General Introduction

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

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In this section

General Introduction

Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans (c. 1604–84), is commonly and on the whole rightly regarded as being more truly the 'founder' of London's West End than any other individual. It was he who was chiefly responsible for the first important development, in the years after the Restoration, of the area dealt with in these two volumes, which is characterized, far more than the part of the parish lying north of Piccadilly, by the associations still evoked in the designation 'St. James's'. With those associations, courtly, moneyed and leisurely, his own life had a singular affinity. By the time of his death and of the creation of the parish in the following year, the fabric of the area was virtually complete. It was during this post-Restoration period that the existing alignment of streets came into being, and Blome's parish map of c. 1689 (Plate 3) shows a street-pattern south of Piccadilly that has, save for the creation of (Lower) Regent Street and Waterloo Place, remained little altered to the present day. (fn. 1)

Roadways existed at or near the boundaries of the area, however, from an earlier period, and some building development has to be noted of pre-Restoration date. Although not very extensive or (in the main) ambitious it affected for a time the layout of the area.

The highways at the southern and northern boundaries were probably both in existence in medieval times: that linking Charing Cross to St. James's Hospital (on the site of St. James's Palace) existed by the twelfth century, and the road later called Piccadilly also existed before the sixteenth century as the highway to Colnbrook and Reading. The Haymarket at the eastern and St. James's Street near the western boundary are both shown on a map of 1585: the latter street may have been formed in the reign of Henry VIII.

There is, however, no positive evidence of building before the seventeenth century. (fn. 2) Until the 1530's the area was divided between various owners, mostly corporate, including the Abbey of Westminster, the Convent of Abingdon, and the Hospital of St. James, the last of which occupied, probably since the eleventh century, a position immediately adjacent, where St. James's Palace now stands. St. James's Fair, established in 1290 for the benefit of the hospital, was probably held nearby. Beyond this little is known of the medieval history of the area. In 1549 the larger part (eastward of St. James's Street), forming St. James's Field, was said previously to have been arable; this apparently referred to c. 1485.

Between 1531 and 1536 almost all (perhaps quite all) the area under discussion was surrendered to the Crown and formed into the Bailiwick of St. James. Part of it was granted away (mostly in 1665) but about half the area still remains Crown property. St. James's Field was enclosed by Henry VIII and turned to meadow-land. Nearly all the area westward of St. James's Street was held from at least the later sixteenth century by the Pulteney family as tenants of the Crown lessees: they also seem to have enclosed land by the end of the century. In the sixteenth century the chief references to St. James's Field are as a mustering-ground for royal troops. The creation of St. James's Palace by Henry VIII did not bring about any significant growth of building in the area. Some may, however, have appeared in the course of the sixteenth century opposite the palace, where the partly timber houses of Sir Henry Henne and Sir William Pulteney survived until after the Restoration, and where, in Charles I's reign, Berkshire House was built.

For in the 1620's some development was taking place near the palace, and is shown on Faithorne and Newcourt's map surveyed in the 1640's (Plate 1). The most important was the large mansion built facing the palace in c. 1626–7 by the Earl of Berkshire, a former Master of the Horse to Charles I when Prince of Wales. The history of this notable courtier's house is obscure but some of its fabric probably endured into the nineteenth century and the site of the house and garden determined part of the intricate layout of this area. At about the same period St. James's Field on the other side of St. James's Street was, probably for the first time, being appropriated for royal recreation, with the establishment of a tennis court, southward of a physic garden, and of a stately pall mall alley on the line of the present Pall Mall. Post-Restoration changes swept away the tennis court and physic garden, and wine is now sold where the vines, flowers and fruit trees formerly grew. Apart from these developments, St. James's Field seems to have been left unbuilt, and in the 1630's the King took measures to preserve its privacy.

Until the Restoration the field was apparently held together with the office of keeper of St. James's Palace. In 1625 this office was granted to Lord Danvers and his brother, Sir John Danvers, who in 1637 appointed Hugh Woodward their deputy, and it was Woodward who was responsible for the first building-operations of any extent in the field.

This development was not, however, carried out under the aegis of the Stuarts. In 1651 Woodward bought the field from the trustees for the sale of the late King's lands, and the development carried out by lessees or purchasers from him was part of the not altogether negligible, if insubstantial, extension of London's fabric brought about by speculators during the Interregnum. In April 1661 there were some 220 or more houses in the field, almost all of which must have been built under Woodward's tenure. The difficulties of his fellow-speculators when the Restoration invalidated titles to Crown lands acquired under the 'usurped authority' occasioned much litigation. (fn. 16) When the material of the houses is mentioned in these suits, it is said to be brick. The development was round the edge of the field and in its eastern part near the later market and Norris Street. Most of the field remained unbuilt: the largely undeveloped character of the area in 1659–60 is hinted at by the intrusion of 'beggars and gippsies' into unguarded premises in Piccadilly (fn. 16) and in 1664 the field was still sufficiently unbuilt for water-pipes to be laid across it. (fn. 17)

In March 1661 Henry, Earl of St. Albans, who had an interest in the area as one of the trustees holding the bailiwick on behalf of the Queen Mother, Henrietta Maria, was granted a lease of the bailiwick until 1691. In the following month he granted leases, mostly for about twenty-one years, of the 220 or so houses already built. These seem to have been mainly to 'sitting tenants', and a number of the speculators and builders under Woodward continued their activities under St. Albans. But it was St. Albans who was responsible for the creation of the greater part of the street-pattern east of St. James's Street. This was facilitated when in September 1662 his leasehold interest was extended to 1720: in the 1670's further extensions were made until 1740. In the meantime, however, he had obtained, on 1 April 1665, the very valuable and important grant of the freehold of about half the field, including the site of St. James's Square (see fig. 3).

Thus from late in 1662 the term of St. Albans's tenure was sufficiently long to give an incentive to develop the whole area of St. James's Fièld with new streets as well as to complete the frontages towards the surrounding streets. In 1663 his building-activities were being commented on, and in that year the market place was established for his new residential faubourg. The new leases he was granting were longer than the old, running for forty-five to fifty years, and by the time his 'rent-roll' came to be made up in 1676 (fn. 18) it could record an income from his leasehold and freehold property in this area of some £4120 per annum. His greatest profit was not, however, recorded, and it is therefore not known for what sum he had sold off parts of his freehold estate, including the very valuable sites facing St. James's Square.

The post-Restoration development of the area as a whole took some twenty years to complete. The impulses from St. Albans's extended lease of 1662 and freehold grant of 1665 were checked by the natural and political calamities that followed, and it was not until the early 1670's that the chief work was going forward, with the realization of St. Albans's plans for the square and the surrounding streets. In the later 1670's and early 1680's the church of St. James was being built, and it was at about the same time that the development by other speculators of the area westward of St. James's Street was taken in hand.

