Survey of London: Volumes 31 and 32, St James Westminster, Part 2. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1963.
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Cork Street and Savile Row Area: Ten Acre Close
A Leasehold title to this ground, lying north and north-east of Burlington House, was acquired by the first Earl of Burlington in 1670 and 1683 (fig. 2). Two extensions of the Burlingtons' title were obtained, the second, in 1712, bringing it down to 1809. The maindevelopment of the estate in streets of houses was carried out by the third Earl between 1718 and 1739 (fig. 78). On the expiry of the leases granted by him, some in about 1780 and others in the 1790's, repairing leases were granted by his heir, the fifth Duke of Devonshire, until the termination of the Burlington-Devonshire head leasehold interest. The Burlington family thus never held the freehold of the streets of which the nomenclature and architectural character were so closely linked with the third Earl. The separate freehold title still survives fragmentarily, but did not significantly affect the estate at the critical building period.
This freehold title was created by the sale on 29 June 1622 of three adjacent parcels of ground, then all in St. Martin's in the Fields, to William Maddox, citizen and merchant tailor of London, by Richard Wilson of King's Lynn, gentleman. The area covered by this chapter was described as two closes, containing ten acres, which were bounded on the east by the highway later known as Swallow Street, on the north and west by closes then or late in the occupation of John Eavins (or Evans) and south by pastures called Lammas Ground. The ten acres were then in the occupation of Robert Willson of High Holborn, innkeeper, on a ten-year lease from December 1621. (fn. 7) Subsequent tenants at an uncertain period prior to 1670 were at a later date said to have been Damaris Wilson, widow, and then Gilbert Steele. (fn. 8) In the Parliamentary survey of 1650 the ground is described as 'the land of Mr. Watts' (fn. 9) and a map of 1664 shows this and the ground north of Penniless Bank as 'my Lord Mainard's and Mr Watts's Land'. (fn. 10) By April 1664, however, the Ten Acres, which were then united into a single close, were held by Isaac Smith on an eleven-year lease from Michaelmas 1658. (fn. 11) In August of the same year the land was described as in the occupation of Marshall, an inn-holder of Piccadilly. (fn. 12)
From about this time the name Crab or Crabtree Field (or Park) was sometimes given to the Ten Acres or to the eastern of the two parts into which they were again divided in 1670.
By May 1665 a way had been laid out between the Ten Acres and the garden walls of the Piccadilly mansions, all or part being on the northernmost twelve feet of Stone Conduit Close. (fn. 13) It is called Glasshouse Street on Blome's map of c. 1689 and was later called Vigo Lane before receiving the present name of Burlington Gardens in about 1810.
By 1670 the freehold of the Ten Acres had descended to Benjamin Maddox (later a baronet) of Wormley, Hertfordshire, who on 29 March leased them to James Kendrick (or Kenrick) of St. Martin's in the Fields, gentleman, for 62 years from the preceding Lady Day, at £40 per annum: the abutments were described as in 1622. (fn. 14) Some building development of a not very intensive character was evidently projected. Kendrick covenanted to spend £100 on building in the first four years of his term. He also undertook, however, not to 'plow or break up' any part not built on, although he was allowed 'to lay 3 acres to every messuage he should build and convert the same to garden or nursery ground'. For the remainder, he covenanted to preserve fruit and other trees, and to 'bestow at least 3 loads of muck or compost for every load of hay that should be moved off the premises'. (fn. 14)
Such building as took place did not occur on the part of the Ten Acres—about two-thirds of the whole—immediately north of the newly built Burlington House. This part, containing six acres, one rood and sixteen perches, Kendrick leased a month or so later, on 3 May 1670, to Lord Burlington. The premium was £300, the term fifty-six and a half years from Michaelmas 1673, and the rent £25 8s. per annum. (fn. 15) On the eastern boundary of this part, which was aligned with the eastern boundary of the site of Burlington House, Lord Burlington built a brick wall.
Early in the following year a deed recited, in respect of the whole property in Kendrick's tenure, that he had made several leases to various persons who had begun to build on the land. (fn. 16) Within the Ten Acres, building was at first probably limited to the southern part of the area east of Lord Burlington's wall. This part, containing one acre, three roods and five perches, had been leased by Kendrick on 22 September 1670, a few months after the lease to Lord Burlington, to John Harrison, gentleman, for the same term of fifty-six and a half years. The premium was £100 and the rent £7 2s. per annum. (fn. 17) From 1672 to 1674 Harrison was rated as a 'landowner' for this ground which was evidently still largely unbuilt: it was called 'part of Crabtree ground'. The rest of 'Crabtree ground' was rated to another 'landowner', John Shaw, who must be assumed to have been a sub-tenant of Lord Burlington's land immediately north of Burlington House. (fn. 18) Harrison was building more extensively in Mulghay Close, adjoining Crabtree Field on the east, and in May 1671 Lord Burlington, concerned at this building northward and north-eastward of his new mansion, had obtained a caveat that no licence should be granted for building over an extensive area including 'Crabtree Park.' (fn. 19) In September 1671 he and the Earl of Clarendon's son, Lord Cornbury, complained to the Privy Council of mean tenements lately erected in this area by Harrison and others, who were ordered to demolish them by 1 November. (fn. 20) In December 1672, however, Harrison obtained retrospective licence to continue operations both in Mulghay Close and Crabtree Field which he had started before the proclamation against unlicenced building of April 1671. (fn. 21) But the ratebooks suggest that the building on Harrison's part of Crabtree Field was confined mainly or entirely to the erection of a substantial house near the present southern end of Savile Row, which was first occupied, by Lady Cranburne (Cranborne ?), in 1674. (fn. 18)
A landowner rated for 'Crab-Tree ground' in 1675 and 1678 was Windsor Sandys who perhaps carried on some noxious trade here (see pages 66–7).
