to retire to California, and in 1908 he offered it for sale. The asking price was £31,500, which Balfour thought 'very reasonable'. It failed, however, to attract a purchaser, and in 1910 Hill decided that he would, after all, live at No. 17. (fn. 64)
The stone front (Plate 44d in vol. XXXIX) is distinguished by the large expanses of small-paned windows in a trabeated composition suggestive almost of a superior warehouse or commercial building. This is piquantly offset by the flowing naturalistic stone-carving in the broad band of decoration at second-floor level and about the ground-floor windows, and by the differing and individualistic designs of the ironwork guarding the balcony and area. Yet another mode is adopted to finish the front, with a classical pediment (dated 1907) set against a balustrade. (An almost identical elevation but without the pediment was built at No. 7 Wimpole Street in 1912–13.) Balfour had insisted that the subdivision of the windows was an 'essential part of the design', and according to Hill his refusal to compromise 'lost a customer for the house'. (fn. 65) This was Isabella, Countess of Wilton, who was soon to challenge Balfour successfully over the question of small panes at No. 20.
The generously planned interior is more conventionally Edwardian. The entrance hall leads to a large centrally placed reception hall occupying the whole width of the house. This gives access to a morning-room or library at the front, and, by way of a vestibule, to a bay-windowed dining-room in the back wing. The principal staircase, which rises from one side of the reception hall, has a partly gilded iron balustrade in the manner of Tijou, copied from that in White Allom's own premises at No. 15 St. George Street, Hanover Square. (fn. 64) The wooden steps have shaped ends and the handrail simulates brass. Over the staircase is a skylight with a decorative iron screen or grille. As in other houses of this period the décor of the ground storey was predominantly early Georgian in style. Though recently vandalized this has largely survived except in the morning-room, which was startlingly redecorated in 1927 by G. Trollope and Sons for Ronald Hambro, and has walls of veneered wood, sharp angular mouldings and other jazzy features reminiscent of a 1920's cinema or a state room on a luxury liner. (fn. 66) On the first floor the principal apartment is a large L-shaped double drawing-room with panelled walls. A number of alterations were made to the house during the occupation of the Hunts Club.
At the time of writing (1979) plans have been prepared to convert No. 17 into flats, and to replace the present garage in Culross Street with a small neo-Georgian house (Cotton, Ballard and Blow, architects). (fn. 67)
Occupants include: Lawrence Shirley, son of 1st Earl Ferrers, 1734–8. Viscount Lymington, later 1st Earl of Portsmouth, 1738–41. 5th Baron Clifford, 1785–8. Sir James Graham, 1st bt., 1786. 4th Earl De La Warr, 1795: his wid., 1795–1812: their son, 5th Earl, 1812–69. Dow. Countess of Derby, wid. of 14th Earl, 1871. 10th Earl of Galloway, 1873–1901: his wid., 1901–3. Ronald Olaf Hambro, Chairman of Hambros Bank Ltd., 1927–34.
No. 18 was built in the early 1730's under a sub-lease to the carpenter Lawrence Neale, and first occupied in 1735. (fn. 68) It was one of five adjoining houses leased to Neale in October 1732, (fn. 69) and is the only one not to have been either rebuilt (Nos. 17 and 19) or totally remodelled (Nos. 20 and 21) in Edwardian times. The front is now stuccoed (Plate 60a: see also Plate 44d in vol. XXXIX), but was doubtless originally brick, and the house seems to have followed Neale's usual practice by being planned with a double-storey front hall containing a main staircase which rose only to the first floor. A secondary staircase serving the whole house would have occupied a separate toplit compartment behind the hall. The early-Georgian panelling and modillion cornice in the ground-floor front room are original, and probably also the chimneypiece.
