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, North Side, Past Buildings
Daniel Graham's Houses
Approximate site now occupied by Nos. 9, 11 and 12 Pall Mall
In 1740 Daniel Graham, described as 'His Majesty's Apothecary', (fn. 11) petitioned the Crown for an extension of his leasehold interest in three old houses on the north side of Pall Mall. In his report the Surveyor General stated that the existing buildings were 'now pulling down in Order to be rebuilt', (fn. 12) and the ratebooks indicate that this was done in 1740–1. The three new houses may be identified in Coney's street elevation (pocket, drawing B). They were demolished in c. 1818 for the formation of Waterloo Place. (fn. 13)
Daniel Graham occupied the centre house from Christmas 1741 until 1780, and other members of his family occupied it (except in 1793–4) until 1799. From 1800 until 1802 William Cobbett was the ratepayer. (fn. 13) No evidence has been found to suggest that Daniel Graham was related to James Graham, the quack doctor who occupied part of Schomberg House.
The westerly house was occupied from 1748 to 1751 by Lord Falmouth, and from 1752 to 1758 by Daniel Graham. Thomas Graham occupied the easterly house from 1742 to 1761. (fn. 13)
The three house-fronts in this late-Palladian group were individually articulated, but together formed a composition with a centrepiece and wings, each house being four storeys high and three windows wide. The ground-storey openings were round-arched, those of the middle house being dressed with rustics. The upper part of the front contained two storeys and was underlined by a pedestal, with a blind balustrade below the central window of the middle house, which was dressed with an architrave, shaped jambs, and a triangular pediment resting on consoles. The other windows in the middle house were framed with eared architraves, broken by keyblocks, and this treatment was repeated in the central window of each storey in the wing houses. A cornice underlined the windows of the fourth, or attic storey, which was finished with a second cornice, stopped and carried up as a triangular pediment over the round-arched central window in the middle house. Coney shows that a fifth storey had been added to the east wing house.
Nos. 16–17 Pall Mall
In 1833–4 the two houses on this site were demolished (fn. 13) and rebuilt to the design of (Sir) Charles Barry, (fn. 14) whose plans have survived amongst the records of the Crown Estate Office (fn. 15) (Plate 271a, 271b). The Crown lessee was Thomas Ashton of Pall Mall, tailor. (fn. 16) In 1845 No. 16 became the offices of the Imperial Fire Assurance Company, and both houses were subsequently occupied by the West End Stock Exchange. (fn. 17) In 1901 the ground-floor elevation was altered by the insertion of shop windows, (fn. 18) and both houses were demolished in 1913. (fn. 19)
This pair of houses, built with mirrored plans and a uniform elevation, contained shops and counting-houses on the ground floor, kitchens and staff rooms in the basement, and four floors of living accommodation. Barry's front elevation was as revolutionary in its break with the late Georgian tradition as were his club-houses, and although this design has had little attention from art historians of the period, it must have had considerable influence on early Victorian street architecture. The ground storey was treated as a rusticated arcade of six bays, with a doorcase set in each end bay and shop-fronts in the others. A balustraded balcony, supported by mutule-trusses, underlined the upper part of the front, which contained six tall flat-arched recesses with plain bandarchitraves, each recess framing a second- and third-storey window. The top storey was an attic, boldly treated with six oblong windows ranged between console brackets which supported the modillioned cornice, and the front was finished with a tall balustrade having urns over the pedestal-dies.
No. 25 Pall Mall: Andrew Millar's House
Amongst the Adam drawings at Sir John Soane's Museum there is a group of plans, elevations and ceiling designs for a house for Andrew Millar, esquire, in Pall Mall (Plate 221); one of these drawings is dated 1765 and another 1766. (fn. 20) The ratebooks show that at Christmas 1766 Andrew Millar became the occupant of a newly built house which was later numbered 25 Pall Mall, and that he remained there until 1768.
The simple front designed by Adam for Andrew Millar's house can be seen in Coney's elevation (pocket, drawing B) and, in sharp perspective, in Thomas Shotter Boys's view of Pall Mall. It is clear that the house was built, or refashioned by Adam, to a plan that mirrored the one reproduced on Plate 221a, for while the plan shows the doorway in the west opening of the Pall Mall front, Coney and Boys show it in the east. The Adam front was four storeys high and three windows wide, all the openings being plain except those of the second, or principal storey. The round-arched doorway had a Doric doorcase, with plain-shafted columns on pedestal-blocks supporting an entablature composed of a frieze, ornamented with paterae and fluting, and a cornice returned to form a triangular pediment. A wave-scroll band finished the ground storey and a pedestal underlined the second-storey windows, each of which was dressed with a moulded architrave, plain narrow frieze, and a cornice. Between the third and fourth storeys was a narrow dentilled cornice, and the front was finished with an open balustrade.
Andrew Millar was probably the publisher of that name, whose productions included Johnson's Dictionary and the Histories of Robertson and Hume; he died in 1768. (fn. 21) In 1826 the house was occupied by John Gibson Lockhart, whose fatherin-law, Sir Walter Scott, stayed there in the autumn of 1826. (fn. 1) In the 1830's the house was occupied by Sir John Macdonald, AdjutantGeneral at the Horse Guards. (fn. 22)
It is not known when the house was demolished.
No. 29 Pall Mall: The Royal Exchange Assurance
In 1792–3 the house on this site was demolished and rebuilt, and in 1794 the Royal Exchange Assurance became the occupants. (fn. 13) Coney (pocket, drawing B) shows that the new building had a fine neo-classical front of stone, four storeys high and three windows wide. The ground storey was coursed with horizontal channels and contained three straight-headed recesses in which the roundarched windows and central doorway were placed, the latter being approached through a porch of fluted Doric columns, raised on plain pedestals and supporting an entablature decorated with ox skulls between the triglyphs. The middle second-storey window, which opened on to a trellis-patterned balcony over the porch, was dressed with a moulded architrave, plain frieze, and a cornice resting on consoles. The side windows, and those in the third storey, were set in plain openings, and between the storeys was a long panel lettered 'ROYAL EXCHANGE ASSURANCE'. The fourth storey was a richly treated attic, with downwardtapering pilasters placed between the three windows, the middle window being set within an arch, below a lugged tablet. A cornice and blockingcourse, broken forward over each tapering pilaster, finished this interesting front, the lower part of which was the subject of one of Soane's lecture diagrams. (fn. 23)
This building was rebuilt in 1884–5 to the designs of George Aitchison. (fn. 24)
Sir Hugh Palliser's House and Adair House
Occupied part of the site of the Junior Carlton Club
A house for Sir Hugh Palliser in Pall Mall is included in a list published in 1815 of the buildings 'designed and erected' by John Johnson (1732– 1814). (fn. 26)
Palliser became the occupant of this house in 1777; (fn. 13) he was at that time one of the Lords of the Admiralty and in 1778 he was promoted Vice-Admiral. In that year his insubordinate conduct to Admiral Keppel in an abortive action with the French fleet in the Channel provoked an outcry in the newspapers and his house in Pall Mall was gutted by the mob. He was subsequently acquitted by a packed court-martial, but was not restored to the offices which he had resigned in anticipation of his trial. (fn. 21)
It seems likely that John Johnson's work for Palliser consisted of the repair of the damage to the house rather than a complete rebuilding, for the ratebooks record no change in the assessment either immediately before or during Palliser's occupancy, which lasted until 1780. (fn. 13)
The house was subsequently occupied from 1828 to 1839 by George Spence, (fn. 13) probably the jurist and pioneer of Chancery reform. (fn. 21) It was demolished in 1866 to make way for the Junior Carlton Club. (fn. 27)
Coney (pocket, drawing B) shows a house with a tall and narrow front, five storeys high and two windows wide, built, presumably, of brick. The ground storey was arcaded, the west arch framing the doorway. A bandcourse marked the first-floor level and a moulded cornice extended below the fifth storey, or attic. All the upper windows had gauged flat arches and were furnished with doublehung sashes.
