Bradshaw’s Hand Book, Sixth Day, The West, Berkeley, Grosvenor, & Portman Squares (no.32)

Mr Bradshaw accompanied me to London this afternoon for the first time since mid-September – I have missed him and today felt almost like a secret assignation. I set off rather nervously with my new camera.

The junction between Old and New Bond Street
The junction between Old and New Bond Street

Mr Bradshaw launched himself: ‘It will not be uninteresting to mention that this large district, that for years has constituted the most fashionable haunt of the titled and the wealthy was, not more than a century and a half ago, the most filthy and repulsive in the metropolis’! Change must have been very rapid because in 1700 Bond Street ended at Clifford Street, and the houses below were built in Clifford Street c.1719

Nos.8 & 9 Clifford Street
Nos.8 & 9 Clifford Street

Clifford Street was on Lord Burlington’s estate and named after his great-grandmother, Elizabeth Clifford. The interior of no.8 was mainly burnt out in 1988, which is a great loss as it must have been stunning, with paintings probably by Sir James Thornhill.

No.8 Clifford Street, the landing
No.8 Clifford Street, the landing
No.8 Clifford Street, staircase
No.8 Clifford Street, staircase

Old Bond Street was developed by Sir Thomas Bond in the 1680s and development stopped at Clifford Street.  (Interesting post on Old Bond Street here.) To the north were open fields which supplied water to this part of London, Conduit Mead (now New Bond Street) – Conduit Street was named for the same reason. The Great Conduit, built in 1236, funnelled water to the City, and the City of London acquired the land, the Conduit Mead Estate, in the 15C to safeguard the water supply to the City. (This post says other.) It was this estate which was developed during a building boom in the 1700s.

Bruton Lane is curiously winding on the map, inviting me walk this way, through Berkeley Square to Grosvenor Square. I also noticed the curves in Marylebone Lane, slightly further north, and of course this was and still is the course of the Tyburn River. (There are many fascinating posts and an excellent book on this and other ‘lost’ rivers in London.) I also found a curious sight:

Bruton Lane
Bruton Lane
Bruton Lane
Bruton Lane

And in Berkeley Square, clear signs of autumn

Autumn cyclamens in Berkeley Square
Autumn cyclamens in Berkeley Square

Grosvenor Square lies to the west of this area, and was developed at the same time as Hanover Square, 1715. Mr Bradshaw feels the squares in this area ‘..seem to have the stamp of the last century indelibly impressed upon them..’. (Interesting post here.) I found Grosvenor Square somewhat characterless, despite its strong American associations, and did not find evidence of Mr Bradshaw’s comments – perhaps I need to revisit.

Grosvenor Square, 1800
Grosvenor Square, 1800

Grosvenor Square is the second largest square in London. ‘.. The average cost of homes originally built there was the amazing sum of 7,500 pounds–at a time when a time when a farm laborer received less than 40 pence, there are 240 pence per pound, per day during the high demand harvest season…’. These were new residential areas in London, mainly developed by wealthy landowners (mainly the aristocracy), for the wealthy.

Dwight D Eisenhower outside the American Embassy, Grosvenor Square
Dwight D Eisenhower outside the American Embassy, Grosvenor Square
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Grosvenor Square
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Grosvenor Square
The Memorial to the Eagle Squadrons
The Memorial to the Eagle Squadrons

The Eagle Squadrons ‘..were three fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force (RAF), formed with volunteer pilots from the United States during the early days of World War II(circa 1940), prior to America’s entry into the war in December 1941.’

I felt Portman Square was quite different – atmospheric, private, and therefore locked. Building of the Square started in 1764 on land belonging to Henry William Portman, a property developer.(The Portman Estate site lists maps showing the progressive development of the area, and giving more background.)

Portman Square, 1813
Portman Square, 1813
Portman Square today
Portman Square, the houses on the left of the above print today

No.20 Portman Square, Home House, (with the portico) was the original Courtauld Institute. It was built 1773-77 by Robert Adam for Elizabeth, Countess of Home. Montagu House was destroyed in WWII, the home of the intriguing Mrs Elizabeth Montagu.

Entry to Portman Square
Entry to Portman Square gardens
Portman Square garden
Portman Square garden

From here I walked up the squiggle of Marylebone Lane, the course of the Tyburn River. A church and the river named this area. The first church, St John the Evangelist, was built c.1200, in the village of Tybourn. In c.1400 the second church was built further along the river and named St Mary-by-the-Bourne (which eventually became Marylebone.) It was rebuilt 1741, and demolished in 1949. (Images of the second and third churches here.) And the current church is on the Marylebone Road. (This area is now owned by the Howard de Walden Estates, who give a brief history here, and further details here.)

The curves of Marylebone Lane - the course of the Tyburn River
The curves of Marylebone Lane – the course of the Tyburn River
Marylebone Lane
Marylebone Lane – the old
Marylebone Lane - the new
Marylebone Lane – the new
The site of the second Church of St Mary in Marylebone
The site of the third Church of St Mary in Marylebone

IMG_0165

It curious that Mr Bradshaw does not mention it; numerous interesting or remarkable people were associated with the church. Just round the corner is the current (fourth) parish church of Marylebone, completed in 1817.

The Church of St Mary, the parish church of Marylebone
The Church of St Mary, the parish church of Marylebone

IMG_0173, no.2

???????????????????????????????IMG_0176

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Exhibition ‘..should not be overlooked..’. Well, I regret that I did not visit on this occasion. (History here.) The show was originally positioned in The Baker Street Bazaar, bombed in WWII, and now Michael House. The Baker Street Bazaar also staged a very popular annual Christmas Cattle Show, and had an ice rink – now repeated in the Christmas ice rinks all over London!

Druce's Depository in Baker Street
Druce’s Depository in Baker Street

I then wandered through residential streets: ‘..To the west[of Portland Place] are some of the finest and most aristocratically inhabited streets in the metropolis, but presenting nothing deserving especial mention..’. Chandos House in Queen Anne Street, designed by Robert Adam and with an illustrious history. It is quite splendid inside, built from stone quarried at Adam’s own quarry near Edinburgh.

Chandos House, in Queen Anne Street
Chandos House, in Queen Anne Street
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived at no.2 Devonshire Place
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived at no.2 Wimpole Street
Residential housing in Devonshire Street
Residential housing in Devonshire Street

Portland Place remains a wide, elegant boulevard, but I couldn’t find the statue of the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria’s father. There were instead memorials to Lister and General Sikorski.

The Royal Institute of British Architects
The Royal Institute of British Architects
Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister
General Sikorski in Portland Place
General Sikorski in Portland Place

At the curve in the road is ‘..At the end of Langham Place is All Souls’ Church, built by John Nash in 1823 to take advantage of the curve in the newly designed Regent Street.

All Souls Langham Place, c.1830?
All Souls Langham Place, c.1830?
All Souls Landham Place
All Souls Langham Place today

In Upper Regent Street I would have found The Polytechnic Institution, first opened in 1838, and an exhibition hall for machinery, inventions, and pictures. There are also two theatres. The Institution was founded by Quintin Hogg, who lived in Cavendish Square and is commemorated in a statue in Portland Place.

Polytechnic Institution, Regent Street, 1838
Polytechnic Institution, Regent Street, 1838
Statue commemorating Quintin Hogg in Portland Place
Statue commemorating Quintin Hogg in Portland Place
Quintin Hogg's home in Cavendish Square
Quintin Hogg’s home in Cavendish Square

???????????????????????????????

You may be interested in –

Gaslights of London

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s