Kensington Square and environs: Individual houses (north side)

Pages 40-46

Survey of London: Volume 42, Kensington Square To Earl's Court. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1986.

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North side

No. 36. This house, the last to be built on the north side of the square, was erected in 1721–2 on a part of the ground which Thomas Young had sold to the joiners Henry and William Lobb in the mid 1680s, but which remained undeveloped until the eighteenth century (see page 29). The builder was Richard Slater of Kensington, a carpenter, who in July 1721 agreed with the then owner of the land, Henry Lobb's son Thomas, to erect a house here. In the following November Lobb granted Slater a sixtyone-year lease of the site, from Midsummer 1724, at an annual ground rent of £8 5s. (fn. 397) The house must have been finished, or nearly so, by November 1722 when Slater insured it with the Hand-in-Hand Company for £600 (soon raised to £1,000), but it stood empty until 1727. (fn. 398)

The first inhabitant was John Birch, Serjeant-at-Law and Member of Parliament, who bought Slater's lease in December 1727 and occupied the house until his death in 1735. (fn. 399) A former commissioner for forfeited estates, Birch had been involved in the fraudulent sale of Lord Derwentwater's estates whereby for an outlay of under £1,000 he and a fellow commissioner stood to inherit property worth over £9,000 a year. When the fraud was exposed in 1731 Birch was expelled from the House of Commons and the sale annulled. (fn. 400)

Three months after Birch bought the lease the freehold of No. 36 was sold, together with the rest of Lobb's estate in Kensington Square, to the music-publisher and instrument-maker John Walsh the elder (see page 30). (fn. 401) In 1779 Walsh's heirs sold the house to James Wheble, founder of the immensely successful Kensington candle manufactory (see page 81), who lived here until his death in 1801. (fn. 402)

Mid-eighteenth-century insurance policies describe No. 36 as a brick-built three-storey house with garrets and two three-storey closet wings. It then contained fifteen wainscotted rooms, nine marble chimneypieces and eight Portland stone chimneypieces, and there was also a separate coach-house and stable, probably at the north end of the garden, which in the eighteenth century was nearly 200 feet long. (fn. 403)

From 1804 until 1855 (fn. 18) the house was almost continuously in the hands of female tenants and at various times between those dates was occupied as a school for young ladies. The first of these tenants, Diana Hance, a schoolmistress formerly at No. 40, was granted a lease which specifically allowed her to use No. 36 as a female seminary or boarding-house. (fn. 404) The last school closed in about 1855, since when the house has been largely in private occupation. Between 1926 and 1932 it was let to John Barker and Sons, but seems to have been inhabited for at least some of the time by the firm's surveyor, H. L. Cabuche. (fn. 405)

In 1932 Barker's lease was bought by the fifth Earl of Erne, but before taking up residence in the house, which had been allowed to fall into a dilapidated state, Lord Erne employed Robert Lutyens to make alterations and repairs. These included the rebuilding of the flank wall in Derry Street (using the old bricks), and some important internal changes described below. Lord Erne, who lived at No. 36 until 1939, was killed at Dunkirk in 1940. In the same year the house suffered bomb damage and in 1943 was described as derelict. In 1947 the Crown, which had bought the freehold of the property in 1928, granted a lease to the architect Robert Matthew, who converted it into two maisonettes. The lower maisonette consists of the basement, ground and first floors, and the upper of the second floor and the attics. The upper maisonette has its own separate entrance in Derry Street and is reached up a staircase constructed in the west closet wing. In 1951 Matthew sold his lease to the present occupier of the lower maisonette, who purchased the freehold from the Crown in 1979. (fn. 406)

The front elevation of the house, though overlaid and blunted by a later coating of stucco and a Victorian iron balustraded, is a nicely proportioned example of early Georgian town-house building (Plate 6a). It has a flat but squareish and solid feeling, with three full storeys above ground contained between pilaster strips at either end. There are resembalances to the demolished No. 6 The Terrace, a house built some years earlier (Plate 40c). Clues to the original character of the brickwork and fenestration may be sought in the better-preserved back of the house, where the closet wings project symmetrically (Plate 7c).