Harrison's ground within the Ten Acres would have stretched about as far north as the present boundary between Nos. 15 and 16 Savile Row. The part of the Ten Acres which lay north of this and east of Lord Burlington's wall was not leased by Kendrick until 30 March 1676, when he leased it for 55 years from the preceding Lady Day to Thomas Wood, cooper, at £27 10s. per annum. (fn. 22)
A few weeks later Kendrick mortgaged his leasehold interest in the whole Ten Acres to Dorothy Balston, spinster, to secure £250. He died in December of the same year or in January 1676/7. (fn. 23) In February 1677/8 Dorothy and her husband Leonard Sower(s)by (perhaps a surveyor) (fn. 24) assigned their mortgage to Richard Borneford of Lincoln's Inn, gentleman, a creditor of Kendrick's, for £270. (fn. 25) In April 1681 Borneford brought a petition in Chancery against Kendrick's widow, Alice. This said that 'many houses or small Tenements' had been built on the Ten Acres 'of late yeares': (fn. 26) these were probably mainly on the Swallow Street frontage of the part leased to Wood. (fn. 18) Borneford now claimed, perhaps with some conventional exaggeration, that 'divers of the said houses or Tenements are growne soe ruinous and out of Repaire that those persons who formerly Inhabited them have runne away', and that the necessary repairs would cost upward of £500. (fn. 26) In May of the following year, 1682, Alice Kendrick surrendered her right in the property to him. (fn. 27) He in turn assigned this leasehold interest in the Ten Acres, for £393, on 3 March 1682/3 to Lord Burlington. (fn. 28)
Lord Burlington thus acquired leasehold possession of the whole Ten Acres to Lady Day 1732. Eastward of the ground he had held since 1670, however, his interest would seem to have been subject to the existing leasehold interests of Harrison and Wood, expiring on Lady Day 1730 and 1731 respectively. The fact that this eastern part was not begun to be regularly laid into streets by the third Earl until 1732 indicates that these interests had not been bought out, but the first Earl seems nevertheless to have been able to sponsor some building developments on the more northerly part leased to Wood, from the late 1680's onwards. To facilitate this, Lord Burlington obtained from Sir Benjamin Maddox in January 1687/8 release from the restrictions on ploughing or breaking up the ground of the Ten Acres, and permission to build on any part. (fn. 29) In the course of that year a street of houses was built on the southernmost part of Wood's plot, running west from Swallow Street, about where New Burlington Mews is now, and bearing the name 'Burlington Street': when completed, about 1690, it had some eight small houses on each side. (fn. 30) In 1698 the Government searched for 'dangerous and disaffected persons lying concealed there.' (fn. 31) At about the same time that Burlington Street was built another street leading out of Swallow Street was begun, but not developed, on the same plot, a little north of the present line of New Burlington Street: (fn. 30) it was later known as Benjamin Street.
In 1693–4 complaints were made to the parish on behalf of Lord Burlington about saltpetre works and repositories for 'Night Stuffe' behind his house and garden (see page 67); this was presumably not immediately north of the house, where Lord Burlington was himself the lessee.
On 23 March 1695/6 Lord Burlington obtained from Sir Benjamin Maddox a further lease of the whole Ten Acres, from the expiry of his existing term in 1732 for twenty-six years until Lady Day 1758, at the same rent of £40 per annum. The Earl was required to spend £200 in building within four years. (fn. 32) Some development of the more northerly of the two streets begun about 1688 seems to have followed. (fn. 30)
The first Earl of Burlington died in January 1697/8. He was said to have left his grandson and successor, Charles, the second Earl, an income of £22,000 per annum. (fn. 33) The second Earl determined to convert the part of the Ten Acres immediately north of Burlington House into an extension of his garden. By March 1698/9 he had petitioned for letters patent licencing him to shut up the way lying between this ground and his existing garden, 'which is a great inconvenience to him and does obstruct him in his said design.' He offered to make another way at the northern end of the intended garden extension. (fn. 34) No letters patent appear to have been granted and the existence of the roadway, which was perpetuated in the third Earl's estate layout of c. 1718, had presumably been uninterrupted: the plan of c. 1710 reproduced on Plate 3b shows Burlington House garden and the ground beyond joined by what may have been a footbridge across the roadway. The Knyff-Kip view of c. 1698–9 (Plate 42a) shows no sign of a roadway between the main garden and its extension but may in this respect have anticipated an unrealized project. The creation of the additional garden is, however, known to have been accomplished. (fn. 35)
The second Earl died in February 1703/4, leaving as his heir a son aged nine. During the third Earl's minority the management of his estate was in the hands of his still youthful mother, the Countess Juliana. One of the servants of the family appointed to assist her in the second Earl's will (fn. 36) was Richard Graham, a son of the first Earl's agent or steward, who was later to be actively concerned, as the third Earl's secretary, in the development of the estate. Graham was to be associated in this with the perhaps more important figure of a lawyer of Symond's Inn, Jabez Collier, who himself entered the service of the family through his employment by the Countess. (fn. 37) On 8 April 1712, when the third Earl was nearly eighteen and when the renovation of Burlington House was perhaps being taken in hand, the Countess obtained for £268 15s. a further lease of the Ten Acres from Sir Benjamin Maddox at the same rent. This ran from the expiry of the existing terms in 1758 for 51 years to Lady Day 1809, and represented the final term in the estate which the Burlington family was to obtain. (fn. 38)
Some building or rebuilding was carried on about this time (but presumably not directly by the Burlington family) to complete the more northerly of the two streets begun in 1688. It bore by 1710 the name 'Benjamin Street', doubtless in reference to the freeholder, (fn. 39) and appears to have been completed between that year and about 1716, when a Jane Williams who lived in the street petitioned the Westminster Commissioners for leave to make a sewer. (fn. 40) The street contained some twenty small houses, but nothing is known of its character and, like Burlington Street, it was swept away in 1731–2 to make room for the second phase of the third Earl's estate development.
The first phase of this had been initiated in about 1717. Burlington was then twenty-three, already with some experience of public affairs, both in parliamentary politics and in more active duties in the north of England during the troubles of 1715. (fn. 41) His first Grand Tour was two years past, and the recent publications by Colin Campbell and Giacomo Leoni had aroused the ardent neo-Palladianism which was at that moment finding expression in the re-shaping of Burlington House. The estate now to be developed northward of his town mansion was to include significant essays in the application of neo-Palladian ideals to the London street house. But it is evident that a factor both in the undertaking of the enterprise and in the manner of its execution was Burlington's financial embarrassment. He had inherited great estates from his father and greatgrandfather, and when he came to be married to a co-heiress of the second Marquess of Halifax in 1721, his fortune was reliably said to be £24,000 per annum, exclusive of 'expectations' from his uncle Lord Carleton. (fn. 42) But much of the family's property was in Ireland and was perhaps unusually liable to the vicissitudes of land ownership. (fn. 43) Burlington's own expensive tastes doubtless added to his difficulties. It does not seem probable that his economic resources were ever near exhaustion but he unquestionably had difficulty from an early period in discharging his debts out of the funds readily available to him. His troubles were probably intensified by the dishonesty of some of his agents. This led to law suits in Chancery, in particular against his secretary, Richard Graham, and his lawyer, Jabez Collier.