In 1792–3 the house was taken by Charles Elliott, the Bond Street upholsterer. (fn. 70) This was presumably in preparation for short-term furnished lettings, and the character of the house leaves little doubt that Elliott altered it extensively. The old front staircase was evidently removed, its compartment ceiled over, and an elegant new staircase erected on the site of the old secondary stairs. This rises in a double D configuration to the second floor, is wall-hung, and has stone steps with a delicately patterned metal balustrade (Plate 61a). That this is in fact Elliott's work is corroborated by the survival of a similar staircase with an identical balustrade at No. 66 Grosvenor Street (Plate 14c) where he made 'very great improvements' in 1793–4. The balustrade itself was perhaps supplied by Messrs. Underwood, Bottomly and Hamble, fanlight makers of High Holborn, who are known to have provided an identical one for No. 7 Great George Street, Bristol, in 1790. (fn. 71) (fn. 2) Elliott was probably also responsible for the external stuccoing, the pillared entrance porch and first-floor balcony, and the shallow bow at the back. On completing the work he let, and later sold, the house to Sir Francis Basset. (fn. 72)
By 1834 the house had four full storeys, (fn. 73) and by 1870 the basement offices had been extended under the garden and a small wing (subsequently bowed) built at the back. (fn. 74) Unidentified alterations were made in 1886 (fn. 75) for the millionaire colliery owner, F. Wooton Isaacson, who later claimed he spent £7,000 on 'improvements and decorations'. (fn. 76) A fifth, garret, storey was added between 1897 and 1902. (fn. 77)
Negotiations to refront the house were begun in 1915 but soon abandoned. (fn. 78)
The decoration of the principal rooms, apart from the ground-floor front, is neo-Georgian in character and probably Edwardian in date. Several fine late eighteenth-century carved marble chimneypieces were taken from the house in 1978.
Occupants include : Thomas Boothby Skrymsher, sometime M.P., 1735–51: his wid., 1751–76. Edward Monckton, son of 1st Viscount Galway, 1778–92. Sir Francis Basset, bt., latterly Baron De Dunstanville, politician, 1793–1823. Baron Rolle, 1824–42 (previously at No. 44): his wid., 1842–86. F. Wooton Isaacson, M.P., colliery owner, 1887–98. Sir Victor Warrender, 8th bt., M.P., later Baron Bruntisfield, 1924–8.
This stone-fronted house was built as a speculation in 1909–10 by Matthews, Rogers and Company to the designs of their architect-partner, M. C. Hulbert, after the Duke of Westminster had required 'the omission of some of the ornamentation of the architraves'. (fn. 79) Matthews, Rogers sold the house for £19,000 to Basil G. O. Smith of Shottesbrooke Park, Berkshire, who lived here from 1910 until 1920. (fn. 80)
The front elevation is a handsome and inventive example of Edwardian 'free classic' design, in which the first floor is treated as a five-light Venetian-type window stretching across the whole width of the front (Plate 60d: see also fig. 27a in vol. XXXIX). Ornamental ironwork of a pattern which Hulbert used elsewhere on the estate guards the area and first-floor balcony. The present front door, designed by Gerald Lacoste for Rahvis, the couturiers, was inserted in 1936. (fn. 81)
Inside the planning is spacious and the décor opulent, reflecting the Edwardian taste for English 'period' styles: early Georgian for the morning-room (ground-floor front) and dining-room (a single-storey room at the back) and 'Adam' for the large L-shaped drawing-room which occupies most of the first floor (Plate 61c). The decoration of the drawing-room was simplified when Rahvis turned it into a showroom in 1936, and it now has mid-Victorian marble fireplaces. In the hall (Plate 61d) the floor is paved with marble, and the staircase has marble treads with an elegant wrought-iron balustrade.
Occupants include : Viscount Blundell, 1734–56. Thomas Foley, M.P., later 1st Baron Foley of 2nd cr., 1758–65 (previously at No. 12). Lord Belasyse, latterly 2nd Earl Fauconberg, 1766–74. James Sutton, sometime M.P., 1794–1801. Sir John Chichester, 6th bt., 1802–8. Lady Warren, wid. of Adm. Sir John Borlase Warren, bt., 1823–7, 1831–9 (previously at No. 42). Lieut.-col. James Augustus Grant, African traveller, 1877–92.
