Pall Mall, South Side, Past Buildings: No 105 Pall Mall, The Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice's House

Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.

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'Pall Mall, South Side, Past Buildings: No 105 Pall Mall, The Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice's House', in Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1, (London, 1960) pp. 349. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

No. 105 Pall Mall: The Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice's House

Occupied part of the site of the Reform Club

The ratebooks show that one of the houses (later No. 105 Pall Mall) which stood on the site of the Reform Club was occupied in 1779 and from 1781 to 1787 by the Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice, a friend of Johnson and Garrick, and brother of the first Marquis of Lansdowne. (fn. 1) The house was empty in 1778 and again in 1780; in 1779, when Fitzmaurice's name first appears in the ratebooks, the rateable value of the house was raised from £150 to £250. This suggests that the house was altered or rebuilt.

In volume 11 of James Paine's Plans, Elevations and Sections of Noblemen and Gentlemen's Houses, published in 1783, there are engravings of four plans and the front elevation of 'the Honble Thos. Fitzmaurice's House, Pall Mall' (Plate 223). The plans show that the house consisted of two blocks of building, linked at basement level and by a large bow-fronted room at ground-floor level, looking on to an internal court. An examination of the plans will show that the north block, fronting Pall Mall, is a rectangular building with projecting closet wings against the east and west party-walls. The interior is planned in a straightforward utilitarian fashion with simple rectangular rooms, typical of an early eighteenth-century builder's house and quite unlike Paine's work. The southern block and the link, however, have bow-ended rooms and all the Adamesque subtleties of planning that Paine employed in his later buildings. In fact it is clear that Paine adapted an existing house, probably remodelling the principal staircase and redecorating the rooms, and built a sumptuous annexe at the back containing a noble crossvaulted kitchen with two splendid bow-ended rooms on the floors above. The Pall Mall front, with its four tiers of segmental-headed windows, is in outline typical of the early eighteenth century. Paine laced it over in the Adam manner, probably using Liardet's stone-paste (an Adam sideline) since he stated that 'the architectural ornaments were adapted by the author to the original front at the time the foregoing additions were made, and were executed by Messrs. Adams'. (fn. 2) The groundstorey windows and doorway were set in a rusticated arcade, sustaining an enriched Ionic order with plain-shafted pilasters embracing the second and third storeys, and the fourth storey was treated as a pilastered attic with a secondary entablature crowned by vases.

According to Paine's elevation this front scales 36 feet in width, but his plans show a building width of only 33 feet, which is virtually the same as the frontage of No. 105 (33 feet 2 inches) as given by Zachary Chambers on his survey plan of 1769. (fn. 3) The fact that Coney, in his panoramic view of 1814 (pocket, drawing B), shows an entirely different front at No. 105 (described below) suggests that, despite Paine's refurbishing, the front block of the house was demolished and rebuilt before that date. The very substantial south block, however, probably survived, for its bowfronted south wall corresponds very closely with the southern building line of No. 105 as shown on a survey plan, accompanying a report dated 15 October 1831, by Chawner and Rhodes, relating to the houses then existing on the Reform Club site. (fn. 4)

Coney shows a house of, probably, early nineteenth-century date, with a front of four storeys, three windows wide. The rusticated ground storey contained an arched doorway between arch-headed windows; the tall first-floor windows opened on to a continued iron balcony; and a framed tablet with patera-stops underlined the second-floor windows. The front was finished with a simple entablature and a triangular pediment.

Between 1789 and 1796 the house was occupied by Mrs. Fitzherbert; she was succeeded in turn by the Globe Insurance Company and Sir Walter Stirling. Between 1826 and 1834 George IV used the house as an annexe to Carlton House. (fn. 5) In the latter year the National Gallery of Pictures was removed to No. 105 from No. 100 Pall Mall; the collection remained there until the completion of the new National Gallery building in Trafalgar Square in 1838. (fn. 6) No. 105 Pall Mall was demolished in the same year for the Reform Club.


  • 1. The Gentleman's Magazine, 1793, part ii, p. 1053.
  • 2. James Paine, Plans, Elevations, and Sections of Noblemen and Gentlemen's Houses, 1783, vol. ii, p. 28.
  • 3. P.R.O., MR271.
  • 4. C.E.O., file 11337.
  • 5. R.B.
  • 6. Sir Charles Holmes and C. H. Collins Baker, The Making of the National Gallery 1824– 1924, 1924, pp. 51–2.