Wardour Street Area: Pulteney Estate

Pages 288-296

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

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Wardour Street Area: Pulteney Estate

The area shown on fig. 72 was part of an estate of sixty acres of land in Westminster which was surrendered by the Abbot and Convent of Abingdon to Henry VIII in 1536. (fn. 4) It was then included by the King, with the rest of St. Giles's Field in which it lay, in the Bailiwick of St. James, and was held by the Poultney (later Pulteney) family from 1590 until 1722 under leases granted by Henry VIII and his successors. (fn. 1)

In 1721 an Act of Parliament enabled the Crown to sell its freehold interest in four parcels of the former Abingdon lands in Soho, and in other properties in St. James's parish, to the trustees of Sir William Pulteney's will. (fn. 5) In February 1721/2 these four parcels were conveyed to the Pulteney trustees. They comprised the sites of the modern Nos. 92–100 (even) Wardour Street; land on the north side of St. Anne's Court extending as far as the backs of the houses in Little Chapel (now Sheraton) Street; the site of the present St. Anne's Buildings on the south side of St. Anne's Court, and the land between Meard Street and Bourchier Street (fn. 6) (see fig. 72).

In 1830 the area of the Crown freehold was further reduced when the freehold of seven small houses on the south side of Little Chapel Street and of three adjoining houses in Wardour Street was conveyed by the Crown to Sir Richard Sutton, who had inherited the Pulteney estate, in part exchange for properties in St. James's. (fn. 7) The rest of the former Abingdon land in Soho has continued in the Crown's ownership and is now vested in the Crown Estate Commissioners.

The interest of the Pulteney family in the area shown on fig. 72 can be traced back to 1590 when Thomas Poultney acquired a sub-lease under the Crown of the former Abingdon lands. These then comprised a number of separate parcels of land, the majority being in what is now the parish of St. James, and this one parcel in Soho. The latter was then a long narrow field of four or five acres flanking the east side of Colman Hedge Lane (now Wardour and Whitcomb Streets). (fn. 8) The field had probably been a medieval enclosure for tillage, taken out of St. Giles's Field, and on a plan of 1585 (Plate 1a) is shown enclosed with a hedge and devoid of all buildings. (fn. 9)

During the succeeding half-century, the Pulteneys sub-let their Soho property to various tenants and a number of small houses, with sheds, cowhouses and stables, were erected there, fronting on to Colman Hedge Lane and the Oxford road. The ground behind these buildings was converted into gardens and orchards. By 1650, when this property was surveyed by the Parliamentary Commissioners enquiring into the extent and value of former Crown lands, there were found to be about sixty-six separate buildings on the close. The majority were described as 'Cottages, Cutts, Shedds or meane habitacons' with mud walls and thatched roofs, though there were a few more substantially built brick houses, four of them three storeys high, tile roofed and with extensive outbuildings. (fn. 10)

The erection of small dwelling houses and cottages on the close continued in the second half of the century. By 1664 there were about 103 houses, (fn. 11) some of which had been built on the sites of former sheds and farm buildings. One such new building was erected between 1667 and 1669 by John Crafts of St. Martin's, labourer. Crafts, who later confessed to 'being altogether illiterate', spent £30 and upwards in building a house 'in the place and roome of the Leantoo' adjoining four houses which he owned on the Pulteney estate in Soho. In return for these improvements, Crafts received from Sir William Pulteney a twenty-year extension to his lease, in December 1669. In 1671, when his title to the five tenements was challenged, it was claimed that Crafts had not built a new house but only 'one Roome more to ye Leaneto'. (fn. 12)

To check the erection of poorly built houses like these, a royal proclamation forbidding unlicensed buildings in 'Wind-Mill Fields, Dog-Fields, and the Fields adjoyning to So-hoe' was issued in April 1671. (fn. 13) In June John Hatfeild, who was then engaged in building three small houses at the upper end of Colman Hedge Lane on leasehold ground purchased from Luke Dent, had to obtain the permission of the Privy Council to continue the work, even though only three days' more work on the tiling was necessary to complete the houses. He was allowed to continue on condition that he observed any directions which the Surveyor General, (Sir) Christopher Wren, might give him. (fn. 14)

Figure 72:

The Pulteney estate, plan. Based on the Ordnance Survey, 1869–74

Despite these official sanctions the gradual development of the Pulteney estate in Soho continued. In about 1680 William Bilson of St. Pancras, carpenter, built four 'good' new houses on the north-east side of Soho (i.e., in the upper portion of the modern Wardour Street) at a cost of £300. They were built on a site formerly occupied by a 'little House' of two rooms and by other adjoining messuages. (fn. 15)

