Cork Street and Savile Row Area: Clifford Street, North Side

Pages 466-482

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

Clifford Street, North Side

Up to the time of writing there had been relatively little rebuilding on this side of the street and Nos. 4–9 were all original houses, three of them, Nos. 5, 8 and 9, being buildings of exceptional architectural interest (Plate 92b, fig. 80). The other buildings have little importance, although No. 3 is one of the better late Victorian buildings in the area. Nos. 1 and 2 have been replaced very recently by a utilitarian block in red brick and stone, and No. 10 is a poor late nineteenth-century building in Flemish Renaissance style, having a front of red brick with stone dressings.

No. 3 is three-storeyed with a front of red brick and terra-cotta, its main elevation being in fact towards Old Burlington Street. The composition is asymmetrical, richly detailed in Flemish Renaissance style but none the less distinctively Victorian in the canted bay window projecting from the second and third storey of each front. The windows have moulded architraves, continued sills and cornices, and are vertically linked by swagged aprons, while the high crowning parapet, also decorated with swags, has in the centre of the Clifford Street front a dormer gable with flanking scrolls and a triangular pediment. The ground storey has been altered.

Figure 80:

Nos. 4–9 (consec.) Clifford Street, elevations

No. 4 Clifford Street

This house, like No. 24 Old Burlington Street to the east, and No. 5 Clifford Street to the west, was built under a building lease dated 25 September 1719 and made to the bricklayer John Witt. (fn. 2) In the eighteenth century it was occupied by relatively humble inhabitants (Plate 92b, fig. 80).

It is built on a much more modest scale than the other original houses on this side of the street, relating in type rather to Nos. 22–24 Old Burlington Street which abut it on the north and east. It contains a basement and four storeys, the top storey being a later addition, and has a front of yellow-pink brick three windows wide. Red brick is used for the quoins, and for the jambs and segmental gauged arches of the windows, while above the third storey is a bandcourse of ordinary brick. The windows contain barred sashes in recessed box-frames, but these are not original. In the early nineteenth century the ground storey was stuccoed and restyled, and in very recent times the back wall and part of the third and fourth storeys have been rebuilt. The plan, although now altered, was originally the common one of a single front and back room on each floor with a closet projecting at the back and a dog-legged staircase beside the back room. The only original finishings to remain are in the entrance passage, where the walls are lined with ovolo-moulded panelling finished with a moulded dado-rail and a boxcornice. The staircase has in its lower flights cut strings with carved step-ends, turned balusters, column newels and a moulded handrail, the upper flights differing in having moulded closed strings.

Nos. 5–7 (consec.) Clifford Street

Nos. 6 and 7 demolished

No. 5

This house, though its site was leased like No. 4 to Witt in September 1719, (fn. 2) was designed and built in the more imposing and substantial manner of the houses to the west of it. The first occupant, in 1722, was Francis Whitworth, Member of Parliament, who remained here until his removal to No. 20 Savile Row in 1737. Whitworth, a younger brother of the diplomat, Lord Whitworth of Galway, (fn. 3) held the sinecure post of Secretary and Clerk of the Courts in the Island of Barbados (fn. 4) and in 1732 succeeded the first occupant of No. 17 Clifford Street as Surveyor General of Woods and Forests. (fn. 5) Some interest in the arts is suggested by his having been a Governor of the Royal Academy of Music in 1719 (fn. 6) and his subscription to Gay's Poems of 1720.

The fourth storey had already been added in 1836. (fn. 7) In 1892 the house was leased to a silk mercer and dressmaker who was prohibited from exhibiting any sign other than a brass plate or marble tablet. (fn. 8)

No. 6

In 1719, when the leases of the other sites on the north side of the street were being settled, Lord Burlington concluded a building agreement relating to this site with a Mr. Fletcher, who also had a lien on a site at the west end of the street (fn. 9) and who was possibly Joshua Fletcher, the mason at Burlington House. Fletcher built the carcase of a house and sold it in 1720 to Samuel Bagenal(1) of Barleston, Staffordshire, esquire. The price was £2200 and a further £800 was to be paid to Fletcher for finishing the house. Fletcher then assigned to Bagenal his agreement, with its entitlement to the grant of a sixty-one-year building lease from Burlington, who in the following year made the lease to Bagenal: it was back-dated 28 September 1719 and ran from Michaelmas of that year. (fn. 10) Bagenal appears as ratepayer in 1722 and 1723 but perhaps did not occupy the house. (fn. 11) In July 1723 Bagenal's mortgagees leased the house for seven years from midsummer at £200 per annum to Lady Teynham who occupied it until 1730, latterly with her third husband. The lease was witnessed by Thomas Knight, 'master builder', doubtless the joiner who worked nearby. (fn. 12) For four or five years there seems to have been no continuous tenancy; the second Earl of Marchmont lived here in 1733. (fn. 13) In September 1734 the mortgagees who then held the lease were allowed to surrender it to Lord Burlington and on the payment of a 200 guinea fine obtained a new sixty-one-year lease at the same ground rent of £18 per annum. (fn. 14) In January 1734/5 they let the house to the third Duke of Beaufort, who built a laundry in the back yard for £200 (fn. 15) but who a year or two later was succeeded in the house by the Dutch envoy, Baron Hop(p), who remained here until 1761. (fn. 16)

