Survey of London: Volumes 31 and 32, St James Westminster, Part 2. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1963.
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In this section
- No. 19A Golden Square
No. 19A Golden Square
The site of this house (fn. 1) formed part of the moiety of Gelding Close which was allotted under the partition of 1675 to Isaac Symball (fig. 18). Shortly afterwards the latter leased this site, probably for a few years less than a thousand-year term, to John Wells, who is variously described as gentleman or cow-keeper, (fn. 3) and who may also perhaps be identified with the victualler of the same name who had previously built houses in Wells (now Babmaes) Street, St. James's Square. Wells sub-let the site, perhaps in 1683, to Joseph Gray, carpenter, (fn. 4) but he became involved in dispute with other tradesmen and it has not been possible to identify the builder of this house with certainty. (fn. 5) The ratebook for 1689 mentions 'a large new House' here, in the occupation of William Hill.
Later notable occupants of this house include Esquire Duncomb (1694–5), possibly (Sir) Charles Duncombe, the banker and politician, Lady Anglesey (1696–1700), who probably died here, and James Brydges (1706–10), later first Duke of Chandos but then Paymaster of the Forces and resident at the adjoining No. 20, who used the house as his office. From 1716 to 1727 the house was occupied by a succession of peers, Lords Teynham, Montague and Fauconberg, and from 1728 to 1734 was the residence of the Duke of Brunswick's minister in London. In the nineteenth century it was occupied by John Mapleson, cupper to Queen Victoria, and later as a lodging house. (fn. 6)
In 1886 Nos. 19A and 20 Golden Square were demolished for the erection of the present warehouse and office building, which extends back to Warwick Street. The firm of Holland and Hannen, who built the new block, may also have been responsible for the architectural design. The building was erected for the woollen firm of Messrs. Holland and Sherry, who still occupy it. (fn. 7) It has one lofty stage embracing two storeys, and an attic. Both stages are divided into narrow bays by pilaster-like piers of white brick, the first-floor window aprons and the unbroken entablatures to both stages being of cement. A large roundarched window indicates the staircase, and railings of coarse and vigorous design enclose the areas.
No. 20 Golden Square
Shortly after the partition of Gelding Close between Axtell and Symball in 1675 this site and that of No. 21 were leased by the latter to John Wells, cow-keeper of St. Giles in the Fields, for a few years less than a thousand-year term. In December 1683 Wells leased the two sites with a frontage of 55 feet to the square, to William Gray for nine hundred and eighty years. (fn. 4) The houses which Gray built later served as the pattern for Nos. 32–34. No. 20 appears to have been first occupied in 1686, by Sir Henry Benningfield. (fn. 8)
Sometime before 1700 Nos. 20 and 21 were purchased by Lady Frances Winchcombe. Both houses remained in the ownership, and occasionally in the occupation, of her descendants, until the early nineteenth century. (fn. 9)
In May 1700 James Brydges, later first Duke of Chandos, took a four-year lease of No. 20, paying £50 per annum rent. A Dutch joiner, Andrews, was employed in the furnishing of the house and Brydges moved in on 29 June. It appears that the future Duke's closet was wainscotted and fitted up with 'a Chimney piece Japan'd'. The tradesmen he employed on the house and its furnishing were Walton (for locks), Dove of Newport Street, smith, Watkinson (for china) and Colman (for a teapot). In May 1710 Brydges let the house to his cousin George Brydges and moved to Albemarle Street, a newer and more fashionable quarter. (fn. 10)
Later occupants of No. 20 include Lady Elizabeth Compton (1728–42), Lady Stair (1753–5), (Sir) Gilbert Elliot (1756–9), who also lived at No. 10, General James Abercrombie (1760–2), the second Baron Tyrawley (1763–6), diplomat and soldier, and David Hartley (1767– 1806), (fn. 11) a collateral descendant of Lady Frances Winchcombe.