The Pall Mall front of the adjoining house to the west, known as Adair House, was generally similar to that of its neighbour, and in both houses the main cornice and attic storey were identical, but below the cornice Adair House had three lofty storeys, each containing three sashed windows with flat gauged arches. The house was demolished in 1885–6 for the extension of the Junior Carlton Club. (fn. 28)
No. 46 Pall Mall: The Cocoa Tree Club
The house which formerly stood on this site, now occupied by the Army and Navy Club annexe, was occupied from 1757 until between 1787 and 1793 by the Cocoa Tree Club, whose full history is described on page 461. Coney's drawing (pocket, drawing B) suggests that No. 46 was a late seventeenth-century house with a fourstoreyed front, the ground storey containing a shop-front and each upper storey three tall sashed windows and a narrow recess on the west side. The floor levels were marked by raised bandcourses and the front was finished with a plain parapet.
Nos. 49–51 (consec.) Pall Mall: Almack's, Brooks's, Boodle's, the Macaroni Club, the Ladies' Club, Goostre's
From 1762 until his death in 1781 the central figure in the history of London clubs was William Almack, whose origin and career have been inaccurately related by many writers. Confusion existed in Almack's own lifetime, for in 1765 Gilly Williams clearly thought that Almack was a Scot, (fn. 29) and in 1811 this error was handsomely embellished by the statement that Almack's real name was 'M'Caul', and that he had changed it because he found that in England a Scots name prejudiced his business. (fn. 30) Almack was in fact almost certainly of Yorkshire origin, and the theory that this was an assumed name is undoubtedly false. In the will of his brother John Almack (died 1762) there is a legacy to his married sister, Ann Tebb, who lived at Sand Hutton in the parish of Thirsk, Yorkshire; (fn. 31) and William Almack later bequeathed an annuity of twenty pounds to his niece Ann Tebb. (fn. 32) The parish registers of Thirsk show that the Almack family had been established there since 1629. (fn. 33)
William Almack married Elizabeth Cullen, sister of the famous Scottish physician, Dr. William Cullen. (fn. 34) It has frequently been stated (fn. 35) that Almack was valet to the Duke of Hamilton and that his bride was waiting maid to the Duchess, and although no first-hand evidence has been discovered, this statement may very well be true. Elizabeth Cullen's father was factor to James, fifth Duke of Hamilton, and her brother William was the Duke's physician and accompanied him on a visit to London in 1742. The Duke's death in March 1742/3 prevented Dr. William Cullen from 'receiving the rewards due to his services' and he shortly afterwards removed to Glasgow. (fn. 36) By May 1746 his sister Elizabeth (who by this time had married William Almack) was established in London. (fn. 37) There appears, therefore, to be no reason to doubt that Almack began his career in the Duke of Hamilton's service ; this and the fact that he had a Scottish wife would explain the prevalence of the notion that he was himself a Scot. (fn. 2)
From 1754 to 1759 William Almack kept a licensed coffee house in Curzon Street; (fn. 38) the fact that it was licensed by the Justices implies that it was open to all comers and was not a private subscription house. On 7 September 1759 he obtained a licence 'to keep a common Alehouse or Victualling-house' in Pall Mall (fn. 39) and the ratebooks confirm that this tavern, which stood on the north side of Pall Mall on the site now occupied by No. 49, was opened by Almack in the latter part of 1759. The house had been very recently erected by Henry Holland of Fulham, bricklayer (the father of the architect), (fn. 40) and on 2 February 1760 Elizabeth Wimberley of Woodmansterne, Surrey, granted to Holland a sixty-three-year lease of the house from Christmas 1759 at a rent of £105. (fn. 41)
According to Coney (pocket, drawing B), this house had a more striking front than its neighbours. The ground storey contained a shop-front of three bays, flanked by doorways, and the two-storeyed upper part was dressed with plain-shafted pilasters, forming a centrepiece of three bays flanked by single bays. An iron balcony extended across the front at first-floor level, where the middle window had a round-arched head, and an enriched band continued between the pilasters at second-floor level. The crowning entablature had a modillioned cornice and was surmounted by a plain parapet.
In July 1762 Holland assigned his lease to Almack, who immediately mortgaged it to Holland for £1630. (fn. 42) The reason for this mortgage probably was that in the summer of 1762 Holland was engaged in work for Almack in the adjoining house, whose site is now occupied by No. 50 Pall Mall. This work formed part of the important developments which were proceeding on the site of the two houses (Nos. 50–51) immediately to the west of Almack's tavern (fig. 59). This ground had belonged to the Bond family since at least 1688, (fn. 43) and had probably been the site of Sir Thomas Bond's house in Pall Mall. (fn. 44) It consisted of a rectangular strip 60 feet wide and 260 feet long extending between King Street and Pall Mall, with frontages to both these streets. In 1757 the Bond property was heavily encumbered with debts and was described as consisting 'chiefly of old houses that were greatly decayed'. A Chancery suit between Sir Charles Bond and his creditors was in progress, and after a court order for a sale, the freehold was conveyed on 24 November 1759 to John Phillips of St. George's, Hanover Square, carpenter, for £5000. (fn. 43)
John Phillips was a master carpenter who in March 1751/2 had contracted to execute the carpentry of the Radcliffe Camera at Oxford. (fn. 40) He had also developed land in Charles Street, Mayfair, where his workshop is reputed to have been situated. (fn. 45) In this speculation in King Street and Pall Mall he appears to have acted in agreement or partnership with Joseph Dixon of St. James's, mason, and Richard Dixon of St. George's, Hanover Square, carpenter, to each of whom he granted a number of building leases between 1760 and 1765. By the latter year the entire area appears to have been rebuilt.