An inventory made when the house was let to the Duke of Beaufort indicates something of its character in 1735. There were three floors over the basement, with garrets in the roof. The five rooms on the second floor had deal wainscoting and Portland stone chimneypieces. The four rooms on the first floor and the five on the ground floor all had deal wainscoting with oaken doors, architraves and shutters, and chimneypieces of marble, generally 'white veined'. The chimneypiece in the front ground-floor parlour was described a little more elaborately as 'a White and Vain'd marble chimney piece and slab with Black and Yallow Ionick colloms and frize statuary bace and Capitals and Architrave and Cornice'. The great staircase, which probably rose only to the first floor and was probably of stone, had iron banisters with an oak rail. The landing was wainscoted in deal but the staircase itself in oak, rail-high. Above, 'canvas Pannells' presumably intended for decorative paintings were set between oaken Ionic pilasters with entablatures. Outside, the three ground-floor windows had shutters. Before the house were three street-posts and a mounting-stone. (fn. 17)

In 1836 the house was still of three storeys and garrets. (fn. 7)

In 1849–50 it was taken by John Almond, who a few years before had acquired the adjacent house, No. 7, (fn. 9) and henceforward was used as part of Almond's Hotel. In 1853 small alterations were carried out by the surveyor, T. Bradley. (fn. 18) In the latter part of 1883 the building was empty (fn. 9) and alterations, for which the builder's tender was £6340, were made to the hotel by the architect J. T. Wimperis. (fn. 19) These were probably to unite the house to No. 7, with which it was subsequently rated. The fourth storey was perhaps added at this time. A lease of No. 6 to Almond's hotel-keeper in 1911 included a covenant to shut the openings communicating with No. 7 and to 'reinstate' the front door (now converted to a window) if required. It also contained a covenant not to use the premises as a brothel. (fn. 20) Almond's Hotel continued here until the 1939–45 war. From 1947 to 1961 No. 6 was, with No. 7, occupied by the publishers, Messrs. Longmans Green and Company. (fn. 21) It was demolished in 1962.

No. 7

In October 1719 Burlington's agents informed him in Italy that they had 'lett' this site. (fn. 22) The lease, dated 13 January 1719/20, ran from Michaelmas 1719. It was made to Moses West of St. Mary le Savoy, joiner. (fn. 23) A fortnight later he mortgaged the site with the house 'now in building': this mortgage was witnessed by Thomas Bedford of St. Andrew's, Holborn, bricklayer. (fn. 24) Six months later the mortgage was assigned to John Newsham of Chadshunt, Warwickshire, esquire, who finally bought out West's interest for £3300 in May 1721. (fn. 25) A few days later, on 26–27 May, Newsham sold the house for £4775 (part of which was secured by a re-mortgage to him), to the first occupant. (fn. 26) This was Lieutenant-General Richard Gorges, who had had a distinguished military career including service as Peterborough's Adjutant-General in Spain. (fn. 27) Gorges lived here until his death in 1728.

Gorges' bank account still survives and contains one or two entries of interest. In December 1722 he paid Sir James Thornhill £130. (fn. 28) As has been seen, the similar house to the east, No. 6, had a staircase prepared for decorative paintings and the adjacent house to the west, No. 8, still has a staircase strikingly painted in a manner very close to Thornhill's. It is therefore very probable that the payment by Gorges was for decorative painting here. In 1725 and 1726 he made payments of £72 and £98 14s. to Joseph Stallwood, the bricklayer, who is known to have worked elsewhere in the street, and in the latter year paid £40 8s. to Henry Wise, probably the gardener. (fn. 29)

From 1783 to 1805 the house was rated successively to John and Margaret Macdonald. Macdonald was a carpenter, sometime of Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, and perhaps carried out alterations of some extent. (fn. 30) The house seems to have been empty in 1782–3 but the rateable value was not significantly altered.

In 1836 the house already had the fourth storey which was no doubt additional to the original structure. (fn. 7)

In 1845 William Almond acquired the house for use as a hotel; it was empty for three quarters in 1852–3, when the rateable value was increased from £232 to £290. (fn. 9) From 1884 it was rated with No. 6 which also formed part of the hotel. Alterations had been made to the hotel, probably uniting it to No. 6, by J. T. Wimperis in 1883. (fn. 19) Almond's Hotel remained here until the war of 1939–45. The house was demolished in 1962.

Architectural Description of Nos. 5–7

The following description was written before Nos. 6 and 7 were demolished in 1962

These houses (Plate 92b, fig. 80) probably had uniform fronts originally, although later alterations have obscured this at No. 5. They are basically quite ordinary builder's houses, but are distinguished by the use of strongly emphasized detail in a style apparently stemming from the Baroque manner of Hawksmoor and Vanbrugh. Each house contains a basement and four storeys, the top storey being a carefully matched addition replacing a garret. The fronts are four or, at No. 5, three windows wide and are probably of a fine, pale yellow stock brick, although it is difficult to be certain because No. 5 has been resurfaced a dark grey and Nos. 6 and 7 painted red. The windows have segmental gauged arches and their prominent sills are supported by moulded stone brackets with recessed panels between them, the arches, jambs and panels all being in red brick. The basement is finished with a red brick bandcourse and above the ground storey is a bandcourse that appears to be of painted stone. Except at the western end of No. 7 the position of the party walls is marked by broad pilasters with red brick quoins, the original moulded stone capitals being placed just above the third storey. The pilaster at the eastern end of No. 5 also carries a short length of entablature with a triglyphed frieze and a boldly projecting dentilled cornice surmounted by an urn, but it is impossible to tell whether the other pilasters carried similar entablatures and, if so, whether they were continued across the fronts. In the case of a comparable building of about the same date, No. 15 Took's Court, Holborn, the cornice alone is continued. No. 5 still has a cornice and frieze at this level, but they are not original. At Nos. 6 and 7 (Plate 94b) the fourth storeys have been redesigned to make the houses look like a pair, a token entablature being added beneath the windows and a stone cornice, with quite different mouldings to the original one at No. 5, placed below the parapet. The two original doorcases which remain, at Nos. 5 and 6, are not uniform. The one at No. 5 is of wood, having square half-columns from which springs a round arch with a moulded archivolt and keyblock, the whole being flanked by tall pilasters carrying an entablature with a triglyphed frieze. The door has eight raised-and-fielded panels, and over it is a patterned fanlight. At No. 6, where the doorway has been converted into a window, the doorcase is of painted stone, having attached Ionic columns rusticated with large rectangular blocks, and an entablature with a segmental pediment. No. 7 has a pedimented stone porch before its doorway, probably of mid nineteenth-century date, although the responds could be the remains of an earlier doorcase. The area-railings are similar in pattern, with tasselled spearheads to the uprights and urn finials to the standards, but they are probably not the original ones. The back walls of the houses have no interest, being covered either with cement or white-wash where they are not entirely concealed by later additions.