It is probable that, except on those comparatively few sites—there were one or two in the square—where the owner employed a builder to erect a house for him, the building and disposal of houses was managed on the same speculative basis as elsewhere in London: at two important sites, in the square, the first noble residents acquired their new houses by a kind of hire-purchase. There are one or two instances of builders' co-operation apart from the necessary division of craftsmen's labour on individual houses. In 1663 five builders, some of whom had speculated here during the Interregnum, agreed to take a lease of property in or near St. Albans Street; it was to be divided among them before building but the intention may well have been to develop it co-operatively. (fn. 19) John Angier, George Clisby, Robert Hooke and Abraham Storey were possibly associated in dealings concerning the square. (fn. 3) But the first raising of the fabric seems mainly to have been in the hands of the usual small builder and to have involved the normal methods of mortgaging newly built or half-built houses to finance further work. The intermediary in the investment of 'small savings' secured by such mortgages might well be the customary lawyer or, perhaps, scrivener. (fn. 20) The Search Books of the Tylers' and Bricklayers' Company (fn. 21) do not seem to reveal such faulty building methods here as, for example, in Spitalfields, although use of bad material (by Richard Frith among others) was sometimes penalized. (fn. 4) A more detailed discussion of the fabric, as first built and in its subsequent rebuildings, is given in the latter part of this introduction.

Despite the apparently conventional methods of building-organization it is notable that the most important of St. Albans's freehold enterprises, his piazza of palaces or nearpalaces, exhibited almost complete outward uniformity. It is further noteworthy that Kip's view of c. 1714–22 (Plate 4) seems to show the rest of his freehold not dissimilar in appearance: the southern part of the east side of St. James's Street in particular looks like a uniform block, and the long freehold frontage to Pall Mall seems to have been nearly as uniform. Kip may have exaggerated this uniformity, but a reference to St. Albans's 'stately uniform Piles' (fn. 22) at a time when the square was only beginning to come into being suggests that some overall visual regularity was achieved.

The development of an area so close to St. James's Palace was certain to be an object of royal interest, and a number of the street-names celebrated the royal family (others commemorated St. Albans's own family, and one, Bury Street, perhaps his Suffolk home). The great square seems to have been known at one time as the 'Place Royale'. (fn. 23) The Crown's officers were certainly concerned to some extent in the development. The part played by them in the design and planning of St. Albans's freehold area is discussed in Chapter IV, but the evidence is not conclusive. A certain stylistic resemblance between the houses in the square and the back part of old Schomberg House suggests that some architectural influence may have affected alike development on the Crown estate and on St. Albans's freehold.

St. Albans's building enterprise lay chiefly in St. James's Field; that is, east of St. James's Street. West of that street he had his leasehold interest until 1691, but little building seems to have been done here under his aegis. The creation of the Green Park in 1668 and the consequent diminution of the Pulteney estate led to a rearrangement of the ownership of the land west of St. James's Street, so that, by 1697, most of it had ceased to belong to the Crown and had passed to private owners. It was on these private freeholds that new buildings were erected, for the most part by the speculative family business run by the Rossingtons. Small houses were built in the secluded new streets off St. James's Street, but larger ones went up on the only part of the Pulteney estate remaining in the possession of the Crown overlooking Green Park. During the eighteenth century encroachments on the park were made to give the present enfiladed line, which was established by 1798. In 1830 the Crown bought back some Pulteney property which had been converted into private freehold in 1722, to disentangle it from the Crown estate. The Crown has recently acquired land bordering the park further north. This intricate tenure of the area from Cleveland Row northward has probably helped to preserve its somewhat old-fashioned and retired character.

Thus the areas east and west of St. James's Street exhibit in their history a difference that is perceptible in their fabric. As has been seen, from 1665 the area eastward of St. James's Street was itself divided between the Crown estate and St. Albans's freehold. One or two other parts were disposed of by the Crown fairly soon, in the 1670's—at the north-east end of St. James's Street and Nell Gwynne's house in Pall Mall. Since then the boundary between Crown and private freehold has not been greatly altered; the only substantial change, except for that incidental to the creation of Nash's New Street, has been the transfer of the site bounded by Piccadilly, Duke Street and Jermyn Street to Bethlem Hospital in 1830. The development of the two parts has been affected by different influences and the contrast in the existing fabric can, again, still be noticed.

St. Albans's and the other private freehold interests were themselves mostly sold off fairly soon. Part of the St. Albans's freehold interest still survives, however, vested in the owner of the site of the eighteenth-century shop at No. 3 St. James's Street. It may be noted that this ownership maintains the Suffolk connexion introduced by St. Albans himself. (fn. 5)

Very little of the first domestic building remains externally visible in the area. On most of the sites, indeed, (particularly those on Crown land) the present structure represents the third or fourth building. Notably on the south side of Pall Mall, but also elsewhere, this has resulted in a confusing history of the merging and division of building sites. Apart from small partially reconstructed terrace-houses, chiefly on freehold property in Jermyn Street and west of St. James's Street, and the reinstated façade of Schomberg House, the only seventeenth-century building of any consequence remaining is the church of St. James. Extensive rebuilding took place in the eighteenth century, doubtless from a desire for greater modishness and convenience rather than from structural necessity.

The plan on which the area was laid out gave an orderly, dignified and convenient pattern for a fashionable but not wholly exclusive neighbourhood. At its centre was the enclosure of the 'piazza' with its three centrally entrant streets, a deliberate and effective piece of planning evidently deriving from foreign precedents with which an owner as cosmopolitan as St. Albans would have been acquainted. The placing of the church, on ground that was Crown property until the conveyances preparatory to the church's consecration, was clearly related to the square. But the layout was by no means dominated by a commanding desire for impressiveness at all costs. In construction, the houses in the square were more numerous and rather less palatial than first intended, and the plan of the square somewhat less symmetrical. The church as built did not fill its scenic rôle quite to the satisfaction of later critics, and the alignment of streets was occasionally impaired or distorted by adjustment to practical difficulties or the requirements of the ordinary commerce of London life.

On the south side of the area the line of street had been settled soon after the Restoration and before the new building was begun in earnest, to suit the royal convenience. The old highway immediately north of the present parish boundary was stopped up to preserve the seclusion of the newly built pall mall alley in St. James's Park, and replaced by the present Pall Mall on the line of the old abandoned pall mall alley used before the Civil War. Until the nineteenth century the south side of Pall Mall, where some of the greatest houses stood behind fore-courts, presented an irregular building-line to the street.

The new pattern east of St. James's Street formed a somewhat self-contained residential area, not communicating outward very readily. One of the first streets to be built was Jermyn Street and its long east-to-west line indicates the predominant axis of the area, towards St. James's Street rather than north-and-south. Its line was paralleled to the south by that of Charles Street and King Street through the square. But the easternmost and westernmost communication of the area was little more open than that northward and southward, probably in part because the frontages to the Haymarket and St. James's Street were already built upon, and St. Albans as leaseholder had not the opportunity or inclination to buy out existing tenant-rights in order to open his streets straight through into the larger highways. Instead, narrow foot-passages terminated the lines of Jermyn Street and Charles Street-King Street. It is likely that the southward break in the line of Ryder Street was similarly occasioned by an existing tenancy on the St. James's Street frontage (see Plate 5). Pall Mall itself was obstructed at its western end by the old tennis court for some eighteen years until about 1679. Before the making of (Lower) Regent Street, north-south communication was even more lacking. The original plan for the square may have envisaged a through-route from Piccadilly to Pall Mall via the square but this is not at all certain, and no such route was made; the communication of the square with Pall Mall was itself constricted. It is to be remarked that the more notable of the houses first erected on the land between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street faced the latter. (fn. 6) The siting of St. James's Church did nothing to 'open' the area towards Piccadilly, as it was separated until the 1760's from that highway by a row of buildings. It was usually regarded as being in Jermyn Street, whence its principal entrance looked down to the square.