In plan No. 36 seems originally to have been very similar to No. 17 (see fig. 8 on page 23) in having two rooms at both front and back, two staircases and a pair of closet wings (fig. 13). The entrance hall was originally two storeys high and formerly contained the principal staircase which rose only formerly contained the principal staircase which rose only to first-floor level. (fn. c1) Behind the hall is the original secondary or back stairs (Plate 14b) which ascends from the basement to the top of the house. Made of wood, this is a dog-leg staircase with turned balusters, a square handrail and straight strings. Originally it was top-lit by means of a narrow light-well against the side wall.

The original front staircase probably survived into the 1920s, when a resident of the square praised the fine condition of the house and referred to its ‘two beautiful staircases’. (fn. 407) But during a brief occupation by Barkers (1926–32) the main stair seems to have been replaced. In 1933 Robert Lutyens removed the front staircase entirely, thus allowing the first-floor drawing-room to be extended westwards over the full width of the hall. He also reinstated a partition between the drawing-room and the larger of the two first-floor back rooms. In order to improve the lighting of the former back stairs new windows were inserted into the rebuilt west wall and an extra dormer was made in the roof. This explains the seemingly awkward management of the stairs and window-openings seen from Derry Street.

Figure 13:

No. 36 Kensington Square, ground-and first-floor plans

The interior of the house today is still Georgian in Spirit, though much of this may be due to skilful restoration by Robert Lutyens, who inserted several fireplaces and some panelling. Some rooms retain their corner chimney flues, and the surround of the fireplace in the larger rear room on the ground floor, with its coloured marble slip devoid of shelf or overmantel, may be accepted as genuine (Plate 14c). The staircase and some of the simpler rooms also retain stretches of panelling which appear to be unaltered work of the 1720s (Plate 14b).

Other occupants include: (fn. c2) Henry Boldero, banker, 1772–9; Vernon Lushington, Q.C., Deputy Judge Advocate General, 1878–1912.

Nos. 37 and 38. Originally erected in the late seventeenth century, both these houses have been substantially altered but never completely rebuilt. They now have fully stuccoed fronts of the early and mid nineteenth century respectively.

The earlier, and more altered of the two, No. 38, was built in about 1689–90 by the joiner William Lobb. (fn. 408) Its first inhabitant was probably a ‘Lady Neper’ (?Lady Napier) from 1690 to 1692. (fn. 18) After William Lobb's death in 1697 his widow lived at No. 38 until c. 1710. (fn. 409) No. 37 was erected in about 1694 by William Lobb's brother and fellow joiner Henry Lobb and was first occupied in 1695. (fn. 410) This was the last house to be built on the north side of the square until the erection of No. 36 nearly thirty years later. A feature of Nos. 37 and 38 is that each has the two closet wings at the rear found at other, wider houses in the square, although their comparatively small widths of twenty-four and twenty-two feet respectively mean that there was room only for a single window between these wings (Plate 7c.)

No. 38 was provided with a coach-house and stabling in the common stable-yard at the south-east corner of the square. (fn. 411) At No. 37 Henry Lobb built a stable, coachhouse and a separate laundry at the north end of the back garden, which was then much longer than it is today. (fn. 412)

The Lobb brothers owned the freeholds of their respective houses, the sites of which they may have acquired as part of a larger building plot jointly purchased from Thomas Young in the late 1680s (see page 29). Both houses were later sold by the brothers' respective heirs, No. 37 in 1728 and No. 38 in 1717.

The purchaser of No. 37, from Henry Lobb's son Thomas, was the music-publisher John Walsh the elder (see page 30). (fn. 413) The house was probably refronted between 1801 and 1803 when it was unoccupied and the rateable value nearly doubled. If so, this was presumably at the hands of Jonathan Hamston, a local builder and carpenter, who took a long lease in 1803. (fn. 414) ‘Improvements’ not affecting the rateable value are recorded in 1822. (fn. 18) From 1809 until 1840 the house was occupied as a girls' boarding-school. (fn. 415)

As it now appears, No. 37 has a flat front in the neat all-stucco manner of the years around 1800. The first-floor windows, set within generous relieving arches, have their own prim architraves and iron balconies. Inside, there is the usual plan of two main rooms per floor, but with two closet wings. The back rooms retain their corner chimney flues. Much of the interiour is simply panelled. How far the visible fabric dates from 1689–90 is hard to discern, but the staircase from the basement to the entrance hall dispalys turned balusters which may be of an early date. The garden enjoys the amenity of a venerable mulberry tree and a pretty wooden summer house with Tuscan columns.