This house was refronted in stone for Isabella, Countess of Wilton, in 1908–9, but although extensively remodelled internally it has never been entirely rebuilt, and at the back some of the original brickwork survives. Erected under a sub-lease of 1732 to the carpenter Lawrence Neale, No. 20 was first occupied in 1735. (fn. 82) By the 1850's it had four full storeys, (fn. 83) and by 1861 a portico and first-floor balcony to which Portland-cement balusters were added in that year. (fn. 84)
In 1908 the Countess of Wilton, who had occupied the house since 1886, was offered a new sixty-three-year lease for £2,815 on condition she rebuilt the front, facing it 'with brown Portland stone to a special design to be submitted and approved by the Grosvenor Estate Board' : she had also to 'thoroughly repair or renew' the premises throughout, and rebuild the stables for cars or horses 'as may be desired'. (fn. 85) The Countess agreed and by December her builders, G. Trollope and Sons, had submitted an elevation. (fn. 86) This and the plans were credited to John E. Trollope (fn. 87) but Boehmer and Gibbs as 'Messrs. Trollope's architects' were involved in the discussions with the Estate. (fn. 88) Before the design was approved Balfour tried to have the plate-glass windows replaced by small panes. But Trollopes reported that 'nothing will induce' Lady Wilton to 'live in a house that has small squares in the front windows', and as plate glass had already been allowed at No. 21, Balfour was not surprised when the Duke returned the elevation with the instruction 'that subdivision of the panes is not to be insisted upon'. (fn. 89)
The stone front (Plate 60d) is a competent but uninspiring essay in the Italianate style which lacks the sophistication of Knott and Collins' contemporary elevation at No. 21. Inside the décor of the principal apartments is dixhuitième. The planning follows more closely the original than is usual in these Edwardian reconstructions, perhaps because the Countess resisted 'extensive works' advised by Trollopes, (fn. 90) and there is even a front-compartment staircase rising only to the first floor. The staircase, of course, has been rebuilt with wall-hung stone treads and a gilded metal balustrade. The hall has a marble floor and some pleasant plasterwork. In the two ground-floor reception rooms, which are separated by folding doors, the décor is Adamish but dull. On the first floor the drawing-rooms have gilded panelling surrounds and some well-worked musical attributes in plaster, and a heavy acanthus frieze.
In 1929–30 Idare et Cie Limited, court dressmakers, were allowed to make alterations designed by Ernest G. Cole, and part of the house was converted into a showroom and workroom. (fn. 91)
Occupants include : Joseph Gascoigne Nightingale, sometime M.P., 1737–8. Henry Reginald Courtenay, M.P., 1742–50. Vice-adm. Temple West, 1751–7. Lady Fitzwilliam, 1757–91. Lady Anne Fitzwilliam, 1792–1820. Ladies Henrietta and Elizabeth Ashburnham, das. of 2nd Earl of Ashburnham, 1821–47, and Lady Elizabeth only, 1847–54. Clinton George Dawkins, Consul-General at Venice, 1855–71. Isabella, Dow. Countess of Wilton, wid. of 2nd Earl, 1886–1916.