By the end of the seventeenth century the few remaining vacant plots were developed and the orchard and garden ground behind was covered with a number of small blind alleys and courts, some of which still remain (e.g., Flaxman Court and the western portions of St. Anne's Court and Meard Street). (fn. 16)

In 1694 part of the former arable close, being in 'a low boggy place', was still waste land. (fn. 11) There is no sign that Sir William Pulteney, who had held the Crown lease, adopted any scheme of systematic re-development for this portion of his estate. Growth had been haphazard and no attempt was made to integrate it with the new streets laid out immediately to the east in Soho Fields in the 1680's. The estate remained a separate entity and until as late as 1694 none of the small courts leading off Wardour Street appears to have been linked with the other new streets to the east. (fn. 2) This separation ceased when the layout of Little Chapel Street between Wardour Street and Great Chapel Street began in 1694; the western and eastern portions of St. Anne's Court were certainly linked by c. 1710. (fn. 17) The majority of the houses were old and the whole Pulteney property in Soho was valued at only £128 12s. per annum in 1694. (fn. 11) Some twenty-five years later the houses in Wardour Street were described by Strype as being 'very ordinary and ill inhabited'. (fn. 18)

The condition of the estate was gradually improved in the first quarter of the eighteenth century, notably after the passing of the Act of 1721, when the Pulteneys began granting building leases of large blocks of the property for re-development to individual building tradesmen and speculators. These included John Meard, carpenter, who built houses in Meard's Court (now Street) and adjoining properties in Wardour Street in the early 1720's; (fn. 19) Richard Nicholson, of St. James's, carpenter, who rebuilt a number of houses between Little Chapel Street and St. Anne's Court in the same period; (fn. 20) Allen Hollen of St. James's, esquire, who laid out a new street (Hollen Street) in 1715–16; (fn. 21) and Richard Stapler of St. Anne's, coachmaker, who rebuilt houses in Wardour Street, also in the early 1720's. (fn. 22) Other building tradesmen involved in these redevelopments included Robert Scott of St. James's, (fn. 23) Thomas Richmond of St. Giles's, (fn. 24) William Ludby of St. James's, (fn. 25) Joseph Huddlestone of St. Margaret's (fn. 26) and John Atkinson of St. James's, (fn. 27) carpenters; William Greenwood of St. Anne's, (fn. 28) John Curtis of St. Giles's, (fn. 29) John Brown, citizen of London, (fn. 30) William Barber of St. Anne's, (fn. 27) and Richard Thornton of St. James's, (fn. 31) bricklayers; John Evans and Francis Rayer both of St. Giles's, joiners; (fn. 32) and Jonathan Thistleton of St. Giles's (fn. 33) and Henry Burdyn of St. Anne's, (fn. 34) plumbers.

Though the evidence of the ratebooks is inconclusive, major rebuilding on the Pulteney estate in Soho was probably confined to the second and third decades of the eighteenth century. Thereafter there seems to have been little change until the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Since then most of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century houses have been demolished, until today only nine still exist — Nos. 130 and 132 Wardour Street and Nos. 9–21 (odd) Meard Street. The great majority of the small individual sites have been amalgamated to allow for the erection of large shop, office and warehouse blocks. (fn. 35)

Oxford Street

The portion of the Pulteney estate in Soho which abuts upon Oxford Street comprises the sites of the modern Nos. 105–125 (odd). No buildings are shown on this part of Oxford Street in the plan of 1585 (Plate 1a) but by 1650 the frontage to the Oxford road was lined with small houses and outbuildings, (fn. 10) of which one was probably an inn, known in 1715 as the Mitre. (fn. 36) Some rebuilding appears to have taken place here during the first quarter of the eighteenth century. Allen Hollen of St. James's, esquire (who also laid out Hollen Street in 1715–16) and Mark Hooper of St. Anne's, gentleman, were probably responsible for these developments. (fn. 37) William Ludby, carpenter, who built four houses in another part of the Pulteney estate in Great Pulteney Street in 1719–20, was also involved in some of this work. (fn. 38) At the same time a small court, known as Allen's Court, was laid out behind the new houses. (fn. 16) These buildings probably remained standing until the late nineteenth century when they were demolished to make way for the present buildings.

