Soho Square Area: Portland Estate, No. 1 Soho Square

Page 55

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

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No. 1 Soho Square

What is known about the first building of a house here has been described above with No. 38. The first occupant was Lady Williams, who lived here from 1685 to 1691. Other inhabitants include Colonel Caseborne (? Casaubon), 1692–6; Lady Coverley, c. 1703–12, and Martin Clare, founder of the Soho Academy, who later moved to No. 8, 1717 to 1725 or 1726. (fn. 1)

In 1735 the house was rebuilt by John Sanger of St. James's, carpenter, under a lease granted to him by the three daughters of Thomas Taylor, who had probably been involved in the building of the original house (see under No. 38). (fn. 2) Sanger was also rebuilding both the adjoining houses to the north and south, Nos. 2 and 38. Later inhabitants include Sir John Cope, baronet, of Bramshill, Hampshire, M.P., 1737–47; Howell Gwynne, M.P., 1759–62; Crisp Molyneux, formerly a West Indian planter, M.P., 1763; Thomas Brand, M.P., 1781–94, 'a very elegant and expensive Commoner, whose hospitality far exceeded his means', who had previously lived in Leicester Square; his son, Thomas Brand, M.P., later twentieth Baron Dacre, 1794–1819, (fn. 3) who in 1802 purchased the freehold of No. 1 from the Duke of Portland for £700; (fn. 4) Messrs. Gundry, shoemakers, 1831–83, and Messrs. Baker, booksellers, 1884–1903. (fn. 1)

The present undistinguished six-storey building here was erected in 1904–5 to the designs of E. Keynes Purchase (Plate 93d); the builder was F. G. Minter. The new No. 1 Soho Square was apparently not occupied until 1910. (fn. 5)


  • 1. R.B.
  • 2. Ibid., 1735/4/284; R.B.
  • 3. R.B.; G.E.C.
  • 4. Nottingham University, Portland MSS., Soho lease book.
  • 5. R.B.; Westminster City Council Minutes, 3 Nov. 1904, p. 1202; 22 Dec. 1904, p. 1450.