Like No. 20 this house acquired its present, wholly Edwardian, appearance by refronting and extensive internal remodelling in 1908–9, and has never been entirely rebuilt. It was originally erected under a sub-lease of 1732 to the carpenter Lawrence Neale which he assigned to Benjamin Denne, mason, and was first occupied, in 1734, by Leonard Smelt, M.P., who bought the lease from Denne and his mortgagees for £1,370. (fn. 92) The house was three storeys high with a brick front and garrets in the roof, and inside it had a front-compartment main staircase rising only to the first floor. By the early nineteenth century a covered passage linked the back of the house with the laundry, wash house and stables in King Street Mews (now Culross Street). (fn. 93) The garrets were replaced after 1822 by a full fourth storey. A new 'dormer storey' was added in 1874–5, when the front was given a 'new elevation' designed by H. E. Cooper and various additions were made at the back. (fn. 94) In 1879 a single-storey billiard-room was built at the rear for the Earl of Leven and Melville. (fn. 95)
In 1908 Gerard L. Bevan, the occupant since 1901, with a business address in Royal Exchange Buildings, agreed to refront the house in Portland stone 'to a special design', and to carry out general repairs in return for the grant of a long lease. (fn. 96) Bevan's architects were Ralph Knott and his partner E. Stone Collins. (fn. 97) Their design for the new front did not, however, please the estate surveyor, Eustace Balfour, who felt unable to recommend it to the Duke, or even to suggest alterations other than the substitution of small-paned windows, a proposal decisively rejected by Mrs. Bevan, the prospective recipient of the new lease. Ultimately Balfour agreed to see if he could suggest 'alterations to meet the case', and in July Knott produced an amended perspective. Though not 'admired' by the Board the Duke found this unobjectionable, despite some reservations about 'the top windows'. (fn. 98) With Dove Brothers as contractors the works went ahead, (fn. 99) and were completed in 1909. The estimated cost of the new front had been c. £2,000. (fn. 100) The rebuilding of the stables, for which Knott and Collins also provided the design, was postponed until 1911. (fn. 101) In 1923 unidentified alterations were made for Lord Invernairn by Robertsons Limited of Knightsbridge, 'antique galleries'. (fn. 102)
As an example of stone refronting the elevation at No. 21 is undoubtedly more enterprising than either of its two neighbours, where the architects seem to have been inhibited by the necessity of conforming to the existing fenestration. At No. 21, by carefully varying the weight and form of the window openings, Knott and Collins were able to suggest a much greater freedom in design (Plate 60c: see also fig. 27b in vol. XXXIX). Two particularly striking aspects of the front are the heavy segmental pediments over the first-floor windows (rather like those at County Hall), and the prominent oval windows in the fourth storey. The first-floor balcony and front area are protected by elegant iron railings.
The planning and interior decoration is conventional. All the principal apartments are nicely panelled and in the ground-floor back room, where a pair of Ionic columns flank the bay window, the ceiling has quite an elaborate plaster centrepiece of clouds in low relief. In the former billiard-room, now toplit, the windows on the south side having been blocked, the panelling is in the Jacobean style with an inglenook across one corner. There is a good wooden staircase with a handsome wrought-iron balustrade and a brass handrail after the French taste, rising in this form as far as the second floor : thereafter the steps are smaller and the balusters wooden. On the first floor most of the space is taken up by the L-shaped drawing-room which has French panelling and an elaborately bowed window at the back.
A single-storey addition was built between the back of the house and the old billiard-room in 1973–4.
Occupants include : Leonard Smelt, M.P., 1734–40. Lieut.-gen. William Kerr, son of 3rd Earl of Roxburghe, 1740–1. Gen. Anthony Lowther, 1743–6. Richard Berenger, writer on horsemanship, 1748–50, 1753 : his aunt, Hester Grenville, suo jure Countess Temple, 1751–2. Peter Burrell, M.P., 1753–71. William Fellowes, M.P., 1771–1804. Earl Gower, later 2nd Duke of Sutherland, 1815–21. Sir James Williams, 3rd bt., M.P., 1835–61. William Tyler Smith, physician, 1863–73. 10th Earl of Leven and of Melville, partner in banking house of Williams, Deacon and Co., 1879–89. William Beardmore, Baron Invernairn, Chairman of William Beardmore and Co. Ltd., ship-builders etc., 1923–36.