Nos. 105–109 (odd) Oxford Street

This building was erected in 1887–8 (fn. 35) as a shop and factory for Henry Heath, hatter. The architects were Messrs. Christopher and White and the builders Peto Brothers.

The building has a front of tawny-coloured unglazed terra-cotta, the design being a lively composition in the early French Renaissance style, freely treated. A plain modern shop front has replaced the more elaborate original, and its fascia now conceals the charming bas-relief frieze representing the processes of hat-making, modelled by Benjamin Creswick, a protégé of Ruskin. Although asymmetrical, the upper part of the front is balanced about the central feature which is two bays wide and four storeys high. The second-floor windows are bowed and those above are paired in arches, their lunettes decorated with medallion portraits of George IV and Queen Victoria. Above the three narrow arched windows of the fourth floor rises a gable, scroll-sided and finished with an incurved triangular pediment. The faces flanking the central feature are both four windows wide, but pilaster-strips divide the left face into two equal bays, and the west face into three bays, the middle one being two windows wide. There are three tiers of windows, the top tier having arched heads, and over the wide west bay rises a pedimented dormer gable. Both the large and small gables are decorated with finials in the form of beavers, realistically modelled by Creswick. (fn. 39)

Nos. 111–125 (odd) Oxford Street

This long range of shops and offices was erected in 1885–8, probably to the designs of Professor Banister Fletcher, (fn. 40) whose two sons, (Sir) Banister Flight Fletcher and Herbert Phillips Fletcher, were associated with him in his professional practice. (fn. 41) The building has a florid Renaissance front, built of red brick and stone, four storeys high and ten bays wide. The shop fronts and first-floor windows are set within arches, and bay windows give variety to the third storey. The arch between Nos. 117 and 121 is open and forms a passage leading to the court of Dryden Chambers, a block of U-shaped plan, four storeys high, which was designed by (Sir) Banister Flight Fletcher. (fn. 42) This rear building was not occupied until 1895. (fn. 35) The plain exterior of yellow brick with red dressings is relieved by the paired bay windows projecting from the east and south ranges, and by the wide bow ending the north range. The entrances in the north-east and south-east angles are sheltered by Ionic porches.

Wardour Street

The boundary of the parishes of St. James and St. Anne extended along the centre of Wardour Street and only the eastern side is within the area included in the present volumes. The western side was described in Survey of London, volume XXXI. On the east side all the land between Oxford Street and Bourchier Street formed part of the Pulteney estate, and is described in this chapter. Southwards from Bourchier Street the east side of Wardour Street was bordered by the Portland estate, the parish church, churchyard and glebe land (Chapter X), the Military Ground (Chapter XVI) and the Leicester estate (Chapters XVII–XXI). The boundaries of these estates are shown on fig. 1 on page 21.

Wardour and Whitcomb Streets are marked on the plan of 1585 (Plate 1a) as a highway leading from the Uxbridge road (now Oxford Street) to the Mews (formerly on the site of the National Gallery). Wardour Street is there called 'Colmanhedge lane', but from the middle of the seventeenth century part of it was called Soho, or Soho Street. Rocque's map of 1746 (Plate 4) marks the centre stretch between Meard and Old Compton Streets as 'Old Soho'. The origin of the name Soho is discussed on page 25. By the 1680's the northern part of the street was known as Wardour Street (from Edward Wardour, who owned land on the west side), and the southern part had become Princes Street, evidently in honour of Prince Rupert, after whom the adjoining street to the west, Rupert Street, had been named. In 1878 the name Wardour Street was extended to include Princes Street, and the whole length of Colman Hedge Lane from Coventry Street to Oxford Street became known by its present name.

Ogilby and Morgan's map (Plate 2) shows that most of the ground on the east side of the street to the north of Milk Alley (now Bourchier Street) had been built upon by 1681–2. The majority of these seventeenth-century houses seem to have been rebuilt in the first quarter of the eighteenth century under building leases from the Pulteney family. Most of these later buildings probably remained standing until the second half of the nineteenth century, by which date many were occupied by antique dealers, furniture-makers and brokers, (fn. 43) through whose activities the term 'Wardour Street' came to denote, before the advent of the film industry, furniture of questionable antiquity.

By 1910 most of the houses had been demolished and their sites amalgamated with others, to allow for the erection of the large shop, office and warehouse buildings now lining the east side of the street.