On 14 February 1760 John Phillips granted to Joseph Dixon two 999-year leases of the ground fronting Pall Mall. The plot immediately adjoining the west side of Almack's tavern had a frontage of thirty-four feet, and is now occupied by No. 50 Pall Mall. The other plot, now occupied by No. 51 Pall Mall, had a frontage of nineteen feet (fn. 43) and was bounded on its west side by a passage seven feet wide (then called King's Place and now Pall Mall Place) leading from Pall Mall to King Street. At its north and south ends this passage was (and still is) covered at first-floor level by the buildings in King Street and Pall Mall. The ground in the centre of the east side of the passage was divided into six plots, and on 13 July 1765 Phillips granted three 993-year leases of the three messuages 'erected or then erecting thereon' to Richard Dixon. (fn. 46) The southernmost plot was leased on the same day and for the same term by Phillips at the direction of Joseph Dixon (who probably built the house) to Colonel John Scott. (fn. 47) The two northernmost plots were similarly leased to Thomas Morton, bricklayer. (fn. 48) The whole of the frontage of Phillips's ground to King Street was occupied by Almack's Assembly Rooms (see page 304).
In February and July 1760 Joseph Dixon mortgaged the leases of the two plots facing Pall Mall (Nos. 50–51), presumably in order to meet his building expenses, and in January 1762 he agreed to lease the easterly of the two houses (No. 50), which adjoined Almack's tavern, to Henry Holland, senior, for twenty-one years from Michaelmas 1762 at a rent of £240. (fn. 43) Between February and August 1762 carpenter's work totalling £416 6s. 7¾d. was done at this house 'for Mr. Holland at Mr. Almacks in Pall Mall per John Phillips and George Shakespear'. (fn. 49) By the autumn of 1762 the building of the two houses was probably completed, for on 17 September Joseph Dixon assigned his 999-year term in both houses to John Scott, described as of St. George's, Hanover Square, esquire, for £4200. (fn. 43) With the consent of Henry Holland, Scott then leased the easterly house (No. 50) to William Almack for twenty-one years from Michaelmas 1762; (fn. 50) he retained the westerly house (No. 51) for his own occupation. (fn. 13)
Coney (pocket, drawing B) shows that the ground storey of No. 50 contained a handsome shop-front of five arch-headed bays set in a Doric colonnade. At No. 51, the ground storey was treated as a rusticated arcade of three bays, the west arch opening to King's (Pall Mall) Place. Above, both housefronts were alike, each having a plain wall face with two tiers of three windows, finished with a modillioned cornice and a balustraded parapet. No. 50 had been heightened by the addition of two garret storeys in the roof.
On 23 June 1764 Robert Mylne 'attended Mr. Almack on a bow window to his house in Pall Mall'. (fn. 51) It is not known to which of Almack's two houses this refers, but this bow window (if it was in fact built) may have been the prototype of the later bow windows at White's and Boodle's.
From 1762 to about 1776 the three houses (whose sites are now numbered 49–51 consec.) on the north side of Pall Mall occupied by Almack and Scott were the pivot of fashionable club life in London. Several clubs met in rooms provided by Almack in his two houses (Nos. 49–50), and from 1773 to 1787 Scott's house (No. 51) was occupied by Goostree's. By 1788 all three houses were in private or commercial use, and this rapid decline may be attributed in large part to the greatly superior accommodation provided in St. James's Street by the new clubs now known as Brooks's and Boodle's, both of which originated at Almack's houses in Pall Mall.
William Almack died in 1781; the later history of his family is described on page 306.
Almack's first club
Between September 1759 and January 1762 Almack's establishment at No. 49 appears to have been an ordinary licensed house open to all comers. A letter from Horace Walpole to the Hon. Henry Seymour Conway, dated 10 April 1761, contains one of the few contemporary references to Almack at this period, and indicates that he was already known for the dinners for which he and Edward Boodle later became famous: 'Poor Sir Harry Ballendene is dead; he made a great dinner at Almack's for the house of Drummond, drank very hard, caught a violent fever, and died in a very few days.' (fn. 52)
In January 1762 a private 'Society' was established in the house (fn. 3) (No. 50) adjoining the tavern; this was the first of Almack's clubs, and was the immediate precursor of two of the greatest clubs in St. James's Street, Brooks's and Boodle's. It appears to have been formed in opposition, perhaps for political reasons, to White's (then often called Arthur's), for rule 12 as originally drafted forbad any member of Almack's from membership of any other London club, 'nor of what is at present called Arthur's or by whatever Name that Society or Club may be afterwards called, neither of new or old club or any other belonging to it'. In February 1763 this rule was altered and made even more emphatic: 'If any Member of this Society becomes a Member of Arthur's or a Candidate for Arthur's, he is of Course struck out of this Society.' (fn. 53) The record book of the new society was kept by Almack as a statement of the terms on which he agreed to provide for the social needs of the members, and it has fortunately survived amongst the records of Boodle's. The first entry, dated 1 January 1762, states that 'William Almack has taken the large new House West of his now dwelling House in Pall Mall for the sole use of a Society Established upon the following Rules.' Until 10 February 1762 membership was to be open to anyone signing his name in the book; thereafter election was to be by ballot, which was always to be held 'in Parliament Time' and one black ball excluded; the total membership was to be limited to 250. After 10 February the members were to appoint thirteen managers, 'each of whom are to have a power to keep order and make the Rules of the Society to be observed'; they were to serve for one year and then each manager was 'to appoint a Successor for the ensuing Year'. The rules of the society could only be changed by the unanimous vote of at least thirty members.
