Soho Square Area: Portland Estate, Nos. 33-34 Soho Square, Parkwood House

Pages 121-122

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

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Nos. 33–34 Soho Square: Parkwood House

The southern range of the west side of Soho Square originally comprised six houses, later numbered 32 to 37. By June 1680 Richard Frith and William Pym had leased the southernmost of these, No. 32, to Thomas Pitcher, and the ratebooks suggest that he may also have had an interest in No. 33. (fn. 1) By the same date they had also leased three other houses in the range to Cadogan Thomas of Lambeth, timber merchant. Two of these leases were for forty-nine years from the previous Lady Day at rents of £12 each plus ten shillings for the upkeep of the garden; there was no provision for a peppercorn rent during the first year of the leases, which may suggest that the houses were already virtually finished. (fn. 2) It has not been possible to identify the individual positions of these houses; their subsequent history is described separately below.

The first known occupant of No. 33, Lady Castle, was living here in 1691. She was succeeded by William Paston, second Earl of Yarmouth (later at No. 26), 1693–6, and by Lord Walden, ? Charles Hay, later third Marquis of Tweedale, c. 1703. (fn. 3) The house may have been renovated or partially rebuilt in about 1765, when the Portland family granted a new lease without fine to Captain John Harrison, who lived here from 1764 to 1766. (fn. 4) From 1772 to 1788 the house was occupied by Charles Penruddocke, Wiltshire landowner and M.P. (fn. 3) It was demolished in 1950.

Early inhabitants of No. 34 were Sir Thomas Broughton, second baronet, c. 1691–1710; Sir Henry Hoghton or Houghton, fifth baronet, M.P., 1710–11; Other Windsor, second Earl of Plymouth (previously at No. 27), 1712–15, and Colonel Montague, 1716–29. This house and the adjoining No. 35 were probably renovated or partially rebuilt in 1734–5 by Captain Edmund Strudwick, to whom in December 1730 the Portland family had granted a new lease of both houses for sixty-five years from Michaelmas 1734. (fn. 5) Later inhabitants included Sir John Tyrwhitt, sixth baronet, M.P., 1743–5; Dr. Cadogan, ? Dr. William Cadogan, physician to the Foundling Hospital, 1760–2, and John Frederick Desbarres, military engineer, 1782–3. (fn. 3)

In 1811 (Sir) Charles Bell, the surgeon and anatomist, took No. 34 in anticipation of his forthcoming marriage. He was very pleased with the house, especially with 'the walk in the drawing-room looking down on the green and trees of the square'. Four years later, however, these sylvan attractions did not detain him at home when the news of the victory at Waterloo arrived in London. He rushed off at once, exclaiming to a pupil, 'Johnnie! how can we let this pass? Here is such an occasion of seeing gun-shot wounds come to our door. Let us go'. He subsequently produced a series of detailed drawings of the wounds he had examined on the battlefield. No. 34 Soho Square remained his home until 1831 when he moved to Brook Street, Mayfair. (fn. 6) The house was subsequently occupied from 1893 to 1936 by the Beaufort Club.

Both No. 33 and No. 34 were demolished in 1950 for the erection of the present building, Parkwood House, which was designed by Leslie Norton. (fn. 7) Its appearance is similar to that of Twentieth Century House, but here there are two storeys in the roof (fig. 3).


  • 1. In addition to No. 32 Pitcher certainly had an interest in at least one other house in the square which had been occupied for a short time by Forde, third Baron Grey, later first Earl of Tankerville. Grey was an associate of the Duke of Monmouth, and was present with him at the battle of Sedgemoor.
  • 2. Ibid., KB27/2040/1186.
  • 3. R.B.
  • 4. Nottingham University, Portland MSS., Soho lease book.
  • 5. Nottingham University, Portland MSS., Soho lease book; R.B.
  • 6. The Letters of Sir Charles Bell, 1870, pp. 101, 187–188n., 227, 232n., 327; R.B.; D.N.B.
  • 7. B.A. 76042.
  • 8. P.R.O., C5/90/114.