Nos. 68 and 70 Wardour Street

This building was erected in 1885–6 for a firm of printers and publishers; (fn. 35) the architect was A. F. Wells. (fn. 44) The five-storeyed front is an interesting example of late nineteenth-century industrial architecture (Plate 135d). The ground storey has a central entrance flanked by shop fronts with stallboards of elaborate cast-iron grilles. The first, second and third floors are treated as a curtain wall bounded by plain piers of red brick, each storey containing a range of five small-paned windows divided by cast-iron mullions, these extending through the brick aprons. The middle window in each storey is narrower than the others, and is emphasized by an arched transom. Above the simple cornice of brick and stone is an attic storey of five windows, also divided by cast-iron mullions.

Nos. 76–88 (even) Wardour Street

This building was erected in 1906–8 (fn. 43) to the designs of William Woodward, (fn. 45) and is one of the least meretricious buildings in Wardour Street, generally a rather tawdry thoroughfare (Plate 136c). The ground storey consists merely of a series of shop fronts and doorways, divided by piers of polished red granite, but the upper face is designed as a series of twelve tall arches, arranged in groups of three and constructed of Mansfield stone. Each arch contains three superimposed mullioned-and-transomed windows of three lights. The arches have boldly moulded reveals and the stone aprons between the windows are decorated with sunk panels flanking bosses of circular or lozenge form. The front is finished with a boldly profiled cornice, carried round the curved corner which has three small windows to each storey and is surmounted by a low dome. The return front to Meard Street has six arches in its upper face.

Nos. 130 and 132 Wardour Street

These two much altered houses were probably built by 1703. (fn. 16) In February 1731/2 both houses were leased by William Pulteney to Jacob Blagney of St. Anne's, esquire, for twenty-one years. (fn. 46)

No. 132 now has a mid-Georgian front of the simplest type, the upper face of stock brick containing two tiers of two windows set in plain openings with flat arches of gauged red brickwork. The front of No. 130 was similar but has been crudely rebuilt.

Nos. 152–160 (even) Wardour Street

This building (Plate 137) was erected in 1906 by Novello and Company to provide the publishing side of their business with office accommodation immediately adjoining the printing and bookbinding works which they had erected some eight years previously on a large site fronting Hollen Street on the north and Little Chapel (now Sheraton) Street on the south (Plate 136d). The architect of both buildings was Frank Loughborough Pearson.

The firm had been founded by Vincent Novello who in 1811 began publishing music from his house at No. 240 Oxford Street. In 1829 the family moved to Soho and Vincent's son, Joseph, continued to publish music from No. 67 Frith Street. The family and business moved again in 1834 to No. 69 Dean Street, where they began in 1847 to print their own publications. Joseph Novello sold the business in 1866 and in the following year the firm moved to No. 1 Berners Street, though in 1871 the printing department returned to No. 69 Dean Street. Subsequently additional premises were taken in Southwark for the bookbinding department. In 1898 the printing department in Dean Street and the bindery in Southwark were both moved to the new works (referred to above) between Hollen and Little Chapel Streets. (fn. 47) The firm vacated all the premises in 1965; the publishing office is now at No. 27 Soho Square.

The handsome premises fronting to Wardour Street have the appearance of a civic building or a guildhall. In fact, the general design of the exterior seems clearly to have been modelled on the German Renaissance Rathaus at Bremen, although the details are derived from Elizabethan sources. Built in a fine red brick and lavishly dressed with stone, the front is composed of a wide and prominent central block flanked by narrow recessed wings. The ground storey of the central block is of stone and forms an arcade of five bays, the simply moulded elliptical arches dying into plain piers at either end, and resting on plain-shafted Ionic columns between the bays. Each arch frames a three-light display window, having small panes above the transom. The plain keystones of the arches merge into a bandcourse which is surmounted by a balustrade, divided by panelled dies. The slightly recessed upper face of one lofty storey is of red brick, bounded by flush quoins of stone in long and short courses. Stone is also used for the five tall windows, each of them divided by moulded mullions and a transom into two tiers of three lights, furnished with smallpaned leaded casements. The windows are framed with narrow moulded architraves and finished with low pediments, alternately segmental and triangular. A rich entablature provides an effective finish to this stage, the cornice resting on foliated scroll-consoles rising through the frieze which is decorated with raised vermiculated panels. The attic storey is recessed and divided into five bays by inverted scroll-consoles, rising to support projections of the narrow cornice-coping.