As a politician, Hartley had opposed both the slave trade and the war with the American colonies. In 1783 he negotiated with Benjamin Franklin, and signed on behalf of Britain the Treaty of Paris which ended the war. He was also the inventor of a method of protection against fire which consisted of laying thin iron or copper plates underneath the floor boards. This invention seems to have been widely used. Fire plates were installed by Sir William Chambers at Windsor in 1777, by Henry Holland at Carlton House and Woburn, by James Wyatt at the Pantheon in 1791 (where they seem to have had no effect on the fire of the following year, see page 277), and by Hartley himself in his own house in Golden Square, where his friends and clients were brought to see them. He also had an office for the commercial exploitation of his invention on the opposite side of the square at No. 1, and a warehouse at Adelphi Wharf. (fn. 12)
In the nineteenth century the house was occupied by various firms of solicitors, an architect and an engineer. (fn. 13) In 1886 Nos. 19A and 20 Golden Square were demolished for the erection of the present warehouse and office building for Messrs. Holland and Sherry, by whom it is still occupied.
No. 21 Golden Square
The early history of this site is described above with that of No. 20. No. 21 was first occupied in 1686, by Thomas Chudleigh, possibly the diplomat of that name, who occupied it for the first two or three years. The Countess of Bristol lived here in 1694–5. (fn. 14)
The most famous occupant of this house was the statesman Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke. He had married the grand-daughter and heiress of Lady Frances Winchcombe, who had purchased the freehold of Nos. 20 and 21 Golden Square sometime before 1700. He lived at No. 21 from 1702 until 1714, (fn. 15) when he fled to join the Old Pretender in France. The house was 'splendidly furnished and decorated' for him and remained throughout these years an important political and social centre for the Tory party. (fn. 16)
After Bolingbroke's flight to France in 1714 his property, including his life interest in his wife's two houses in Golden Square, was sequestrated by the Commissioners for Forfeited Estates. No. 21 was then occupied by Bolingbroke's political ally Lady Masham (formerly Abigail Hill) and her husband at a rent of £100 per annum. They moved in at Michaelmas 1715 and bought the Bolingbrokes' furniture, including many pieces of walnut, olive and cedar wood furniture, the marble fireplaces in the main rooms and four pieces of 'fine Tapistry Hangings after Teners made by Vanderbank'. (fn. 17) They remained at No. 21 until 1724. (fn. 8)
Later occupants include Benjamin Bathurst (1726–9), the Earl of Essex (1729–34), Lord Middleton (1736–7) and Sir John Ramsden (1751–8). In the nineteenth century the house was occupied by a physician, and was used as commercial premises from 1844 to 1854–5 by the silk firm of Auguste Gagnière, who then moved to Nos. 34–36 Golden Square. From 1859 to 1885 the house was used as an hotel. (fn. 18)
No. 21 appears to have been remodelled or rebuilt in the late eighteenth century, perhaps in 1790. (fn. 8) It has a wide front, four storeys high with three widely spaced windows to each upper floor, in the severe but not inelegant style of the time, a stock brick face with the sashed windows recessed in plain openings having flat arches of gauged brick. The doorway, on the right of the ground-floor windows, has a six-panelled door and a fanlight of ornamented ironwork, set in a plain opening with a high segmental-arched head. The interior, planned on conventional lines, is very plain apart from the enriched plaster cornices in the hall and principal rooms.