One of the most fashionable of London churches, St. James's was more closely connected with the wealthy area lying to its south than is evident nowadays. It attracted a metropolitan congregation, but the ceremony of its consecration from a house in the square does not altogether misrepresent its partial function as the 'chapel' of St. Albans's estate. In the design of its interior Wren achieved a notable triumph of intellect and sensibility, and its exterior was consonant with the sometimes deceptive plainness of the new streets to the south of it. But the lack of final rigorous determination in the pursuit of a clearly conceived plan which may be detected in the laying-out of the estate appeared also in the history of the church, and its completion with the raising of the spire and the payment of the bills is a story of difficulty and delay.

The somewhat inward-looking character of the layout reflected the residential and selfsufficient character of the area as first built, containing, even more notably than later, some of the grandest of London houses, but also, again more notably than at a later period, other parts adapted to humbler use. The square and church were neighboured by the market, and the fine streets and houses, grandiose or reticent, were adjacent to streets and alleys of more modest habitations, where servants, tradespeople and stall-keepers were accommodated. Particularly eastward of the square there were comparatively humble streets, especially around the market (though St. Albans Street seems to have been very respectable). In the eighteenth century the east and west ends of Pall Mall differed socially, and the most aristocratic houses have naturally tended to lie between St. James's Square, St. James's Palace and Green Park.

The old-established institutions of the area include White's and Boodle's, but it is significant that a number of the links with the eighteenth century are provided by continuity in some form of 'trade'—Fortnum and Mason's, Hatchard's, Lock's and Christie's may be mentioned, while the Cavendish Hotel dates from the late eighteenth century, and the Golden Lion public house in King Street can be traced back to at least 1732. Perhaps most notably, Berry Brothers and Rudd have links of family succession in trade on the same site back to about 1699, a longer continuity than is represented by any private family with a house in the area.

The vestry of the parish seems to have been composed very largely of tradesmen. The grandees of St. James's appear not to have concerned themselves greatly in the government of the area, and from 1726 those living on the principal sides of St. James's Square were relieved of most parish rates, and maintained the square themselves.

That the area was at one time more a place of family domesticity than it became later is suggested by the references to schools here in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries— in Jermyn Street in c. 1670, (fn. 24) in St. James's Street in or before 1706, (fn. 25) and in Mason's Yard in 1772, (fn. 26) besides the boys' charity school which stood near the church from 1704 until its removal to the northern part of the parish in the 1760's.

Proximity to the royal palace affected the character of the area from the start; lodgings were sought here by officers of the Court, as well as by grandees wanting a good address. (fn. 7) From the first St. James's Square was attractive to the greatest names in the kingdom and St. Albans's own residence here set a prevailing tone. The official removal of the Court from Whitehall to St. James's Palace in 1698 nevertheless had some effect on the social character of the area. One detectable result, which in its further outcome very significantly affected the fabric, was the increase in the number of coffee houses, particularly in St. James's Street and, to a lesser extent, Pall Mall. Their function in the development of political discussion, groupings, and parties is well known. They are especially important in a history of the fabric of this area because of their evolution into the eighteenth-century subscription clubs. One club in the area, White's, can be linked with certainty to a seventeenth-century coffee house, as also could the Cocoa Tree until its demise in 1932. But for much of the eighteenth century the club-life of the area was not settled in permanent homes. The early history of surviving clubs is often extremely intricate and obscure, with many migrations and changes or transfers of name. The period when they became more settled and distinct seems to be the twenty-five years or so from about 1762 to about 1787, which witnessed the transition from the era of the coffee house to that of the great proprietary subscription clubs. Many new clubs came into existence in these years—among them Almack's, Brooks's, Boodle's, the Macaroni, the Ladies', the Savoir Vivre and Goostree's—and although many were, as before, short-lived, others had greater permanence. The present club-houses of Brooks's (in the part of St. James's Street not dealt with in these volumes), Boodle's and White's were built in these years. The ending of the Seven Years War doubtless did something to encourage the formation of clubs for officers returned from overseas, but the proliferation of clubs was also encouraged by the political changes of this period, the emergence of new Parliamentary groupings and the clearer articulation of party politics and policies. Nevertheless, although the clubs of the late eighteenth century housed a vivid political life, they still retained a basically social and apolitical character compared with many of the nineteenth-century foundations. As proprietary houses they were owned and run for the subscribing members by men of a remarkable type, who combined some of the qualities of a successful coffee-house keeper with those of a modern club-secretary. Arthur, Almack, Boodle, Brooks, Goostree, Kenney, Mackreth, Raggett, White and Willis were among the most influential men to have formed the social, and often the architectural, character of the area. The club-houses built for them were sometimes of the first consequence architecturally. For it should be remarked that these individualistic entrepreneurs, trading on a combination of shrewdness and sociability, provided for their members an architecture as fine as that which the members would have procured for their own houses and which sometimes rose to a high level of distinction.

A similar distinction characterized some of the places of public resort and recreation in eighteenth-century St. James's; the Opera House in the Haymarket, Almack's assembly rooms in King Street, and the Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall contained beauties of design or decoration comparable in brilliance and refinement to those of the finest private houses.

The variegated elegance of the architecture of pleasure and commerce was set off by streets of terrace-houses, often of moderate size, not unlike those in less fashionable parts of London. The attraction of St. James's was probably more from its position and fashionable repute than from the spaciousness or convenience of the accommodation it afforded. By the later eighteenth century the provision of lodgings for 'persons of quality', which seventeenthcentury Chancery proceedings witness to have been from the first a function of the area, was perhaps particularly appreciated by bachelors of fashion or fortune who were content to take narrow apartments at the heart of modish life. Gibbon's comment on a lodging in Duke Street in 1772—'vile street, good quarter'—expresses succinctly something of the quality of old fashionable London. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the area was much more a hotel-quarter than is evident now. St. James's Street, Jermyn Street, and the side streets west of the square were particularly rich in hotels, some of which survived to appear on the 1869–74 Ordnance Survey map (Plate 7). But they contributed little that was distinctive to the architecture of the area: the Cavendish Hotel preserves their quietness of aspect. They served the fashionable bachelor or the family in town for the season. (fn. 8) The demand for expensive lodgings was not so strong, however, as to extrude all but the wealthy and fashionable. Unlike a modern zone of office buildings eighteenth-century St. James's contained, partly by reason of its small units of occupation, room for some quite humble lodgers. At a later date, Nash testified to the need for a cheap market in the area in 1816. Pall Mall in particular was in the eighteenth century a place of residence for artists with studios there, of whom the most notable was Gainsborough. (fn. 9) The area as a whole had at one time a greater affinity with the northern part of the parish than in the later nineteenth century; it was the residence of writers and craftsmen and of foreign 'quality' tradesmen. It was a centre of connoisseurship, commercial and otherwise, containing the booksellers of Piccadilly and Pall Mall, the auction rooms of Christie's, the early homes of the Royal Academy and National Gallery, and exhibition rooms such as the Shakespeare Gallery, the Egyptian Hall, the later Museum of Practical Geology and the still existing gallery of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, as well as the semi-public Ellesmere collection.