The south end wing has a ground storey of two arcaded bays, matching those in the central block, and the recessed upper face contains two tiers of two windows, each divided by a mullion and a transom into four lights. This treatment is repeated in the return frontage to Sheraton Street, where the ground-storey arcade is of simpler design in brick with stone mouldings. The slated roof of this wing is enlivened with a series of segmental-pedimented dormers. The north end wing contains the main entrance to the building and is accorded a more elaborate treatment. The doorway, flanked by small windows, is recessed within a porch, divided into three bays by plainshafted Ionic columns. These rest on pedestals and support an entablature that is returned and splayed back across the narrow side bays, and omitted from the arched middle bay, where an enriched console keystone projects to support a balustraded balcony of segmental plan, flanked by half scroll-pediments over the side bays. Above the porch, and set against a concave face of channel-jointed stonework, rises a splay-sided bay window having single lights on either side of the three-light centre. This bay window is dressed with fluted Composite pilasters and an enriched entablature, surmounted by a semi-circular pediment flanked by squat obelisks. The entablature frieze is carved with foliage scrolls entwined about the name NOVELLO, and the pediment tympanum is decorated with a fan-like arrangement of raised and sunk mouldings. In the recessed face above the bay are two second-floor windows identical with those in the south end wing.

The building contains a well-arranged sequence of interiors, richly decorated in a skilful pastiche of the Caroline Renaissance style. The entrance lobby is panelled in plaster to imitate painted wood, and a rectangular opening, dressed with a cartouche and flanked by trusses with pendants of shells, fruits and flowers, leads to the open-well staircase. This is closely modelled on the stair at Ashburnham House, Westminster, the principal storey being dressed with an Ionic order. The compartmented flat ceiling opens to a circular lantern, with small-scaled Ionic columns supporting a saucer dome. At the head of the stairs is a double screen of Ionic columns, three bays wide, opening to an ante-room decorated in similar style to the entrance lobby. Until recently, the bay window of the ante-room contained Roubiliac's marble statue of Handel, originally in Vauxhall Gardens and now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Beyond the ante-room is the main hall, five bays long and three bays wide, rising for the height of two normal storeys. Oak panelling lines the walls, the bay divisions being marked by fluted Corinthian pilasters, rising from panelled pedestals to support a full entablature which is broken by the eared and scroll-surmounted heads of the five great windows in the west wall. In the middle bay of each end wall is a wide segmental-headed doorway, dressed with fluted Corinthian columns and a segmental pediment, broken to receive a bust, and in each side bay projects a glazed bookcase, finished with a pediment, its cornice rising in concave curves to a flat top crowned with an urn. The east wall contains the fireplace, furnished with a handsome marble chimneypiece and an overmantel of carved oak, set in a recess below a balustraded gallery that rests on Corinthian columns matching with those of the doorcases. The walls are finished with a panelled frieze and a modillioned cornice of plaster, surrounding a flat ceiling divided by panelled beams into square compartments that correspond to the bay spacing of the walls. Two handsome brass chandeliers with three tiers of branches are suspended from the ceiling.

Hollen Street

This street was laid out in 1715–16 by Allen Hollen of St. James's, esquire. The four end houses at the corner of the new street and Great Chapel Street were built on the Portland estate under building leases from the second Duke of Portland. The two sites on the north side of the new street were granted to Robert Daniel of St. Anne's, gentleman, in September 1717 and the two on the south side to Edmund Stovel of St. Marylebone, carpenter, in January 1716/17. (fn. 48)

The rest of the street was laid out on part of the Pulteney estate, some of which, at least, had been purchased by Allen Hollen in December 1714 from the representatives of Richard Gresham, a deceased wine cooper of St. Paul's, Covent Garden. The land, formerly a garden, had probably been sub-leased to Gresham by Sir William Pulteney for a long term in the early 1690's. (fn. 36) In its early years, Hollen Street was also known as Gresham Street. (fn. 49)

Building there probably began in 1716, though all the houses do not seem to have been completed and occupied until 1724. (fn. 16) John Curtis of St. Giles's, bricklayer, was responsible for the erection of the majority of the houses built on the Pulteney portion of the street. (fn. 50)

The houses built at this time have all been demolished.

