Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
In this section
Warwick House Street and Carlton Mews
Warwick House Street (formerly Warwick Street) is a surviving portion of the old road from Charing Cross to St. James's Palace which was closed in 1661 (see page 322). On the formation of Pall Mall in that year the eastern part of the old highway was left open as far as the paved passage known as Stone Cutter's Alley (or court or yard), which connected Pall Mall with the King's garden in St. James's Park; the site of this alley is now covered by the United Service Club house. Houses were built along both sides of the street, and at the end was Warwick House, from which the street took its name. The eastern end of the north side of the street is outside the parish of St. James.
In the early nineteenth century Stone Cutter's Yard seems to have been a place of ill repute. In 1808 the Prince of Wales complained of 'the nuisance caused by the resort there of numbers of profligate and disorderly persons during the night', so near to the entrance of Warwick House, then the residence of his daughter, Princess Charlotte. His attempts to persuade the St. James's vestry to allow it to be closed at night were unsuccessful; the passage was a public way and its closure would have been an infringement of public rights. (fn. 5)
This house was built by Sir Philip Warwick (1609–83), the royalist memoir writer. (fn. 6) In March 1663 he petitioned the King for leave to build a lodging on the void ground near Spring Garden, complaining that 'he had daily occasion to attend Court, and is much inconvenienced by having no lodgings near'. (fn. 7) In the following May he obtained a sixty-year Crown lease of the site, then described as being part of the old highway from Charing Cross to St. James's Palace and measuring 230 feet by 62 feet. (fn. 8)
The architect employed is unknown, but may perhaps have been Sir Roger Pratt. The builder was probably Maurice Emmett or Emmott, whose 'rates to Sir Philip Warwick', dated 20 April 1664, are in Sir Roger Pratt's notebooks. (fn. 9) The notebooks also contain 'The Carpenter Mr. Brokenbury's Rates' for Warwick. (fn. 10) No other documentary evidence connecting Pratt with the building has been found.
Warwick House appears in Kip's view (fig. 67) as a Caroline Renaissance building having a general resemblance to Ashdown House, Berkshire, being square in plan and three storeys high, with garrets in the roof which was hipped all round a lead flat from which rose a tall lantern-cupola lighting the central staircase. The house was built, presumably, of brick with stone quoins and dressings, and had a bandcourse below the second storey, a frieze-band below the attic, and a heavy eaves-cornice. The west front, overlooking a formal garden, was five windows wide, with a central doorway surmounted by what looks like a balcony to the second-storey window.
Ackermann's view (published in volume VI of his Repository of Arts, 1811), however, shows the east front of Warwick House as having only two storeys, with a central porch and, presumably, five windows in the upper storey. The rectangular box-sashes are exposed in a plain brick face, finished with a narrow cornice and a stone-coped parapet behind which rises a hipped roof containing dormers. Above the roof can be seen a conical lantern-light, presumably the successor of the Caroline cupola. (fn. 1)
The house was probably completed by the beginning of 1665, for on 3 January 1665 Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary of being 'Up, and by coach to Sir Ph. Warwicke's, . . . and found him and Mr. Coventry walking in St. James's Parke.' (fn. 11)
In October 1670 Sir Philip Warwick assigned the property to Lord Fauconberg, (fn. 12) who lived there until about 1682. The Earl of Sussex, and later his tenants, the Duke of Bolton and Edward Lord Russell, successively occupied the house from 1683 to at least 1707, (fn. 13) (fn. 2) the Earl of Sussex and his wife Anne, a daughter of Barbara Villiers and supposedly of Charles II, (fn. 14) having obtained a further lease in 1706. (fn. 15)
The Earl of Sussex seems to have sold the house sometime after 1707. (fn. 13) He was at this period in serious financial straits through 'litigation, reckless extravagance, and losses by gambling', and had been forced to dispose of a large part of his country estates. (fn. 14)
The purchaser was probably the Duke of Shrewsbury. He was active in politics throughout the reigns of William III and Anne, and was in residence at Warwick House at least by 1711, (fn. 16) if not earlier. He died there in February 1718, (fn. 14) (fn. 3) leaving his leasehold interest in the property to his widow, (fn. 17) who lived there until her death in 1726. (fn. 13)
From then until 1747 Warwick House was occupied by Charles, Lord Bruce, later third Earl of Ailesbury. His widow married as her second husband Colonel (later Field-Marshal) Henry Seymour-Conway and together they made Warwick House their London home until 1792. (fn. 18) The house was then bought by the Prince of Wales, who was at this time rebuilding Carlton House in his most prodigal manner and was anxious to buy the leases of as many of the adjoining houses as possible. He paid £12,000 for the lease of Warwick House. Two-thirds of this sum was lent to him upon mortgage by Mr. William Morland of Grosvenor Street. (fn. 19)
The building seems at first to have been used by members of the royal household, for the Earl of Jersey, Master of the Horse to the Prince of Wales, (fn. 6) was for a time (1798–1800) responsible for the payment of the parish rates. From 1805 to 1817 the house was the London residence of the Prince's daughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales. (fn. 13) Her governess, Cornelia Knight, has described the house thus: 'Warwick House . . . was an old moderate-sized dwelling, at that time  miserably out of repair, and almost falling to ruins. It was situated at the extremity of a narrow lane with a small court-yard and gates, at which two sentinels were placed. On the ground floor was a hall, dining-room, library, comptroller's room, and two very small rooms, with a good staircase, and two back staircases much the reverse. Above was what was called the waiting-room, of very moderate dimensions, where Princess Charlotte took her lessons in the morning; a good drawingroom, her Royal Highness's bedroom and dressingroom, or closet off it for a maid; my sitting-room adjoining, and my bedroom, both small, the latter particularly so. Yet for a private family it was far from being uncomfortable, although anything rather than royal. The drawing-room and Princess Charlotte's bedroom, with bay windows, looked on a small garden with a wall, and a road which divided it from the gardens of Carlton House, to which there was a door of communication. Nothing could more perfectly resemble a convent than this residence, but it was a seat of happiness to Princess Charlotte compared with the Lower Lodge at Windsor.' (fn. 20)
The house remained the London residence of Princess Charlotte till her death at Claremont in 1817; she was seldom allowed to live there, as her father was jealous of her popularity, and preferred her to live in seclusion at Windsor. None of her short married life was spent at Warwick House, (fn. 21) which after her death remained an appendage to the royal establishment at Carlton House.