Part of the evidence then produced was, naturally, disputed, but it was agreed that in 1717 the chief management of the 'business' aspect of Burlington's affairs was in the hands of Graham and Collier, 'sometimes Joyntly and sometimes separately'. In that year they represented to him that his debts amounted to upwards of £23,000. (fn. 44) The sale of some of Burlington's Irish property was considered, but Collier suggested that estates in Ireland and Yorkshire should be leased to him and Graham in trust to pay the creditors by instalments out of the proceeds, and this was done in August of that year. (fn. 45) Collier later claimed Burlington's gratitude for thus preventing the sale of land in Ireland: Burlington was said to have declared 'yt next to his father who left him ye Estate he was obliged to Mr. Collier for saving it.' (fn. 46)
Probably as a further measure to discharge Burlington's debts, Collier, as he claimed, proposed that the part of the Ten Acres which the Burlingtons had kept as a garden should be let on building leases. (fn. 47) In September 1717 Burlington was in France (fn. 48) but in the following month the development of the estate was foreshadowed in the assignment to him by his mother of the final lease of the Ten Acres from 1758. (fn. 49) In January 1717/18 Burlington submitted a Bill in the House of Lords to free him from restrictions in his father's will and to permit him to grant building leases of the part of the Ten Acres '(containing between Five and Six Acres) lying behind Burlington-House Garden, now inclos'd with a Brick Wall, and used as a Garden'. The Bill passed through both Houses without amendment and received the royal assent on 21 March 1717/18. (fn. 50) On this piece of ground were built Old Burlington Street, Cork Street, Clifford Street, part of Boyle Street and some houses in New Bond Street (fn. 1) (fig. 78 and tables on pages 546–67).
By the summer the construction of houses had begun, probably with the southernmost house on the west side of Old Burlington Street (No. 34). The first leases to be granted bore dates in March 1718/19, and few granted in this part of the estate bore dates later than September of that year, although some were back-dated and the negotiation of leases was in fact still being undertaken by Graham and Collier in October, when Burlington was making his second visit to Italy. (fn. 51) At this time Burlington was evidently satisfied with his agents. In December 1718 he had granted an annuity of £200 out of the estate to Collier for his and his son's life. (fn. 52) Late in 1719 or early in 1720 he gave Graham and Collier copies by Kneller of his own portrait (fn. 53) and in 1720 he gave Collier £2000 (although it was disputed whether this was as gift or remuneration). (fn. 54)
It was now represented to Burlington that his debts continued to accumulate, and Collier suggested that a second trust deed should be executed, empowering him and Graham to pay certain creditors instalments of their debts (amounting to about £12,000) and four per cent interest, out of the proceeds of the Irish estate and also of the five or six newly built acres behind Burlington House. (fn. 44) This was decided on by May 1720, (fn. 55) and the deed leasing the five or six acres, under trust, to Graham and Collier for the rest of the Burlingtons' term was executed on 14 March 1720/21. (fn. 56) (fn. 2)
At about this time, on Lady Day 1721, and again at Michaelmas of the same year, the ground-rents from most of the sites of the five or six acres began to be payable, with the expiry of the two-years' peppercorn terms. The last substantial leases of this part of the estate, for a few sites in Clifford Street, were dated in March 1723. These were the last leases to be witnessed, as almost all the previous leases had been, by Graham and Collier.
For in the course of the next two years Burlington came to believe that his affairs had been fraudulently mismanaged, and in July 1725 both Graham and Collier were dismissed. (fn. 47) In Hilary term 1725/6 he brought a suit in Chancery against them, the substance of which is given in the records of a later suit. (fn. 57) His complaints did not refer directly to their work in letting sites on the estate, but accused them of 'great Abuses and Frauds' in their management of his debts and the obtaining of trustees' interests in his estate behind Burlington House. He claimed that they had exaggerated his debts and failed to discharge them to the extent that the available funds permitted, in order to keep these trust interests in being. They had also failed to scrutinize conscientiously bills submitted by workmen and tradespeople. Collier in particular was accused of surreptitiously inducing creditors to make over their debts to him, acquiring some £1420 worth of debts for £1190. He was also said to have submitted unjustifiable bills for his legal services. The accuracy and honesty of an account book of Graham's and Collier's disbursements down to July 1722, now preserved at Chatsworth, was challenged by Burlington, although he had signed and accepted it without, as he said, reading the entries. His complaint mentioned the 'great Sums of Money, Presents and Advantages' which Collier had received in the course of drawing up leases: a later suit against Collier's widow specified the sums of five or six guineas said to have been received by him for each lease on the estate behind Burlington House. Collier admitted that he had bought out some of the creditors without allowing his own name to appear but claimed that this was because they were 'very Clamorous' and threatened to bring suits against Burlington: the secrecy was necessary to prevent other creditors learning that some debts had been compounded. He denied receiving gratuities for making out the leases, although it is known from other sources that for one site, that of the girls' charity school, he was paid a fee of £10 18s. 6d. by the lessees, who also paid him and Graham twenty guineas as 'Gratification' for their services. (fn. 58) Graham denied that he or Collier was responsible for scrutinizing workmen's or tradesmen's bills. Whether rightly or wrongly, however, they had in fact been doing so in 1719, in respect of a bill for Burlington House, and had criticized Colin Campbell's laxity as supervising architect in this matter. (fn. 59) In general, Graham and Collier denied the charge of exaggerating Burlington's debts, and argued that their accounts already accepted by him should not be 'ravelled into'.