The annual subscription was to be two guineas, to be paid 'to Almack for the House'. Almack was to take in all the London and some foreign newspapers; dinner (at eight shillings) was 'to be allways upon the Table' at a quarter past four o'clock and supper (at six shillings) at 'a Quarter before Eleven'; a bottle of port cost half a crown. Almack was to order the food 'without any directions from any body', and members might 'speak for any Dish, cheap or Dear', but the prices were not to exceed those at the Smyrna coffee house. Members' friends could only be entertained in the first room facing the street on the ground floor, where they could have 'tea, coffee or chocolate, but no Meat or Wine nor can there be any Gaming or Cards in that Room'. Gambling amongst the members was to be limited to a maximum of nine guineas per rubber or session. (fn. 53)
Eighty-eight gentlemen, none of whom appears to have been a member of White's, paid subscriptions for 1762, and the appointment of thirteen managers for the period February 1763 to February 1764 is recorded. (fn. 53)
In March 1764 this club appears to have been superseded by or to have divided itself into two separate societies which are now Brooks's and Boodle's. The reason for this rearrangement is not known, but it may have been connected with members' differing political affiliations, or with the desire of some of them to gamble more heavily than the rules of 1762 permitted. So far as Almack himself was concerned, the change was clearly an important one, for in the autumn of 1764 he did not renew his tavern licence, and in August The Gentleman's Magazine reported that 'Almack's is no longer to be used as a public tavern but is to be set apart for the reception of a set of gentlemen, who are to meet after the manner of the minority at Wildman's. (fn. 4) These societies, 'tis believed, will endeavour to distinguish themselves by their zeal for the public good.' (fn. 54)
The establishment of Brooks's
The club which is now Brooks's in St. James's Street was founded in 1764, (fn. 55) and until its removal to the present club-house in 1778 it met in Almack's former tavern (No. 49) in Pall Mall. During the whole of this period Almack was the proprietor, the subscriptions were paid to him (fn. 56) and the club was known as Almack's. But from 1771 to 17/8 the rates for the house were paid by 'Brooks and Ellis', (fn. 13) who were presumably Almack's partners, or more probably employees, and responsible for the day-to-day running of the club. From the time of its removal to its present house in St. James's Street the club has been known as Brooks's.
There were twenty-seven foundation members of this club, and a further 141 were elected by ballot in 1764. The original rules of 1764 forbad membership of any other London club except 'old' White's, but this rule was quickly repealed, certainly before 1772. (fn. 55) Heavy gambling immediately became prevalent (fn. 57) and in 1770 Horace Walpole commented that 'the gaming at Almack's which has taken the pas of White's, is worthy the decline of our Empire, or Commonwealth. . . . The young men of the age lose five, ten, fifteen thousand pounds in an evening there.' (fn. 58) At the age of sixteen Charles James Fox was elected a member in 1765 and much of his reckless gambling and betting took place at Almack's. (fn. 59) Edward Gibbon became a member in 1776 and in a letter of that year he describes the use which he made of the club: 'Town grows empty and this house, where I have passed very agreable [sic] hours, is the only place which still unites the flower of the English youth. The style of living though somewhat expensive is exceedingly pleasant and notwithstanding the rage of play I have found more entertaining and even rational society here than in any other Club to which I belong.' (fn. 60)
Very little is known of William Brooks, and nothing of Ellis, who appears to have ceased to have any connexion with the club after its removal to St. James's Street in 1778. Brooks described himself as of Pall Mall, gentleman, (fn. 61) and between 1775 and 1778 he owned but did not occupy a house on the east side of Berkeley Street. (fn. 62) He lent large sums of money to the club gamblers, who disliked him but found him too useful to ignore. In a letter probably dated August 1775 George Selwyn describes Brooks's activities: 'Richard [Fitzpatrick] won last night 1,300 ostensible, besides what he pocketed to keep a corps de reserve unknown to Brooks. For Brooks lent him 2,300, and then laments the state of the house. He duns me for three hundred, of which I am determined to give him but two; as he knows so well where to get the other hundred, which is that Richard owes me, but seems determined that I shall not have. Charles [James Fox] is winning more, and the quinze table is now at its height. I have set down Brooks to be the completest composition of knave and fool that ever was, to which I may add liar.' (fn. 63) Richard Tickell gives much the same picture:
'And, know, I've bought the best champagne from Brooks, From liberal Brooks, whose speculative skill Is hasty credit, and a distant bill; Who, nursed in clubs, disdains a vulgar trade, Exults to trust and blushes to be paid.' (fn. 64)
In September 1777 Brooks acquired from Henry Holland the younger of Hertford Street, gentleman, the site of the present club-house on the corner of Park Place and St. James's Street (fn. 65) and opened his club there in October 1778. (fn. 66) In a letter of September 1778 James Hare says: 'Brookes is to open his house in St. James's Street next month, it is to consist of as many of the present members of Almack's as choose to put their names down'; and in the following month 'Brooks opens his house in St. James's Street this month. He invites all or as many as please to come from the Club in Pall [Mall], and Almack desires us to stay with him, but as there can be no reason for preferring a bad old house to a good new one, I imagine Brookes will be victorious.' (fn. 67) This prophecy was fulfilled, for there are no references to Almack's club in Pall Mall after 1778.
Brooks did not enjoy his triumph for long, for he is said to have died in poverty in 1782. (fn. 57) He may perhaps be identified with the William Brooks of St. George's, Hanover Square, to whose widow, Priscilla, letters of administration were granted in October 1782. (fn. 68) Sheridan wrote the following lines on seeing Brooks's funeral:
'Alas! that Brookes, returned to dust, Should pay at length the debt that we, Averse to parchment, mortgage, trust, Shall pay when forced,—as well as he. And die so poor, too! He whose trade Such profit cleared by draught and deed, Though pigeons called him murmuring Brookes, And dipped their bills in him at need.' (fn. 69)
Brooks's club-house in St. James's Street stands in the parish of St. George's, Hanover Square, and its later history will be described in a future volume of the Survey of London.
The house in Pall Mall (No. 49) vacated by Brooks in 1778 was occupied from 1779 to 1786 by James Carr, who then moved to No. 87 St. James's Street. (fn. 13) From 1787 to 1790 it was occupied by Thomas Nelson and (for part of this period) Peter Wilder, who were sub-tenants of William Almack's widow and son. (fn. 70) In 1790 the house was described as 'Almack's Hotel'. (fn. 71) From 1796 until the early 1820's it was occupied by the firm of Ransom and Morland, and from 1822 to 1832 by the Travellers' Club. From 1841 to 1845 part of the house was occupied by the London Library. The freehold of the house had been acquired in 1785 by William Almack's son, (fn. 72) and it subsequently passed to Elizabeth Pitcairn, William Almack's daughter. (fn. 73) By her will (proved 1844) she bequeathed the house to her nephew, the Rev. Augustus Campbell, Rector of Liverpool, (fn. 74) who died in 1870. The house was sold by the latter's trustees in 1894 and it was demolished shortly afterwards. (fn. 75) The present building on the site is described on page 343.
The establishment of Boodle's
Edward Boodle was the third son of John Boodle of the Three Tuns, Oswestry, Shropshire, and was baptized at Oswestry on 14 May 1722. (fn. 76) From 1761 or 1762 until 1764 he was apparently manager of the Virtue Club, which is referred to by John Wilkes in March 1764 as 'in its primary institution, intended for the support of the Earl of Bute; though now . . . more agreeable to the idea of a Virtue Club, it is one of the principal rules and orders that no Scot shall be admitted into that society'. (fn. 77) This may conceivably be a reference to the club established by Almack in January 1762 (see above).