Sheraton Street

Until 1937 this street was called Little Chapel Street; this name commemorated the Huguenot chapel which formerly stood on the north side of the street. The present name commemorates Thomas Sheraton, the celebrated furnituredesigner, who occupied near-by houses on the west side of Wardour Street—No. 163 (then No. 106) from 1793 to 1795, and a house on part of the site of the present No. 147, from 1798 to 1800. (fn. 51)

Little Chapel Street was laid out in 1694 or shortly afterwards, probably by John Brome (Broome), citizen and haberdasher of London. In June 1694 Brome leased a plot on the north side of the street to Samuel Mettayer for the erection of a chapel, (fn. 52) (fn. 3) and in May 1700 John Poultney granted Brome a seventy-one-year lease of a large parcel of ground in and adjoining Little Chapel Street, including the site of the chapel. (fn. 53) This lease was probably a renewal or extension of a leasehold interest already held by Brome.

The chapel attracted Huguenot residents to the street and as late as 1750 nine out of the fifteen ratepayers had names of French origin. (fn. 16) In the mid eighteenth century a number of the inhabitants seem to have been associated with the decorative arts and crafts and from 1757 to 1766 a house on the north side of the street was occupied by Peter Charles Canot, a French engraver of landscapes and seascapes. (fn. 54) In the nineteenth century many of the inhabitants seem to have been craftsmen associated with the furniture trade, and probably worked for the furniture brokers in Wardour Street. (fn. 43)

No original buildings survive. The northern side of the street is mainly occupied by the premises formerly used by Novello and Company.

La Petite Patente French Chapel, Little Chapel Street


On 5 September 1688 James II issued letters patent incorporating a body of ten French ministers and granting them a licence to establish one or more churches for the Huguenot refugees in the City and suburbs. (fn. 55) Two churches, both known as 'La Patente', were established by the ministers, one in Spitalfields (fn. 56) and the other in Berwick Street in the parish of St. James, Westminster. (fn. 57) In 1694 part of the congregation of the latter removed to Little Chapel Street in the parish of St. Anne, and became known as La Petite or La Nouvelle Patente, while the remainder of the congregation in Berwick Street became known as L'Ancienne or La Vieille Patente. (fn. 57)

On 13 June 1694 John Brome (or Broome), citizen and haberdasher of London, leased a plot of land on the north side of Little Chapel Street to Samuel Mettayer, one of the French ministers, in trust for the new congregation. The lease, which was for thirty years, provided that Mettayer should spend £200 in good and substantial building before 25 December 1694. Lady Eleanour Hollis (or Holles), 'out of her pious disposicion and Charity', gave £300 towards the cost of the chapel, (fn. 52) and a further sum was raised by the ministers and congregation for the erection of galleries, pews and a vestry. (fn. 58) The chapel, a simple rectangular building with the vestry room behind, was later described as 'ill constructed': the floor was damp and two steps below the level of the street. (fn. 59)

At some time before 1726 Brome renewed the lease of the chapel to Peter Joumard, buttonmaker of St. Martin in the Fields, and Stephen Anthony Gendron, described as distiller of St. Anne's and gentleman of Spitalfields, probably in trust. (fn. 60) In 1784 the congregation merged with that of Les Grecs-La Savoie, which survived, latterly as the French Episcopal Church, in Shaftesbury Avenue, until c. 1925. (fn. 61)

For a period after 1784 the chapel was used by the Methodists, (fn. 62) but in 1796 a lease of the building was taken by a part of Dr. John Trotter's Scots Presbyterian congregation from Swallow Street. (fn. 63) These dissidents 'separated from Swallow-street in consequence of a dispute between the Doctor and his assistant, Mr. Thomas Stollerie, who formed the malcontents into a separate church upon the independent plan of discipline'. (fn. 62)

By 1822, when the Crown lease to the Pulteney family expired, the chapel was in a bad state, and the trustees of the congregation wished to build a new chapel with a school-room for poor children. In 1824 the Commissioners of Woods and Forests granted them a new lease for seventy years, (fn. 59) and rebuilding was completed by the end of the year. (fn. 16)

The new chapel (Plate 25a) was perhaps designed either by Samuel Beazley, the theatre architect, who lived near-by at No. 29 Soho Square from 1826 to 1851, or by his uncle, Charles Beazley, who designed the Presbyterian chapel in Jewin Street in 1808. (fn. 64) In 1838 the congregation applied to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests for a reduction of rent, and this request was supported by Samuel Beazley. The petitioners stated that they had spent over £4,000 on the new chapel, and that in their efforts to 'ameliorate the wretchedness social and moral abounding in the Neighbourhood', they had provided a Sunday school for 150 poor children whose parents could not afford day schools. They had accommodation for a day school which they hoped to run on 'comprehensive principles', but were too poor to establish the school. (fn. 65) The result of the application is not known.