No. 22 Golden Square
In April 1675, very shortly after the partition of Gelding Close between Axtell and Symball, the latter granted the sites of Nos. 22 and 23 to Cadogan Thomas of Lambeth, merchant, for the residue of a thousand-year term. In the following October Thomas granted a nine-hundred-andninety-year lease of the two sites, which extended westward as far as what is now Warwick Street, to Andrew Laurence of St. Martin's, esquire, and by 1684 two houses had been built there. No. 22 was then in the occupation of Samuel Fisher, and in April 1684 Laurence leased the house to Colonel Richard Bings for five hundred years at an annual rent of £6. For this lease Bings paid £500, at the same time covenanting to pay his share towards railing in the garden enclosure in the centre of the square. (fn. 19)
Later occupants of this house include Colonel (later General) John Webb (1690–1), Colonel William Hanmer (1717–27) and Robert Knight (1739–71), (fn. 8) who was created Baron Luxborough in 1745 and Earl of Catherlough in 1763. He was a brother-in-law of Viscount Bolingbroke, who had lived in the adjoining No. 21 from 1702 to 1714. In 1792 John Hayman, the surgeon, who had previously lived in a large new house on the combined sites of Nos. 17 and 18, moved into the house and remained there until 1797, when he became bankrupt. (fn. 20) In the nineteenth century the house was in commercial use, being occupied at various times by a print seller, two architects, a teacher of dancing and several woollen firms. (fn. 18)
The old house, which seems to have been little altered, was demolished in 1915 for the erection of the present building, builtas show-rooms and offices for a Huddersfield woollen firm. The architects were Messrs. Naylor and Sale. (fn. 21)
No. 23 Golden Square
The early history of this site has been described above with that of No. 22. No. 23 was first occupied in 1684 by the sixth Baron Hunsdon who lived here for two years. He was followed by Sir Robert Clarke (1687–9), Colonel Robert Smith (1690) and Madam Ann Gendrault (1691–1700), probably a Huguenot refugee. In 1700 she leased No. 23 to Thomas, Lord Jermyn, but the latter does not seem to have resided there, as Colonel (later Major-General) Seymour appears in the ratebooks as the occupant from 1702 to 1707. From about 1710 to 1722 the house was occupied by Elizabeth Fowke, who purchased the unexpired Jermyn lease in September 1708. (fn. 22)
In 1724 this house and the adjoining No. 24 were both taken by the Portuguese envoy. These two houses continued as the Portuguese legation until 1747. Their most distinguished resident was the future Portuguese dictator, the Marquis of Pombal, minister in London from 1739 to 1744. (fn. 23) When the Portuguese legation left Golden Square, Nos. 23 and 24, and for a time No. 25, became the residence of the Bavarian minister, Count Haslang, who was envoy in England from 1739 until his death in 1783. He was a favourite of George II and a well-known though not very popular figure in London. According to Horace Walpole the Count, like other scantily paid ministers of the smaller powers, maintained himself by gaming, smuggling and by selling protections against arrest. (fn. 24)
During the Gordon Riots in June 1780 a mob attacked the legation chapel in Warwick Street and penetrated Haslang's own house. For some weeks afterwards the Count was forced to provide hospitality for a hundred foot guards, who remained to protect him; their officers slept in the bedrooms of the legation and the Count lodged with a neighbour. (fn. 25) Even these disturbances did not arouse the sympathy of Walpole, who, in a letter to Sir Horace Mann, explained that as Haslang was 'a prince of smugglers as well as Bavarian minister, great quantities of run tea and contraband goods were found in his house [by the rioters]. This one cannot lament; and still less, as the old wretch has for these forty years usurped a hired house, and, though the proprietor for many years has offered to remit his arrears of rent, he will neither quit the house nor pay for it.' (fn. 26)
Nos. 23 and 24 ceased to be the Bavarian legation in 1788. (fn. 8) They were both purchased by James Talbot, then the Roman Catholic Bishop of the London district, for the erection of the present Warwick Street chapel on the gardens and stables behind the two houses. No. 23 was subsequently occupied by a series of tradesmen and commercial firms and from 1837 to 1875 was used as an hotel. From 1876 to 1879 the building was occupied by the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament as a hostel and school. The building has since been used as offices. (fn. 18)
No. 23 has a four-storeyed front (the fourth being an early addition) faced with stock bricks and dressed with red rubbers (Plate 123b). The altered ground storey contains a modern display window to the left of the doorway, which is late eighteenth century with a six-panelled door and a simple radial fanlight set in a plain round-arched opening. Each upper storey contains three windows, evenly spaced but placed to leave a wide pier on the left of the front. The sashes are of a late eighteenth-century type, those of the two upper floors retaining their glazing bars, and all are set slightly recessed in plain openings having jambs and flat gauged arches of red brick, and stone sills. At second- and third-floor levels are plain bandcourses of red rubbers, and at roof level is a narrow cornice of cut or moulded red brick with a plain parapet above.
The conventionally planned interior has been considerably altered but retains the original staircase, with fully panelled walls. The dog-legged stair, up to the third-floor level, has cut strings with carved step-end brackets, and a railing composed of a moulded handrail resting on fluted Doric column newels and turned balusters, arranged two to a tread. The doorways have wide moulded architraves, but the six-panelled doors are of the late eighteenth century with mouldings forming margins to the panels.