Boodle is known to have been in partnership with William Almack, (fn. 78) probably between 1764 and 1768. The present Boodle's Club in St. James's Street possesses two manuscript books, one kept by Boodle and the other by his successor, Benjamin Harding, as statements of the terms on which they agreed successively to provide for the social needs of the members of the club; each book contains a list of rules and names of subscribers, but the first few pages of Boodle's book are missing. The rules in Harding's book are (apart from additions made after Boodle's death) virtually identical with those in Boodle's, and they are said to have been 'Agreed upon the first of March 1764 by a Majority of the Managers for that Year.' It may therefore be inferred almost with certainty that this entry was copied from Boodle's book, and that Boodle undertook the management of this club at that date.
The rules in Boodle's book are based on those contained in Almack's book dated 1 January 1762 (see above), and many of them are copied verbatim. This similarity makes it clear that Boodle's club was either a continuation or an off-shoot under new management and slightly altered rules of the club which Almack had established in January 1762. It met in the house which the latter had occupied from January 1762 to February 1764, i.e., No. 50 Pall Mall, next door to the house (No. 49) which from 1759 to 1764 was Almack's tavern and from 1764 to 1778 housed Almack's club, before its removal under William Brooks to St. James's Street.
The most important difference between the rules of January 1762 and those of March 1764 was the omission in the latter of any limitation on gaming. In 1766 the number of annually appointed managers was reduced from thirteen to six, and a board of six controlled the club until 1879; from 1881 to 1896 there were five managers, and in the following year the club became a members' club.
In addition to running his club, Boodle also catered for private dinner parties, and the convivial entertainment which he provided has been described by William Hickey in his Memoirs. 'Robert Mitford . . . was a near relation of the Mr. Boodle (fn. 5) who from having squandered away a handsome fortune was reduced to the necessity of accepting the management of one of the fashionable gaming houses in Pall Mall which bore his name, being called "Boodle's", and to this Mr. Boodle I was introduced by Mitford, after which introduction I spent many a jovial night at his house. At the time my acquaintance with him commenced he was nearly sixty years of age [sic], and notwithstanding he had lived very freely, had still a good constitution, and was of a remarkably cheerful disposition. He was never happy unless he had a parcel of young people about him. I made one of upwards of a dozen who usually supped twice a week in Pall Mall, where he gave us as much champagne, burgundy and claret as we chose, the table being covered with every variety in the way of eating. Nothing delighted him more than sitting out the boys, as he called it. Indeed, his head was so strong that he generally succeeded in so doing, and when he perceived his young guests began to flag, or become drowsy, he would get up, lock the door of the room, and putting the key in his pocket, strike up the song of " 'Tis not yet day" etc. His companionable qualities were extraordinary, and I certainly have passed more happy and jovial nights in his back parlour in Pall Mall than in any other house in London.' (fn. 80) This description is of a private dinner and not of life at Boodle's club, of which neither Robert Mitford nor William Hickey were members.
The partnership between Almack and Boodle probably came to an end in 1768, for in that year Boodle succeeded Almack as the ratepayer for No. 50, and in March 1768 Boodle is known to have held a sub-lease of the house from Almack. (fn. 81) Contemporary references to the club become much more frequent. Edward Gibbon first mentions Boodle's in a letter of 18 April 1768, and he subsequently became a member of the club; starting in December 1769 he wrote much of his correspondence there, (fn. 82) and in 1770 he was one of the managers. (fn. 83)
Boodle died at his house in Pall Mall on 8 February 1772, (fn. 84) and was buried in Chipping Ongar churchyard. (fn. 85) By his will, which suggests that he was a bachelor, (fn. 79) he left all his estate to his two sisters Margaret and Jane Boodle for their lives, and named his brother John Boodle of Ongar, apothecary, his sole executor. At a general meeting of the club held on 13 February it was unanimously resolved that 'Ben Harding shall succeed the late Mr. Boodle in the House and Business, and shall be supported therein'. (fn. 86) On 22 February John Boodle assigned the residue of Edward Boodle's lease from Almack to Benjamin Harding of St. Anne's, Westminster, vintner. (fn. 87) In spite of the change of proprietor the club continued to be known as Boodle's.
In 1778 Benjamin Harding bought from John Scott's executors the residue of the term of 999 years which Joseph Dixon had granted to Scott in 1762 (fn. 43) (see page 329). At a general meeting of the club held on 14 June 1782 it was resolved 'That Harding do take Mr. Kenney's House in Saint James's Street for their Use'. (fn. 86) This refers to the house on the east side of St. James's Street to which Boodle's removed in the following year (fn. 13) and which it has occupied ever since. The house had been built in 1775–6 for the short-lived Savoir Vivre Club (see page 441).
After the departure of Harding and his club from No. 50 Pall Mall in 1783 the house was occupied by Messrs. Hammersley and Co. for a number of years, (fn. 13) and was subsequently demolished.
The Macaroni Club
The first known reference to the Macaroni Club is in one of Horace Walpole's letters dated 6 February 1764, in which he describes it as 'composed of all the travelled young men who wear long curls and spying-glasses'. (fn. 88) By December of the same year the club was well established, and according to Walpole had 'quite absorbed Arthur's, for you know old fools will hobble after young ones'. (fn. 89) A contemporary magazine gives an account of the Macaronis: 'Our young travellers, who generally catch the follies of the countries they visit, judged that the title of Macaroni was very applicable to a clever fellow; and accordingly, to distinguish themselves as such, they instituted a club under this denomination, the members of which were supposed to be the standards of taste in polite learning, the fine arts, and the genteel sciences; and fashion, amongst the other constituent parts of taste, became an object of their attention.' (fn. 90) Another account states that macaroni 'was far from being universally known in this country till the commencement of the last peace : when . . . it was imported by our Connoscenti in eating, as an improvement to their subscription-table at Almack's. In time, the subscribers to those dinners became to be distinguished by the title of Maceronies; and, as the meeting was composed of the younger and gayer part of our nobility and gentry, who, at the same time that they gave into the luxuries of eating, went equally into the extravagances of dress; the word Macaroni then changed its meaning to that of a person who exceeded the ordinary bounds of fashion; and it is now  justly used as a term of reproach to all ranks of people, indifferently, who fall into this absurdity.' (fn. 91)
The newspapers and correspondence of the later 1760's and early 1770's abound with references to the Macaronis, but by 1772 London society seems to have tired of their absurdities of dress and manner; they were 'coxcombs', (fn. 90) and by December of that year 'the scholar, the printer and the engraver' had 'entered into a confederacy to hunt down those heterogeneous animals, who call themselves Macaronies, and have been so very successful, that few are now to be seen'. (fn. 92) One of the last references specifically to the Macaroni Club is contained in a letter of Horace Walpole dated 27 July 1773: 'I was in London yesterday, where there is scarce a soul but Maccaronis lolling out of windows at Almack's like carpets to be dusted. . .,' (fn. 93)
It is not known which of Almack's two houses in Pall Mall was used by the Macaroni Club, but since there appears to be no connexion between it and Edward Boodle, the presumption must be that it met at No. 49, the former tavern also occupied from 1764 to 1778 by Almack's Club (now Brooks's).
