Somerset House, Park Lane

Large house in/near Queen’s Park, existed between the 1770s and 1915

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Large house · * · W1C ·
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2017

Somerset House was an 18th-century town house on the east side of Park Lane, where it meets Oxford Street, in the Mayfair area of London. It was also known as 40 Park Lane, although a renumbering means that the site is now called 140 Park Lane.

The house was built between 1769 and 1770 for John Bateman, 2nd Viscount Bateman and was designed by the master carpenter John Phillips, who was the "undertaker" for the whole north-west corner of the Grosvenor estate.

The new house was built with one side facing Park Lane, the main entrance being from a courtyard which continued the line of Hereford Street. It had four storeys above ground, with bay windows extending through the floors. One bay faced Park Lane, and two more faced the garden, which ran down to North Row. Although all surviving pictures of the house show it cased in stucco, at the outset the facades may have been bare brick, with the windows dressed in Portland stone. On the ground floor, the entrance hall was paved in Portland stone and leading from it were the dining room, the drawing room and a dressing room. The staircase rose from the hall, with stone steps and iron railings, to the second floor, which had three principal rooms, including Lady Bateman’s bedroom and her dressing-room. Of the chimneypieces in the main rooms, some cost £25 each, others £50.

At the northern end of the courtyard, where it met Oxford Street, there was a stable building, and under it with the kitchen, connected to the house by an underground passage from basement to basement.

In 1789 Bateman sold the house to Warren Hastings, a former Governor-General of India, for about £8,000, of which half was paid at once, with Hastings moving in during November 1789. This was shortly after he had been impeached, and he used the house as his London home throughout several years of a long trial which led to his acquittal in 1795. In 1797 he sold the house at auction, when it was bought by the third Earl of Rosebery for £9,450. Rosebery was offered the pictures on the walls but declined them, and Hastings later noted in his diary that they were "sold at Christie’s for nothing".

Little is known of Lord Rosebery’s eleven years of occupation. In 1808 the house was sold to the eleventh Duke of Somerset (1775-1855), when it was described as "a very good one".

The 11th Duke renamed the house "Somerset House", which Sir John Colville later called "a shade presumptuous of him, for there was another more splendid establishment bearing the name..." The house thus became the third ’Somerset House’ in London.

The Duke negotiated unsuccessfully with his neighbour Lord Grenville, who lived at Camelford House, Park Lane, as he wished to add to his new house, but enlarging it to the south would have detracted from Camelford, so in 1810 Somerset approached the second Earl Grosvenor about building in the courtyard between the house and the stables. However, there was doubt about the status of the yard, and Grosvenor thought the extension would darken Hereford Street.

In 1813 the Duke wrote to his brother, Lord Webb John Seymour, about his wife: "Charlotte is as busy as a bee upon a bank of thyme. Furnishing her house has been one occupation, and she has the fashionable predilection for old things". In 1819 the Duke again thought of building on his garden, and after negotiations with Grenville and Grosvenor a short two-storey extension close to the windows of the library at Camelford House was built, and in 1821 or 1822 a single-storey entrance corridor was added on the north side.

The Duke’s first duchess died at Somerset House in 1827, and he himself died there in 1855. After that, his second wife remained at the house until she died in 1880. The twelfth Duke made repairs, carried out by William Cubitt and Co., but after he died in 1885 the house was empty for some years.

The 12th Duke used the address "40, Park Lane". He left the house to his daughter Lady Hermione Graham, who became a widow in 1888. In 1890, she and her son Sir Richard Graham sold it to George Murray Smith, of Smith, Elder & Co., the publishers.

George Murray Smith, born in 1824, occupied the house, which became known as 40, Park Lane, until he died in 1901. The lease continued in his family until 1915, his widow remaining living there until May 1914, but in 1906, negotiations began for the redevelopment of the Somerset House site together with Camelford House. The 2nd Duke of Westminster, as freeholder, was uneasy about allowing the two demolitions, "having regard to No. 40 having historical associations", but in the end he agreed to the scheme. Camelford House was demolished in 1913. When Mrs Murray Smith left she claimed that the house possessed "vaults with chains in them", including a cell said to have been used for prisoners being taken to Tyburn, but when this was investigated by the Grosvenor estate surveyor, Edmund Wimperis, he found nothing of the kind.

In 1901, a writer in The Architectural Review complained that Park Lane’s former "casual elegance" was being replaced by a "frippery and extravagance" which looked like converting it into another Fifth Avenue. In 1905 a newspaper noted that "the thoroughfare is becoming a less popular place of residence, eight of the houses being to be let or sold". Soon, there were complaints of noise from motor buses, and by 1909 property values had fallen. These factors led to the demolition of the house in 1915, to be replaced by the first flats built in Park Lane. There was public opposition to the development, but the flats, designed by Frank Verity, were built on the site in 1915-19.


Main source: Wikipedia
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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY



Justin Russ   
Added: 15 Feb 2021 20:25 GMT   

Binney Street, W1K
Binney St was previously named Thomas Street before the 1950’s. Before the 1840’s (approx.) it was named Bird St both above and below Oxford St.

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Lived here
Julian    
Added: 23 Mar 2021 10:11 GMT   

Dennis Potter
Author Dennis Potter lived in Collingwood House in the 1970’s

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Born here
www.violettrefusis.com   
Added: 17 Feb 2021 15:05 GMT   

Birth place
Violet Trefusis, writer, cosmopolitan intellectual and patron of the Arts was born at 2 Wilton Crescent SW1X.