Compared with its present condition the area was less a place merely of daytime or weekday resort. In the early nineteenth century St. James's Square still provided a predominantly residential nucleus. This residential character is perhaps reflected in the fact that from 1828 to 1875 there were four places of worship in the area, although they doubtless attracted worshippers from other parts of London. Besides St. James's Church there were two churches of the Establishment, St. Philip's, Regent Street, (fn. 10) and the proprietary chapel in York Street (Anglican for most of this period although it had housed a succession of non-conforming churches since the 1780's): there was also the Western Synagogue in St. Alban's Place.

In 1835 the St. James's Theatre in King Street made its contribution to the variegated public aspect of the area. When the establishment of the theatre was in prospect local residents complained of the undesirable consequences that would attend it. For one aspect of the area which had lasted into the nineteenth century was the 'rookeries' of disreputable courts and alleyways, and in the circumstances of early nineteenth-century theatre-going it is not surprising that the narrow ill-famed lanes on the south side of King Street should be thought a likely source of disorder. Pall Mall Place, which was already notorious in 1744, was described as a 'low den of infamy' a hundred years later and in 1868 was said to have enjoyed until recently 'no very delicate fame'. The market area, and Market Lane hard by the Opera House, were similarly notorious, sharing some of the ill-fame of the neighbouring Haymarket. In 1816 a resident in St. James's Square near Pall Mall had complained of the behaviour of street-walkers nearby and, on the other side of Pall Mall, Stone Cutter's Yard was of evil reputation in the early nineteenth century. Some of these disreputable enclaves were transformed by early nineteenth-century reconstructions of the areas adjoining Waterloo Place, around the Opera House, and in Little King Street where its widening into St. James's Street destroyed a 'rookery'.

These reconstructions were not on the whole far-reaching, except where Nash's New Street struck through to the site of Carlton House, and the general plan of the area has not been reshaped in compliance with the suggestions of critics or the advocates of 'improvement'.

A suggestion made more than once was for the removal of the buildings on the south side of St. James's Square. In 1766 John Gwynn had proposed this, and that a royal residence should be erected on the south side of Pall Mall, centred on the square: the suggestion for removal was renewed in 1851. Gwynn's proposals had in general been directed towards making the area more designedly royal, and he had suggested the erection of a palace to replace the unimposing layout west of St. James's Street. (fn. 27) But the area never acquired the outward aspect of regality. It is indeed matter of remark that the private freehold ownership of much of the north side of Pall Mall kept the appearance of that side of the street largely unaffected by the royal residences that at one time or another stood to the south of that street—the palace itself (with Clarence House and the present Lancaster House westward), Marlborough House, Cumberland House, Carlton House and Warwick House. For periods in the eighteenth century government offices occupied premises in the area, and in the mid-nineteenth century the Ordnance Office (later the War Office) took quite extensive premises in and near Pall Mall, but only one building was erected specifically for it. The area was never reshaped purposely to house ministries. Its outward aspect has reflected its nearness to the centre of government only indirectly, as the residence and resort of the great.

Such alterations of the original layout as have been made date mainly from the early nineteenth century. The making of (Lower) Regent Street and Waterloo Place reduced the area of minor streets surrounding the market, which was moved to a smaller site. Associated with the New Street was the reshaping of the block on which the Opera House stood. Important suggestions anticipating this reconstruction had been made by Leverton and Fordyce in the late 1790's but it was in 1816–19 that the improvement was carried out, giving the Opera House a new exterior, creating the Royal Opera Arcade, widening the eastern end of Pall Mall and opening both Charles Street and Jermyn Street more easily into the Haymarket. At the same time the western end of Jermyn Street, called Little Jermyn Street, was widened at its junction with St. James's Street. The corresponding widening of the western end of King Street was made in 1829–30. On the other side of St. James's Street, Little St. James's Street was widened in c. 1844.

A few years later a suggestion was made for another alteration westward of St. James's Street which would have transformed one of the most characteristic parts of the area. In 1848 The Builder publicized a suggestion that Cleveland Row should be cleared to provide Pall Mall with a more effective westward continuation of undiminished width, in front of the palace. This would have led to a monumental entry into Green Park through the 'Marble Arch', then being removed from before Buckingham Palace. (fn. 28) In 1850 when Barry was completing Bridgwater House, the suggestion was renewed (probably by him), and seriously considered. This creation of a through-route and vista from Pall Mall to Green Park would have altered very drastically the balance and circulation of the area, but was not effected.

The contrasting great space in front and eastward of the palace, which has come gradually into being with the successive removal of the tennis court in the seventeenth and of mean buildings and shops in the eighteenth century, was enlarged in 1928 when the gateway to Marlborough House was set back.

Apart from attempts at deliberate replanning, perhaps the greatest transformation of the area's fabric reflecting human use and social function was the nineteenth-century rebuilding of Pall Mall, particularly its southern side, to create its present distinguishing character as a 'street of palaces', confident, serious and masculine. They embody the second phase in the development of the club-life of the area. The proprietary subscription clubs of the eighteenth century were being augmented by or transformed into clubs owned and run by the members themselves. Usually larger than the eighteenth-century clubs, they resembled them in that they often catered for the needs either of officers of a post-war era or of participants in the increasingly organized party conflicts of the Victorian age. The first of the members' clubs was Arthur's, of 1811, but the new phase of club-building began after the war, with the portentous United Service club-house in Charles Street of 1817–19, rebuilt in 1855–7. Ten more club-houses were begun in the area between 1826 and 1848. These foundations gave the area its most striking single type of building, which conveys forcibly to the eye its character as the stronghold of masculine society at a period of great national power.

The use and shaping of the fabric of the area in the nineteenth century was determined to a great extent by the circumstances of club-life. The requirements of fashionable life, particularly male fashionable life, preserved the use of the area at ground-floor level largely for shops, of modest traditional dimensions. Above ground level, accommodation was increasingly designed for bachelor-chambers. Much of nineteenth-century rebuilding was to provide small apartments of this kind, with provision in basement and attic for servants and kitchens, but without the self-contained residential and cooking facilities in each apartment of the later family 'flat'. They were designed for men who would spend much of their time at their clubs but who, since few of the nineteenth-century clubs then provided bedroomaccommodation, lived in apartments nearby. These bachelor apartments were often called 'club-chambers' and many were built or improvised from the 1830's onward.

In these nineteenth-century, and later, rebuildings, an important factor has been the ownership of about half the area by the Crown. It has been on this part of St. James's that the transformation from the small and delicately textured eighteenth-century fabric, often of outwardly unassuming aspect, to one of larger, more imposing nineteenth- and twentiethcentury units has been the more noticeable. An effective and vigorous Crown-estate administration has been maintained. The estate policy seems to have changed as the nineteenth century advanced, and its results, visible in the fabric, changed also; some brief account of this is necessary to explain still-perceptible differences between parts of the area.

