Maison Belge and the Doves Binderies, Upper Mall

Pages 59-60

Survey of London: Volume 6, Hammersmith. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1915.

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Ground landlord, leaseholder, etc.

The freehold of No. 11 is the property of Mrs. Warren; the present leaseholder is T. J. Cobden Sanderson, Esq.

General description and date of structure.

These two houses are part of the original group of buildings which stood south of the footway between Highbridge and the Upper Mall, and which included at its western end the Doves Inn (q.v.). They can be seen in the drawing by J. T. Wilson preserved in the Coates Collection (Plate 56) and dated 1867, and also in a print of 1750 which is referred to below. No. 9 has been somewhat remodelled, but retains the greater part of the original structure. It was refronted c. 1800 and possesses a curious eaves cornice decorated with triglyphs.

The front of No. 11, facing west towards the footpath, has been almost entirely covered by a modern building, which is separately numbered, and is occupied in part by Mr. Cobden Sanderson and in part by the tenant of Sussex House opposite. The river front, however, is practically untouched, and can easily be identified with that shown in an engraving, dated 1750, and entitled "Mr. Baptist May's house and the Union Yacht under weigh." In the print, over the central doorway, a window appears which no longer exists. With its steep tiled roof, hipped at the ends, and its large central chimney-stack, it presents a strikingly picturesque appearance towards the water. The staircase in the centre of the house is a good Georgian example, and on either side it opens on to rooms which retain their original panelling.

Condition of repair.


Historical and biographical notes.

No. 11 is now freehold, having been enfranchised from the Manor of Fulham. The earliest deed in the possession of the present owner, dated 20th December, 1792, summarises what is known of the house. The description runs: "All that piece or parcel of ozier ground containing 10 roods or thereabouts as distinguished or separated from the other part thereof and also all that dwelling house with the sheds, etc. standing thereon situate in Hammersmith near the Highbridge measuring on the north side thereof 42 ft. 6 ins. and on the south side 43 ft. 7 ins. and on the west side 77 ft. and on the east side 90 ft. formerly in the occupation of Richard Wilkinson, William Savine and Sarah Bennett since of — Woodcock and late of Baptiste May but now of Mr. Grover abutting east on another part of the ozier ground, north upon the footpath and south on the river of Thames, formerly the estate of Susan Sharp and in her will given and devised to Mary Fry." Mary Fry was admitted to Susannah Sharp's copy hold property in 1768, and the above deed is a lease by the said Mary Fry to Thomas Wetherell. The chief interest in this description lies in the positive statement that this was the house in which Mr. Baptist May lived, which agrees with the engraving cited above. Whether or no the other tenants named preceded Baptist May, we are able, from the architectural evidence, to date the house from the first half of the 18th century.

Mr. Baptist May is known to have resided near the Highbridge in 1739. According to Faulkner (fn. 1) he was in that year trustee of the pews in Hammersmith Church. It is not known whether he was related to Baptist May (1629–98), who was keeper of the Privy Purse to Charles II., and patron of Grinling Gibbons. (fn. 2) The latter died unmarried, but left natural issue from whom Baptist May of Hammersmith may have been descended. The first Baptist May was perhaps named after Baptist Hicks, Viscount Campden, to whom he is believed to have been related. It may be of interest to note that the name is perpetuated (but also disguised) in Babmaes Mews at the top of Wells Street, St. James's.

Old Prints, drawings, etc.

Engraving entitled "Mr. Baptist May's house and the Union Yacht under weigh" (1750). A copy is in the Guildhall copy of Lysons' Environs.

(fn. 3) Water-colour drawing of the Doves Inn and adjoining houses (east) by J. T. Wilson, in the Coates Collection (July 1867).


  • 1. History and Antiquities of . . . Hammersmith, p. 321.
  • 2. See Dictionary of National Biography.
  • 3. Reproduced here.