Soho Square Area: Portland Estate, No. 14 Soho Square

Pages 66-67

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

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No. 14 Soho Square

The early history of the house on this site has been described above with that of No. 12. The first known occupant of No. 14 was a Mr. Munjoy (? Mountjoy) who lived here from at least 1691 to 1692. From 1703, or possibly earlier, to 1709 this and the adjoining house to the east (No. 15) were occupied as one dwelling by Charles Coote, third Earl of Mountrath. Later inhabitants of No. 14 include Sir Henry Bellasis (? Belasyse), 1718–19; Lady Bellasis, 1720–7; Sir William Desse, 1777–8, and J. C. Schwieso, harp manufacturer, 1835–7, who had previously occupied No. 11. (fn. 1)

The ratebooks suggest that the house may have been rebuilt in 1796 for Otto Bichner, tailor, though it is unlikely that this involved the total demolition of Frith's building. (fn. 1) The seventeenth-century floor levels seem to have been retained and also a closet-wing at the rear, though the conventionally planned interior of the house was refitted in the early nineteenth century. There is typical plaster decoration round the ceilings of the main rooms, where the architraves to the door and window openings are finished with lion-head stops but the rest of the joinery, including the open-well staircase, is very plain. No chimneypieces of note survive and many alterations have been made in recent years, particularly the addition of a gabled fourth storey (Plate 71a). The stucco-fronted storey below must, itself, have been an addition at an earlier date and only the first and second floors now preserve any external appearance of age, with the facing brickwork coloured red and dressed with stucco. Iron guards to the second-storey windows and a decorated band above correspond with those shown on Tallis's view of 1839.