Internally No. 5 has the same type of plan as No. 4 but on a slightly larger scale and with an open well staircase instead of a dog-legged one (fig. 81). It is possible that the original plan was modified to accommodate this staircase, for on the ground and second floors, as the arrangement of the panelling shows, there was originally no wall between the back room and the closet wing, presumably in order to compensate the back room for the space it had lost on the staircase side. Moreover, the back-room chimney-breast seems to have been placed so as to serve the closet as well. On the first floor this layout still survives, although the finishings are entirely nineteenthcentury. Beyond the closet is a larger wing of two bays, added in the early or mid nineteenth century, and on the ground floor are a number of single-storey additions covering the former court-yard.

The original finishings of the rooms have been largely destroyed, but the fine entrance passage and staircase remain in good condition. The former is stone-paved with black dots while the walls are panelled for three-quarters of their height, leaving space at the top for the groin-vaulted ceiling. The panelling is raised-and-fielded with ovolo-moulded framing, the dado being finished with a moulded rail and the upper panels with a moulded cornice. At the end of the passage, framing the entrance to the staircase compartment, are two fluted half-columns supporting a round arch with a panelled soffit, moulded archivolt and scroll keyblock. On the side towards the passage the columns have been cut back in order to add a pair of double doors, now partly glazed, with an early nineteenth-century reeded door-frame and a patterned fanlight over.

Figure 81:

No. 5 Clifford Street, section and plans

The wooden staircase (Plate 93, fig. 82) is in best quality carpenter's style, rising from ground to third floor since there is no room for the secondary staircase that might normally be expected to accompany it. The outer strings are concealed so that each step appears to be an individual unit cantilevered out from the wall, the outer end of the step being carved to resemble a scroll-bracket at the point where it lies beneath the step above and its soffit shaped to match the profile of the bracket. Similarly, the moulded nosing is carried round the end of the step and on to the soffit. The balusters are arranged three to a step, two twisted ones flanking a fluted one except above the first floor where the middle baluster has a plain turned shaft. At each turn of the stairs is a fluted column newel with a Corinthian capital, the moulded handrail being ramped up over it and voluted at the foot of the stair. Above the second floor the character of the staircase changes completely, with moulded closed strings, turned balusters of a different pattern from those below and square newels with rounded tops. Such panelling as survives in the staircase compartment is, in the first three storeys, raised-and-fielded with ovolo-moulded framing and a moulded dado-rail. At ground-floor level the panelling is in two heights and almost intact, with six-panelled doors to the front and back rooms, but the cornice is a later replacement and so are the architraves to the doors. There is a dado and a box-cornice at the first-floor landing (Plate 93b), but the secondfloor landing has been completely altered. The tall round-arched window on the half-space landing above the ground floor is modern. Between storeys a dado reflects the line of the stair balustrade, its rail being ramped at the landings; above the second floor this dado becomes a little taller and has plain sunk panels.

Figure 82:

No. 5 Clifford Street, staircase balustrade

Apart from the entrance passage and staircase compartment the best original work to survive is in the ground-floor back room, which still has most of its sunk ovolo-moulded panelling, although the box-cornice has been removed. On the second floor, where the front part is divided into two rooms, both these and the back room have box-cornices and there are fragments of plain panelling. Most of the present finishings of the rooms date from the early or mid nineteenth century, but none is of particular note, although there are good chimneypieces of white marble on the first floor in the front room and the added wing.

Nos. 6 and 7 have been drastically altered inside, and at No. 7 no trace of original work remains. To judge from the inventory of 1735, however, the original plan of the houses cannot have been greatly altered. Each has four rooms to a floor with a small closet projecting at each end of the back wall, both closets having been extended at a later date to link up with the former mews building in Coach and Horses Yard. The rooms are of equal width, two at the front and two at the back, but the two rooms adjoining the party wall are shallower, and between them is a large compartment containing an open-well staircase. On the ground floor the room immediately south of the staircase compartment forms an entrance hall. There is no sign of the back stairs mentioned in the inventory, nor anything to show where they might have been. At No. 6 only fragments of original panelling remain, together with some of the panelled doors and shutters. On the ground and first floors the panels generally seem to have been raised-and-fielded with ogee- and ovolomoulded frames, except for the first-floor east room and the closet beyond it where the frames have simple ovolo mouldings. On the second floor the panels are recessed in ovolo-moulded frames. The staircase, like that at No. 7, has been entirely renewed, quite probably during the alterations of 1883. Two good white marble chimneypieces of mid nineteenth-century date remain, in the east front room on the first and second floors.