The Ladies' Club or Coterie
From 1769 to 1771 Almack provided accommodation for a club composed of members of both sexes. The club first met on 17 December 1769 (fn. 91) and soon attracted a great deal of attention. On 6 May 1770 Horace Walpole recorded that 'There is a new institution that begins to make, and if it proceeds, will make a considerable noise. It is a club of both sexes to be erected at Almac's, on the model of that of the men of White's. Mrs. Fitzroy, Lady Pembroke, Mrs. Meynell, Lady Molyneux, Miss Pelham, and Miss Loyd, are the foundresses. I am ashamed to say I am of so young and fashionable a society.' (fn. 94) The most important rules were that all members were admitted by ballot and 'the ladies shall ballot for men, and men for ladies'; (fn. 95) thus 'no lady can exclude a lady, or gentleman a gentleman'. (fn. 96) The subscription was five guineas; dinner was to be on the table at halfpast four in the afternoon, price eight shillings 'exclusive of the wine, which the men are to pay'. (fn. 95) Members met 'every morning, either to play cards, chat, or do whatever else they please. An ordinary is provided for as many as choose to dine, and a supper to be constantly on the table by eleven at night; after supper they play loo. . . .' (fn. 97)
By September 1770 this very exclusive club possessed 123 members, including five dukes. (fn. 95) It is not certain in which of Almack's two houses in Pall Mall it met; Mrs. Elizabeth Harris placed it at Boodle's (No. 50) (fn. 97) but an undated letter of the Hon. Mrs. Boscawen says that it met 'for the present, at certain rooms of Almack's, who for another year is to provide a private house . .,' (fn. 96) By December 1771 it had moved to the house in Albemarle Street (fn. 98) which had in 1764 been used by Thomas Wildman to accommodate a political club formed in opposition to the Earl of Bute (fn. 99) (see page 330n.). It remained there under the management of Robert Sutton until 1775, when it moved to a house in Arlington Street under the management of James Cullen of Greek Street, Soho, upholsterer. The last meeting of the club was held on 4 December 1777. Cullen was left heavily in debt and the Chancery suit which he subsequently brought against certain members contains valuable information about the way in which such shortlived proprietary clubs were managed. (fn. 100)
On 17 September 1762 Joseph Dixon, of St. James's, mason, assigned his 999-year term in the two houses which he had recently built on the west side of Almack's tavern in Pall Mall to Colonel John Scott (see page 329). The easterly of these two houses (whose site is now occupied by No. 50) was subsequently occupied by Boodle's, and the westerly (No. 51) was retained by Scott for his own occupation. (fn. 13)
Colonel (later Major-General) John Scott was the son of David Scott of Scotstarvit, advocate, and a distant relative of the Dukes of Buccleuch. (fn. 101) He was a member of Parliament for Fife from 1768 until his death in 1775; (fn. 102) his eldest daughter, Henrietta, married the Marquis of Titchfield (later fourth Duke of Portland) in 1795, (fn. 103) (fn. 6) and his youngest daughter, Joan, married George Canning in 1800. (fn. 21) He died at Balcomie, Fife, on 7 December 1775. (fn. 104)
Scott was an extremely heavy gambler during the early years of the reign of George III, and George Selwyn's correspondence contains frequent references to his successes. (fn. 105) The Gentleman's Magazine states that he had 'an evenness of temper that nothing could warp, and a judgment in play superior to most', and narrates that on the evening on which he heard that his wife had been delivered of a daughter he doubled his stakes 'in order to make a fortune for this girl', and that after losing £8000 his luck turned and by seven o'clock the next morning he had won £15,000. (fn. 106) His daughter Joan, who married Canning, is said to have been 'worth £100,000'. (fn. 107)
The west side of Scott's house fronted King's Place (now Pall Mall Place), and in 1765 he purchased the southernmost house on the east side of King's Place and laid it together with his house in Pall Mall. (fn. 43) In 1768–9 Henry Holland carried out joiner's, carpenter's and plasterer's work costing some £500 'for Col. Scotts at his House in Pall Mall' ; (fn. 108) it is not clear whether this refers to Henry Holland senior or junior. The schedule attached to a deed of 1773 shows that the house was handsomely fitted up. The library was hung with 'straw coloured paper' and contained a marble chimneypiece; the dining parlour contained a Siena marble chimneypiece, the sides carved in wood with friezes. In 'the large drawing room' there was 'a statuary marble Chimney piece supported with Corinthian columns and most elegantly carved. A statuary hearth, the room hung with pea green paper and an elegant gilt border, the ceiling finely ornamented with Stucco and a coving, the windows shutters, doors, etc., most elegantly carved.' The front drawing room had 'an elegant stucco cornice' and was 'hung with blue paper, gilt mouldings and richly painted in partitions'. The 'back drawing room' had 'an elegant stucco ceiling and the room hung with Crimson flock paper'. (fn. 43)
In 1773 Scott ceased to occupy the house and for a lump sum payment of £2100 leased it for ten years to the partners of the London Exchange Banking Company, who were acting on behalf of the 'Members and Principal Managers of a Club or Society called . . . the New Club at Goostree's in Pall Mall'. In 1773 these managers were Lord Garlies, Sir John Stepney, baronet, the Hon. Charles Dillon, Giles Earl, Charles Fielding and Thomas Hodges. In 1774 they were the Marquis of Carmarthen, James, Lord Grimston, Francis, Lord Beauchamp, Sir Charles Bingham, baronet, Sir Francis Holborn, baronet, and the Hon. Thomas Noel. (fn. 43) The ratebooks show James Goostree as the occupant of the house from 1773 to 1787, except for the years 1782–4, when Ann Shillito appears.
In 1775 James Goostree, described as of Pall Mall, vintner, agreed with Scott for the purchase of the latter's long leasehold interest in the house for £3150, payment to be made in four equal annual instalments; Goostree duly paid the four instalments (although in 1777 he mortgaged the house for the full purchase money of £3150) and in 1778 he became possessed of the residue of the 999-year term. In July 1776 he also bought for £2100 the residue of the ten-year sub-lease held by the managers of the club. (fn. 43)
The only plausible explanation for this last transaction (by which Goostree undertook a considerable extra expense over and above his purchase of the long lease from Scott) is that the 'New Club at Goostree's' had come to an end and that the managers wished to dispose of their interest in the house. The wealthy young men who were members of the club had already given several lavish entertainments comparable with those of the Savoir Vivre Club (fn. 109) and it appears at least possible that when the Savoir Vivre Club moved into its splendid new house in St. James's Street in the spring of 1776 (see page 442), the members of Goostree's also migrated thither.