In the eighteenth century the administration of the Crown estate in the area had not been particularly rigorous and no noticeable policy can be detected. Many of the original buildings still stood and it is possible that in the early part of the century those on the Crown estate contained, on the whole, a smaller proportion of really substantial buildings than those on the private freeholds, where St. Albans and others had been in a position to grant the outright ownership or a long lease of a site: the building on freehold sites in Duke Street seems to have been at first rather more substantial than on the Crown property there and in the neighbouring streets. The calculation of the terms of the original leases to St. Albans and others occasioned confusion. As the expiry of the St. Albans leasehold interest in 1740 approached, confusion also became apparent over the exact boundary between the Crown estate and his freehold. These difficulties were resolved, but it seems to have been determined not to admit another head-lessee under the Crown. Throughout the century the rebuilding of Crown property went on as necessity arose and without any settled policy respecting the term of leases to be granted. The Act of 1794, (fn. 29) by which the administration of Crown lands was tightened up, initiated a somewhat more vigorous policy, and the anticipation by Leverton and Fordyce in the late 1790's of some of Nash's town-planning concepts for the area has already been mentioned.

It was the New Street, however, that effectively introduced the policy of 'planning', and this impulse did not die away, so far as this area was concerned, with the discrediting of Nash and his royal patron. The lengthening of the term of Crown leases to ninety-nine years, with its greater inducement to ambitious rebuilding, seems to have become a regular policy in the area from the period of the New Street leases. More positively, one part of the area experienced a transformation physically extensive of Nash's work. A characteristically convoluted episode in Nash's association with the New Street had been the planning of Waterloo Place, with two new club-houses on each side of it. The attempt to achieve uniformity failed, chiefly by Nash's own fault, but as Pennethorne later said, the elevations were 'warmly disputed and discussed', and a precedent was established for the concern of the Crown's officers that the club-houses built in the succeeding quarter of a century on Crown property should enhance London's 'street architecture'. The Crown Surveyors of the second quarter of the century had considerable responsibility for the fine quality of the building then being undertaken by the clubs, the importance of which in the social history of the area has already been indicated. A notable instance of their concern was the interference of Chawner and Rhodes with Hopper's design for Arthur's club-house in St. James's Street (now the Carlton Club) in 1827. The Commissioners of Woods and Forests (fn. 11) were very sympathetic to the desire of clubs to build handsomely, and in 1836–7 they helped the Reform Club to assemble the site for their great club-house. The influence of (Sir) James Pennethorne, as the Commissioners' Surveyor, ensured that a conscientious regard for appearance should be maintained; and he was himself employed to design buildings of some consequence on Crown property. The determination of the Crown officers that the character of the south side of Pall Mall should be as they wished stiffened their attitude to a lessee of the Buckingham House site over the years 1847–51. Deliberate solicitude for the architectural qualities of the buildings in Pall Mall caused them to prohibit the extrusion of a bow window at the Athenaeum club-house in 1854, and to require the reinstatement of Barry's original balconies on the garden front of the Travellers' clubhouse in 1867. There were, however, limits to the scope of this policy. In 1854 Pennethorne expressed it by distinguishing, with reference to Crown property, between 'public' buildings (that is, semi-public buildings such as club-houses), in respect of which members of the general public would look to the Commissioners to 'protect their Interest' in architectural appearances, and 'private' buildings, where consideration for architectural qualities, though desirable, 'ought not to be allowed to interfere to any great prejudice of Speculators or . . . to any great detriment of Lessees and occupiers'. (fn. 30) At this time the Crown's policy was, where possible, to renew reversionary leases to the occupying tenant. Sometimes it happened, as at Nos. 178–180 Piccadilly in 1860, that the lessee would undertake the rebuilding of united sites on a larger scale. But the Crown's policy at this time presumably limited what could be done to increase the architectural pretensions of its 'private' properties. The failure to complete the replacement of old Schomberg House was an instance of the limitation of the Commissioners' powers.

From about 1871 onwards the policy of the Commissioners in respect of their 'private' property seems to have become more positive, and an energetic policy of reconstruction was carried through. This has substantially altered the appearance of some of the area. During most of this latter part of the century the Commissioners' Surveyor was Arthur Cates, to whose influence much must probably be attributed. Henceforward the simultaneous expiry of the leasehold interests of adjacent properties was contrived whenever possible, and a single lessee procured, often by competitive tender or public auction, who would undertake the redevelopment of the amalgamated sites as one larger building in a more 'imposing' manner. (fn. 12) Each large block was uniform but together they exhibited a wide variety of styles. The rebuilding was usually in Portland stone, and often provided, above groundfloor shops, several storeys of bachelor-chambers or flats. Many of these buildings are now converted into offices, but their original purpose was almost invariably residential. By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries this accommodation was chiefly provided in the form of 'chambers'. (fn. 13)

In 1871 Cates was recommending that the leasehold terms of sites at the north-west corner of Ryder Street and Bury Street should, when necessary, be extended to allow uniform redevelopment, which was accomplished in 1878. In the same year, 1871, Cates was gratified by the amalgamation of adjacent sites in the rebuilding of the present No. 24 Ryder Street. In 1878 he was planning for the rebuilding of all the north side of King Street between Bury Street and Duke Street with a uniform façade, at two periods, when leases should fall in, in 1889 and 1896. This was not achieved, but the rebuilding of the centre block for Christie's in 1893 was noticed appraisingly by The Builder, which halfregretted the disappearance of the older, less imposing front 'rather characteristic of our English ways'. It attributed to 'the inexorable decree of the landlord, . . . the Crown' the replacement of this front by one 'more in keeping with the new style of building in the West End of London'. (fn. 31) Another prospective plan had been adumbrated by Cates in 1872 when he proposed an extension of leases to allow the unification of sites at the north-west corner of Duke Street and Ryder Street. This required patience and persistence but it was accomplished by 1882. Further east, a similar policy was employed at Nos. 11–13 Norris Street in 1890; and in 1899, after Cates had been succeeded by Arthur Green, the area bounded by Piccadilly and Jermyn Street between the Geological Museum and Church Passage was rebuilt with a uniform front by two architects working to a scheme approved by the Commissioners. But it was mainly in the area between St. James's Street, King Street, Duke Street and Jermyn Street that the policy was exercised, and in 1900 the Commissioners had a block of sites rebuilt on the south-west corner of Bury Street and Ryder Street. A notable piece of redevelopment followed in St. James's Street, which was still a street of moderately sized units in 1895. Between 1910 and 1926 the whole block between Ryder and Jermyn Streets was rebuilt with a large, virtually symmetrical façade, which has occasioned the apposite comment that it 'represents an attempt to convert St. James's Street into another Regent Street or Kingsway'. (fn. 32)

The effect of this policy has perhaps been to lessen the visual distinctiveness of the area. A certain regard for architectural propriety in the buildings erected on Crown property was, however, maintained, and the preservation of buildings from mutilation has been continued. It may be doubted whether the alteration of the premises of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours would have occurred in that form on Crown property: in 1898 the Commissioners were at pains to preserve the architectural character of the Criterion Restaurant. The St. James's Bazaar building has, however, been changed for the worse, and the suggestions made in 1902 for the addition of more ornamental detail to the design for Nos. 70–72 Jermyn Street may not have been beneficial. The façade of old Schomberg House has been carefully reinstated, but only one building of the eighteenth century or earlier has survived on Crown property. This is Boodle's club-house, and it may be supposed that continuity of tenure has been a cause of preservation here. (fn. 14)

On the privately owned freehold areas a little more of the old fabric, and of the old units of building, has survived. This is perhaps because the obstacles presented by individual ownerships, together with the full economic use of small individual sites which has been possible in so 'expensive' a shopping-area, have hitherto tended to delay comprehensive redevelopment. (fn. 15) Part of the characteristic diversity of the area consists in the difference between the Crown property and the private freeholds. In Pall Mall, St. James's Street and Jermyn Street differences in the nature of the development can still be seen, as also in the different character of part of Duke Street from the streets westward. The older parts of the fabric of St. James's tend to be in private freehold areas—on the south side of Jermyn Street, at a few sites in the square, in St. James's Street (Pickering Place and Berry's shop, Lock's, White's club-house and Blue Ball Yard), and in the streets westward of St. James's Street.

