D'Arblay and Noel Street Area


English Heritage



F. H. W. Sheppard (General Editor)

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'D'Arblay and Noel Street Area', Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2 (1963), pp. 230-242. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41474 Date accessed: 16 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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D'Arblay and Noel Street Area: Doghouse Close

Doghouse Close was a field of between five and six acres lying next to Tyburn Road (now Oxford Street) on the north, Colman Hedge Close on the south, Colman Hedge Lane or Old Soho (now Wardour Street) on the east and Little Gelding's Close on the west (figs. 2, 40). The first documentary reference to the close under this name appears in a parliamentary survey of 1650 when it was valued at £15 per annum. Apart from its name, there is no evidence that the close had any canine associations. At this time it was also known as Browne's Close, it being then in lease to Mathew Browne, bricklayer. (ref. 1)

Figure 40: Doghouse Close, layout plan. Based on the Ordnance Survey, 1870–5

The freehold of this close and of other lands on the opposite or eastern side of Colman Hedge Lane had been vested in the Hospital of Burton Saint Lazar until 1536, when it passed to the Crown to become part of the Bailiwick of St. James. (ref. 2) Like the rest of the bailiwick lands, Doghouse Close was subsequently leased out to various tenants of the Crown and in 1629 was included in the grant of St. James's Bailiwick by Charles I to Queen Henrietta Maria as part of her jointure. In 1661 the Queen and her trustees leased part of the bailiwick (including Doghouse Close) to John Hervey and John Coell in trust for the Earl of St. Albans for thirty-one years. The latter's interest was later extended by subsequent leases to Michaelmas 1734. (ref. 3)

In August 1673 the St. Albans trustees sub-let two of the bailiwick fields to Joseph Girle of St. Marylebone, brewer. (ref. 4) These were Doghouse Field or Close on the west side of Colman Hedge Lane and Soho Fields (also called Kemp's Field or Bunche's Close) on the east side. Before his death a few years later Girle had come to an agreement to let part of Soho Fields to Richard Frith, who was subsequently responsible for its development. (ref. 5)

There is no indication that Joseph Girle made a similar arrangement in his lifetime for the parallel development of Doghouse Close, but by July 1683 the sub-lease of this portion of the property was in the possession of James Pollett. (ref. 6) Pollett had lately acquired the lease of the westwardadjoining field (Little Gelding's Close) and in 1685 was to take up a ninety-one-year lease of Colman Hedge Close, which lay immediately to the south. It was clearly Pollett's intention to develop all three closes together and already by July 1683 he had come to an agreement with Adam Pigott, citizen and cutler of London, who had an interest in a property known as Currance's Bowling Green (very probably part of Doghouse Close), for the development of the two closes then in his control. But Pigott died soon afterwards and the agreement was cancelled. (ref. 6)

In 1683 Doghouse Close consisted of a quadrangular-shaped pasture with two tenements fronting eastwards on to Colman Hedge Lane and probably five northwards on to Tyburn Road. A decade earlier there had only been one tenement built on the close. (ref. 7) By 1687 a short range of new houses had been completed along Tyburn Road, and by 1692 there was a long range occupying the sites of the present Nos. 147– 203 (odd) Wardour Street. The ground behind these two lines remained largely empty until after 1707, when a new street was laid out down the middle of the field. This formed a northern extension to Berwick Street, which until that date had not extended beyond Broad (now Broadwick) Street. In 1706 a small street known as Tweed Street (presumably from the adjoining Berwick Street), developed on the eastern part of the present site of Noel Street. (ref. 7)

Although the leasehold interest in Doghouse Close had passed via St. Albans to Pollett and his assignees, the freehold remained vested in the Crown. In May 1698, however, William III granted the freehold of the close, together with that of the adjoining and more valuable Soho Fields, to one of his favourites, William Bentinck, first Earl of Portland. This grant was made in lieu of a defective grant of fee-farm rents which Portland had earlier bought from the Crown for £24,571, the reversion of his new property on the expiry of the Crown leases to St. Albans in 1734 being valued at £25,000. Although the total value of the houses built on this freehold estate amounted to £10,500 per annum, the Earl would receive only 16s. for Doghouse Close and 52s. 6d. for Soho Fields for each year until the Crown lease to St. Albans lapsed at Michaelmas 1734. (ref. 8)

After the death of the Earl in 1709 the value of the property when the leases were to expire in 1734 was assessed at £376,000. (ref. 9) The estate was inherited by the second Earl (and first Duke) of Portland, who in August 1722 assigned a five-hundred-year term in Doghouse Close and Soho Fields to trustees. This assignment was made for the purpose of raising after his own death a portion of £30,000 for his younger son, Lord George Bentinck. The Duke died in July 1726, and the freehold passed, subject to the fivehundred-year term, to his eldest son, the second Duke.

