Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1966.
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This was called Rose Street until 1895, when it was given its present name with reference to the residence of Dr. Manette in Soho, in A Tale of Two Cities. (fn. 1) The reason for the original name, which the street bore by 1690, (fn. 5) is not known, although it may have derived from the name of a tavern. By 1747 (or perhaps 1733) there was a Rose and Crown at the southern corner with Hog Lane. (fn. 6)
The street was in building in c. 1690–2. (fn. 5) It does not appear in the parish ratebook for 1691, but all the houses seem to be listed in a tax book of 1693, although some were then still unfinished. (fn. 7) The chief building tradesman was evidently John Boniface of St. Margaret's, Westminster, plasterer; another was John Chaplin, carpenter. (fn. 8)
A piece of ground on the south side of the street was described in 1717 as having been previously part of 'William Vesseys Bowling Green'. (fn. 9)
Mrs. Mary Delany lived in the street with her first husband, Mr. Pendarves, in c. 1721–2, (fn. 10) when she considered it 'a very unpleasant part of the town'. (fn. 11) Strype, writing in 1720, says 'This Street hath some indifferent good Houses; but the greatest Part is taken up for Coach-houses and Stables'. (fn. 12)
No. 14 Manette Street
This building was erected in 1770–1 by the vestry of St. Anne's as the parish workhouse, to the designs of the architect James Paine.
The first parish poorhouse had consisted of twelve small houses in 'Symbell's Alley in Old Soho', which the parish held on lease from Mr. Mist from 1697 until about 1711. (fn. 13) The poor were subsequently housed in a small building on part of the site of the present No. 103A Oxford Street. (fn. 14) (fn. 1) When the lease of these premises expired in 1766, the paupers were moved temporarily to Chapel Street, and then, within a year, into two small houses on the site of the present No. 14 Manette Street, the current leases of which the vestry had purchased for £385. (fn. 15) (fn. 1)
In 1769 the two existing houses were found to be in need of substantial repair and in January 1770, on the advice of their surveyor, James Paine, the vestry decided to demolish the old houses and to erect a new workhouse to Paine's own design. (fn. 16) This work was immediately put in hand but its completion was delayed until late in 1771 by disputes with the building tradesmen. The carpenter's work was undertaken by William Grantham, who seems to have taken advantage of his position as one of the churchwardens to suppress the usual notices advertising for competitive tenders. (fn. 17) He also overcharged the vestry for his work, appropriated the materials of the existing old buildings for his own use, and refused to submit to an arbitration to settle disputes. (fn. 18) The two bricklayers working on the building, Christopher Saunders and Joseph Iredale, both had to resort to legal action to obtain the payment of their bills. (fn. 19) (fn. 1) The total cost of the new workhouse and furniture was £2,138, double Paine's estimate. (fn. 20) During the rebuilding some at least of the paupers were housed in premises in Hog Lane. (fn. 21)
The new building remained in use as St. Anne's parish workhouse until 1837. (fn. 22) An extra storey was added in 1804. (fn. 23) The vestry, composed for the most part of small tradesmen and shopkeepers, anxiously curtailed the expenses of the establishment in the interests of the ratepayers and the lot of the paupers in their charge seems to have been a hard one. (fn. 24) At first the children were boarded out at Enfield, (fn. 25) but with a winter population in 1818 of two hundred and forty adult paupers (in ninety-seven beds), the accommodation in Rose Street was recognized as being totally inadequate. Additional rooms in Rose Street were taken in 1818, (fn. 26) and in 1822 a house at Edmonton was leased for the accommodation of the children. (fn. 25)
In 1837 the responsibility for the poor of the parish was transferred from St. Anne's vestry to the Guardians of the Strand Union, then recently founded to administer the new poor law in the more easterly of the Westminster parishes. (fn. 27) The St. Anne's paupers were then transferred to one or other of the workhouses of the new Union, in Cleveland Street and Portugal Street, and the premises in Rose Street were left vacant for a time. (fn. 28)
In 1838 the vestry of St. Anne's let the former workhouse to the Bishop of London and others (fn. 29) and from then until about 1941 the building was occupied by various religious bodies—from 1839 to 1847 by a Church of England commercial school, from 1847 to 1862 by the House of Charity, which then removed to No. 1 Greek Street (see page 89), from about 1870 to 1899 by the St. John the Baptist Mission House and Industrial School, from about 1903 to 1916 by St. Patrick's Home for Working Boys, and from 1917 to about 1941 by the West End Talmud Torah and Bikkur Holim Synagogue, which later moved to No. 21 Dean Street (see page 132). Since the end of the war of 1939–45 the building has been in commercial occupation. (fn. 30)
Its present aspect is gaunt and ungainly, but if the added fourth storey is subtracted and the painted stucco facing ignored, the simple merit of Paine's originally well-proportioned front becomes apparent. Presumably his design was for a building of domestic character, having a front with three storeys of graduated heights, with five widely spaced windows in each upper storey. The only concessions to ornament were the plain pedestal extending beneath the first-floor windows, and the crowning cornice, this last possibly re-used when the fourth storey was added. The front is now finished with a parapet broken by a blocking of pedimental form. The enclosed porch, with a plain entablature supported by Doric piers, is not shown on Horwood's map of 1799 and was probably added when the building was heightened. The plain but substantial iron railings, with vase-headed standards, are probably original. Extensions have completely changed the back of the building, and reconstruction has left nothing of interest in what must have been a very simple interior.
St. Anne's Charity School, Later National Schools
The St. Anne's charity school was founded in 1699. From the 1730's to 1872 it was situated south of Rose Street on a site now part of the back premises of No. 119 Charing Cross Road and Nos. 1–5 (consec.) Manette Street. Thence it moved to Dean Street for the remainder of its existence: the general history of the school is outlined in the account of the Dean Street site (see page 132).
The site south of Rose Street had been leased by the Duchess of Portland in 1730 to the carpenter, Thomas Richmond, and by him assigned in 1731 to Dr. John Pelling (the rector of St. Anne's), (fn. 31) probably on behalf of the school. (fn. 32) Two houses standing on the site were converted for use by the school, (fn. 33) which is said to have moved from Romilly Street in October 1734, (fn. 3) although it does not appear in the ratebooks until 1737. By c. 1792, when the school building was shown on the Portland estate map, (fn. 34) the ground plan suggests that a building designed expressly for the school had been erected (fig. 48).