The Presbyterians continued to use the chapel, which by 1850 had become known as the Wardour Chapel, until 1889, when it was taken over by the Wesleyan West Central London Mission. The Wesleyans remained until about 1894, when the building was demolished to make way for Novello's printing works. (fn. 66)

The chapel had a simple and dignified front of brick, dressed with stone or cement. It was two storeys high and five windows wide, the middle three contained in a projecting face. In the ground storey were three segmental-headed windows, with moulded architraves, placed between and flanking the two doorways, each finished with a moulded architrave, plain frieze, and a cornice resting on consoles. A plain bandcourse underlined the first-floor windows, their tall round-headed openings framed with unbroken moulded architraves. The front was finished with a simply moulded entablature, and a triangular pediment with a brick tympanum surmounted the central feature.

St. Anne's Court: western range

The eastern portion of St. Anne's Court, built in Soho Fields, was in existence, as a court off Dean Street, in c. 1690 when it already bore its present name; (fn. 67) it is described on page 142. The western portion was built on the Pulteney estate, probably at about the same time, as a small court leading out of Wardour Street. The two portions were perhaps unconnected in 1694, (fn. 11) but had been joined by c. 1710. (fn. 17) The twist in the middle of the court is a relic of this uncoordinated development and marks what was once the boundary between the two estates.

Strype described St. Anne's Court in 1720 as 'pretty well built and inhabited, with a Freestone Pavement' (fn. 68) and even as late as the mid nineteenth century The Builder considered that 'This court and place are not what may be considered dilapidated'. The drainage was, however, very defective, and an outbreak of cholera occurred here in September 1854. (fn. 69) It was probably as a consequence of this epidemic that four old houses on the south side of the court were demolished in 1863–4 to be replaced by a block of 'model lodging Houses' known as St. Anne's Buildings and still existing. At the end of the century St. Anne's Court was described as being 'crowded with Jews'. (fn. 70)

St. Anne's Buildings

This block of artisans' dwellings was erected in 1864–5 to the designs of William Burges (fn. 71) on ground leased from the Sutton estate to L. M. Rate. (fn. 72) Originally there was a school-room on the ground floor.

Although Charles Eastlake, writing in 1872, (fn. 71) admired the design, Burges's small range of model dwellings now seems as grim-visaged as any building of its type and period, altogether lacking the touch of romantic fantasy that generally enlivens his domestic work (Plate 117d). The fourstoreyed front is of yellow stock bricks, with boldly projecting courses forming imposts and sill-bands for the windows. These are set, with tympana of herring-bone brickwork, in wide pointed arches of gauged brick forming red and yellow voussoirs alternately. At the east end of the front are five closely spaced windows, and at the west end are three set at wide intervals. In the fourth storey the windows have straight arches of brick on stone kneelers. A parapet projecting on a corbelling of diagonally laid bricks finishes the front.

Meard Street

The western portion of this street was built on the Pulteney estate, but its development is described in the chapter on the Pitt estate (page 238), upon which the eastern portion of the street was built.

Bourchier Street

The western part of this street, formerly known for many years as Milk Alley and from 1838 to 1937 as Little Dean Street, formed the boundary between the Pulteney estate on the north and Soho Fields on the south. The street is described on pages 141–2.