No. 8 Clifford Street

The leases of the houses on the north side of the street were all dated in the ten months between March 1719 and January 1720. That of No. 8 was one of the earlier leases, dated on 26 March, some six months before those to east or west. (fn. 31) The site is known to have been made over to the lessee by October, before that of No. 7 was disposed of. (fn. 22) The front of the house differed in composition from its western neighbour and also from the apparently more-or-less uniform group of three to its east, and seems, with the stone quoins defining its façade, to have been designed to close the vista up Cork Street. No builder's name is associated with the lease which was made to the first occupant. This was Thomas Walker, Member of Parliament, Commissioner of Customs and later Surveyor General of Crown Lands. Appropriate to the latter office was his interest in architecture, indicated by his subscription to a number of architectural publications of the period. In his will he left to a fellow-member of the Inner Temple all his 'Books of Architecture and Prints' at his house at Wimbledon and 'in the Book Case in my back Parlour in Clifford Street', (fn. 32) and Vertue records that in 1726 Walker had had Peter Angelis paint him a representation of Inigo Jones's Covent Garden, showing the north side and the church. (fn. 33) He was, like another Commissioner of Customs who lived on the Burlington estate, Bryan Fairfax, a connoisseur of paintings. Vertue, who notes that Walker's bust was modelled from the life by Rysbrack, (fn. 34) commends his collection of Dutch and Italian masters. (fn. 35) More immediately relevant to the character of the Clifford Street house is his membership of the Society of Virtuosi of St. Luke, (fn. 36) the other members of which (who included Burlington's secretary Graham) recommended paintings to him. (fn. 37) For a fellow-member was Sir James Thornhill, and this acquaintance seems to confirm the association of Thornhill with the most striking interior feature of the house, the painted staircase. The stylistic affinity with Thornhill's work is close and the probability of Thornhill's employment here is strengthened by the likelihood of his being employed at the same period at the adjacent house, No. 7.

Walker, who had a house at Wimbledon (fn. 38) and owned another at Lambourne, Essex, (fn. 39) occupied No. 8 Clifford Street as a town house until his death in his eighty-fourth year in 1748. In 1732, the year of his appointment to his Crown Lands office, (fn. 40) he had bought the freehold from the Pollen family. (fn. 41) The death of 'old Tom Walker' caused some comment by reason of his great wealth. Horace Walpole, who called him 'a kind of toad-eater' to Sir Robert Walpole and Lord Godolphin, (fn. 1) and also 'a great frequenter of Newmarket, and a notorious usurer', reported that Walker had 'left vast wealth and good places'. (fn. 42) The Marquess of Hartington, writing with the same news to his father, said 'they have found allready [£] 260,000 & are daily finding more'. (fn. 34)

By his will Walker left the house to his nephew, Stephen Skynner of Walthamstow, Essex, (fn. 32) who lived here until his death in 1764. By his will he left the house to his wife and then to his daughter Emma Harvey on condition that her husband entered into a bond that they would live in the house when in town and not let it. (fn. 43) The Harveys retained the house until 1830. Occupants included 'General Harvey' from 1772 to 1775 and Doctor Thomas Gisborne, President of the College of Physicians and physician to George III, from 1782 until his death in 1806. (fn. 44) From 1808 the house was occupied by Skynner's grandson, Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey, who had commanded the Téméraire at Trafalgar, and lived here until his death in 1830. (fn. 44)

Figure 83:

No. 8 Clifford Street, plans

In 1830 Harvey's trustee sold the house for £8100 to the Earl of Rosslyn's future son-in-law Bethell Walrond. (fn. 45) By mid-century the house was occupied by R. Cook, tailor, (fn. 46) and in 1867 Walrond leased the house for 21 years at £400 per annum to T. W. Cook, tailor, with the proviso that the lessee should not insert a shop-window but keep the front 'the same in appearance as a private dwelling house'. (fn. 47) Cook bought the house in 1882 for £14,000. (fn. 48) By the end of the century the house was in divided occupation. From 1914 to 1931 Andrew Russell, Limited, interior decorators, occupied part of the premises. (fn. 46) In 1931 the house was bought by J. Lyons and Company. (fn. 49) The greater part of the ground floor was converted into a tea-shop and a new ground-floor front was inserted in 1932 to the design of their architect's department, giving separate access to the staircase and the offices on the upper floors. (fn. 50)

Architectural Description

Externally the house is the least altered of those on the north side, since it has not been heightened beyond its original three storeys and the brickwork has not suffered from painting or resurfacing (Plate 94a). The reconstructed ground storey, however, is wholly unsympathetic to the earlier work. Stylistically the front exhibits similar Baroque features to those used at Nos. 5, 6 and 7, but here they are used with greater restraint. The device of making this house into a closing feature for Cork Street is characteristic of the Burlington estate. The front is built of fine, pale yellow, stock brick with four segmentalheaded windows in each of the second and third storeys, the window at the eastern end being slightly narrower than the rest. The jambs and gauged arches of the windows are of red brick, and the stone sills are moulded on the underside. The front is bounded by quoins formed of raised stone blocks with chamfered arrises. There is a crowning entablature of stone, the prominent cornice of which is returned at either end and there surmounted by an urn. The urns, it may be noted, are of a different pattern from the one at No. 5. The windows now contain barred, double-hung sashes, except for the eastern window in the second storey which has a fixed sash, but all are later replacements. It is perhaps worth remarking that the western quoins of this front are not contiguous with the eastern pilaster of No. 9, but are separated from it by a narrow strip of brickwork on to which the main cornices of both fronts are returned; possibly this is because the houses were built at slightly different times.