For the time being Burlington did not bring the dispute to an issue. This period, between the completion of the estate on the five or six acres and the commencement of the more easterly streets, does, however, seem to have been one of some reorganization or settlement in his affairs. The creditors whose debts had been provided for in the first trust deed of 1717 had probably been paid off, (fn. 47) an 'overdraft' at Hoare's bank seems to have been settled in March 1725/6 (fn. 60) and about this time some £23,600 which Burlington had borrowed from the bank between 1722 and 1724 was repaid. (fn. 61) A single payment of £250 was made to Colin Campbell on 31 March 1726. (fn. 62) By the summer of 1726 Collier's brother John, who had been Burlington's agent in Yorkshire, had also been dismissed and Burlington brought a Chancery suit against him for depredations on the estate. (fn. 63) In October Burlington was in France. (fn. 64)
On 25 March 1727 Burlington mortgaged the Ten Acres, with other property at Chiswick, to Peter Walter of St. Margaret's, Westminster, esquire, to secure £15,000 (fn. 65) and in May mortgaged lands in Ireland to him to secure a further £9000. (fn. 66) In June 1730 these mortgages were assigned to three merchants, Delillers Carbonell, William Snelling and H. S. Eyre. (fn. 67)
On Lady Day 1730 and Lady Day 1731 Kendrick's leases of the southern and northern sections of the eastern part of the Ten Acres expired, and it was probably this which now permitted new building. As has been seen, the ground had to be cleared of some previous development, including the substantial house with its garden at the southern end, other plots probably occupied as market gardens, (fn. 68) and perhaps some fifty small houses and stable yards in Burlington and Benjamin Streets and the intervening stretch of Swallow Street. (fn. 30) On this area were built Savile Row and New Burlington Street and some houses in Swallow Street. The first two leases, of sites at the southern end of Savile Row, were dated in March 1731/2. In July 1732 Burlington obtained leave from the Westminster Commissioners to make sewers for his new buildings. (fn. 69) The leases of the rest of the sites in Savile Row were dated between the summer of 1733 and the early months of 1734 and at the same time leases were made of sites in Swallow Street, for rebuilding. It was not, however, until 22 February 1733/4, when Savile Row was partly built, that Burlington brought a Bill into the House of Lords to authorize his building leases of this part of the Ten Acres: it was described as 'supplying an Omission' in the Act of 1718. Like the earlier Bill it passed quickly through both Houses without amendment and received the royal assent on 16 April 1734. (fn. 70) At this time the rents from the small houses in Swallow Street began to be payable. In the autumn the leases of the rather expensive sites in New Burlington Street began to be made. In 1735 the building of Savile Row was completed and the rents began to come in, followed in 1736 and 1737 by the somewhat higher rents from New Burlington Street. In the meantime Burlington's dispute with his agents had been revived in Chancery. (fn. 71) In August 1731 some steps had been taken towards arbitration (fn. 72) but this had not come to an issue before Collier's death in March 1731/2. His widow brought a suit against Burlington in July 1732 alleging the non-payment of debts and professional remuneration (fn. 47) and in October Burlington revived his suit with renewed complaints of fraud. (fn. 72) In October 1734 an Order of the Court was obtained. (fn. 73) This upheld the right of Collier and his son to the annuity of £200 out of the trust estate, and ordered that no steps should be taken to 'unravel' the accounts already signed and accepted by Burlington. The £2000 paid by him to Collier in 1720 was to be taken as full recompense for the latter's services up to March 1720/21. A Master in Chancery was appointed to investigate the authenticity of the alleged debts which the trust estates vested in Graham and Collier had been intended to discharge. The result of the investigation is not known, but in August 1737 an accommodation was being proposed between the parties. (fn. 74)
Burlington had in the meantime, early in 1736, dismissed another agent who had latterly been concerned in the management of the estate, Andrew Crotty, (fn. 75) and in April 1736 a relation of the Countess mentioned Burlington's 'debts and difficulties' when speaking of the financial embarrassments of the nobility. (fn. 76) Dislike of the Countess for her supposed mischief-making may have sharpened this comment, but other references in December 1737 and March 1737, 8 speak of Burlington's financial difficulties and the dishonesty of agents in Ireland. He was then selling estates there to pay debts which were said variously to amount to £169,000 (fn. 77) or more than £200,000. (fn. 78)
By this time the Ten Acres estate was almost fully developed, and it is not necessary to follow the course of Burlington's estate dealing through the less active years that followed, overshadowed as they may have been by the disastrous marriage of his daughter Dorothy to Lord Euston in 1741 and the illness which by 1745 shows in his palsied handwriting. In 1740 Richard Graham, as survivor of the two trustees of the five or six acres appointed in 1721, had made over his interest in the property to Sir William Abdy, representing the Burlington family, (fn. 79) and in March 1747/8 Burlington assigned all his leasehold interest in the Ten Acres to the Marquess of Hartington, later fourth Duke of Devonshire, on the occasion of the latter's marriage to Burlington's daughter, Charlotte. (fn. 80) On Burlington's death in December 1753, aged 59, and that of the Countess in 1758, the Burlington estate passed to their grandson, later fifth Duke of Devonshire. (fn. 81)
Before touching briefly on the later history of the estate some aspects of Burlington's development of the Ten Acres estate may be mentioned.
It seems clear that the estate was developed (as might have been expected) with a purposeful regard to the revenue to be derived from it, and this no doubt affected its visual character in some parts. But within the limits imposed by this general consideration and by the comparatively small area available, a regard for amenity is apparent (again as might be expected).
In 1718 the southern boundary of the Ten Acres abutted on the already existing narrow roadway of Vigo Lane (now Burlington Gardens and Vigo Street). The southern building line was set back some fifteen feet from this boundary, although the favoured first lessees on each side of the southern end of Old Burlington Street were given plots extending southward of their houses. One of these, the Duke of Queensberry, subsequently made a walled enclosure projecting southward, to the east of his house, to keep carriages turning into Savile Row at a distance from his front door.