Turning now to No. 38, this was sold in 1717 by the heirs of William Lobb to John Sparrow, esquire, of Redhill in Anglesey, who was the occupant from that year. (fn. 416) The house was later inhabited by his son, Bodychen Sparrow, who died in 1768, and remained in the ownership of the Sparrow family until 1778. (fn. 417) From 1790 to 1800 it was occupied as a ladies' School. (fn. 418)

By 1850 the freehold was in the possession of Frederick Pratt Barlow, the occupant of No. 23, who in that year put in hand alterations to turn No. 38 into an up-to-date mid-nineteenth-century dwelling house. (fn. 419) The building was raised to four full storeys, given a fully stuccoed Italianate front and remoidelled internally. As a result of these and later alterations there is now nothing of the late seventeenth century to be seen apart from the two closet wings at the back.

At the sale of Barlow's estate in 1859 No. 38 was one of several houses in the square bought by the Convent of the Assumption. (fn. 420) But the Convent never occupied No. 38 which was sold in 1874. In 1911 it was bought by John Barker and Company for use as warehousing and offices. Its back garden was built over in the late 1920s as part of the company's Ball Street block. (fn. 421)

Other occupants include: No. 37. Lady Ann Sher(e)man, 1700–13; Edward Clifford, Hon. Secretary of the Artists' Society, 1893–1907: No. 38. Lady Woolf, 1712–13; Dr. John Radcliffe, D.D., 1714–15.

No. 39. Built between 1900 and 1905 as a block of flats, No. 39 obtrudes into the northern range of the square by reason of its considerable height and the bareness of its brick flanking walls. At the time of its construction some residents of the square, including the architect Leonard Stockes at No. 1A, protested to Kensington Borough Council that the building would seriously damage the value of the surrounding property, and ‘In saying this the historic associations of Kensington Square must be borne in mind’. (fn. 422)

The architect was G. D. Martin. His original and very different design showed an elaborately composed elevation in the ‘Free Classic’ style with plentiful stone dressings. (fn. 423) When exhibited at the Royal Academy, The Builder condemned it as representing ‘the commonplace disguised under effective drawing’. (fn. 424) Among the amenities then proposed for the flats were a passenger lift to all floors, a service lift and a servants' stair. (fn. 423) Construction of the block, presumably to the present design, was begun in December 1900, the contractors being A. Kellett and Sons Limited of Willesden. But twelve months later all building work was suspended, (fn. 425) and it was not resumed until the summer of 1904, with a different builder, G. Williams and Sons of Merton. (fn. 426) The first flat was occupied in 1906. (fn. 93)

The previous building on the site was probably the original house, described as ‘new built’ in 1686, erected by the locksmith and ironmonger William Partridge. (fn. 427) It was first inhabited by Partridge himself, who must have been there by August 1688, when his wife, Ann, died ‘at her house in the New Square’. (fn. 428) His household included a ‘Blackamoore Servant’, who died in 1693 at a house in what is now Thackeray Street. (fn. 429) Partridge lived at No. 39, of which by 1699 he was the freeholder, until his own death in 1714, four years after he had ‘left off his Trade’ and sold his stock. (fn. 430) From 1814 until 1872 the old house was occupied by a succession of schools and academies, and from 1873 to 1896 by a convent. (fn. 84)

The present building was acquired in about 1919 by John Barker and Company and its back garden (like that at No. 38) was built over in the late 1920s as part of the company's Ball Street block. (fn. 431)

No. 40 was first built by a Simon Oldfield, joiner, (fn. 1) and was described as ‘new erected’ in September 1686. (fn. 432) The first occupant, in 1688, was John Hall, citizen and haberdasher, succeeded by his widow from 1703 until 1710. (fn. 433) Little is known of its subsequent history, although that first house seems to survive vestigially in the present structure.

In the early eighteenth century the occupants were of the family of the freeholders, but by the 1760s this was usually not so. The most notable occupant was Sir John Simon, the pioneer in the field of public health, who lived here from 1871 until his death in 1904 (fn. 434) and is commemorated by a Blue Plaque set up in 1959.

