The Pitt Estate in Dean Street: Nos. 69 and 70 Dean Street

Pages 212-213

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

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Nos. 69 and 70 Dean Street

For the building and first occupants of these much altered houses (Plates 111, 112b) see the table on pages 248–51.

Later occupants of No. 69 included George Wandesford, fourth Viscount Castlecomer, in 1750; Sir John Wynn, second baronet, 1755–73; the Hon. Baron Grant in 1775; (Sir) Lionel Darell, first baronet, 1775–95; (Sir) Thomas Bell, 1796–1824. (fn. 1)

Later occupants (fn. 1) of No. 70 included Sir William Wooseley (? Wolseley, fifth baronet), 1734–5; Robert Marsham, second Baron Romney, 1736–40; Sir Thomas Wilson, knight and 'agent', (fn. 2) 1761–74 (? the purchaser of the Pitt estate, see page 210).

In 1834 No. 69 was taken by Vincent Novello, the composer and musical editor, and his son, Joseph Alfred, music seller and publisher, (fn. 3) who were perhaps responsible for the erection of the back premises, with the wall still fronting Meard Street. Vincent's daughter, Clara, the singer, was also living here in 1840 and the painter, J. P. Davis, in 1842. (fn. 4) In 1847 the firm of Novello became music-printers also. (fn. 5) It was probably in 1864–5 that the upper storeys were added to No. 69 to accommodate the printing works. (fn. 1) In 1867 the firm removed to Berners Street but in 1871 (fn. 1) the printing works returned to No. 69, (fn. 6) and No. 70 was bought in 1875 (fn. 7) for the storage of plates. (fn. 6) Thenceforward the firm occupied both houses until 1898, when it moved to new printing works in Hollen Street. (fn. 8)

The fronts of both houses have been heightened by the addition of two storeys, with wide segmental-arched windows of warehouse type, and the original brickwork has been stuccoed, with plain deep sill-bands and moulded architraves added to the windows (Plate 112b). Nevertheless, some characteristic early Georgian features survive, such as the plain pilaster-strips marking the party walls, the heavy dentilled cornice finishing the original fronts, and the fenestrationpattern of the original storeys.

The interior of No. 69 has been completely changed, but the fenestration-pattern suggests a plan like that of No. 75 Dean Street. No. 70, despite unsympathetic treatment and partial concealment, retains some original features of interest. Photographs taken before the conversion of the premises into a restaurant show the hall, staircase compartment, and ground-floor rooms lined with deal wainscoting of good quality, consisting of moulded-and-fielded panels in ovolomoulded framing, arranged in two heights and finished with a moulded dado-rail and a box-cornice of generous girth (Plate 111).

In the front room the cornice is highly enriched, the bed-mouldings having a dentil course between a leaf-ornamented cyma and an eggand-dart ovolo. The corona and cymatium are plain, but below the latter is a leaf-ornamented cyma. Between the front and back rooms is a wide opening, apparently an original feature, dressed with square columns having fluted shafts and diagonally-voluted Ionic capitals. These columns support an entablature consisting of a stepped architrave, a pulvinated frieze carved with banded laurel-garland, and the cornice described above. Projecting centrally from the south side of the front room is a wide chimney-breast, having a central face, now altered, between narrow recessed faces. The deep back room ends in a three-sided bay, one splay originally containing a window, the middle face a doorway to the closetwing, and the other splay being formed by the angle chimney-stack, with a typical early Georgian chimneypiece of marble, consisting of panelled jambs and a shaped head, also panelled, with a fluted keystone. In this back room, and in the hall and staircase, the box-cornices have dentils but no carved members. The junction of hall and staircase is marked by the customary pilasters, having fluted shafts and Doric capitals carved with acanthus leaves and egg-and-dart ornament. The opening contained a screen of late Georgian character, with a partly glazed door below an ornamental metal fanlight incorporating a lantern box. The dog-legged staircase has cut strings ornamented with carved bracket step-ends, and moulded handrails resting on column-newels, with plain shafts and leaf-ornamented capitals, and balusters, two to each tread, turned as Doric columns with spirally fluted shafts above bases resembling superimposed urns of different profiles. The unusual and ugly balusters in the flights between the first and second floors have a decidedly Victorian appearance.

The return front of No. 69 bears a tablet, now painted over, inscribed with the name and building-date of Meard Street.


  • 1. R.B.
  • 2. The Universal Director … by Mr. Mortimer, 1763.
  • 3. R.B.; J. H. Cardwell and others, Two Centuries of Soho, 1898, p. 212.
  • 4. Boyle's Court Guide.
  • 5. A Century and a Half in Soho. A Short History of the Firm of Novello, 1961, p. 68.
  • 6. Ibid., p. 76.
  • 7. M.L.R. 1875/7/262.
  • 8. P.O.D.; Cardwell and others, loc. cit.