The Pitt Estate in Dean Street: No. 71 Dean Street

Page 213

Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1966.

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No. 71 Dean Street

The present building was erected in 1905 by C. F. Kearley, builder, probably to the design of E. Keynes Purchase. (fn. 1) It has an assertive front in an eclectic early Renaissance style, built of red bricks with stone dressings. It is four storeys high, the upper part being three windows wide and crowned with an ogee-sided and pedimented gable.

This building replaced a house of c. 1756, built at the same time as the former Nos. 72 and 73 (see table on page 250). The first occupant, from 1760 until his death in 1795, was Ralph Willett, a wealthy collector of books and objets d'art. Willett had built in 1752–60 a fine country house at Merly, Great Canford, Dorset, which is said to have been 'from a design of his own', and added wings in 1772 containing elaborate stucco decorations: this house was pulled down in the early nineteenth century. (fn. 2)

The Dean Street house was no doubt similar externally and in plan to the contemporary Nos. 72 and 73. Photographs taken in 1905 (fn. 3) show that it contained some noteworthy interiors (Plates 114, 115, 128a). One room, probably the first-floor front, had walls and ceiling decorated with a lavish display of Rococo plasterwork, of a quality comparable with that in No. 1 Greek Street (Plate 115). Another room, perhaps the ground-floor back, had an excellent ceiling in the Adam manner (Plate 114b). As at No. 73 the rear wall contained a projecting three-sided bay.

Early in 1905 the attention of the London County Council was drawn to the impending demolition of the house, with its fine interiors, by C. F. Hayward, the District Surveyor, but it was decided that the ceilings and plasterwork were not worth preservation at the Council's expense. (fn. 4)


  • 1. Deeds in the possession of the Legal and General Assurance Society Ltd.; B.A.28888.
  • 2. John Hutchins, History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset, 3rd ed., vol. III, 1868, pp. 304–6.
  • 3. G.L.C., Photograph Library.
  • 4. Ibid., Survey of London file.