The forecourt is guarded from the street by a low wall and bounded on the side towards No. 41 by a shoulder high wall of the type occurring else where in the square. The front is three windows wide and rises to a height of four storeys, of which the topmost, finished with a rudimentary quasi-cornice of 1870-ish character under a plain parapet, is probably an addition. The frontage of twenty-eight-and-a-half feet allows a vertical alignment of the openings on all floors but in the easternmost bay the party wall than are the windows above it. The ground floor is, like the party-wall piers on the street front, stuccoed, and it is dressed with plain unfluted Doric pilasters on each side of the three openings. A continuous balcony at first-floor level is protected by decorative iron railings of bombé profile. These dressings might all be of the 1830s or 1840s and possibly date from 1832–3. (fn. 18) Above, the front is of yellow brick with red-brick window-surrounds, quasi-quoins and bandcourses. The window-openings on the first floor descend to balcony level, and, as on the second floor, line-through approximately with those of No. 41. The openings have slightly segmental heads and the windows are set in shallow reveals. The second-and third floor levels are marked by plain bandcourses. Disregarding the nineteenth-century dressings this front below the third floor may represent, reconstructed or heavily made over, the original design.

It has not been possible to inspect the interior, but the ground floor lately had features probably of the 1830s or 1840s. In 1946 the plan, which looks as if it was in essentials the original one, gave what soon became the conventional arrangement of a side entrance hall leading to a staircase with a front and back room opening to one side. (fn. 435) Two closet wings, not one, projected at the rear-perhaps an original feature, as it occurs at other houses in the square. In 1946 the eastern closet rose to second- and the western to third-floor level.

Nos. 41 and 42 were both built in 1804–5, replacing the two original houses erected here in the late 1680s. The construction of the seventeenth-century houses-one of which was later described as ‘a large pleasant conventient House… with four Rooms and two light Closets on a Floor’ (fn. 436) -was originally undertaken by Thomas Young himself. But they were still unfinished when he was imprisoned for debt in the winter of 1687–8, and were completed at the expense of his mortgagee Thomas Sutton (see page 8), who afterwards claimed he had had great difficulty in letting them. No. 42 was first occupied in 1691, having been let to a lawyer, Lee Warner, for £36 a year, and No. 41 in 1692, by a Mrs. Anne Joy, at a rent of £30 a year. (fn. 61)

The freehold of both houses was sold in 1701 for £1,100 to Colonel Thomas Taylor (see page 16), (fn. 1) whose descendants retained it until 1804.

In October and November 1708 Richard Steele's wife lodged at No. 42 (then in the occupation of a Mrs. Hardresse) during the lying-in-state at Kensington Palace of Prince George of Denmark. As one of the Prince's Gentleman Ushers Steele himself was required to sit up with the body every third night, but on other nights he probably lodged with his wife in Kensington Square. (fn. 437)

In 1761 the inhabitants of No. 42, then in the occupation of a Mrs. Whitaker, included a black female servant from the Barbados. (fn. 438)

From 1789 until about 1799 both houses were occupied by an academy for young gentlemen established in 1786 at No. 42 by David Chauvet, a native of Geneva. One of Chauvet's pupils here was Peter Mark Roget, physician and author of the Thesaurus, whose own father was also a native of Geneva. In 1792 boys from Chauvet's academy performed scenes from Voltaire and Racine at ‘Edward's Hotel in Kensington’ - probably the New Tavern, off Kensington High Street, then managed by a John Edwards. (fn. 439)

In 1804 the heirs of the Taylor estate sold the two houses, which were then unoccupied, to Thomas Walters of Vauxhall, a distiller, who promptly rebuilt them. (fn. 440) It is not known whom he employed as his architect or builder. The new houses were both inhabited by 1806, the occupant at No. 42 having been granted a twenty-one-years lease from Christmas 1805 at £70 per annum. (fn. 441) A later occupant of No. 41, from 1865 to 1867, was the painter Edward Burne-Jones, who particularly enjoyed the long back garden, now curtailed. In Burne-Jones's time it was long enough for bowls and especially pretty in spring when ‘together with neighbouring gardens, it made a mass of fruit blossom surrounded by red roof’. Edward Poynter began a watercolour of the garden which he never finished. (fn. 442)

The two houses, each of three widely spaced bays, were built as a pair and although of different widths have mirrored plans (fig. 14). Originally they were both three storeys high above a basement, the extra storeys at No. 41 being added probably in 1876. The original elevation of these extra storeys (see Plate 6c) was replaced in about 1931 by one rather more tastefully ‘Georgian’ in character. The only architectural accent in the plain brick fronts is the sequence of round-headed door-and ground-floor window-openings, linked by a stucco bandcourse at impost level. Another bandcourse runs through at the sill level of the first-floor windows, which at No. 41 still have their original elegant iron guards. In what seems like a reversal of normal practice the rear elevations are fully stuccoed. Both houses retain their original doorcases, with reeded architraves and fanlights, and also the iron overthrows at the front gates.