  • 1. See Survey of London, volume XXIX, 1960, page 27; volume XXXI, 1963, pages 28–9.
  • 2. In 1694 the Pulteney estate was said by the Surveyor General of Crown Lands to have no communication eastward but the recital of a lease of 1690 of a site in the eastern part of St. Anne's Court, on the Portland estate, mentions a right of passage into Wardour Street as if communication between the two estates existed at the time of the lease.
  • 3. There is evidence that the erection of a chapel was contemplated in 1691 (see page 150).
  • 4. 28 Henry VIII, c. 42 (House of Lords Act no. 48).
  • 5. 7 Geo. I, c. 15, private (House of Lords Act no. 34).
  • 6. P.R.O., LR1/283, ff. 1–8.
  • 7. C.E.O., London lease book 38, pp. 292–314; Survey of London, vol. XXIX, 1960, p. 28.
  • 8. Kingsford, p. 143; P.R.O., CREST 6/18, pp. 201–3.
  • 9. P.R.O., MPB1.
  • 10. Ibid., E317/Midd. 39.
  • 11. Ibid., CREST 6/18, pp. 201–3.
  • 12. Ibid., C5/467/90.
  • 13. Survey of London, vol. XXXI, 1963, p. 7.
  • 14. R.B.; P.R.O., PC2/63, p. 40.
  • 15. P.R.O., C10/511/3.
  • 16. R.B.
  • 17. B.M., Crace Maps, Portfolio XIII.
  • 18. John Strype, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, 1720, vol. II, bk. VI, p. 87.
  • 19. M.L.R. 1730/3/15–21.
  • 20. Ibid., 1722/5/25–9.
  • 21. Ibid., 1716/1/190–1; 1717/2/23; 1717/6/122.
  • 22. Ibid., 1723/3/202.
  • 23. Ibid., 1716/1/202.
  • 24. Ibid., 1716/1/202; 1716/2/161; 1718/3/103.
  • 25. Ibid., 1715/4/39.
  • 26. Ibid., 1716/3/128.
  • 27. Ibid., 1723/1/72.
  • 28. Ibid., 1716/3/96.
  • 29. Ibid., 1716/1/190–1.
  • 30. Ibid, 1717/5/169.
  • 31. Ibid., 1718/3/108.
  • 32. Ibid., 1717/2/23.
  • 33. Ibid., 1716/1/104.
  • 34. Ibid., 1718/3/82.
  • 35. R.B.; P.O.D.
  • 36. M.L.R. 1715/4/37.
  • 37. Ibid., 1717/6/122; 1729/1/52; 1730/3/194.
  • 38. Ibid., 1730/3/194; Survey of London, vol. XXXI, 1963, pp. 130–1.
  • 39. The Builder, 20 Aug. 1887, p. 282; J. H. Cardwell and others, Two Centuries of Soho, 1898, pp. 200–3.
  • 40. M.B.W. 1763; P.O.D.
  • 41. D.N.B.
  • 42. W. Hanneford-Smith, The Architectural Work of Sir Banister Fletcher, 1934, p. 10.
  • 43. P.O.D.
  • 44. M.B.W. Minutes, 15 May 1885, p. 901.
  • 45. P.R.O., LRRO1/2661.
  • 46. M.L.R. 1731/5/518.
  • 47. A Century and a Half in Soho, 1961, pp. 6–7, 16, 19, 28, 68, 76.
  • 48. University of Nottingham, Portland MSS., Soho lease book.
  • 49. M.L.R. 1734/5/196.
  • 50. Ibid., 1716/1/190–1; 1716/2/157–8.
  • 51. Survey of London, vol. XXXI, 1963, p. 241.
  • 52. P.R.O., C7/123/1.
  • 53. M.L.R. 1726/3/151; 1746/2/291.
  • 54. R.B.; The Universal Director . . . by Mr. Mortimer, 1763; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers.
  • 55. P.R.O., C66/3306, no. 3; see also Pubs. Hug. Soc., vol. XI, 1898, pp. i–iii, where there is a transcript of the patent.
  • 56. Survey of London, vol. XXVII, 1957, p. 143.
  • 57. Ibid., vol. XXXI, 1963, pp. 225–6.
  • 58. P.R.O., C10/326/21.
  • 59. Ibid., CREST 6/140, pp. 59–64.
  • 60. M.L.R. 1726/3/151; 1746/2/291; Pubs. Hug. Soc., vol. III, 1892, p. 578.
  • 61. Pubs. Hug. Soc., vol. III, 1892, p. 577; ibid., vol. XLV, 1956, p. xiii; P.O.D.
  • 62. Walter Wilson, The History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches and Meeting Houses in London, vol. IV, 1814, p. 31.
  • 63. Survey of London, vol. XXXI, 1963, pp. 63–4.
  • 64. P.R.6., CREST 2/840; Colvin.
  • 65. P.R.O., CREST 2/840.
  • 66. J. H. Cardwell and others, Two Centuries of Soho, 1898, p. 212; P.O.D.
  • 67. P.R.O., C5/181/54; C5/358/58; C8/359/21.
  • 68. John Strype, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, 1720, vol. II, bk. VI, p. 86.
  • 69. The Builder, 9 Sept. 1854, p. 473.
  • 70. Saint Anne's Soho Monthly Paper, no. 105, vol. IX, Nov. 1899, p. 288.
  • 71. Charles L. Eastlake, A History of the Gothic Revival, 1872, pp. 410–11.
  • 72. Deeds in the custody of Sir Richard Sutton Settled Estates.
  • 73. P.R.O., C8/359/21.