The southern part of the roadway belonged to the Pulteney estate. In 1725 the Duke of Queensberry took on lease from William Pulteney a strip of ground 400 feet long, on the south side of the roadway, bordering the whole of the Burlington House and Sunderland House sites, perhaps to ensure the preservation of the full width of roadway before his house. (fn. 82)
In the setting-out of the streets no particular symmetry or large effect was attempted in respect of the garden front of Burlington House. One partly deliberate characteristic of the layout may, however, be noted. The limitation of space tended to the conspicuous closing of each street by a cross street. No effort was made to avoid this, perhaps because it permitted each vista to be closed with neatness and effect. Pains were in fact evidently taken, by the adjustment of sites or the direct control of design, that each of the streets should be closed decently by the symmetrical positioning of some architectural feature. The views up Cork Street, Old Burlington Street and Savile Row were closed respectively by the articulated front of No. 8 Clifford Street, the centrally placed Burlingtonian doorcase of the girls' school, and the pedimented Burlingtonian façade of the former No. 22–23 Savile Row. The view westward along New Burlington Street was filled by the one large house on the west side of Savile Row, and that eastward along Clifford Street centred on a grouping of doorways and obelisks on the east side of Savile Row. Looking eastward along Vigo Lane (now Burlington Gardens) from Bond Street the eye was taken by the pedimented front, of Burlingtonian design, at No. 1 Savile Row. (fn. 3)
The closing of each street by a cross street was perhaps the more welcome as it preserved some immunity from through traffic. Lord Burlington's streets are still a little secluded, and were more so before three changes in the layout: the creation of the Burlington Arcade in 1817–19, the opening and widening of the eastern end of Burlington Gardens (previously constricted by bollards) in 1893–4, (fn. 83) and the extension of Savile Row to Mill Street and Conduit Street, in 1937–8. Despite a generally economical layout an element of spaciousness was introduced in 1718, and maintained in 1733, by carrying the sites fronting both sides of Old Burlington Street back to more-or-less unbuilt frontages on Cork Street and Savile Row. The surprisingly low buildings only now being replaced by larger structures on the west side of the latter street still partially preserve this pleasing openness. The proximity of New Bond Street has caused Cork Street to lose this character, but Horwood's maps of 1792 and 1819 (Plate 7) show a line of trees down its partly unbuilt eastern side. (fn. 4)
On so small an estate it was unnecessary to provide the market often found on London estates at this time. The more northerly parts seem, however, to have been from the first designed for mainly humbler occupation than the rest of the estate, particularly in Swallow Street, where a brewhouse was built. One or two builders occupied sites here, and other sites (like one or two adjacent to New Bond Street) may have been held by shop-keepers.
In the first phase of building, variations in the visual character of the estate seem to have been as much influenced by relative proximity to Burlington House, and by the need to dispose of sites and houses without too much delay, as by any continuous development in Burlington's conception of the ideal street house. The construction of houses began at the south-west end of Old Burlington Street, on the west side of Cork Street and southern end of New Bond Street, and at the western end of Clifford Street. Of these, the regular terrace of houses in Old Burlington Street built under the supervision of Colin Campbell represented perhaps the most influential application of neo-Palladian principles to the terrace house on the estate, whereas the houses on the west side of Cork Street received no uniform treatment. The completion of the streets built in this first stage took some six years. Where Burlington could insist on the lessees' compliance with his wishes, as in the building of the girls' charity school, the exterior was of a Burlingtonian character. But a number of houses of unremarkable appearance went up in Old Burlington Street. Rather more idiosyncratic houses, of a somewhat Baroque character, were built at the northern end of the estate in Clifford Street: Thornhill was probably employed by lessees here to paint interiors in 1722, at a time when Burlington was actively hostile to him. Two important houses of Burlington's own designing occupied broad frontages immediately north of the completed Campbell group in Old Burlington Street. The last houses to be built in this period were on the south side of Clifford Street. (fn. 5) They were of a good, plain, builder's character, without architectural sophistication. That at the time of the leasing of these last sites to building tradesmen in 1723 Burlington was willing to make concessions to get the streets finished is perhaps reflected in his allowance of the unusually long term of four years' peppercorn rent to some of the lessees.
When the eastern part of the estate came to be developed in the 1730's a much greater uniformity was achieved in the façades. It was reported at the time Savile Row was commenced that it was 'to be carry'd on ... by a Plan drawn by the Right Hon. the Earl of Burlington'. (fn. 84) The overall control here implied was presumably secured by means of a greater strictness and regularity in the articles of agreement concluded between Burlington and the intending builder, though none of these is known to survive for any of the dwelling houses on the estate. The actual building leases granted in the two later residential streets did not, except for one or two sites, include direct provision regarding the design of the façade, but they did normally contain a provision, not present in the earlier leases, that the façade should not be altered without permission. There was provision that no 'window stool' should project nor any 'Bulk, Shew board, Stall or other Erection' be erected in front of the houses, while the requirements regarding paving and railings before the houses were more specific than previously. The footway, five feet wide, was to be paved with 'broad Purbeck stones bound by a Purbeck step six inches thick next the street' which was to be laid with 'rag stones or good pebbles.' At the outer edge of the footway 'good and substantial posts of oak' were to be set up. (fn. 85) Macky had already observed of the earlier streets, in 1723, that they were 'finely pav'd.' (fn. 86) In Savile Row there was careful provision that the unbuilt west side should not become a disorderly line of back buildings belonging to the houses in Old Burlington Street. Neither the street wall nor the buildings erected on the street frontage were to be more than fourteen feet high and it was specifically required that any gateways should be of a design provided by Burlington. (fn. 87) In this second phase of development subsidiary structures on street frontages, like the carpenter's one-storeyed buildings erected at No. 29 Savile Row and No. 1 Clifford Street behind his own dwelling house, or the office-wing at No. 10 New Burlington Street, were perhaps felt to need more specific control by Burlington than the dwelling houses themselves.