Later references to the entertainments given by fashionable West End clubs do not mention Goostree's, which in the 1780's enjoyed an entirely different reputation. In a letter dated 29 December 1781 James Hare refers to this apparently reconstituted Goostree's: 'There are two Clubs lately formed, both consisting of young men, and chiefly of different parties in politics. Goostree's is a small society of young men in opposition, and they are very nice in their admissions; as they discourage gaming as much as possible, their Club will not do any harm to Brookes's, and probably not subsist a great while.' (fn. 110) (fn. 7) William Pitt the younger is said to have been the founder of this society, (fn. 111) which consisted of some twenty-five members. They were 'for the most part . . . young men who had passed together through the University, and whom the general election of 1780 had brought at the same time into public life. Pitt was an habitual frequenter of the club at Goostree's, supping there every night during the winter of 1780–1. Here their intimacy increased every day.' William Wilberforce, the philanthropist, was a member, and he has recorded of Pitt that 'we played a good deal at Goostree's, and I well remember the intense earnestness which he displayed when joining in those games of chance. He perceived their increasing fascination, and soon after suddenly abandoned them for ever.' (fn. 112) Pitt himself (who had recently been called to the Bar) refers to Goostree's in a letter of 29 August 1781: 'I shall return to town with the fullest intention of devoting myself to Westminster Hall and getting as much money as I can, notwithstanding such avocations as the House of Commons, and (which is a much more dangerous one) Goostree's itself.' (fn. 113)
Goostree's appears to have continued until 1787. (fn. 13) On 22 February of that year James Goostree sold the house by auction at Christie's to George Nicol of the Strand, bookseller, for £2047. (fn. 43)
No, 52 Pall Mall: Dodsley's Bookshop: The Shakespeare Gallery: The British Institiution
Site later occupied by the Marlborough (Windham) Club
In 1738 Robert Dodsley (1703–64), dramatist and minor poet, (fn. 21) established himself in business as a bookseller at the house later numbered 52 Pall Mall. (fn. 13) This house had been built in 1726–7 by William Pickering, citizen and painter, under a building lease for sixty-one years, from James Tichborne, the ground landlord. (fn. 114) From 1730 to 1737 the house was occupied by Sir William Yonge, baronet and politician. (fn. 115) Dodsley was soon engaged in an extensive trade, both as a bookseller and publisher, and his shop became a recognized meeting-place for many of the literary figures of the day. On one of Dr. Johnson's visits to the shop Robert Dodsley suggested to him the compilation of an English dictionary. 'Johnson seemed at first to catch at the proposition but, after a pause, said, in his abrupt decisive manner, "I believe I shall not undertake it!'" Later, however, he claimed that 'Dodsley first mentioned to me the scheme of an English dictionary; but I had long thought of it.' (fn. 116) Like other contemporary booksellers, Dodsley traded under a sign marking his literary connexion—in his case the sign of Tully's Head, set up, it was said, out of his regard for Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Robert Dodsley retired in 1759 and his brother James took over the business; (fn. 21) he retired from the retail trade in 1787, (fn. 13) perhaps because the lease originally granted to William Pickering had expired. James Dodsley continued as a wholesale bookseller and publisher in other premises on the same side of Pall Mall, but further towards St. James's Street. (fn. 115)
The house was then taken by Benjamin Vandergucht (died 1794), the painter and picture dealer, (fn. 21) on an eighty-year lease at a rent of £120 per annum, from Sir Henry Tichborne, baronet, the grandson of James Tichborne. The site was described as having a frontage of twenty-five feet to Pall Mall, and extending backwards a hundred and twenty-two feet to Angel Court, with King's Place, now Pall Mall Place, on the east side. (fn. 117)
Vandergucht retained the house for only one year and in June 1788 he assigned his lease to John and Josiah Boydell of Cheapside, printsellers. (fn. 118)
Alderman John Boydell (1719–1804) had made his fortune as an engraver and printseller and in 1787 ventured upon what was to be the most important enterprise of his life—the preparation of a series of engraved illustrations of Shakespeare's plays, after pictures expressly painted for the work by the foremost English artists. On 13 February 1787 Sir Joshua Reynolds wrote to the Duke of Rutland that 'the greatest news relating to virtu is Alderman Boydel's scheme of having pictures and prints taken from those pictures of the most interesting scenes of Shakespear, by which all the painters and engravers find engagements for eight or ten years; he wishes me to do eight pictures, but I have engaged only for one. (fn. 8) He has insested [sic] on my taking earnest money, and to my great surprise left upon my table five hundred pounds— to have as much more as I shall demand.' (fn. 119)
Some of the most celebrated painters of the day, George Romney, Henry Fuseli, Benjamin West, Angelica Kauffmann, Robert Smirke, John Opie and Boydell's own nephew and partner, Josiah Boydell, were also commissioned. (fn. 120) The premises in Pall Mall were taken by John and Josiah Boydell in 1788 and rebuilt as an exhibition gallery to house the paintings when completed.
The architect of the Shakespeare Gallery was George Dance the younger, Clerk of the City Works, with whom John Boydell, already an alderman and later to be Lord Mayor, was probably well acquainted. Although the stone-built front (Plate 43a, 43b) was of modest dimensions, its effect was monumental and perfectly expressive of the building's purpose. Neo-classical in spirit and eclectic in style, it was a composition of two stages, the lower being dominated by a large roundarched opening. The upper stage, which was bounded by paired pilasters and finished with a triangular pediment, featured a recess containing a sculptured group. Dance's care for detail was everywhere in evidence. The unmoulded arch of the lower stage sprang from wide piers, each pierced with a tall and narrow window, and finished with an impost composed of a deep fascia and a simple cornice. This impost was continued across the arched opening to form a transom, bearing the inscription 'SHAKESPEARE GALLERY', with a pair of glazed doors and side lights below, and a simple radial fanlight in the lunette above. Each spandrel was adorned with a carving of a lyre within a ribboned wreath, and this stage finished with a panelled bandcourse, forming a plinth for the upper stage. Here, the paired pilasters had plain shafts and 'Ammonite' capitals (an early use of this favourite Regency motif, so much in evidence at Brighton). The entablature was Doric in feeling, being composed of a deep architrave, narrow frieze, and a boldly profiled cornice returned to form a flat-pitched pediment. The almost square recess between the pilasters contained Thomas Banks's group in high relief, for which he was paid 500 guineas, (fn. 121) representing Shakespeare, reclining against a rock, between the Dramatic Muse and the Genius of Painting, the panelled pedestal below Shakespeare being inscribed 'He was a Man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.' (fn. 122) (fn. 9)
The three exhibition rooms were on the first floor (Plate 43c), placed one behind another and forming an intercommunicating suite. The north room was forty-one feet long, and the middle room (into the centre of which rose the staircase) and the south room were each approximately thirty-seven feet long. All three rooms were twenty-three feet wide. The total area of wall space available for the exhibition of pictures was over four thousand square feet. (fn. 123)
The gallery was opened in June 1789 (fn. 121) and then contained 34 pictures. (fn. 124) By 1791 there were 65 pictures and by 1802 there were 162. There were also two reliefs by the then fashionable sculptress, Anne Seymour Damer, one of 'Antony and Cleopatra' and the other of 'Coriolanus'. (fn. 125) The Shakespeare Gallery soon became a landmark in the literary and artistic life of London and the success of the venture encouraged similar grandiose schemes. A drawing dated 1790 by Francis Wheatley in the Victoria and Albert Museum shows the two Boydells receiving the Dukes of York and Clarence, amid a fashionable assembly.