The history of the area in the last hundred years or so has been such that what now survives of the older fabric often creates a piquant juxtaposition of unassuming and imposing building. The narrow approaches to Mason's Yard, and the tiny building at No. 7 Duke Street, contrast strikingly with the neighbouring square, and St. James's Street is singularly unlike Crown Passage on which it backs. This narrow arched passageway of small shops, occupying sites shown by Horwood in the 1790's, is the only one of the courts and alleys south of King Street to survive in recognizable form, and still retains a little of that outward appearance which now survives in the parish mainly northward of Piccadilly Circus.

Particularly since the 1930's, however, the conflation of sites and inflation of building has spread to the freehold areas, most notably in St. James's Square, which has in the process virtually ceased to be residential. There has, indeed, been a transformation in the use of the area, largely since the war of 1914–18. Until then the general character of St. James's had changed, in relation to London society, remarkably little in 250 years. In St. James's Square clubs and institutions had by the mid nineteenth century replaced some of the private families, and two of the business houses now in the square have been there since that period. But the general character of the area remained little altered. Then at the end of the nineteenth century business offices, as distinct from the traditional type of retail shops, moved more extensively into the area, and by 1936 this was recognized by the inclusion of the greater part of the area in 'zones' intended for 'special' or 'general' business use, in the London County Council's Scheme No. 19 prepared under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1932.

This change of use did not at first greatly affect the character of the street-architecture. The buildings which had been erected to accommodate residential apartments above shops were taken over for office use on some or all of the upper floors. Until after the war of 1914–18 there were probably very few buildings erected south of Piccadilly specifically to provide office accommodation. The alteration in the appearance of the area by buildings designed to serve the traditional use as private apartments, was until recently greater than any caused by the social transformation of the area towards one of office-buildings.

Even in recent years the extensive intrusion of business into the area has often left little or no outward sign, as at Bridgwater House and Spencer House and No. 15 St. James's Square. Sometimes, indeed, it has resulted (as at these houses and others such as No. 20 St. James's Square) in a careful restoration of much of the interior character of the house. But in some instances the economic pressure to provide the greatest possible quantity of office-accommodation on a site has produced a complete break with the tradition of building in the area. From 1932 onwards St. James's Square has been transformed, and since the war of 1939–45 this development has continued elsewhere, increasing the size while diminishing the architectural scale of building.

The preservation of the fabric of the area by the action of local or central authority before the war of 1939–45, under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1932, was hardly practicable, largely because of the cost of compensation under the provisions of that Act, in an area of such high land-values. The later Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 has made such action more possible, and Building Preservation Orders have been made and confirmed on three houses in St. James's Square. It may perhaps be said that side by side with the erection of buildings disregardful of their surroundings there has been increased activity, both official and unofficial, to preserve what is of architectural interest and value in the area, and an increased willingness on the part of occupants and owners to cherish the distinctive character and beauties of the buildings in their custody. At the same time the post-war policy of the Council has to some extent imposed a check on the conversion of premises from residential to business use.

The Fabric

To turn to a more particular scrutiny of the changing fabric of St. James's, it may be observed that the favourable situation of the area under review had made it inevitable that sooner or later it would become the 'Court suburb'. Fortunately, this development came relatively late, at a time when French fashions ruled the Court and Paris was the model for London to follow. Every new extension of fashionable London was now to be centred round a great square, and St. James's Square was designed to be the 'Place Royale' of London.

The ground developed by St. Albans was fairly constant in level from east to west, but rose first gently and then more steeply from south to north. The square was sited, most advantageously, on the more level ground to the south, just behind the highway linking the royal palaces, and about half-way between St. James's Street and the Haymarket. The church serving the newly created suburb was built near the north boundary (Piccadilly), standing in close relationship to the square yet fairly central for the whole parish, and the market was sited to the east of the square, conveniently near the Haymarket.

St. Albans had first intended that his square should be lined with noblemen's palaces, and it seems fair to assume that King, Charles, and St. Albans Streets, from the generous width that they had in common, were intended to rate second in importance to the square. The long east-west street (Jermyn Street), between the square and Piccadilly, was probably next in the social scale, and the smaller streets east and west of the square were last. It would seem that the exclusive character of the whole enclave was to be maintained by making its entries few, and not thoroughfares. From Piccadilly there were two openings of average width, Duke and Eagle Streets, and from Pall Mall there was St. Albans Street, leading north to the market, and two openings into the square, although only one central opening was at first intended. From St. James's Street and the Haymarket there were only narrow passages.

Mary Davis's house on the Army and Navy club-house site (Plate 133a), the last surviving house in St. James's Square with an original front, was demolished in the 1840's but the general appearance of the north, east and west sides of the square is recorded in the early eighteenth-century engravings of Kip and Sutton Nicholls (Plates 4, 128). St. James's Square, like Covent Garden Piazza, was imperfect on the south side, but on the other three sides the house-fronts, whatever their width, were combined to present a fairly regular sequence of vertical features—the stonework surrounds of three superimposed windows—spaced between plain piers of red brick, below a wooden eaves-cornice and a steeply pitched roof containing a range of pedimented dormers. One remarks the complete absence of the projecting bandcourses between storeys which were a characteristic feature of most other late seventeenth-century house-fronts in London. The pronounced verticality of these St. James's Square fronts suggests a French influence—possibly Chastillon's brick-and-stucco elevations in the Place Royale (des Vosges)—tempered with an English reserve of expression, but the architect, unless he was Sir John Denham, remains unknown.

This vertical emphasis also predominates in the Pall Mall front of Schomberg House, the most important example of late seventeenth-century domestic architecture to survive in this area, now attached to a modern office building (Plates 205, 206). Moreover, in the back closet-wings of the same house, which were perhaps earlier than the front, there were vertical stone features, one window wide, projecting from plain brick piers very much in the manner of the St. James's Square fronts (Plate 207a).

Although several of the most notorious speculators of the time were concerned in the development of the St. Albans estate, building standards were generally high and even the lesser houses were fairly well finished, if the surviving interiors of some Jermyn Street houses are typical. Lower and, regrettably, more general standards of building prevailed in the development during the 1680's of much of the area lying between St. James's Street and Green Park, where the Cleveland House and other estates were parcelled out with narrow house-plots by the Rossingtons and their associates. Their houses generally have plain brick fronts towards the none-too-wide streets, but the backs are often of timberframe construction. Many such houses survive in St. James's Place, albeit in an altered state, owing to the careful maintenance they have had over the centuries (Plate 246).

The general uniformity of St. James's Square concealed the varying extent of its large 'Pallaces', but other great houses in the area were less reticent. Besides Schomberg House there were two large houses of seventeenth-century origin—Warwick House, a four-square 'Coleshill' type of house which stood on the site of Carlton Mews (fig. 67), and Cleveland House (Plate 233a), a low open-courtyard building that preceded Bridgwater House.