It is not possible to say much with certainty of the identity of architects associated with Burlington in the exercise of this control. At the commencement of building, Colin Campbell was responsible for the important group of houses, Nos. 31–34 Old Burlington Street, built between 1718 and 1723, and provided a 'draft', probably of Burlington's designing, for the front of the girls' charity school, the building of which he supervised in 1719–21. After this period he is not known to have been connected with the estate, although, as noted above, he received a payment of £250 from Burlington in 1726. He had a lease of one of the Old Burlington Street houses (No. 32) but did not live there: unlike Kent, he was not granted any remission of rent. At his death he lived (as did Burlington's protégé, Handel) in Brook Street, on the Grosvenor estate. At this first period of building Giacomo Leoni figures as architect of one very notable building, Queensberry House. He claimed Burlington's approba tion of the design in 1721 but was probably independently engaged by the first intending occupant, John Bligh (later the Earl of Darnley). Leoni's associate in the edition of Palladio published in 1716–20, the architect and surveyor Nicholas Dubois, was probably concerned with Nos. 4 and 7 Cork Street and Nos. 26–28 Old Burlington Street in 1720–22 and himself lived at No. 15 in the latter street in c. 1726–9. In the streets built in the second phase of development, in the 1730's, there is no evidence of architectural control of exteriors other than by Burlington himself or his immediate dependants. His protégé, Henry Flitcroft, who had made finished drawings of his designs for Nos. 29 and 30 Old Burlington Street, may have been involved in the design of the terrace houses in Savile Row and New Burlington Street, where he had a mortgage interest in four sites. But the only name definitely known in the supervision of design here is that of Burlington's 'personal clerk of the works', (fn. 88) Daniel Garrett, who was required to approve the street elevation of a subsidiary building at No. 10 New Burlington Street. Thomas Ripley occurs as mortgagee of some sites in Swallow Street in 1744 and 1746, (fn. 89) but nothing is otherwise known of any connexion with the estate. The part played by William Kent is difficult to determine. The two pedimented houses in Savile Row, Nos. 1 and 22–3, might stylistically be associated with him or with Burlington himself. The former house was adjacent to and probably designed in conjunction with the house Kent held rent-free from Burlington. He seems normally to have let this latter house (No. 2) at £100 per annum, (fn. 90) and does not appear as occupant in the ratebooks. But his will of 1743 (fn. 91) mentions possessions distributed in specified rooms which seem more likely to be in a private house, perhaps that in Savile Row, than in his apartments at Burlington House.
Kent is known to have been responsible for interiors at Nos. 32 and 34 Old Burlington Street. The Earl of Pembroke and Roger Morris may have had some hand in the design of the interior of No. 15 Savile Row for the Countess of Suffolk in 1735–6. Thornhill's probable earlier employment as decorative painter in Clifford Street has been noted. Another artist outside the Burlingtonian circle, the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, designed the interior of No. 5 New Burlington Street in 1735.
The building tradesmen who took leases of sites for building on the estate numbered thirtyeight. One had an address in Holborn; the rest were all of Westminster, and about half of these were from St. James's. The occasional lack of correspondence between the physical units of building and the grouping of lessees' sites suggests that the work was, as was usual, shared between teams of builders. On the south side of Clifford Street and the northern end of Cork Street and Old Burlington Street, for example, four builders— Benjamin Timbrell, Joseph Stallwood, Williams Ludbey and William Pickering (carpenter, bricklayer, mason and painter respectively)—handled a block of ten houses in 1719–23. The first two of these occur prominently in the streets of the first development and Timbrell also in the later streets. The builder of Queensberry House, John Witt, also seems to have been a man of some prominence. The joiner or carpenter, Thomas Knight, who lived in Old Burlington Street (moving thither from Vine Street), (fn. 92) was active in both phases and in 1723 was dignified with the title of 'master builder'. (fn. 93) The trade of speculative lessee had its financial hazards, however, and by February 1736/7 he was bankrupt (see page 491). In the last street to be developed, New Burlington Street, most of the leases were made to William Gray and Richard Fortnam, both bricklayers of St. George's, Hanover Square, and presumably partners. These were evidently substantial men, and in 1742 a Benjamin Pujolas described himself as 'clerk to Mr. Fortnam'. (fn. 94) In Savile Row almost every site in the uniform row north of Nos. 1 and 2 was leased to or associated with a different builder, representing a variety of trades and perhaps constituting a team of workmen for the terrace as a whole (see pages 546–67).
Of the thirty-eight tradesmen-lessees, some fourteen appear as subscribers to the architectural publications of Leoni, Gibbs, Kent or Ware (including nine of the nineteen in Savile Row) although none had subscribed to the expensive volumes of Campbell's Vitruvius Britannicus. Timbrell subscribed between 1718 and 1728 to Leoni's Palladio (Book III) and Alberti, Kent's Inigo Jones and Gibbs's Book of Architecture.
A number of builders' merchants occur as mortgagees of leases from builders or in other contexts that suggest they provided the materials of which the estate was built. They are: Arthur Bilbey of St. Marylebone, brickmaker, (fn. 95) Nicholas Blick of Lambeth, timber merchant, (fn. 96) Bartholomew Hammond of St. Clement Danes, timber merchant, (fn. 97) John Mackreth of St. John's, Westminster, lime merchant, (fn. 98) Caleb and Thomas Miller of Hammersmith, brickmakers, (fn. 99) Leonard Phillips of Scotland Yard, timber merchant, (fn. 100) and Peter Theobald of Lambeth, timber merchant. (fn. 101)
The method of disposing of sites on the estate does not seem to present any unusual features. There is evidence that the first step towards building, after the intended street layout had been decided, was an agreement between Burlington and a building tradesman, by which the former would have undertaken to grant a building lease and the latter to build according to specifications. The stringency of these is not known as none of the agreements are recorded in any detail. The period that elapsed between the date of the agreement and of the building lease varied from a few weeks in the early-built Cork Street to about six months in Savile Row and from six months to three years in New Burlington Street. The dates of signing and the commencement date of the term of leases were to a large extent rationalized in the various streets: there is evidence that the day of signing was often back-dated. Some few records survive of the agreement subsequently concluded for the finishing of the house between the builder and the intending occupant. Whether the building lease was in the end made to the former or the latter (on payment of a sum to the builder for 'procuring' the lease to be made by Burlington and for the transference of his interest in the site) perhaps depended simply on the builder's success in finding a prospective tenant. On the streets built in the first phase of development a little more than half of the sites were leased to the builder. Of the sites in the later development about three-quarters were leased to the builder: in New Burlington Street the builders who had been parties to the initial agreement with Burlington were made parties with him in the building leases to the intending occupants. The leases were for 61 years in the earlier streets and for 62 in the later. The initial rent-free period of the lease, to cover the building period, was almost universally two years, except for some sites on the south side of Clifford Street, at the end of the first phase of development, where it was four years.
Before the assignment of the building leases to the intending occupants they were often mortgaged by the building tradesmen. The sum so secured was often £1000 or £1500.
