The Pitt Estate in Dean Street: Nos. 67 and 68 Dean Street

Pages 210-212

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

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Nos. 67 and 68 Dean Street

For the building and first occupants of these houses (Plate 112a) see the table on page 248. In 1745 (and probably from 1740) the rates for No. 67 were paid by the building lessee and carpenter, described as John Meard, esquire, who let the house furnished. (fn. 1) Later, from 1764 to 1767, this house was occupied by Anthony Chamier, the friend of Reynolds and Johnson. In 1819 it was occupied by R. J. Wyatt, sculptor, and in 1836 (fn. 2) by Charles Fortnum, son of the founder of the firm of Fortnum and Mason. (fn. 3)

These are single-fronted houses, containing a basement and four storeys. In each house the ground floor is planned with an entrance passage and a dog-legged staircase on one side of the front and back rooms. The plans are mirrored so that the houses share chimney-stacks in the party wall, and have adjoining closet-wings beyond the back rooms (fig. 61 on page 240).

The uniform fronts are four storeys high, both houses having three windows evenly spaced in each upper storey (Plate 112a). The stock-brick facing, now blackened and mock-pointed, is dressed with fine red rubbing bricks, used for the jambs and gauged arches of the segmentalheaded windows, for the moulded bandcourse at first-floor level and for the cornice of flattened profile below the attic storey. Each house has a prominent doorcase, placed at No. 67 to the south and at No. 68 to the north of the two ground-floor windows. These doorcases are basically Roman Doric in style and are, unusually, of stone (Plate 121b). Each is composed of two pilasters with wide inside return faces, having boldly moulded bases, plain shafts, and enriched capitals, the echinus or ovolo being carved with egg-and-dart ornament. These pilasters support an unbroken entablature, its frieze decorated with triglyphs and metope-flowers. All of the windows, except those of the ground storey, have double-hung sashes with glazing-bars of late Georgian character, hung in partly visible frames recessed some three inches from the building face, in segmental-arched openings having stone sills, thinly plastered reveals, and the red brick dressings already mentioned. The openings are all of the same width, but their heights are proportionate to the different storeys. Beyond the fact that the window reveals are unplastered, there is nothing to suggest that the attic storey replaces a mansard garret. It remains to add that the ground-storey face at No. 67 has long been stuccoed, and that some disfiguring finishes and panels have very recently been applied to the steps and area-railings. These last, like the railings at No. 68, are of early nineteenth-century pattern, with tasselled spear-heads.

The northern return front to Meard Street (fig. 62) is plain but for the three blind windowrecesses of the first and second floors, and for the stone name-tablet alongside the eastern blind window of the first floor. This tablet, with a segmental-headed moulded frame, is inscribed MEARDS STREET. 1732 (fig. 60 On page 239).

Both houses are well finished inside and, apart from some small variations in planning, are very similar.

In No. 67 the entrance passage is lined with moulded-and-fielded panelling in two heights, set in ovolo-moulded framing and finished with a moulded dado-rail and a box-cornice. The opening between the passage and the wider staircase compartment is dressed with Doric pilasters, having fluted shafts and enriched capitals. The staircase walls and the soffits of the lower flights are finished with panelling similar to that in the hall, the landings alone having complete boxcornices. The dog-legged staircase has cut strings from the ground floor to the half-landing above the first floor, and moulded closed strings to the basement and upper flights. Well carved bracket stepends ornament the cut strings, and the railings are composed of moulded handrails resting on Doric column-newels and balusters, two to each tread, turned as slender Doric plain-shafted columns above superimposed urn-profile bases. The flights with the closed strings have simpler turnings, with Doric columns above squat baluster bases.

The ground-floor rooms have been altered to serve as a restaurant, but enough of the original finishings remain to show that they closely resembled the first-floor rooms, which have had little change. The front room, with three windows to the street, two doorways in the west wall, and a wide chimney-breast projecting offcentre from the north wall, is lined with excellent moulded-and-fielded panelling, arranged in two heights in ovolo-moulded framing, finished with a deep skirting having a moulded capping, a moulded dado-rail, and a generous box-cornice having a dentil course and a leaf-ornamented cymareversa below the cymatium. The six-panelled doors and the window shutters match the rest of the panelling, but the doorways are finished with wide stepped architraves, whereas the window embrasures, which have flat soffits, are finished with a staff-bead. The chimneypiece of marble, now painted, is typical of its time, with wide flat jambs and lintel, similarly panelled with sunk mouldings, the lintel being stilted with a quadrant curve at each end and broken by a fluted keystone. The face of the chimney-breast has one large panel over a smaller one of oblong form.

The panelling in the back room is similar to that in the front except that the skirting is smaller and unmoulded. The chimney-breast is splayed across the north-west angle, and there is the same arrangement of two panels above the chimneypiece, which resembles that in the front room but has no keystone. The closet is lined with plain panelling in ovolo-moulded framing, and has, like the back room, a plain box-cornice. The angle fireplace in the closet has a simple stone chimneypiece, with flat jambs and a shaped lintel moulded only at the edges.


  • 1. R.B.
  • 2. Boyle's Court Guide.
  • 3. Survey of London, vol. XXIX, 1960, p. 263, 263n.