No. 31, Bedford Square

Survey of London: Volume 5, St Giles-in-The-Fields, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1914.

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'No. 31, Bedford Square', in Survey of London: Volume 5, St Giles-in-The-Fields, Pt II, (London, 1914) pp. 172-173. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


Ground landlord and lessee.

Ground landlord, His Grace the Duke of Bedford; lessee, Mrs. Whitehead.

General description and date of structure.

On 1st November, 1776, a lease (fn. 1) was also granted of the fourth house from Bedford Street, on the west side of the square. This was evidently No. 31.

The screen between the vestibule and hall has an ornamental fanlight; the stone stairs have wrought-iron scroll balusters and the wood work generally has enriched mouldings.

The front room on the ground floor contains a white marble chimneypiece, with Ionic pilasters, and is inlaid with coloured marble.

The rear room on the same floor has a wood and composition ornamental chimneypiece, with coupled columns at the sides, and an decorative panel in the frieze.

The ceiling of the front room on the first floor is a remarkable example of ornamental plaster work. Another of the same design is in No. 47, and is illustrated on Plate 101.

The rear room on the same floor has a white marble chimneypiece, with green marble inlay, and a well designed plaster ceiling with four square panels containing oval plaques forming part of the design (Plate 88). Another of almost similar pattern is in No. 41, Bedford Square.

Condition of repair.

The premises are in good repair.

Biographical notes.

The ratebooks give the following names in connection with the house:—

1778–79. —Scott.
1779–82. The "Hon. Baron Perryn."
1783–89. Sir Samuel Hanney.
1789–94. Silvester Douglas.
1794–98. Geo. L. Newnham.
1798.– Jno. Godfrey.

Sir Richard Perryn, born in 1723, was the son of a merchant of Flint. After an education at Ruthin grammar school and Queen's College, Oxford, he took up the profession of the law, and was called to the Bar in 1747. In 1770 he became vicechamberlain of Chester, King's counsel, and a bencher of the Inner Temple. In 1776 he was appointed baron of the exchequer and was knighted. He retired from the Bench in 1799, and died in 1803. After leaving Bedford Square he resided at No. 59, Lincoln's Inn Fields, at which house he is shown by the ratebooks for the years 1784 to 1791. (fn. 1)

Sylvester Douglas, Baron Glenbervie, son of John Douglas of Fechil, Aberdeenshire, was born in 1743. He was educated at the Universities of Aberdeen and Leyden, and at first proposed to adopt a medical career, but subsequently took up the legal profession, being called to the Bar in 1776. In 1793 he was appointed King's counsel, but shortly afterwards relinquished his legal career and devoted himself to politics, a decision probably influenced by the fact that he had in 1789 married the daughter of Lord North, afterwards second Earl of Guildford. In 1794 he became Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland and was elected a member of the Irish Parliament. In the same year, he was sworn a member of the English privy council, and in 1795 he relinquished his secretarial position and was returned to the English Parliament as member for Fowey. He afterwards represented Midhurst and Plympton Earls. For some time he had a seat on the board of control, and was from 1797 to 1800 a lord of the Treasury, a position which he resigned on being appointed Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, though he never took up the appointment. In the same year (1800) he was created Baron Glenbervie of Kincardine in the peerage of Ireland. In 1801 he became joint paymaster-general and subsequently held the positions of vicepresident of the Board of Trade, and surveyor-general of woods and forests, with which latter office, that of surveyor-general of the land revenue was afterwards united. He died at Cheltenham in 1823.

In the Council's collection are:—

Marble chimneypiece in front room on first floor (photograph).
Ornamental plaster ceiling in front room on first floor (photograph).
(fn. 2) Ornamental plaster ceiling in rear room on first floor (photograph).


  • 1. Middlesex Registry Memorials, VI., 631.
  • 2. Survey of London, Vol. III. (St. Giles-in-the Fields, Part I.), p. 102.
  • 3. Reproduced here.