The building is strongly constructed, with a substantial cross wall between the front and back rooms, and a transverse wall that divides the house into two unequal parts (fig. 83). In the wider part to the west are two rooms, the front being considerably deeper than the back. The east part contains the principal staircase in front, the top-lit service staircase in the middle, and a back room or closet that projects to form a small north-east wing.

The ground-floor rooms have been completely remodelled to form a tea-shop, but this alteration has not affected the principal staircase which is by far the most important feature of the house (Plates 95, 96, 97, fig. 84). The deep oblong compartment is two storeys high and the stairs rise round a narrow oblong well, beginning with a short flight of four risers against the north wall and continuing with a long flight of thirteen risers cantilevered from the east wall, then three risers on the south wall, and seven risers with the landing gallery on the west wall. Stone is used for the steps, which have bracket-profiled soffits, and for the landings, the gallery alone having a panelled soffit. The handsome wrought-iron balustrade in Tijou's style is composed of balusters, one to every tread, made up of a central rod flanked by vertical bars broken into scrolls and ornamented with acanthus and hart's-tongue leaves of repoussé work. Paired bars form the newel-standards, which resemble narrow open-shafted pilasters with acanthus caps. The finely moulded handrail of mahogany is ramped up before each turn of the balustrade.

Below the staircase the walls of the compartment are lined with raised-and-fielded panelling in ovolo-moulded framing, arranged in two heights and finished with a plain skirting, simply moulded dado-rail, and a plain box-cornice. On the west side is the doorway that formerly led to the groundfloor front room, with a door having six raisedand-fielded panels and a central astragal, now set flush in a doorcase composed of an enriched moulded architrave, a slightly concave frieze that is shaped and fluted to increase the effect of concavity, and an enriched dentilled cornice. The other doorways, one in the north wall leading to the service stair, and two in corresponding positions on the first-floor landing, are simply furnished with moulded architraves and panelled linings that match the six-panelled doors.

Responding to the iron balustrade is a dado, now painted but probably of oak, with long raised-and-fielded panels extending between newel-responds in the form of Corinthian pilasters with fluted shafts, and a moulded capping-rail of mahogany. Above this dado the walls are plastered, merging with a cove into the flat ceiling, and the entire surface is painted with trompe l'œil decoration in the manner of Sir James Thornhill, if not actually by his hand. The scheme is basically architectural, with grisaille panels and medallions on a ground of ivory-coloured marble, formed into bays by pilasters, with fluted-and-cabled shafts of red-figured alabaster, and Composite capitals of white marble. These pilasters support a bracketed entablature, painted in perspective on the cove, and the central part of the flat ceiling represents a domical lantern with four open lunettes. The cast wall, affording the largest field, is divided by the Composite pilasters into three bays, wide flanked by narrow. In the wide middle bay is a large circular panel, a grisaille painting of Diana watching over the sleeping Endymion, within a gilded frame of reeding overlaid with acanthus leaves. This frame rests on a shaped pedestal, dressed with a swagged garland and having consoleprofiled sides ending in flattened scrolls on which are seated herculean figures carved in the marble, each with an arm raised to support the circular picture frame. Putti, bearing emblems, are introduced, one seated by each herculean figure and one in each spandrel above the picture frame. In each narrow side bay, on a panel of carved and gilded ornament, is a Baroque cartouche framing a small oval panel, painted in blue grisaille with figures of nymphs and putti. The lower part of the wall, up to the level of the landing gallery, is painted with panels containing urns and acanthus branches, between the panelled pedestals below the Composite pilasters.

Figure 84:

No. 8 Clifford Street, staircase section and balustrade

The west wall is painted to match the east, but the field is restricted by the rise of the stair, and the existence of a doorway at the north end has caused one pilaster to be omitted. Here, within the large circular frame, is a painting of Alphaeus pursuing Arethusa, who is about to be transformed into a spring of water by the watchful Diana. The lower spandrel on the left of the panel contain two putti symbolic of sculpture. On the east part of the north wall, between two pilasters is painted a large shell-headed niche containing a statue of Minerva armed and holding a spear, whilst Diana is represented by a bust on a bracket, painted on the pier between the two windows in the south wall. The frieze of the entablature is divided by fluted brackets arranged in pairs between metopes ornamented with the masks of men, women and lions. Each angle of the entablature is overlaid by a cartouche, the north-east and south-west containing the monogram T. W. for Thomas Walker, the others being ornamented with sun-masks. The ceiling, partly repainted after war damage, has at each end an oblong panel decorated with a pair of putti emerging from tails of acanthus scrollwork. The large central panel is circular and represents a domical lantern having on each side an open lunette in which an urn is seen against a cloudy sky. The lunette arches have coffered soffits and wide moulded archivolts with keyblocks of female masks, flanked by scrolls and surmounted by shells. Each pendentive is decorated with a cartouche framing a grisaille oval of a putto, and the flat centre of the lantern is decorated with a diaper of formal flowers.

