Soho Square Area: Portland Estate, No. 15 Soho Square

Pages 67-68

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.


No. 15 Soho Square

This is one of the two surviving original houses in Soho Square (the other being No. 10), and dates from the late 1670's or early 1680's when the square was being first laid out. Its early history has been described above under No. 12. In 1691 the Countess of Mountrath was living here. From 1703, or earlier, to 1709 Nos. 14 and 15 were occupied by her son, Charles Coote, third Earl of Mountrath, but both reverted to separate occupation in 1711. Later inhabitants include Colonel Lucas, 1721–5; Colonel Peter Solegar (Sullenger), 1728–37, who later lived at No. 23; Dr. Conyers, 1755–60; Sir Stephen Janssen, fourth baronet, M.P., Lord Mayor of London, 1766–77; Major Moore, 1777–9, and Dr. Levison, 1779–80. (fn. 1)

No. 15 is the only house in the square which gives any idea of its original internal appearance. The front is the usual three windows wide and is four storeys in height (Plate 71a). The ground storey is now stuccoed but those above are of yellow stock brick with red dressings, the windows having flat gauged arches and the floor levels being marked by moulded brick bands. The top storey is an addition, but the brickwork below may be largely original. The plan (fig. 11) is unremarkable, with a narrow entrance hall leading to a staircase at the back and two rooms and a closet-wing on each main floor—the same plan, basically, as that of No. 14. What survives more or less intact of the original work is the hall and staircase, the ground-floor rear room and a plainer room on the second floor; original joinery remains in an altered state elsewhere. The hall has three-quarter-height panelling with raised mouldings and a slightly pointed archway with panelled jambs and moulded imposts before the staircase compartment. The dog-legged staircase, of ample proportion, has typical heavy moulded strings and handrails with plain square newels and turned vase-shaped balusters (Plate 126a, fig. 12). The one nearly complete room on the ground floor has bolection mouldings to the panelling and to the architrave of the eight-panelled door. There is a heavy box-cornice (which also survives in a number of other rooms), and a corner chimney-breast with a pretty but slight late eighteenth-century chimneypiece; the journey in this room is now stripped of paint. The other main rooms have canvas-lined walls, perhaps over the framing of the original panelling which survives in the dado of the rear room on the first floor. Here is a plain flat early eighteenthcentury marble chimneypiece, and in the front room there is a slightly later one with marble slips to a carved lugged architrave and an added shelf. The front room on the second floor has plain rebated panelling and a very small cornice. The original bolection-moulded chimneypiece survives, now painted, and there is a large raised panel above it.

Figure 11:

No. 15 Soho Square, plans

Figure 12:

No. 15 Soho Square, staircase balustrade