Somerset House, Park Lane

Large house in/near Marble Arch, existed between the 1770s and 1915

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Large house · Marble Arch · W1C ·
October
20
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



Emma Seif   
Added: 25 Jan 2022 19:06 GMT   

Birth of the Bluestocking Society
In about 1750, Elizabeth Montagu began hosting literary breakfasts in her home at 23 (now 31) Hill Street. These are considered the first meetings of the Bluestocking society.

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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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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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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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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

Lived here
Katharina Logan   
Added: 9 Aug 2022 19:01 GMT   

Ely place existed in name in 1857
On 7th July 1857 John James Chase and Mary Ann Weekes were married at St John the Baptist Hoxton, he of full age and she a minor. Both parties list their place of residence as Ely Place, yet according to other information, this street was not named until 1861. He was a bricklayer, she had no occupation listed, but both were literate and able to sign their names on their marriage certificate.

Source: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSF7-Q9Y7?cc=3734475

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Comment
Reginald John Gregory   
Added: 8 Aug 2022 14:07 GMT   

Worked in the vicinity of my ancestor’s house,
Between the years 1982-1998 (unknown to me at the time) I worked in an office close to the site of my ancestors cottage. I discovered this when researching family history - the cottage was mentioned in the 1871 census for Colindeep Lane/Ancient Street coming up from the Hyde. The family lived in the ares betwen 1805 and 1912.

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Barry J. Page   
Added: 27 Jul 2022 19:41 GMT   

Highbury Corner V1 Explosion
Grandma described the V1 explosion at Highbury Corner on many occasions. She was working in the scullery when the flying bomb landed. The blast shattered all the windows in the block of flats and blew off the bolt on her front door. As she looked out the front room window, people in various states of injury and shock were making their way along Highbury Station Road. One man in particular, who was bleeding profusely from glass shard wounds to his neck, insisted in getting home to see if his family was all right. Others were less fortunate. Len, the local newsagent, comforted a man, who had lost both legs caused by the blast, until the victim succumbed to his injuries. The entire area was ravaged and following are statistics. The flying bomb landed during lunch hour (12:46 p.m.) on June 27th 1944. 26 people lost their lives, 84 were seriously injured and 71 slightly injured.

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Comment
ANON   
Added: 20 Jul 2022 13:36 GMT   

The Square & Ashmore park
The Square and Ashmore park was the place to be 2000-2005. Those were the greatest times on the estate. everyday people were playing out. the park was full of kids just being kids and having fun, now everyone is grown up and only bump into eachother when heading to the shops or work. I miss the good days( Im 25yrs old as im writing this)

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Spotted here
   
Added: 18 Jul 2022 13:56 GMT   

Map of Thornsett Road Esrlsfield


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Born here
Carolyn Hirst   
Added: 16 Jul 2022 15:21 GMT   

Henry James Hirst
My second great grandfather Henry James Hirst was born at 18 New Road on 11 February 1861. He was the eighth of the eleven children of Rowland and Isabella Hirst. I think that this part of New Road was also known at the time as Gloucester Terrace.

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Lived here
Richard   
Added: 12 Jul 2022 21:36 GMT   

Elgin Crescent, W11
Richard Laitner (1955-1983), a barrister training to be a doctor at UCL, lived here in 1983. He was murdered aged 28 with both his parents after attending his sister’s wedding in Sheffield in 1983. The Richard Laitner Memorial Fund maintains bursaries in his memory at UCL Medical School

Source: Ancestry Library Edition

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Comment
Anthony Mckay   
Added: 11 Jul 2022 00:12 GMT   

Bankfield Cottages, Ass House Lane, Harrow Weald
Bankfield Cottages (now demolished) at the end of Ass House Lane, appear twice in ’The Cheaters’ televison series (made 1960) in the episodes ’The Fine Print’ and ’Tine to Kill’

Source: THE CHEATERS: Episode Index

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Marble Arch

Marble Arch station was opened on 30 July 1900 by the Central London Railway.

Like all the original stations on the CLR, Marble Arch was served by lifts to the platforms but the station was reconstructed in the early 1930s to accommodate escalators. This saw the closure of the original station building, designed by the architect Harry Bell Measures, that was situated on the corner of Quebec Street and Oxford Street, and a replacement sub-surface ticket hall opened further to the west. The new arrangements came into use on 15 August 1932. The original surface building was later demolished.

The platforms, originally lined in plain white tiles, were refitted with decorative vitreous enamel panels in 1985. The panel graphics were designed by Annabel Grey.

The station was modernised in 2010 resulting in new finishes in all areas of the station, apart from the retention of various of the decorative enamel panels at platform level.


LOCAL PHOTOS
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Montagu House, Portman Square
TUM image id: 1510140427
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Lisson Green
TUM image id: 1593182694
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Portman Square, W1H
TUM image id: 1510141130
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In the neighbourhood...

Click an image below for a better view...
Marble Arch, 2016
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=352348
Licence: CC BY 2.0


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.
Credit: Wiki Commons/Michael E. Cumpston
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Montagu House, Portman Square
Licence: CC BY 2.0


A view of Tyburn (1750)
Credit: Old and New London: Volume 5. Edward Walford (1878)
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Connaught Square, 2004
Credit: Andrew Dunn,
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Picton Place, W1 was formerly Gray Street
Credit: Simon Gunzinger
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Portman Square, W1H
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Shillibeer Place sign
Credit: London Transport Museum
Licence: CC BY 2.0


Marble Arch
Old London postcard
Licence: CC BY 2.0


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