This painted decoration has, in the past, been generally assigned to the studio of Thornhill, and in support of this it may be remarked that the general design is characteristic of him. The niche with Minerva and the large circular grisailles have decided affinities with similar features once existing at Stoke Edith, and the architecture and ornament is most competently executed. The dome of the ceiling, however, is poor in design, and while it may seem to be derived from Ricci's staircase ceiling at Burlington House, minus the figures, it more closely resembles the staircase ceiling at No. 60 Carey Street.

The two principal rooms on the first floor (Plate 98b) are lined with raised-and-fielded panelling in two heights, set in ovolo-moulded framing. The skirting, the dado panel mouldings, and the dadorail are enriched with carved ornament, and the elaborate cornice has dentils, three enriched mouldings, and a soffit ornament of flowers in coffers between the carved scroll-modillions that support the corona. There is in each room a narrow secondary break on either side of the chimney-breast, and there the moulding of the tall upper panels is carved with egg-and-dart ornament. The original chimneypieces have gone, but the front room contains one of brown-figured marble in the Rococo taste, probably French and of early nineteenth-century date. In both rooms the panelling on the dividing wall has been rearranged to allow for the introduction of a wide door opening, framed with a simply moulded architrave.

The second-floor rooms (Plate 98a) are also panelled, more simply with plain panels in ovolomoulded framing, and in the east front room, which has lost most of its panelling, is a bed recess. The ceiling of the large back room is painted, with a large circular panel of sky and spandrel panels of cartouches amid foliage, but this work is almost certainly modern and was probably executed by the firm of decorators who occupied part of the house early in the present century. The so-called 'Marot Room,' originally the first-floor closet room, and the 'Tudor' room above it, where some genuine plasterwork has been re-used, must have originated in the same way.

No. 9 Clifford Street

The recipient of the building lease of this site, in September 1719, was the prominent carpenter, Benjamin Timbrell. (fn. 51) A year later he made a mortgage-assignment of this lease to a tallow chandler to secure £1575 (fn. 52) and in July 1721 Timbrell and his mortgagee assigned the site, on which the house was by then built, (fn. 9) to Joseph Hayes, merchant, of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, presumably as mortgagee of the property from the first occupant of the house who was also a party to the transaction. (fn. 53) This was the 25-year-old Earl of Harold, eldest son of the Duke of Kent. He occupied the house for only two years before his premature death in 1723, when his widow continued in occupation of the house until her second marriage, to Lord Gower, in 1736. (fn. 3) In March of the following year Lord and Lady Gower assigned the lease to Sir Jacob Des Bouverie, later created Viscount Folkestone. (fn. 54) A relation by marriage of Sir Jacob, Bartholomew Clarke, bought the freehold of the house from the Pollen family in March 1741/2, (fn. 55) doubtless on behalf of Sir Jacob, (fn. 56) who lived here until his death in 1761, when his widow continued in occupation of the house until 1780.

It is not known whether Lord Folkestone's interest in the arts led him to alter or embellish the house. (fn. c1) As will appear from the architectural description, the plan of the staircase appears to be inconsistent with the design of the carcase, but it may well represent merely a change of intention at the time of Timbrell's first building of the house. It is not known when the present fourth or attic storey was added; it existed in 1836. (fn. 7)

From 1809 (fn. 57) to 1816 the house was occupied by the politician, John Calcraft the younger, (fn. 44) who was succeeded from 1816 to 1819 by the second Marquis of Thomond. By the second quarter of the nineteenth century, however, the house was in commercial occupation. (fn. 46)

After the 1939–45 war there were proposals for the demolition of the house but a Building Preservation Order made by the London County Council was confirmed by the Minister of Housing and Local Government in 1956.

Architectural Description

This is the largest house on the north side of the street and is, externally, a piece of good, plain builder's design with none of the Baroque embellishments employed in the four houses to the east of it (Plate 99a, fig. 85). The brick front is five windows wide, comprising a basement and four storeys, the topmost storey being a later addition replacing a garret. The brick was probably reddish in colour originally, but it was stuccoed in the early nineteenth century, (fn. 58) and now, the stucco having been removed, has been resurfaced and painted a bright pink. Except in the fourth storey the windows have segmental gauged arches and stone sills with brick aprons, the barred double-hung sashes within the openings being set in concealed frames. The sashes have, however, been altered, and the original ones must have been like those now remaining in the basement, with thick glazing-bars and exposed frames. An old photograph (fn. 58) showing the front when it was stuccoed also shows continued sills in the second storey but it is not clear whether this was an original feature or not. The whole front is flanked by pilaster-strips and there are bandcourses or cornices between the storeys. The bandcourse above the ground storey extends only as far as the outer jambs of the end windows and is broken in the centre by the pediment of the doorcase. Above the second storey is a bandcourse with its two upper courses projecting slightly, being finished with a small stone cornice which is returned at each end just short of the pilasterstrips. The third storey has a larger cornice, perhaps of stone but now covered with cement, and this breaks forward over the pilaster-strips. The doorcase is of stone, having a pair of attached Ionic columns carrying an entablature with pulvinated frieze and modillion cornice under a triangular pediment, breaking forward in front of square Ionic flanking half-columns and their entablature. The door, deeply recessed, has two leaves, each with four raised-and-fielded, ovolomoulded panels and its own simple iron knocker. The area-railings, probably renewed, have urnfinials to the standards and are fitted with wroughtiron lamp-holders and S-shaped foot scrapers at either side of the doorway. The lamps were renewed in 1961.

