Pall Mall, South Side, Past Buildings: Nos 88-90 (consec.) Pall Mall

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: Nos 88-90 (consec.) Pall Mall', in Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1, (London, 1960) pp. 364. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

Nos. 88–90 (consec.) Pall Mall

Occupied part of the site of the Royal Automobile Club

At No. 90 Coney (pocket, drawing B) shows a fair-sized house of about 1760, with a fourstoreyed front of simple design, stucco-faced, its only decorative feature being the Doric porch of the centrally placed entrance, its two columns serving to support the large canted bay projecting from the second storey. Each upper storey contained three equally spaced windows. The volume of 'Plans of Town Houses', in Sir John Soane's Museum, contains a survey, dated 20 February 1801, of the ground and first floors of this house, there described as 'Lord Temple's house in Pall Mall'. These show the simple arrangement of a large front room and a large back room with the staircase and an ante between them. (fn. 1) The house was occupied by W. J. Denison, the millionaire banker and member of Parliament, from 1815 to his death in 1849. (fn. 2)

No. 89 was occupied for many years by members of the Wagner family, who carried on a hatter's business there. The house was rebuilt in 1810 by Melchior Henry Wagner. (fn. 3) It was taken over later by the Globe Insurance Company as an office. According to The Architectural Magazine the company's office in Pall Mall was being 'rebuilt' in 1836: 'The front is to be in imitation stone: and, when completed, it is expected to vie with the recent improvements' in Pall Mall. (fn. 4) An office for the Globe Insurance is included in a list of buildings designed by Philip Hardwick, but it is not known whether this was in Pall Mall or in Cornhill, where the company also had premises. (fn. 5) The ratebooks for Pall Mall show no change in the assessment, and a comparison of the building drawn by Coney in 1814 with that photographed in 1907 (fn. 6) (Plate 204) suggests that they were the same. Both sources show a single house with a four-storeyed front, three windows wide. From the ground storey projected a shop-front, divided by columns into three bays, a wide window flanked by doorways. Above the entablature was an iron railing, forming a balcony to the second storey. The upper part of the front appears in both sources to have been of brick, with plain rectangular windows and a single cornice below the top, or attic storey. Coney, however, has a plain roof whereas the photograph shows two dormers. It is, therefore, possible that Hardwick merely rebuilt the projecting shop-front in a setting of artificial stone, and added a garret storey to an existing house.

The house later numbered 88 was occupied from 1775 to 1780 by Nathaniel Hone, the portrait painter, (fn. 2) who was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists of Great Britain and one of the first Royal Academicians.

All three houses were taken over by the War Office in 1859 and demolished in 1908 to make way for the Royal Automobile Club.


  • 1. Soane Museum, plans of town houses, p. 62.
  • 2. R.B.; D.N.B.
  • 3. Information supplied by Mr. Anthony Wagner.
  • 4. The Architectural Magazine, vol. iii, 1836, p. 329.
  • 5. The Builder, 14 Jan. 1871, p. 24; Robson's Directory.
  • 6. L.C.C. Photograph Library.