In March 1817 John Nash reported that 'The main house within the four square walls comprehended under one roof is as sound as houses of that date generally are, but if it is to be kept up it will require a general and separate reparation within and without.' He estimated the necessary repairs at £1200; (fn. 22) there is no indication that these were ever carried out. Warwick House was demolished in 1827. The old building materials were sold for £450 (fn. 23) and the site cleared for the erection of Carlton Mews.
Carlton Mews was built between 1830 and 1832, (fn. 24) under the direction of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, to provide stables for the occupants of the new houses in Carlton Gardens and Carlton House Terrace. The site had been previously occupied partly by Warwick House and partly by earlier buildings and gardens belonging to Carlton House.
The first designs for stables in this area were made in the spring of 1827 by Nash as part of a plan for a new roadway from Pall Mall to what was to become the eastern half of Carlton House Terrace. This road was to run parallel with Waterloo Place and was to contain a number of dwelling-houses and a small stable court. The court was to be on the west side of the new road, immediately behind the houses in Pall Mall. (fn. 25)
By the following spring the Commissioners of Woods and Forests had decided that more stable accommodation was required. The scheme for a new road was therefore abandoned and the whole area between Warwick Street and Carlton House Terrace was set aside for development as a mews. This second plan was submitted to the Commissioners in December 1828 and provided for a stable court, with buildings on all four sides, immediately behind Warwick Street, and for other stables between this court and Carlton House Terrace. (fn. 23) It was at first intended to extend these stable buildings well into the present garden behind the United Service Club house, then in course of erection, but because of opposition from the club, this part of the plan was modified and ground in Red Lion Yard (an old court behind Cockspur Street) was taken over instead.
Early in 1829, on the suggestion of Lord Lowther, the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, Nash considered another modification which would further increase the available accommodation. This embodied a novel idea already used by Lord Anglesey, presumably at Uxbridge House, Burlington Gardens, and by 'Newman the Liveryman'. (fn. 4) Nash's new designs, for coach houses in the ground storey, with the stables, approached by a ramp and gallery, in the second storey, were submitted in October 1829. Each lessee was to be responsible for building his own block in accordance with the new designs. The Office of Woods and Forests was to build the ramp and gallery at the cost of the various lessees. (fn. 26)
Applications for sites were quickly received and the building of stables for William Huskisson and Sir Robert Lawley started in the spring of 1830. These stables were on the west side of the intended court and still projected into what is now the garden behind the United Service Club. The club committee objected strongly and after a Chancery case this side of the new stable court was demolished in 1831. (fn. 27) By this time most of the other lessees had started building around the remaining three sides of the court and some had roofed in their stables. Decimus Burton, 'Mr.' Cubitt and George Harrison were among the architects or builders who acted on behalf of the various lessees. By October 1832 the buildings around the court, together with the ramp and platform erected by the Commissioners, were complete. (fn. 28)
The mews has now been converted into garages and dwelling-houses.
Carlton Mews (Plate 267) comprises an oblong yard enclosed on the south and east by an L-shaped range of buildings, on the north by a single range, and on the west by a high garden wall. Apart from additions, the buildings are three storeys high and originally contained coach houses in the ground storey, stables in the second storey, and grooms' quarters above. The wide access gallery in front of the second storey is reached by a dog-leg ramp built against the north end of the L-shaped range, and the wide entrance from Warwick House Street to the cobbled yard is alongside. The buildings are utilitarian in character, being built in stock bricks with a stone bandcourse below the low brick parapet. Later alterations have obscured the original fenestration pattern of all but one house—that adjoining the ramp—where the wide opening of the stable door is flanked by small windows, with three small windows in the top storey, all having segmental arches of gauged brickwork. The cast-ironwork of the gallery is simple and elegant, with open spandrel-brackets supporting the perforated cantilevers, these being linked by a fascia of skeleton segmental arches, below a high railing composed of tall standards with ball-finials, linked by two rails, the lower openings being diagonally braced.