Source: www.violettrefusis.com

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

Born here
jack stevens   
Added: 26 Sep 2021 13:38 GMT   

Mothers birth place
Number 5 Whites Row which was built in around 1736 and still standing was the premises my now 93 year old mother was born in, her name at birth was Hilda Evelyne Shaw,

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Born here
Ron Shepherd   
Added: 18 Sep 2021 17:28 GMT   

More Wisdom
Norman Joseph Wisdom was born in St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, West London.

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Comment
Jonathan Penner   
Added: 11 Sep 2021 16:03 GMT   

Pennard Road, W12
My wife and I, young Canadians, lodged at 65 (?) Pennard Road with a fellow named Clive and his girlfriend, Melanie, for about 6 months in 1985. We loved the area and found it extremely convenient.

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Comment
   
Added: 1 Sep 2021 16:58 GMT   

Prefabs!
The "post-war detached houses" mentioned in the description were "prefabs" - self-contained single-storey pre-fabricated dwellings. Demolition of houses on the part that became Senegal Fields was complete by 1964 or 1965.

Source: Prefabs in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia

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Matthew Moggridge (matthew.moggridge@gmail.com)   
Added: 1 Sep 2021 10:38 GMT   

Lord Chatham’s Ride (does it even exist?)
Just to say that I cycled from my home in Sanderstead to Knockholt Pound at the weekend hoping to ride Lord Chatham’s Ride, but could I find it? No. I rode up Chevening Lane, just past the Three Horseshoes pub and when I reached the end of the road there was a gate and a sign reading "Private, No Entry". I assumed this was the back entrance to Chevening House, country retreat of the Foreign Secretary, and that Lord Chatham’s Ride was inside the grounds. At least that’s what I’m assuming as I ended up following a footpath that led me into some woods with loads of rooted pathways, all very annoying. Does Lord Chatham’s Ride exist and if so, can I ride it, or is it within the grounds of Chevening House and, therefore, out of bounds? Here’s an account of my weekend ride with images, see URL below.

Source: No Visible Lycra: Lord Chatham’s ride: a big disappointmen

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Comment
norma brown   
Added: 20 Aug 2021 21:12 GMT   

my grandparents lived there as well as 2 further generations
my home

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Comment
Ruth   
Added: 6 Aug 2021 13:31 GMT   

Cheltenham Road, SE15
Harris Girls’ Academy, in Homestall Road, just off Cheltenham Road, was formerly Waverley School. Before that it was built as Honor Oak Girls’ Grammar School. It was also the South London Emergency School during WW2,taking girls from various schools in the vicinity, including those returning from being evacuated.

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Comment
Jude Allen   
Added: 29 Jul 2021 07:53 GMT   

Bra top
I jave a jewelled item of clothong worn by a revie girl.
It is red with diamante straps. Inside it jas a label Bermans Revue 16 Orange Street but I cannot find any info online about the revue only that 16 Orange Street used to be a theatre. Does any one know about the revue. I would be intesrested to imagine the wearer of the article and her London life.

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Queen’s Park

Queen’s Park lies between Kilburn and Kensal Green, developed from 1875 onwards and named to honour Queen Victoria.

The north of Queen’s Park formed part of the parish of Willesden and the southern section formed an exclave of the parish of Chelsea, both in the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex. In 1889 the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works that included the southern section of Queen’s Park was transferred from Middlesex to the County of London, and in 1900 the anomaly of being administered from Chelsea was removed when the exclave was united with the parish of Paddington. In 1965 both parts of Queen’s Park became part of Greater London: the northern section - Queen’s Park ’proper’ formed part of Brent and the southern section - the Queen’s Park Estate - joined the City of Westminster.

Queen’s Park, like much of Kilburn, was developed by Solomon Barnett. The two-storey terraced houses east of the park, built between 1895 and 1900, typically have clean, classical lines. Those west of the park, built 1900–05, tend to be more Gothic in style. Barnett’s wife was from the West Country, and many of the roads he developed are named either for places she knew (e.g. Torbay, Tiverton, Honiton) or for popular poets of the time (e.g. Tennyson). The first occupants of the area in late Victorian times were typically lower middle class, such as clerks and teachers. Queen’s Park is both demographically and architecturally diverse. The streets around the park at the heart of Queen’s Park are a conservation area.

There is hardly any social housing in the streets around Queens Park itself, and the area was zoned as not suitable for social housing in the 1970s and 1980s as even then house prices were above average for the borough of Brent, which made them unaffordable for local Housing Associations. The main shopping streets of Salusbury Road and Chamberlayne Road have fewer convenience stores and more high-value shops and restaurants. Local schools – some of which struggled to attract the children of wealthier local families in the past – are now over-subscribed. House prices have risen accordingly.

Queen’s Park station was first opened by the London and North Western Railway on 2 June 1879 on the main line from London to Birmingham.

Services on the Bakerloo line were extended from Kilburn Park to Queen’s Park on 11 February 1915. On 10 May 1915 Bakerloo services began to operate north of Queen’s Park as far as Willesden Junction over the recently built Watford DC Line tracks shared with the LNWR.


LOCAL PHOTOS
Montagu House, Portman Square
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Lisson Green
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Portman Square, W1H
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Grotto Passage
Credit: Wiki Commons
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In the neighbourhood...

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Marble Arch, 2016
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Speaker’s Corner, April 1987 Speakers here at this corner of Hyde Park nearest of Marble Arch may talk on any subject, as long as the police consider their speeches lawful. Contrary to popular belief, there is no immunity from the law, nor are any subjects proscribed, but in practice the police intervene only when they receive a complaint.
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Montagu House, Portman Square
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A view of Tyburn (1750)
Credit: Old and New London: Volume 5. Edward Walford (1878)
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Connaught Square, 2004
Credit: Andrew Dunn,
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Portman Square, W1H
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Shillibeer Place sign
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