In plan the main block of the house has a single front and back room on each of the ground and first floors with main and secondary staircases lying, one behind the other, to the west of them (figs. 85–6). At the back there projects along the west side of a court-yard a wing containing two small rooms on each floor, and having a service staircase at the north end, immediately adjoining which is the stable building fronting Coach and Horses Yard. On the second floor the plan differs in having two rooms at the front, since the main staircase rises through only two storeys, and two smaller back rooms, the western one forming a kind of vestibule with a wide opening replacing the doorway to the secondary staircase. Some alterations have been made to the plan in quite recent times. The court-yard has been covered in to provide an extra room on the ground floor, and on the first floor the back room has been subdivided. In the wing the northerly room on the first floor has been given a large wooden bay window and on the second floor the partition between the rooms has been removed.

On the ground floor the front room and the main staircase compartment have no dividing wall, so that they form a long narrow entrance hall, each end of which is divided off by a screen of columns (Plate 99b, fig. 87). The result is highly unusual, and since the main staircase and one of the responds of the screen, behind which it stands, partly block two of the front windows, it seems quite likely that the finishings for this part of the house were designed when the carcase had already been built, a feature which has also been observed at No. 5. It has been suggested that some of these finishings are later alterations or additions, but there is no evidence of this in the fabric itself. Moreover, two undated watercolours by C. J. Richardson, here illustrated as Plates 99b and 100a, establish that any alteration must have been made by 1871 (the year in which Richardson died) at the latest, and this seems improbable. The walls of the room have a plain wooden dado with enriched mouldings on the skirting and rail, but the upper 'panels' are only applied mouldings of a much later date and there is no indication of what they replaced. Round the top of the walls runs an entablature with an enriched architrave and a frieze of Vitruvian scroll, but with only the enriched bed-mouldings of a cornice. The windows, and the doorway to the secondary staircase, are framed by egg-anddart mouldings, and the shutters have sunk panels with frames similarly moulded. A plan of 1880 (fn. 59) shows that originally the only other doorway in the back wall was the one, now widened, opposite the front door. The screens consist of two fluted wooden Ionic columns and responds supporting an entablature which is a continuation of the one round the walls, having on its soffit sunk panels with enriched frames. The eastern screen has, however, been altered, and the responds now stand at either side of a newly pierced doorway in the back wall. The ceiling between the screens is sub-divided by four deep ribs, two running each way, which have the same profile as the architrave and frieze of the screens and a double key-fret on the soffit. The chimneypiece, now painted, is of stone with an eared architrave, frieze and cornice, the frieze having in its centre a blank plaque with the cornice breaking forward above.

The main staircase, which is of wood, is richly carved in Italianate style and compares closely with one formerly at No. 30 Old Burlington Street, although here lack of space has given it a rather cramped appearance (Plate 100, fig. 87). It rises in a single flight of twelve steps through the columns of the screen to a landing, then branches left and right in short flights of three steps and returns in flights of seven steps to the first-floor gallery. The closed strings are designed to resemble entablatures with enriched architraves, pulvinated ribboned bay-leaf friezes and a kind of enriched cornice-moulding upon which stand the robust carved balusters. The broad flat handrail has enriched mouldings and is continued over very thick square newels, the sides of which have sunk panels with enriched frames. No decoration now remains on the walls of the compartment except for a band of Vitruvian scroll between the ground and second storeys, but in the second storey the two front windows and the unglazed opening in the back wall have enriched architraves, while the two doorways have eared architraves surmounted by pulvinated bay-leaf friezes and triangular pediments. Round the top of the walls runs a block-cornice having below it a tall frieze of swags suspended alternately from masks and rosettes, these being embellished with ribbons and pendents. The ceiling is compartmented, having in the centre an octagon with ribs running out from its angles to the cornice. The ribs and the frame of the octagon have key-fret on the soffit and a rosette at each intersection, while in the centre of the octagon, shaped like a large flower, is the highrelief boss for a chandelier. The ribs do not tie in well either with the cornice or the frieze, but this is probably due to the quality of the workmanship rather than to any difference in date. The secondary staircase is dog-legged and of commonplace design, running from basement to second floor whence a single flight continues up to the third floor. The moulded closed strings are fixed into square newels having rounded tops, and the turned balusters support a moulded handrail; the first two flights have been altered.

Figure 85:

No. 9 Clifford Street, elevation and plans

Figure 86:

No. 9 Clifford Street, section

Figure 87:

No. 9 Clifford Street, staircase hall

The three remaining rooms on the ground and first floors have the same type of dado as the hall and an enriched modillion cornice, the first-floor front room having in addition sunk ovolomoulded upper panels carved with egg-and-dart, although these are partly concealed by modern bolection-moulded panels. The latter room also has a moulded plaster ceiling composed of a centre oval with a raised key-fret border and shaped panels with an enriched border filling each corner. Until recently, as an old photograph in the London County Council's collection shows, this room also had a good white marble chimneypiece of early nineteenth-century date. The first-floor back room has lost much of its finishings as a result of being sub-divided, but the ceiling still has guilloche-patterned ribs dividing it into nine rectangular compartments. The two front rooms on the second floor and the ground- and first-floor rooms in the wing are more plainly finished, but nevertheless in the style used for the better rooms of smaller houses. The walls are lined with two heights of ovolo-moulded panelling (raised-andfielded in the wing) finished with a moulded dado-rail and a box-cornice, the shutters and doors being similarly treated. The western front room on the second floor and the southern first-floor room in the wing both have original white marble chimneypieces, the former with simply moulded inner and outer edges and a wooden cornice-shelf above, the latter with a wooden architrave carved with egg-and-dart. The second-floor back and wing rooms have been altered, retaining only box-cornices. The service stair is newly constructed in concrete, but the plan of 1880 shows that it replaced a dog-legged staircase.