Internally, the best features are the elegant curving staircases (Plates 18b, 18c), which in both houses occupy a D-shaped well against the back wall, the lower part being lit by a tall round-headed window. The staircases are not identical in form, but each has simple square-section wooden balusters and a mahogany handrail. In each house the entrance hall and the rear hall containing the staircase are connected by an wide arch. At No. 42 this arch is supported by pairs of fluted engaged columns formerly surmounted by little Atlases acting as springers which have been removed since 1946 (Plate 18d).

Figure 14:

Nos. 41 and 42 Kensington Square, elevation, ground-and first-floor plans. The elevation of No. 41 as built before the addition of an extra storey

No. 41 was made uninhabitable by bomb damage in 1940 and in 1946–7 it was divided up into two maisonettes with a caretaker's flat in the basement. This architect for this conversion, on behalf of Mrs. Thomas Lowinsky, was Geddes Hyslop. The lower maisonette consists of the ground, first and second floors (the original house of 1804–5), and the upper of the third and fourth floors (added in 1876). A common entrance hall was created out of the original front hall and part of the rear hall, and a brick extension, in a plain utilitarian style, was added at the back containing a separate staircase to the upper maisonette. (fn. 443)

The timber and brick ‘garden house’ with pairs of wooden Tuscan columns in the back garden of No. 41 was designed by Hyslop for the Lowinskys in 1930. (fn. n1) (fn. 443)

No. 42 was divided into flats in 1952 for John Barker and Sons, (fn. 444) who own the freehold and have turned the back garden into a delivery yard. A casualty here may have been a minor work of Philip Webb. This was a singlestorey ‘garden house’ creeled in 1887 (fn. 445) for the surgeon J. W. C. Merriman, whose father-in-law, (Sir) William Bowman, was one of Webb's most important clients. Webb is known to have worked in Kensington Square in 1887 on a commission described as a ‘Screen wall to garden of house’. (fn. 446) At the same time (1887) he was also making alterations for Merriman's brother-in-law just round the corner at No. 25 Young Street (see page 49). The builders employed on these two jobs shared the same address in St. Marylebone.

Other occupants include: No. 41. Henry de Rosenbach Walker, M.P., 1910–20: No. 42. Sir Henry Liddell, 3rd bart., 1699–1705; Sir James Gray, bart., 1711–22.

Nos. 43 and 44. This is a pair of houses which seems to preserve in the exteriors and basic structures a good deal of the Original building of the 1680s. Of their later history is little known. No. 44, at least, was built by June 1685 and No. 43 by the summer of 1687, if not earlier. In contemporary deeds of adjacent properties the builder here is said to have been Thomas Lawrence, carpenter. (fn. 447) He was evidently associated with a bricklayer, Henry Webb the elder, of Kensington, as it was the latter who was the recipient of the lease of the properties, for fortynine years, from Thomas Young in June 1687. (fn. 448) In the following month Young sold the freeholds to Thomas Sutton (see page 8). No.43 was first occupied in 1693, by a Mr. Craeherode, and No.44 in 1691 by the lawyer William Oldys, who remained here until his death in 1708. (fn. 449) By 1702 he had acquired the freehold of both houses, and they were owned in common until 1795. (fn. 450) Down to 1736 at least the freeholder lived in one or other of the houses, and again from 1795 to 1810. (fn. 18) From 1810 to 1816 the occupant of No. 44, for whom it may be that some alterations were made, was the librarian and bibliophile, the Reverend William Beloe. (fn. 84) The surgeon J. J. Merriman lived at No. 44 from 1853 to 1863, and in 1924–5 it was occupied by the architect Mervyn Macartney. (fn. 451)

The two houses were built to mirrored plans, with the front doors and entrance halls adjoining. In each the ground-floor front and back rooms were placed to one side, there rear room being narrowed (as at No. 40) to allow space for the dog-leg staircase compartment at the end of the hall. A small closet, evidently planned without a fireplace, opened off the back room in a wing which latterly rose at No. 43 to first-and at No. 44 to second-floor level. Small closets at half-landing levels in wings adjacent to the party wall are probably later than 1872. (fn. 452) A feature of the houses is the positioning of the fireplaces. In both rooms on all floors these were placed at angles in the northern corners furthest from the doors, the separate flues rising from corresponding positions in the basements.