The most important late seventeenth-century survival is, of course, the parish church of St. James, Piccadilly (Plates 8-23), a building often censured for its simple exterior (made even plainer by the loss of the stone 'frontispiece' from each side elevation) but invariably praised for its splendid interior, one of Wren's finest designs and an achievement of which he was justly proud. The inhabitants of the southern part of the parish were, in the main, highly orthodox in their attitude towards Church and State, and the parish church with its great capacity amply served their needs.

Redevelopment has left little enough of the late seventeenth-century and even less of early eighteenth-century building in this area, but the atmosphere of the period can still be sensed in the narrow courts and passages between Pall Mall and King Street, and it survives in Pickering Place (Plate 229), a small court of modest houses just behind Berry's famous wine-shop in St. James's Street. There is, however, one very important building of the time, Vanbrugh's Opera House in the Haymarket, built in 1704–5, which cannot even be accurately recalled, so scanty are the records of its original appearance (Plates 24-26).

The first substantial rebuildings in St. James's Square began around 1726, and the present No. 4, with its fine Palladian front and some splendid interiors, is of that date (Plates 134-139). In 1736 the large Ormonde or Chandos House on the north side was rebuilt as three houses, the present Nos. 9, 10 and 11, originally sharing a front of almost utilitarian simplicity (Plates 140-148). A return to the Palladianism of No. 4 was made in the front of No. 13 (Plate 149), probably rebuilt in 1735–7, and even more strongly in Norfolk House (demolished in 1938, Plates 153, 162) and No. 5 (re-fronted in 1854, Plates 150, 152). Matthew Brettingham, the elder, was the architect of the last two houses and possibly of the first, and while his lack of invention may have resulted in the similarity of all their fronts, it may be conjectured whether he intended to set the standard for a new uniformity to be observed in rebuilding the square.

Whether or not this was so, the cause of uniformity was as good as lost when the individual architect proclaimed himself as strongly as James Stuart did in 1764, when he rebuilt No. 15 with a Grecian temple front of stone, in the manner prescribed by the Society of Dilettanti (Plates 165-170). Robert Adam then challenged Stuart with the Corinthian front of No. 20, built in 1771–5 (Plates 171-185), and certainly had no intention of repeating front of No. 20, built in 1771–5 (Plates 171-185), and certainly had no intention of repeating himself in his other designs for houses in the square. He refaced the original front of No. 11 (Plates 140, 141a), introducing a pilastered central feature; No. 33 he rebuilt with a plain exterior, somewhat in the manner of No. 20 Portman Square (Plates 186-189); Andrew Millar's house in Pall Mall was given a plain front towards the square (Plate 221), and the projected front for No. 14 was an intricate composition with Venetian windows (Plate 190a).

Despite some alteration, Stuart's No. 15 and Adam's No. 20 St. James's Square still rank as two of the finest terrace-houses in London, with noble fronts and exceptionally beautiful interiors. But the most important mid eighteenth-century house in this area is, without doubt, Spencer House, with its lovely pedimented Doric front overlooking Green Park (Plates 251-265, frontispiece of vol. xxx). This building was begun in 1756 by John Vardy, whose designs were 'vetted' by General George Gray. Vardy was largely responsible for the original Palladian decoration in the ground storey, but the state-rooms on the principal floor are by James Stuart and include his decorative masterpiece, the painted room, now finely restored. Another important 'great house', which survived until 1908, was York (later Cumberland) House, on the south side of Pall Mall (Plates 209-220). Built to the design of the elder Matthew Brettingham in 1761–3, it was enlarged, altered, and partly redecorated by Robert Adam for the Duke of Cumberland. Other noteworthy houses formerly standing on the south side of Pall Mall were No. 79 (Plate 222), designed by James Paine, and No. 105, altered and extended by the same architect (Plate 223). In 1792–5 an existing house near Cumberland House was skilfully remodelled and extended by Soane to form Buckingham House, a building with a fine neo-Classical front and a remarkable staircase, unfortunately demolished in 1908 (Plates 224-227).

Soane also worked quite extensively in St. James's Square, completing No. 21, a house begun in 1790 by Robert Furze Brettingham (Plates 191-193), and other distinguished houses made their appearance in the square during the early nineteenth century. No. 6 (Plates 194-196) was rebuilt on a grand scale by John Field, otherwise unknown, and No. 32 was rebuilt as London House by the young Charles Robert Cockerell, probably acting as effective designer, in partnership with his father (Plates 198-199). These three houses were given well-detailed fronts of neo-Classical character, built in fine brickwork and dressed with stone, but around 1840 taste changed and rather heavily detailed Italianate stucco was used to cover the fronts of Nos. 16, 17 and 18 (Plates 124a, 201a), remodelled, and No. 12, rebuilt on a huge scale (Plate 200). The story of the square can be completed by saying that the last real contribution to its architecture was made by Lutyens, with his rebuilding of No. 7 in 1911 (Plate 202). Thereafter, it seems that all rebuilding was directed towards the provision of the maximum office space, Distillers House (Plate 171), which incorporates and extends Adam's No. 20, being an exception to this generalization.

While the building of club-houses on the west and south sides helped to destroy the domestic character of St. James's Square, it is the club-houses that give St. James's Street and Pall Mall their very great distinction. The earliest of these buildings are in St. James's Street—White's, with a front whose fussy Victorian dress half-conceals an elegant design of about 1787, probably by James Wyatt, and an interior that has its climax in the splendid coffee-room on the first floor (Plates 56-59); and Boodle's, built in 1775–6, with one of London's most charming fronts and an elegant saloon, designed in the Adam manner by John Crunden (Plates 60-63). Discounting later alterations, both club-houses are quite domestic in scale and style.

A more monumental style of club-house design was introduced by Robert Smirke with his Grecian building for the United Service Club in Charles Street, erected in 1817–19 but rebuilt in 1855–7 (Plate 64). This was followed, shortly after 1826, by the handsome Graeco-Roman buildings in Waterloo Place, Decimus Burton's Athenaeum (Plates 69, 76-83) and John Nash's United Service Club, later Italianized by Burton (Plates 68, 70-75). These head the procession of great club-houses in Pall Mall, the next in order of date being the Travellers' Club, built in 1829–32 immediately west of the Athenaeum (Plates 84-93). In the palazzo he designed for the Travellers', the young Charles Barry began the Italian High Renaissance revival and broke the Graeco-Roman supremacy. Neverthless, Barry's remarkable achievement had no effect on the next two club-houses to be built in Pall Mall, since the first Carlton Club of 1833–6 was designed by Robert Smirke and was inevitably Grecian, and the Oxford and Cambridge University Club of 1835–8, by Robert and Sydney Smirke, was Grecian again although tinctured now with Italian details (Plates 104-107). 1838, however, saw the beginning of the greatest of all the London club-houses, the noble palazzo that Barry designed for the Reform Club (Plates 94-103). Venice and Sansovino provided the inspiration for Sydney Smirke's new Carlton Club of 1854–6 (Plates 114-115), and for the Army and Navy Club of 1848–51 by Parnell and Smith (Plates 116-119), while David Brandon's Junior Carlton of 1866 was a High Victorian echo of the Reform (Plates 120-123). The last of the great Italian Renaissance buildings in the area is Barry's Bridgwater House of 1847–54, in many ways a more sumptuous version of the Reform Club and a worthy nineteenth-century companion of Spencer House (Plates 234-244).