The stable block has been much altered and probably heightened by at least one storey. It now contains four storeys with a rebuilt brick front to Coach and Horses Yard, and a cement-covered front facing the house. The ground storey of this latter front is interesting because of its architectural treatment, consisting of a central doorway with shouldered architrave, pulvinated frieze and triangular pediment, flanked by pilasters which are repeated at either end of the front. The upper part of the pilasters is concealed by the glazed roof which now covers the court-yard. The interior has been completely altered, but the plan of 1880 shows that the ground floor was divided between a large room, probably for coaches, with wide double doors to Coach and Horses Yard, and, on the west side, stabling for five or six horses. The first floor was reached by a single flight of stairs lying immediately east of the court-yard entrance. It would appear that this latter doorway was the only means of access from the stables to the house.


  • 1. 'An intimate friend of Sir Robert Walpole' (memorial inscription on Walker's tomb at Wimbledon).
  • 2. M.L.R. 1721/1/16.
  • 3. G.E.C.
  • 4. L. B. Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, 2nd ed., 1957, p. 418 and note.
  • 5. The Saturday Review, 8 Feb. 1908, pp. 166–7.
  • 6. Deutsch, op. cit. (123 above), p. 96.
  • 7. W.P.L., D1835 A.
  • 8. Deeds in possession of Messrs. Finnis, Downey, Linnell and Price, 19 July 1892.
  • 9. R.B.
  • 10. B. M., Add. MS. 34741, ff. 174, 290; M.L.R. 1722/5/155; 1723/1/208.
  • 11. Cf. L.C.C.R.O., WCS 571/2, pp. 50–1.
  • 12. B.M., Add. MS. 34741, ff. 262v., 288–9; M.L.R. 1723/1/208–9.
  • 13. R.B.; B.M., Add. MS. 34741, f. 296.
  • 14. B.M., Add. MS. 34741, ff. 288–9; M.L.R. 1734/5/163–4.
  • 15. B.M., Add. MS. 34741, ff. 288–9, 296, 306.
  • 16. R.B.; Millan's Universal Register, 9th ed. 1751, p. 86.
  • 17. B.M., Add. MS. 34741, ff. 293–4.
  • 18. The Builder, 13 Aug. 1853, p. 524.
  • 19. Ibid., 21 July 1883, p. 99.
  • 20. Deed in possession of Lloyd's Bank, 11 Feb. 1911.
  • 21. Information kindly supplied by Messrs. Longmans, Green and Company.
  • 22. Chatsworth MSS., letter 154.1.
  • 23. M.L.R. 1719/6/278.
  • 24. Ibid., 1719/3/265.
  • 25. Ibid., 1720/5/156; 1721/2/59.
  • 26. Ibid., 1721/1/115–16.
  • 27. Burke's Landed Gentry.
  • 28. Hoare's Bank, ledger 24, f. 154v.
  • 29. Ibid., ledger 26, f. 384v.; ledger 27, f. 322v.
  • 30. Chatsworth MSS., counterpart lease 2 Sept. 1782 (information kindly supplied by Miss M.H. Mackenzie).
  • 31. M.L.R. 1723/3/145.
  • 32. P.C.C., 346 Strahan.
  • 33. Walpole Society, vol. 22, 1934 (Vertue Note Book III), p. 31.
  • 34. Ibid., vol. 22, 1934, p. 57.
  • 35. Ibid., p. 141; Walpole Society, vol. 24, 1936 (Vertue Note Book IV), p. 178; Walpole Society, vol. 26, 1938 (Vertue Note Book V), p. 43.
  • 36. See B.M., Add. MS. 39167, ff. 73–85.
  • 37. Walpole Society, vol. 26, 1938 (Vertue Note Book V), p. 43.
  • 38. William A. Bartlett, The History and Antiquities of Wimbledon, 1865, pp. 88–9, 123–4.
  • 39. Victoria County History of Essex, vol. IV, 1956, pp. 79–80.
  • 40. Bartlett, op. cit., pp. 88–9, quoting memorial inscription on Walker's tomb in Wimbledon churchyard.
  • 41. M.L.R. 1732/2/3–4.
  • 42. The Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. Mrs. Paget Toynbee, vol. II, 1903, p. 348 and note.
  • 43. P.C.C., 403 Simpson.
  • 44. D.N.B.
  • 45. Deeds of J. Lyons and Co., 23–4 April 1830.
  • 46. The Builder, 13 Aug. 1853, p. 524.
  • 47. Ibid., 12 Sept. 1867.
  • 48. Ibid., 5 Aug. 1882.
  • 49. Information kindly supplied by J. Lyons and Co.
  • 50. B.A. 69324.
  • 51. M.L.R. 1720/6/173.
  • 52. Ibid., 1720/5/190.
  • 53. Ibid., 1721/6/89–90.
  • 54. Ibid., 1736/5/667.
  • 55. Ibid., 1741/4/480–1.
  • 56. P.C.C., 92 Cheslyn, will of Lord Folkestone.
  • 57. Lord Bath's Settled Estates, deeds 30–31 Aug. 1809 in possession of Farrer and Co.
  • 58. A. E. Richardson and C. L. Gill, London Houses from 1660 to 1820, 1911, plate XXXIII.
  • 59. Lord Bath's Settled Estates, plan attached to deed of 24 June 1880 in possession of Farrer and Co.
  • c1. But see Country Life, 26 Dec. 1931, pp. 726-7.