The front gardens are guarded on their outer sides towards Nos. 42 and 45 by shoulder-high walls of the type found elsewhere in the square, and bounded towards the street by low walls that at No. 44 are topped by plain iron railings. Decorative iron gates hung from a single pair of plain brick piers give access to the two paths that approach the adjacent front doors.

Rising three storeys over a basement lit from a narrow area, with a garret storey in the roof, each front is (originally) three windows wide, the openings vertically aligned through all storeys. A bandcourse runs through at firstfloor level. All the window-openings, like the dormer windows set in the slated front of the mansard roof, are straight-headed. The second floor at No. 43 doubtless represents a change that has reduced the number of windows to two. Each front finishes with a simple coping, that at No. 44 having been lowered a little since 1931. (fn. 453) At No. 44 the front has been stuccoed and architraves added to the windows at some date before the mid 1860s.

The front doors, if not the original ones, may well retain the original patterns, under lights filled with later fans. The paired wooden doorcases, which may themselves well be original, consist of architrave-surrounds with prominent triple keystones under flat hoods supported on carved console brackets (fig. 11).

No. 45. Described as ‘new erected’ in 1685, (fn. 454) No. 45 is the only surviving two-storey house in the square (Plate 8b, 8c). Originally there were a number of these, but they have either been raised, like No. 17, or demolished, like No. 21. Unfortunately the interior of No. 45 is not well preserved and contains no original features.

The house was built by William Barwell of St. Dunstanin-the-West, a plasterer, to whom Thomas Young granted a fifty-one-year lease of the site in June 1685. (fn. 454) In 1689 Barwell assigned the lease to Henry Harding of St. Margaret's, Westminster, gentleman, from whom he had previously borrowed sums amounting to £350 which he was unable to repay. (fn. 455) Harding was a ratepayer in Kensington in 1691, probably for No. 45, but it is not clear if he was living there or whether the house was let to tenants. (fn. 18) There is no evidence of its haveing been inhabited before 1691. In 1696–7 No. 45 was probably occupied by Thomas Methwold, esquire, who bought the lease in 1696. (fn. 456) Three years later Methwold assigned the lease to trustees to let the house in order to provide an annual sum for almswomen at Methwold's Almshouses in Old Brompton, founded by his father. (fn. 457)

No. 45 was one of four houses in the square sold by Thomas Young to Francis Butler of St. Bride's in the City, gentleman, in 1686, and the freehold remained in the ownership of Butler's heirs and descendants until 1804. (fn. 458) In that year the house was bought by a local surgeon and apothecary, Thomas Hardwick, who was then the owneroccupier of an adjoining property to the north at what is now No. 16 Young Street. (fn. 459) This purchase allowed Hardwick in 1804–5 to extend his own house southwards over part of the curtilage of No. 45 (see page 48). Once this had been done he gave No. 45 to his partner, the surgeon John Merriman (1779–1839) who had married Hardwick's niece, Jane. (fn. 460) The Merriman family were to occupy No. 45 for ninety years, between 1805 and 1895, John Merriman being succeeded by his son, John Merriman the younger (who died in 1881), and grandson John James Merriman, both of whom were also surgeons. Prior to moving to No. 45 John Merriman the younger had occupied Hardwick's old house at No. 16 Young Street. Between that house and No. 45 there was a former stable building belonging to No. 45 and fronting on Young Street which the Merrimans seem to have used for professional purposes, perhaps as their consulting room. This was separately numbered 12 and later 18 Young Street. (fn. 461)

On the retirement to Worthing of John James Merriman, No. 45 was bought by Alexander N. Radeliffe, a solicitor already resident in the square at No. 32. Before moving to No. 45 in 1895 Radcliffe called in J. Dixon Butler, the architect and surveyor to the Metropolitan Police, to make alterations. Radcliffe, whose father-in-law was the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, had previously employed Butler for minor works at No. 32. Butler's most radical change at No. 45 was to move the front door from the centre of the south front round into Young Street, where he created a new front door at No. 18. The ground floor of that building was turned into a spacious entrance hall decorated in ‘period’ style with leaded casement windows, a beamed ceiling, panelled walls of fumigated oak, and a fireplace decorated with old Dutch tiles and a hammered brass and copper frieze. The new front door was dressed with a large late-seventeenthcentury-style shell hood, and the old front door facing the square replaced by a bow-window feature capped by a leaded semi-dome. This still survives, now converted for use as a front door. (fn. 462)