New club-houses had also arisen in St. James's Street, the first being Thomas Hopper's neo-Palladian Arthur's (now the Carlton), built in 1827 (Plates 66-67). The Conservative Club building of 1843–5, designed by Sydney Smirke and George Basevi, also has a marked Palladian flavour (Plates 108-111), but the later St. James's Street clubs are less conventional, indeed the building erected for the Meistersingers Club in 1886–8 can only be described as an extravaganza (Plate 276d). The latest of the great club-houses, the Royal Automobile Club of 1908–11, brought h6tel-de-luxe standards of comfort to its members and a façade from the Paris of Louis XV to Pall Mall (Plates 125-126).

Second Empire Paris was evoked by Thomas Verity in his Criterion Restaurant of 1871–3, now sadly altered in its lower storeys (Plates 52c, 53). This is one of the better buildings dating from the period when much of the Crown property in and around St. James's Street and Jermyn Street was being redeveloped. Whole streets that had preserved early Georgian uniformity were now transformed into the present eclectic assembly of buildings. A different style seems to appear in each new building, and every corner is emphasized with a projecting bay, a turret, or a domed feature. R. J. Worley's 'Elizabethan' hotch-potch on the west side of St. James's Street, built in 1899–1900, will serve as an example of this 'quart-into-pint-pot' style of architecture (Plate 276a).

There were, of course, new buildings of merit, such as the two in Jermyn Street by Reginald Morphew (Plate 274), whose 'Florentine' manner at No. 112 was described by the Crown Surveyor as 'somewhat different to what had been generally adopted on the Crown Estate'. But the really outstanding buildings of this time are the two by Norman Shaw at the south end of St. James's Street, one of 1882–3 in his early Romantic style, and the other of 1904–5 in his last Baroque manner (Plate 272a, 272c). Unfortunately, the Shavian manner lent itself to imitation, and was travestied in the Norwich Union Building of 1907–9 by Runtz and Ford, at the top of St. James's Street, and in the large block about half-way down the east side, begun in 1910.

From Norman Shaw it seems a natural step to Sir Edwin Lutyens, who is represented in the area by four buildings, one of them, the Midland Bank by St. James's Church, being a little masterpiece (Plate 273b). While his two buildings in Pall Mall, No. 120 of 1929–31 and Nos. 67–68 of 1930–1 (Plate 273c-d), do not rank high in his splendid achievement, they are immeasurably superior to the Lutyens-inspired buildings in the same thoroughfare. Contemporary architecture is not well represented in the highly conservative area of St. James's apart from Simpson's shop in Piccadilly, a pioneer work of Joseph Emberton, built in 1936.


  • 1. In this General Introduction sources are not given for statements authenticated in the following chapters.
  • 2. The pipe by which the citizens of London obtained water from Tyburn, under a right granted them in 1236, ran through the ground later used for St. James's churchyard. Faithorne and Newcourt's map surveyed in the 1640's (Plate 1) shows a small building on or near the site of the church, which is thought to be a conduit-house—perhaps that from which water was piped to St. James's Palace in 1661.
  • 3. A little later, in 1688, a joiner and carpenter combined to erect seven houses in Little Jermyn Street as 'one intire stack of building'. It should be noted that in these volumes the activity of a builder elsewhere in the area is not necessarily mentioned whenever he is referred to. The attention of the reader is drawn to the Index as a means of collating information about individual builders.
  • 4. As will appear in these volumes, the original and later buildings are often said to be 'ruinous' or ready to fall' in eighteenth-century documents but this was probably to some extent a convention or common form, and should not be taken necessarily to indicate that the quality of construction here was poor.
  • 5. The East India and Sports Club, occupying a site inhabited by St. Albans's nephew, Thomas, Lord Jermyn, still pays a rent charge to Lord Jermyn's Charity.
  • 6. As late as 1847 the Museum of Practical Geology was built with its principal entrance in Jermyn Street, not Piccadilly.
  • 7. Members of the Horse Guards are mentioned living in the area in 1669–70.
  • 8. In 1859 residents in Duke Street asked the Office of Woods and Forests, unavailingly, to postpone rebuilding Nos. 34– 36 until after the London season.
  • 9. During the preparation of these volumes many distinguished residents within the area were noted from the ratebooks. Wherever possible they have been mentioned in the body of the text in connexion with the houses which they occupied. A list of some of the residents and lodgers who did not occupy houses mentioned in the text is contained in the Appendix.
  • 10. Not discussed in these two volumes because forming part of the New Street (see page 21, n.).
  • 11. The authority administering the Crown estate in the area, being succeeded in this function in 1924 by the Commissioners of Crown Lands, and they in turn by the present Crown Estate Commissioners.
  • 12. A contrast may be drawn with the policy, exercised outside the area here discussed, of the Bedford Estate in Bedford Square, where the simultaneous expiry of the leases of sites has been avoided. This has tended to prevent the redevelopment of sites in large blocks and, in consequence, to discourage any radical rebuilding.
  • 13. In 1905 it was found difficult to dispose of the present Sudanese embassy in Cleveland Row as three private houses, and it was first occupied as flats.
  • 14. It should be said that the Office of Woods and Forests made a careful record of the buildings destroyed during this period, both in photographs and measured drawings, and these records are preserved in the Crown Estate Office.
  • 15. Both the two pieces of large-scale redevelopment that have recently taken place on the south side of King Street have been on already-existing large frontages, that on the site of the St. James's Theatre being 'warmly disputed'.
  • 16. For example, see ibid., C7/464/2.
  • 17. Ibid., Works 5/6, April 1664.
  • 18. B.M., Add. MS. 22063.
  • 19. P.R.O., C7/326/101.
  • 20. E.g., ibid., C8/251/14.
  • 21. Guildhall Library, MS. 3047/2.
  • 22. Edward Chamberlayne, Angliae Notitia, 1671, p. 493.
  • 23. Notes and Queries, eleventh series, vol. ix, 14 Feb. 1914, p. 126.
  • 24. H.M.C., Leyborne-Popham MSS., 1899, p. 260.
  • 25. P.R.O., C7/263/42.
  • 26. L.C.C.R.O., B.R.A. 633/1, p. 20.
  • 27. John Gwynn, London and Westminster Improved, 1766, pp. 85–7.
  • 28. The Builder, 11 Nov. 1848, p. 544.
  • 29. 34 Geo. III, c. 75, public.
  • 30. C.E.O., file 10655, 10 May 1854.
  • 31. The Builder, 26 Aug. 1893, p. 153.
  • 32. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, London, The Cities of London and Westminster, 1957, P. 571.
  • 33. W.P.L., D1756, 1 Aug. 1693.
  • 34. P.R.O., Works 5/2, Nov. 1661.
  • 35. Ibid., C8/553/16.
  • 36. P.R.O., C7/538/1 ;C8/322/39.
  • 37. C.E.O., file 11274.
  • 38. S. E. Rasmussen, London: the Unique City, 1937, p. 192.
  • 39. C.E.O., file 15424.