No. 24 Golden Square
This site, the northernmost of those on the west side of Gelding Close allotted to Symball by the partition of 1675 (fig. 18), was the first to be developed in Golden Square and now contains its oldest surviving building. Although the house was not rated until 1686, it is clear from other evidence that building, possibly by Andrew Laurence or 'Mr. Shaw', had begun as early as April 1675. (fn. 27) Colonel Thomas Sackville was the first occupant. Later occupants include Lord George Howard (1694–5), who later lived at No. 34, John Hanbury (1706–7) and Orlando Bridgeman (1716–22). (fn. 8) From 1724 to 1788 this house, with the adjoining No. 23, was successively the Portuguese and then the Bavarian legation (see above, sub No. 23). In 1788 Nos. 23 and 24 Golden Square, with their back premises, gardens and stables extending to Warwick Street, were bought by Bishop James Talbot for the erection of a new Roman Catholic chapel. The present Warwick Street church was shortly afterwards built behind the two houses, No. 23 being let to tenants and No. 24 being retained as the church presbytery.
Except during the years 1832–53, No. 24 has been in continuous use by the priests serving the Warwick Street church. The Reverend James Archer, a celebrated preacher, lived here from 1794 to 1825. (fn. 14) In 1832 the priests moved out and the church trustees let the house on a twentyone-year lease for commercial use, at a rent of £110 per annum (only £10 more than the rent paid by Lord Masham for No. 21 in 1715). One of the ground-floor rooms at the back of No. 24, adjoining the church sacristy, was bricked off from the house and not included in the lease. (fn. 28) In 1854 the priests returned to the house. In 1959 the interior of the house was altered and improved to the designs of the architects Nicholas and Dixon-Spain. (fn. 29)
No. 24, with a much altered carcase of about the same date as No. 23, has a front in the style of the 1720's, four storeys high and three windows wide, faced with stock bricks and dressed with red rubbers (Plate 123b). The sashed windows have exposed frames, slightly recessed in plain openings with jambs and segmental arches of red brick, and there is a narrow cornice of cut or moulded red brick below the attic storey. The doorway, on the right of the ground-storey windows, has a sixpanelled door and a radial fanlight of wood, set in a plain round-arched opening.
No. 25 Golden Square
This site was the southernmost of those on the west side of the square which were allotted to James Axtell at the partition of Gelding Close in 1675 (fig. 18). By the agreement of 1683/4 (see page 141) Enoch Crosby of St. Martin's, bricklayer, undertook the development of the sites of Nos. 25–31, but all seven leases were granted by Martha Axtell in the autumn of 1684 to other tradesmen, who were presumably his nominees.
In September 1684 Martha Axtell, acting for her two infant daughters, the heiresses of James Axtell, leased the site of No. 25 to Francis Batten, here described as of St. Martin's, wharfinger, for fifty-one years at a rent of £1 14s. 6d. per annum. By this lease Batten bound himself to build a house there 'answerable in height of stories, ornaments, scantlings and goodness of timber and substantialness of brickwork and uniform in front' to the house built by Andrew Laurence on the same side of the square (i.e. either No. 22 or No. 23, both by Laurence). Owing to lack of funds Batten, who was at this time also engaged in building houses on other sites in the square, was unable to continue working on No. 25 beyond the first floor. Soon after January 1685/6 he was imprisoned for debt and the house was completed by November 1688 by his mortgagee, Mathew Capell of St. Martin's, gentleman, at a cost of £240. (fn. 30) (fn. 2)
No. 25 was first occupied in 1689 by Edward Cary. The soldier Sir Charles O'Hara, who became first Baron Tyrawley in 1706, lived here from 1692 to 1710, to be followed in 1711 by the Queen's current favourite, Abigail Hill, and her husband Brigadier (later Lord) Masham. At Michaelmas 1715 they moved into No. 21 Golden Square. (fn. 31) Later occupants include two other soldiers, General Hill (1716–18, 1722) and Colonel Harrison (1719–21), and Lady Mary Dudley (1723–34). From 1748 to 1763 the house was occupied in conjunction with the adjoining Nos. 23 and 24, as the Bavarian legation (see above, sub No. 23). John Norton, surgeon, moved into the house when the legation vacated it. In 1776 he removed to a large new double-fronted house built on the south side of the square at Nos. 17–18 (fn. 8) (see above, sub. No. 17). In the nineteenth century No. 25 was occupied at various times by a surveyor, a tailor and a number of solicitors. (fn. 13)
The house (which does not seem to have been rebuilt or greatly altered since its erection in the late seventeenth century) was demolished in 1923 as part of the redevelopment of a much larger site. This comprised the sites of Nos. 25–29 Golden Square and of the houses behind in Warwick Street. All these were pulled down and a new office and warehouse block erected for the woollen firm of Dormeuil Frères. It was completed by December 1924, to the design of Messrs. Mewès and Davis, (fn. 32) and has an unexceptionable but unexciting façade of Portland stone in their own Parisian style, a Louis XV revival manner.