Radcliffe was still occupying No. 45 in 1939. (fn. 93) After the war the house was bought by John Barker and Company who wanted the back garden (together with those of Nos. 42–44 Kensington Square and No. 16 Young Street) for a yard and loading bay. (fn. 36) The London County Council refused their permission but were overruled on appeal by the Minister of Town and Country Planning: ‘The Minister felt that the public good which would result from the relief of traffic congestion must outweigh any inconvenience which might be caused by the proposed works.’ (fn. 463) In consequence No. 45 and the other houses lost their back gardens, and the northern annexe of No. 45, which contained Dixon Butler's entrance hall and front door and which the minister described as of no architectural merit was demolished to make a way into the loading bay from Young Street. (fn. 36) In 1949–50 Barkers converted No. 45 into three flats. According to the firm's architect, Bernard George, who designed the conversion, the house was ‘of such appointment and accommodation that is unsuitable for single family occupation’ (fn. 464)

Rising to two storeys under a slated mansard roof, No. 45 has a forty-foot frontage five windows wide with a centrally positioned bow window added by Dixon Butler in 1895 replacing the front door and now itself converted to give access to the ground-floor flat. The original brickwork of the front and the return to Young Street is hidden under a coat of stucco—perhaps added at the end of the eighteenth century. Plain bandcourses run through above the ground-and first-floor windows, which are set in shallow reveals. As a result of successive alterations the interior is largely devoid of interest. On the ground floor the square arch with lugged architraves and little sausage-like columns on high square plints forming the opening between what is now the entrance vestibule and the west front room was probably introduced by Dixon Butler. He may also have been responsible for the open-well staircase with its barley-sugar balusters between the first floor and the rooms in the attic. This is centrally positioned at the back of the house, probably on the site of the original staircase.