Despite the evident co-operation of building lessees in the work of construction it is clear that neither in the earlier nor in the later and more uniform phase of building was the least attempt made to standardize the width of sites leased to them. The admired façade-composition of Campbell's terrace in Old Burlington Street, for example, accommodated differences of site-width by varying the spaces between, as well as the numbers of, the windows, and the same was true of Savile Row and New Burlington Street.
So far as can be deduced from the ratebooks, the houses were not very quickly occupied on completion. In the streets developed in the first phase perhaps half the houses were taken soon after completion, but some evidently waited three or four years for an occupant: this does not seem to have been unusual on comparable estates in the West End. Savile Row appears to have been more successful, but some of the houses in New Burlington Street, particularly at the Swallow Street end near a brewhouse, may have stood five or six years without a tenant: this again is not very different from the history of the Argyll estate at the same period of the late 1730's. Fashion was moving further west.
The rents which Burlington asked for sites built upon in the first phase of development seem to have been calculated predominantly at a rate of one shilling per foot frontage for every ten feet of depth. The average rate per foot frontage was about 8s. 3d. and 9s. 6d. in Cork and Clifford Streets respectively, and about 7s. 1d. and 12s. 9d. on the east and west sides of Old Burlington Street. In the second phase the rents were at a rate of about 12s. per foot frontage in Savile Row (as at No. 15) (fn. 102) and of about 15s. and 16s. on the south (fn. 103) and north (fn. 104) sides of New Burlington Street respectively: in these two streets the rates were observed without regard to the site-depths although the considerable extent of these, particularly in New Burlington Street, may have contributed to the rather high level of the rents.
Nothing is known of premiums exacted by Burlington of his first lessees. When he granted a new lease of No. 6 Clifford Street in 1734 on the same terms as the original lease fifteen years earlier he required a 200 guineas fine. Nor is there more than fragmentary evidence about the likely total cost of a house to the occupant. For only four sites is the sum the intending occupant paid for the assignment of the lease and the 'finishing' of the house known. At Queensberry House, with its 70-foot frontage, the cost in 1722 was £6300; at No. 30 Old Burlington Street (57-foot frontage) the cost in 1725 was £3351 (of which £1151 was for 'finishing'); at No. 6 Clifford Street (36-foot frontage) the cost in 1720 was £3000 (of which £800 was for 'finishing'); and at No. 15 Savile Row (26-foot frontage) the cost in 1735 was £2500. At No. 1 Savile Row the lessee undertook in 1732 to spend at least £1800 on constructing the house. At No. 5 New Burlington Street in 1735 the contract for 'finishing' alone amounted to £1578. For eight other houses the cost of the assignment of the lease alone is recorded in the registered deed of assignment. The apparent purchase price may in some cases be distorted by intervening mortgages, but seems to range from £750–£800 for 21-foot frontages to about £1900 for 35-foot frontages and upward. (fn. 105)
When the first phase of the development was nearing completion in 1723 Macky had noticed the 'three noble Streets finely pav'd; the Houses balustraded with Iron, and few of them under a hundred Pounds a Year Rent, most of them more …'. (fn. 86)
These figures indicate the level of wealth and consequence of the first occupants. In the main residential streets they were predominantly people of substance, although not uniformly of the highest rank. A notable number were 'gentlewomen', many of them widows. Some were the relicts of military men, and another feature of the estate, particularly in the early streets, is the occurrence among the first residents of army officers whom success and survival had enabled to take houses in this fashionable quarter. A few were of great distinction, notably Wade, Ligonier and Gorges. Each of the main residential streets had its quota of noblemen, but the 'typical' first occupant was perhaps more likely to be a Whiggish M.P. or successful placeman, in either case professing some interest in the arts. Burlington's own circle was represented among the first or early residents, although few of his proteges seem to have taken houses here: the painter Goupy was perhaps the only one to do so, at the northern end of Savile Row. Pope considered but decided against taking a house, although his friends Erasmus Lewis, Doctor Arbuthnot and Charles Dartiquenave had houses here. Two wine merchants had houses on the estate. The only architect who is certainly known to have been among early residents is Nicholas Dubois. About a third of the first occupants can be recognized among subscribers to the main architectural publications of the years 1715–38 (see tables on pages 546–67).
The prosperity of the residents is demonstrated by their attempt in 1736 to obtain independence from the parish in the appointment and payment of watchmen. The residents in St. James's Square had obtained this power a few years earlier but the less aristocratic 'Burlington Garden Gentlemen' were unsuccessful in their attempt to gain this privilege for their 'precinct'. (fn. 106)
Once occupied, comparatively few of the houses seem to have changed hands very soon and a considerable proportion of the first occupants lived out their lives in the houses they had taken here.
Whether the estate in its final form was satisfactory to its owner cannot be said: such few letters as survive contain no general references to the estate. The immediate monetary remuneration from any 'premiums' on leases is also unknown. (fn. 6) The yearly income from the 145 sites or so can, however, be estimated approximately. That from the streets built in the first phase amounted (as was suggested during Burlington's Chancery suits) (fn. 107) to something like £885, and that from the later streets to some £915. The total revenue from the estate was thus about £1800 per annum plus small sums for unbuilt back plots, amounting in all to about £1810 per annum. (fn. 108) When the leases in the first streets expired in 1780 the 'improved' rents at which they were renewed by the fifth Duke of Devonshire brought the total annual revenue to some £6490, and when the later leases were renewed in the 1790's the annual value of the estate was increased to something like £10,400. (fn. 109)
The Duke of Devonshire's leases had been made by authority of a private Act of Parliament obtained by the fifth Duke, which received the royal assent on 3 June 1772. (fn. 110) Two years before, the Duke's architect, James Paine, had been asked to advise whether the family's leasehold interest in the estate should be retained or sold, 'many of his Grace's tenants being desirous as to their own houses to purchase the same'. (fn. 111) Careful plans and rentals were prepared at about this time. (fn. 112) Paine's advice is not known, but was presumably in favour of retention. The Act stated that on the expiry of Burlington's leases the Duke would be obliged to spend more on the repair of the property than his remaining term to 1809 would justify, but that many of the then lessees would be willing to carry out the necessary repairs if they could be granted reversionary leases which the existing trusts under which the Duke held the estate did not then permit.
The great majority of the leases granted in the next two decades contained a provision for the lessee's expenditure of a stated sum, usually in the first year of the new term. In this way a total sum of about £24,100 was undertaken to be spent on the estate. The highest single expenditure required seems to have been £550, by the lessee of Kent's old property at No. 2 Savile Row: excluding the dozen houses for which no specific expenditure was required the average sum was just under £200.