No. 26 Golden Square
In August 1684 this site was leased by Martha Axtell to Richard Naylor of St. James's, yeoman, for fifty-one years at an annual rent of £6 17s. 6d. (fn. 33) In the following July Naylor contracted with Thomas Rowland of St. Giles's, bricklayer, for the latter 'to do the bricklayers work thereon with streight arches and rubbed returns at the rate of £1 8s. 0d. by the rood'. The contract stipulated that the work was to be completed by the following Christmas, the bricks being supplied by Naylor. Rowland had also contracted to build another house for Abraham Smith of St. Martin's, joiner, and was short of money. He therefore completed only one storey of Naylor's house ('and that very ill done') and applied for an advance payment. This he obtained, but disputes then arose between the two parties. Naylor complained that the house was unfinished and Rowland that he had not been supplied with scaffolding or enough building materials to finish the house, which was still unfinished in June 1688. (fn. 34)
Henry Howard nevertheless appears to have lived here from 1686 to 1691, followed by Lord Walden (1692) and Francis Godolphin (1694–1700). From 1707 to 1721 William, Lord Villiers, who became second Earl of Jersey in 1711, lived here, (fn. 35) and amongst the contents of the house listed in his will were two fine tapestry hangings, a Japan corner cupboard, 'two landskipps over the doors', an Indian satin quilt embroidered with gold, and cherry-coloured silk window curtains. (fn. 36) Later occupants include Lord Aylmer (1736–42), Captain (later Admiral) Townshend (1744–53) and General David Graham or Graeme (1765–77). (fn. 11)
In the nineteenth century the house was occupied by a surgeon, a solicitor and by various woollen firms. (fn. 13) In 1923 No. 26 and the adjoining houses were demolished to permit the erection of the present office and warehouse block (see above, sub No. 25).
No. 27 Golden Square
On 1 September 1684 this site was leased by Martha Axtell to Richard Glasspole for fifty-one years at a rent of £7 6s. 3d. per annum. A house was built here by 1689 and occupied for the first year by Lady Trapp. (fn. 37) Later residents include Major-General Compton (1699–1714), Lady Acton (1730–4), Lady Herbert (1737–8), the Dowager Lady Arundel (1756–7), Colonel Philip Honeywood (1758–61), for whom the house may have been partially rebuilt in 1758, and General Lord Adam Gordon (1779–83), who later lived at No. 3. (fn. 37)
The house was rebuilt in 1784 (fn. 8) and in the nineteenth century was occupied at various times as a lodging house and a woollen warehouse. (fn. 13) It was demolished in 1923 as part of the redevelopment of the sites of Nos. 25–29 (see above, sub No. 25).