The whole enterprise seems to have been conducted by Alderman Boydell in a most generous and open-handed spirit. It appears from the preface to the catalogue of 1789, and from other independent evidence, that his chief aim was the establishment of a school of English history painting, and although the theatrical type of historical picture produced under Boydell's patronage might not seem to have been a very inspiring result, yet the Shakespeare Gallery was the most ambitious scheme of art patronage of the day. Boydell's enterprise was, however, attacked as being nothing but a profit-making venture. Gillray's caricatures of the Alderman worshipping the Genius of Avarice and mutilating pictures in the gallery in order to attract public attention, are evidence of the contemporary agitation. (fn. 126)
The publication of the engravings began in 1791. (fn. 121) Boydell's total outlay exceeded £100,000 and when, in his later years, the French wars closed the Continental market for English prints, a market which he himself had done so much to expand, he found himself in financial difficulties. In 1804 he obtained a private Act of Parliament allowing him to dispose of the Shakespeare Gallery and his other property by lottery. (fn. 127)
John Boydell died on 12 December 1804, before the draw had taken place but not before every one of the twenty-two thousand tickets had been sold. The lottery took place on 28 January 1805. The chief prize, the Shakespeare Gallery and its contents, fell to a Mr. William Tassie, modeller, of Leicester Fields, who put the property up for auction. The collection of pictures and the two reliefs by Anne Damer realized £6181 18s. 6d., while the sculpture group by Banks was reserved as a monument for the Alderman's tomb. (fn. 21) It remained, however, as part of the façade until the demolition of the building in 1868–9. It was then removed to Stratford-uponAvon and was erected in 1870 or early in 1871 in New Place Garden, where it still stands. (fn. 128)
The lease of the gallery building was purchased in September 1805 by the Directors of the British Institution for £4500. (fn. 129) The British Institution 'for promoting the Fine Arts under the patronage of his majesty' had been founded in the previous June. (fn. 130) It was a private venture of a group of subscribers who proposed to hold exhibitions of the works of living and dead artists, awarding premiums to contemporary works of special merit. (fn. 131)
Necessary repairs and minor alterations cost £750 and the first exhibition opened early in 1806. (fn. 132) From then on there were two annual exhibitions, one of works of living artists, for sale, and the other a loan exhibition of old masters. Occasionally the institution held memorial exhibitions, such as the Reynolds exhibition of 1813. (fn. 133) Students were allowed to copy the works on loan, and prizes were given for original works both in painting and sculpture. (fn. 134) The winter exhibitions by modern artists became increasingly popular. The first exhibition contained 257 works; in 1830 511 works were exhibited and by 1855 the total reached 588. (fn. 135) An entrance fee of one shilling was charged and, out of the profits and subscriptions, the directors occasionally purchased pictures for the national collections. (fn. 136)
In the 1860's the British Institution was in decline and in 1868 the gallery building was sold to the Marlborough Club (fn. 137) and demolished shortly afterwards. The history of the present building on the site of the gallery is described on page 343. The remaining funds of the Institution were handed over to the Charity Commissioners for the foundation of British Institution Scholarships, and the loan exhibitions of old masters were subsequently continued by the Royal Academy. (fn. 134)
No. 59 Pall Mall: The Smyrna Coffee House
A deed of 1733/4 records that the Smyrna coffee house stood on the north side of Pall Mall and the east side of Crown Court (now Passage) and that it had a frontage of twenty feet to Pall Mall; it was then or late in the tenure of Richard Martin. (fn. 138) This site is now occupied by No. 59 Pall Mall. Richard Martin first appears in the ratebooks as the occupant of this house in 1702, (fn. 13) which may be taken as the likely date of the establishment of the Smyrna coffee house. (fn. 10)
Coney (pocket, drawing B) shows a small house with a three-storeyed front, its ground storey filled by a small-paned shop-front with a door on its left. There were three flat-arched windows in each upper storey, between which the wall face was decorated with a long rectangular panel, presumably containing a lettered sign. There were two dormers asymmetrically placed in the roof.
The Smyrna was a popular resort for political disputation, and was said to have been patronized by 'a mixture of all sorts'; (fn. 139) it is mentioned in both The Tatler and The Spectator. Steele, in an early number of The Tatler, mentions the 'cluster of wise-heads, as they are found sitting every evening, from the left side of the fire at the Smyrna, to the door', (fn. 140) and subsequently he recounts that 'The seat of learning is now removed from the corner of the chimney on the left-hand towards the window, to the round table in the middle of the floor over-against the fire; a revolution much lamented by the porters and chairmen, who were much edified through a pane of glass that remained broken all the last summer.' (fn. 141) It was also a favourite resort of Swift and Prior. (fn. 142)
Richard Martin remained the proprietor until 1717. From 1718 to 1727 the house was occupied successively by Richard Price, Thomas and William Astley and George Hobart. (fn. 13) The Daily Post for 10 May 1726 contains a notice of an auction of pictures to be held at 'Mr. Martin's, the Smirna Coffee-house in Pall-Mall'. In 1727 the house was empty (fn. 13) but in 1728 Richard Martin (perhaps a son) reappears as the ratepayer. Several of his recognizances as the licensed victualler for the Smyrna have survived (fn. 143) and he continued as the ratepayer until 1749, when he was succeeded by widow Martin (1750) and then by Talbot Condon (1751). The latter occupied the premises until 1772, (fn. 144) when he was succeeded by Andrew Boyter, stationer. (fn. 145) This probably marks the end of the Smyrna's life in Pall Mall. In 1815 it was said that the Smyrna still existed near the south-west end of St. James's Street; (fn. 146) it is not known if this establishment had any connexion with the earlier one of the same name in Pall Mall.
No. 64 Pall Mall: The Cocoa Tree Club
The house which formerly stood on this site was occupied from between 1787 and 1793 until 1799 by the Cocoa Tree Club, whose full history is described on page 461.