By 1796 the freeholds of a third or so of the sites in the main residential streets had been bought from the ground landlords, the Pollen family (the heirs of Sir Benjamin Maddox), mostly by occupants. (fn. 113)
The ending of the Burlington-Devonshire leasehold interest at Lady Day 1809 does not seem to have had any perceptible effect on the estate. About 1820 the east side of Cork Street began to be redeveloped (perhaps in consequence of the making of Burlington Arcade), with the replacement of the back buildings of the Old Burlington Street houses. Mayhew's parish map of 1831–6 (fn. 114) shows nine of the eleven frontages occupied, mostly by buildings of more than two storeys. The west side of Savile Row seems to have been redeveloped a little later and less extensively: Mayhew shows eight of twelve frontages built upon, but none with erections more than two storeys high.
The building of Regent Street involved alterations in about 1821–2 to the Burlington houses in Swallow Street. It seems that some at least may not have been completely rebuilt, but only extended forward to the new frontage. (fn. 115)
In the meantime the social character of the estate had begun to develop some of its nineteenthcentury characteristics. For many years it was the chief centre of residence for the medical profession. When newly built it had housed some notable physicians, John Arbuthnot, Paul Buissière (both in Cork Street) and Simon Burton (in Savile Row). In the 1760's and 1770's more doctors of eminence began to take up residence here, (Sir) Noah Thomas, George III's physician, being perhaps the first, at No. 9 Old Burlington Street in 1761, followed by Mark Akenside (1762) and John Gunning (1768) in the same street and Doctor Addington, Lord Sidmouth's father, in Clifford Street (1762). Dentists occupied No. 2 Old Burlington Street from 1777, and about 1784–5 there were two or three apothecaries in the same street.
The class of occupant with which the streets of the estate are now associated appeared rather later, at the end of the eighteenth or beginning of the nineteenth centuries, when tailors began to take premises here, principally in Cork Street. One of the first was probably John Levick, at No. 9 in that street from about 1790. The successful and fashionable tailor George Stulz was at No. 10 Clifford Street from 1809. A trade directory of 1828 (fn. 116) mentions nine tailors in Cork Street, four in Clifford Street, three or four in Old Burlington Street and three or four in Savile Row. There had been a tailor in this last street, towards the northern end, since 1806, but its fame in this connexion dates from the mid nineteenth century.
By the end of the eighteenth century the preponderantly private occupation of the estate was also being modified by the conversion of some houses into lodgings. In 1793 the rates were specifically paid on eight sites 'for tenants'. John Riley, an upholsterer by trade, was rated for four of these, and for four others no doubt used by him in the same way at about this time. The beginning of the nineteenth century saw the establishment of some well known private hotels, particularly in the parts adjacent to New Bond Street. Stevens', Nerot's and Long's hotels appear at the western end of Clifford Street between 1801 and 1813. Atkinson Morley's Burlington Hotel, between Old Burlington and Cork Streets, established in 1825, and Almond's Hotel in Clifford Street, established in 1845, both survived until the 1930's.
In about 1850 only a little over a quarter of the residents on the estate seem to have been private individuals. About the same proportion were doctors or dentists, and about a fifth were tailors. (fn. 117)
In 1862 there was a proposal to convert the ground along the northern boundary of the estate into a Royal Arcade, running between Regent Street and New Bond Street. (fn. 118) It was to be thirty feet wide, of three storeys (fn. 119) with art galleries in the top storeys. (fn. 120) The cost was estimated at £290,000. (fn. 121) The design, by C. B. (or E. B.) Richards, was shown at the Architectural Exhibition in Conduit Street in April 1864, when The Builder commented that there was 'not much art' in it. (fn. 119) By then, however, opposition in the parish had caused the Parliamentary Bill authorizing its construction to be rejected in the House of Lords, in February of that year, 'at the instance of Lord Derby.' (fn. 122)
In the later nineteenth century the streets on the estate were generally thought of as dull and gloomy, and when the London University building came to be opened on the south side of Burlington Gardens in 1870 the existence of Lord Burlington's streets northward was regretted as an obstruction to the view of Pennethorne's façade. (fn. 123) Occupation of the houses by doctors perhaps helped to preserve from alteration at this time streets which outsiders found funereal of aspect. A tailor taking a lease of a house in Cork Street in 1867 was required not to put in a shop window but keep the front like that of a private house. But when a doctor's occupation of No. 7 Old Burlington Street came to an end and it was converted into separate tenures in 1883 the front was rebuilt by J. T. Wimperis in a style that set the neighbouring terrace houses at defiance.
At this time houses were increasingly being converted into separate occupation for business purposes. By 1881–2 medical men (among whom dentists figured more prominently than before) were about a sixth of the whole, and tailors a little less. Solicitors' offices and hotels or lodging-houses were increased in number. Clubs and societies had also taken premises here, including the Royal Geographical Society and the Savile Club, which had been at Nos. 1 and 15 Savile Row respectively since 1871. The area never, however, became established as a home for clubs, and only one of note now occupies premises here, Buck's Club at No. 18 Clifford Street, founded after the 1914–18 war.
The wider opening of Vigo Street in 1893–4 and the extension of Savile Row in 1937–8 have already been noticed. The latter was accompanied by extensive reconstruction of the northern part of the estate, in Savile Row, Boyle Street and New Burlington Street, by which much of interest was destroyed, often without record. The years immediately before the 1939–45 war saw the demolition of Burlington's girls' school in Boyle Street and of houses, some designed by Burlington, in Old Burlington Street and Cork Street: in the latter street no buildings of Burlington's period survive.
Of Burlington's own designing only the narrow street face of a party wall between Nos. 30 and 31 Old Burlington Street remains.
A Building Preservation Order made by the London County Council has been confirmed by the Minister of Housing and Local Government on No. 9 Clifford Street in 1956.
The buildings on the estate, whether the few original houses or office blocks, are now largely in divided occupation. Many tailors remain but they are now outnumbered by textile wholesalers. No doctors or dentists occupy premises in the area. The present types of occupation are very miscellaneous, and the western parts particularly reflect their proximity to New Bond Street.