No. 28 Golden Square
On 2 September 1684 (the day after the lease of No. 27) this site was also leased by Martha Axtell to Richard Glasspole for fifty-one years at an annual rent of £7 6s. 3d. (fn. 33) A house was built here by 1689 and occupied by Colonel Cludd until 1694. Esquire Roberts or Robartes, possibly Francis Robartes the politician and musician, lived here from 1695 to 1702, when the house was taken by Robert Pitt who, according to Colonel John Wyndham (his neighbour on the opposite side of the square), lived here 'very handsomely, and in esteem with all good men, and also very happily with a good lady'. Robert Pitt has, however, a greater claim to fame as the father of William Pitt the elder, who was born in 1708, very probably in his father's house in Golden Square, and christened in St. James's Church on 13 December 1708. (fn. 39)
Later inhabitants include the Marquis de Montandre (1716–34), George Maddocks (1736–44), who had married a daughter of one of James Axtell's co-heiresses, the second Duke of Chandos (1746), whose father had previously lived at No. 20, and Lady Saunders (1753–65). (fn. 37)
The house was under repair in 1786 for Dr. Nooth who had then moved in, and from 1789 to 1794 it was occupied by Andrew Plimmer, the miniature painter, who then moved to No. 8. In 1795 the house was pulled down and rebuilt for John Bordieu (Bordeau). It was occupied by a firm of solicitors for most of the nineteenth century, (fn. 18) and was demolished in 1923 for the erection of the present building of Dormeuil Frères (see above, sub No. 25).
No. 29 Golden Square
In September 1684 this site was leased by Martha Axtell to William Meades for fifty-one years at a rent of £7 3s. per annum. (fn. 33) Meades was probably a relative of the plasterers Robert and Thomas Meades, who had worked a few years previously on Nos. 14 and 15 St. James's Square; Robert Meades was also the lessee of the adjoining site of No. 30.
The house was built by 1689 and occupied by Sir Peter Colleton, a West India planter and the holder of an eighth share of the Province of Carolina. (fn. 40) Later occupants include Lady Dartmouth (1695–1702) and Lord Langdale (1753–71).
The house was repaired in 1789 and rebuilt in 1809. It was subsequently occupied by a solicitor, a veterinary surgeon and various commercial firms. (fn. 18) In 1923 it was demolished for the erection of the present Nos. 25–29 Golden Square (see above, sub No. 25).
No. 30 Golden Square
In September 1684 this site was leased by Martha Axtell to Robert Meades, plasterer, for fifty-one years at a rent of £7 3s. per annum. Robert was presumably a relative of William Meades who had been granted a similar lease of the adjoining site of No. 29, and also of Thomas Meades, plasterer (fn. 33) (see above).
A house was built on this site by 1689. Madam Stafford lived here for the first three years and in 1692 was followed for one year by Sir Richard Terrill and later by the widow of George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham (1695). Later occupantsinclude Lady Arraglass( 1696–1700), MajorGeneral Earl (1702–5), Lady Hay (1706–7) and the envoy of the Genoese Republic (1755–9). (fn. 34)
Some rebuilding seems to have taken place in 1778 and again in 1804, the year before Mrs. Jordan, then mistress of the future King William IV, took the house for her three elder daughters, two of whom she had had by Richard Ford. The latter's father, Edward Ford, was then living on the opposite side of the square at No. 4. (fn. 41) Mrs. Jordan's daughters remained here until 1808. In the nineteenth century the house was occupied successively by a physician, a professor of music and a collector of taxes. (fn. 18)
The old houses standing on this and on the adjoining site of No. 31 were demolished in 1930 for the erection of the present building, which was completed in the following year. It is faced with Portland stone with Subiaco marble columns at the entrance. The architect was Gordon Jeeves and the Western Construction Company were the building contractors. (fn. 42)
No. 31 Golden Square
In August 1684 Martha Axtell granted a fiftyone-year lease of this site to Thomas Lawrence (?Laurence) at an annual rent of £6 17s. 6d. (fn. 33) A house was built here by 1689 and occupied by the Countess of Bristol, who lived here until 1694, when she moved to No. 21. Later occupants include Lord Walden (1695–1700), who had previously lived at No. 26, Lady Pheasant (1704), Lady Holdman (1716) and Lord Oliphant (1757–8). The most notable resident was John Hunter (1765–8), (fn. 8) the surgeon and anatomist, whose residence is commemorated by a plaque on the present building.
The ratebooks suggest that some rebuilding took place in 1771 and 1805. In the nineteenth century the house was at various times occupied by solicitors, and used as railway offices and as a lodging house. From 1905 to 1925 part of the premises was occupied by the School of Japanese Self Defence. (fn. 18)
In 1930 the house was demolished and the present building was erected on this and on the adjoining site (see above, sub No. 30). This rebuilding involved setting back the building line of No. 31 level to that of No. 30 and the consequent destruction of the symmetrical layout of Golden Square.