  • n1. An identical garden house was provided by Hyslop at the same time for Lady Mathew at No.40. It is not known if this too survives
  • 1. P.R.O., C8/647/44.
  • 18. R. B.
  • 36. G.L.C., Historic Buildings Division, file 122, part I.
  • 61. P.R.O, C8/647/44: R.B.
  • 64. M.D.R. 1875/27/44–55; 1878/13/516.
  • 84. R.B.: P.O.D.
  • 93. P.O.D.
  • 397. M.D.R. 1722/5/38; 1749/2/331.
  • 398. R.B.: Guildhall Library, MS. 8674/24, p. 251 (44103).
  • 399. M.D.R. 1727/5/323: R.B.
  • 400. The History of Parliament, Rodney Sedgwick, The House of Commons 1715–1754, Vol. I, 1970, p. 462.
  • 401. M.D.R. 1728/1/48–9.
  • 402. Ibid., 1779/4/41–2: R.B.: Faulkner, pp. 403–4.
  • 403. Guildhall Library, MS. 8674/74, p. 273 (71609); 8674/84, p. 57 (71609).
  • 404. R.B.: M.D.R. 1812/2/739.
  • 405. Who's Who in Architecture, 1926, sub Carbuche: P.O.D.: C.E.O. file 17201.
  • 406. C.E.O. file 17201: B.R. 4726: information kindly supplied by Sir David Barran.
  • 407. C.E.O. file 16684.
  • 408. R.B.: M.D.R. 1717/1/72–3.
  • 409. Guildhall Library, MS. 8674/3, p. 128 (6083): R.B.
  • 410. K.P.L., MS. 63/1379, p. 161: Hand-in-Hand Insurance Company, policy register 1, policy 1866 (in possession of the Commercial Union Assurance Company).
  • 411. M.D.R. 1786/3/350 (citing deed of 1687).
  • 412. Guildhall Library, MS. 8674/3, p. 128 (6083).
  • 413. M.D.R. 1728/1/48–9.
  • 414. Ibid., 1803/4/123.
  • 415. R.B.: Faulkner, p. 296: Pigot's Directory, 1832–4: P.O.D.
  • 416. M.D.R. 1717/1/72–3: R.B.
  • 417. R.B.: Gentleman's Magazine, vol. XXXVIII, 1768, p. 143: M.D.R. 1779/1/245.
  • 418. M.D.R. 1799/1/558: R.B.
  • 419. D.S.R. 1850/84.
  • 420. Conveyance of 4 Feb. 1860, in possession of Blount, Petre and Co.: P.O.D.
  • 421. Conveyance of 14 March 1911, in possession of John Barker and Co.: P.O.D.: B.A. 19209.
  • 422. B.A. 19209.
  • 423. B.N. 1 Dec. 1899, p. 729.
  • 424. B. 27 May 1899, p. 517.
  • 425. D.S.R., 1900/138.
  • 426. Ibid., 1904/1236.
  • 427. P.R.O., C54/4654, no. 15.
  • 428. Parish Registers of St. Mary Abbots, burials, 18 Aug. 1688.
  • 429. Ibid., burials, 19 April 1693.
  • 430. R.B.: Hand-in-Hand Insurance Company, policy register 1, policy 1860 (in possession of the Commercial Union Assurance Company): K.P.L., 63/1379, p. 178: The Post-Man, 25–27 July 1710 (reference kindly supplied by Mr. Edward Saunders).
  • 431. University of Glasgow, House of Fraser Archives, HF 8/1/8, Oct. 1919: B.A. 19209.
  • 432. P.R.O., C54/4654, no. 15.
  • 433. R.B.: Parish Registers of St. Mary Abbots, baptisms, 8 Dec. 1688, burials, 3 June 1703.
  • 434. G.L.C., Historic Buildings Division, Blue Plaque file 1285.
  • 435. B.R. 4166.
  • 436. K.P.L., newspaper cutting of March 1762.
  • 437. The Correspondence of Richard Steele, ed. Rae Blanchard, 1941, pp. 242–4: R.B.
  • 438. Parish Registers of St. Mary Abbots, baptisms, 20 Dec. 1761.
  • 439. R.B.: A Note on Peter Mark Roget in 1962 ed. of Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: K.P.L., KE62/ 132, newspaper cutting, 24 Dec. 1792: G.L.R.O., MR/ LV/10/13.
  • 440. M.D.R. 1804/4/415: R.B.
  • 441. M.D.R. 1818/1/48.
  • 442. G. Burne-Jones, Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, vol. 1. 1833–67, 1904, pp. 286–7.
  • 443. B.A. 66127.
  • 444. B.R. 97020.
  • 445. D.S.R. 1887/104.
  • 446. Victoria and Albert Museum Library, manuscript list of works of Philip Webb prepared by George Jack, in volumes entitled ‘Letters from Philip Webb to S. C. C. 1904–1915’, Reserve Case E E. 20.
  • 447. K.P.L., MS. 17: P.R.O., C8/647/44.
  • 448. M.D.R. 1713/5/125.
  • 449. R.B. D.N.B.
  • 450. P.R.O., PROB 11/502: M.D.R. 1786/2/103; 1796/1/803.
  • 451. Ponsonby, pp. 73, 96: P.O.D.
  • 452. O.S., 1865–72 ed.
  • 453. G.L.C. photo. A8231.
  • 454. K.P.L. MS. 17.
  • 455. Ibid., MSS. 15, 20, 79.
  • 456. R.B.: K.P.L., MS. 78.
  • 457. K.P.L., MS. 16; 58/5603, p. 327.
  • 458. P.R.O., C54/4654, no. 15; E134/7 Geo. 2 E12; E112/1175/ 662; PROB 11/1401, ff. 210–11: M.D.R. 1746/2/791–2.
  • 459. M.D.R. 1804/6/160.
  • 460. Ibid., 1806/1/702: K.P.L., Extra-illustrated Faulkner, item 99.
  • 461. R.B.: P.O.D.: St. Mary Abbots Parish Magazine, vol. XV, 1896, pp. 276–7: Ponsonby, p. 96.
  • 462. K.P.L., M.B.W./L.C.C. planning applications, no. 651: R.I.B.A. Library, Nominations for F.R.I.B.A., J. D. Butler, 1906: B.N. 13 Dec. 1895, pp. 851–2.
  • 463. The Times, 28 March 1949.
  • 464. B.R. 97020: T.P. 36120.
  • c1. A schedule of fittings in 1739 (in the Herefordshire Record Office) calls the front staircase 'The great Stairs ... A Twist Rail and Bannisters Wainscotted Rail High and all the rest White Walls plaistered'.
  • c2. Lady Mary Isham;