No. 22 was refronted and remodelled at about the same time as No. 21, but here the original early-Georgian house, erected by the carpenter John Clarkson under a sub-lease of 1732, had probably been rebuilt in the 1820's. (fn. 103)
The first ratepayer, from 1737 intermittently until 1751, was a John Emmott, gentleman, who is known to have let the house furnished for short periods to upper-class tenants. In 1745 a year's rent was £105. (fn. 104)
In 1823 the ground lease was renewed on terms very close to those which the estate surveyor, Thomas Cundy I, had recommended if the tenant undertook a rebuilding, (fn. 105) and the ratebooks suggest that this was done. The front was probably stucco faced, with a fluted Doric porch. (fn. 106) By 1885 a single-storey addition (no doubt a dining-room) had been built at the back. (fn. 107)
In 1908 Arthur Hill, a businessman who had occupied the house since 1890, applied to the Estate Board for a long lease and, although he had added a 'dormer storey' in 1897 and altered the interior to Balfour and Turner's designs in 1902, (fn. 108) was told that a refronting in stone would be required. Terms were agreed in May 1910 but shortly afterwards Hill left No. 22 for the recently rebuilt No. 17. At his request the Board agreed to grant the new lease to the local builders, J. Andrews and Son of Mount Street, J. Andrews being in their view both 'a substantial person and an old tenant on the estate'. (fn. 109) Erected in 1910 the new front (Plate 60c) was designed by the builder's own architect, Horace J. Helsdon, who evidently had to modify his original proposal to satisfy objections from both the estate surveyor, Edmund Wimperis ('very unsatisfactory and quite inappropriate'), and the Duke himself. (fn. 110)
The interior was perhaps less extensively altered than in some other refronted houses though the neo-Georgian décor of the principal rooms is doubtless Edwardian. On the ground floor the planning is similar to that at No. 17, though on a smaller scale, with a narrow entrance hall leading to a centrally placed reception hall occupying the whole width of the house. The metal balustrade of the stone staircase is in the early-Georgian style as are the decorations in the former dining-room at the back of the house, which has a modillion cornice, an ornamental ceiling and a handsome carved stone caryatid chimneypiece. The reception hall and ground-floor front room both have late eighteenth-century marble chimneypieces.
Occupants include: 2nd Earl of Uxbridge, 1744–6. 7th Baron Arundell, 1747. 7th Earl of Mountrath, 1748–9. Lady Frances Beresford, wid. of Marcus Beresford, and da. of 1st Earl of Milltown, 1809–16. Gerald Henry Brabazon Ponsonby, son of 4th Earl of Bessborough, 1859–65. Gen. Sir Henry Bentinck, K.C.B., 1866–78: his wid., 1878–90.
No. 23 was built under a sub-lease to John How, carver, in 1730 and first occupied in 1735 or 1736. (fn. 111) It has never been rebuilt, and while the exterior (Plate 60c) presents something of an early-Georgian appearance, despite later stuccoing, the interior is much altered and now largely devoid of interest. The front is three windows wide which is unusual for a house with only a twenty-foot frontage.
Apart from some small decorators' bills in 1824–7 (fn. 112) there is no record of any alterations being carried out until 1850 when Cubitts did some work of unknown extent. (fn. 113) In 1889 a number of additions, including a conservatory, were built at the back for the financier (Sir) Edgar Speyer. (fn. 114) Further changes were made in 1901–2 by the speculator, William Tebb, who added an extra storey and stuccoed the existing brick front. Inside Tebb may have been responsible for installing the present 'Jacobethan' staircase and other alterations. In January 1902 Eustace Balfour, the estate surveyor, had wanted to take photographs of parts of the interior, presumably to record eighteenth-century features which Tebb was about to remove. (fn. 115) Tebb sold his lease to Lady Mosley in 1904 (fn. 116) but his speculation here had proved to be as unsuccessful as his other ventures in Upper Grosvenor Street, resulting in a loss of £1,981. (fn. 117)
In 1905 the Estate approved plans for enlarging the hall by the removal of partitions. (fn. 118)
Occupants include: Lady Hubbard, 1736–44. Lady Brudenell, probably da. of 3rd Earl of Cardigan, 1746–9. Caroline Palmer, 1793–8: her husband, Rev. Howel Holland Edwards, later rector of St. John's, Smith Square and prebendary of Westminster Abbey, 1799. (Sir) Edgar Speyer, later bt., financier and philanthropist, 1889–1901. Sir Oswald Mosley, 4th bt., 1905–10. Sir Andrew Agnew, 9th bt., 1927–8.
No. 24 (demolished).
Built under a sub-lease of 1730 to the carpenter Lawrence Neale, and first occupied in 1730 by Neale himself, (fn. 119) this house was demolished in c. 1823 when its site was absorbed into that of No. 93 Park Lane.
Occupants include: Lawrence Neale, carpenter and lessee on the estate, 1730–45. Edward Wilson, M.P., 1748–52. T. S. Duncombe, ? radical politician, 1822–3.