By 1728 the houses on the estate had become 'ruinous and in great decay and … in need of being rebuilt', but the tenants would not improve them 'unless they may be encouraged so to do by having their Estates and Terms therein enlarged'. As a minor Lord George Bentinck could not grant new building leases and so in 1728 his mother, Elizabeth Duchess of Portland, obtained an Act of Parliament giving to herself and to the other guardians of her younger son the right during his minority and until the £30,000 portion was paid, to grant leases of parts of the property for terms not exceeding seventy years. (ref. 10)

After Michaelmas 1734 the Duchess began granting new leases, all for terms of between sixty and sixty-five years. The lessees were not the sitting tenants but in most cases building tradesmen, and it is clear that she and her son, the second Duke, in whom the freehold was vested, took full advantage of the termination of the St. Albans lease to redevelop Doghouse Close on more elaborate and profitable lines. Two new streets were laid out—Portland Street (now D'Arblay Street) and Noel Street (on the site of and in continuation westward of the former Tweed Street), with various dependent courts and mews, including Bentinck Street (now Livonia Street) and Portland Mews.

The Duchess of Portland did not grant any further building leases after the end of 1736. On 1 January 1736/7 her son William, the second Duke, paid the £30,000 portion to his younger brother (then recently of age), so cancelling the five-hundred-year term encumbering his freehold rights over Doghouse Close and Soho Fields. During the following seven years the Duke granted building leases to various building tradesmen, until by 1748 Doghouse Close was entirely covered with new buildings, nearly all erected since 1734. Some of these buildings still stand. (ref. 11)

In the 1790's, when the leases granted in the 1730's had nearly expired, the third Duke of Portland began selling parts of the freehold of Doghouse Close. By Michaelmas 1798 he had sold about one third of his whole estate in the parishes of St. James and St. Anne, but some parts of the property were still unsold in 1824. (ref. 12)

Berwick Street

Only the northern part of this street lies in Doghouse Close. The southern part of the street was first laid out in the late 1680's on the adjoining Colman Hedge Close and did not extend northwards beyond Broad (now Broadwick) Street (see page 223). It was extended into Doghouse Close to link up with Tyburn Road (now Oxford Street) shortly after 1707, and a range of houses on the west side of the street and abutting north on the modern Oxford Street was in existence by 1709.

Like the other buildings in Doghouse Close these first houses were rebuilt between 1734 and 1741. The building tradesmen to whom the Duchess and Duke of Portland granted leases in 1735–6 and 1737–8 include George Gillingham, bricklayer (nine sites), (ref. 13) Nathaniel Walker, joiner (five sites), (ref. 14) John Macy, mason, (ref. 15) Samuel Reynolds, bricklayer, (ref. 16) Josiah Hutchinson, carpenter (four sites each), (ref. 17) Samuel Elkins and Thomas Plunkett, bricklayers (three sites jointly), (ref. 18) John Lamb, carpenter and Joseph Bone, bricklayer (three sites jointly), (ref. 19) Stiff Leadbetter (ref. 20) and Christopher Purdum, both carpenters (three sites each), (ref. 21) Robert Hutchinson, carpenter (two sites), (ref. 22) John Atkinson, bricklayer, (ref. 23) Thomas Bilcliffe, carpenter, (ref. 24) John Bonner, (ref. 25) Benjamin Lovett, both painters, (ref. 24) and Thomas Webb, timber merchant (one site each). (ref. 26) The greater part of the ground on the west side of the street between Oxford and Noel Streets appears to have been leased in 1734–5 to Francis Jackman, timber merchant, (ref. 27) who already occupied a large house there (ref. 7) and who then granted sub-leases to William Rogers, (ref. 28) John Manwill, (ref. 29) and William Jackman, (ref. 30) all carpenters.

Other craftsmen who appear to have been involved in building here include John Cator, Leonard Phillips and Frederick Walrond, timber merchants, (ref. 31) Henry Crosse, joiner, (ref. 32) Robert French, bricklayer, (ref. 33) Francis Goodge and Thomas Huddle, brickmakers, (ref. 34) William Jackson, Joseph Parish and Thomas Stephens, carpenters, (ref. 35) and Joseph Mullord and Thomas Siggins, painters. (ref. 36)

Nos. 26, 31–32, 46–48, 50–52, 69–71, 77, 79–81 (consec.) Berwick Street

It has not been possible to investigate all the surviving houses in detail, but these sixteen do appear to date from the 1730's; No. 52 is illustrated on Plate 131c. There seems to have been no attempt at uniformity, except perhaps in small groups, and those original fronts which remain show considerable variety of detail. For example Nos. 26 and 31 both have fronts of purplyred brick with window arches of red gauged brick, but the arches are flat at No. 26 and segmental at No. 31. At No. 26 the jambs of the windows are also in red brick and at No. 31 there is a bandcourse above the second storey. At No. 32, a house of similar proportions to Nos. 26 and 31, the brick is yellowish-brown with no enrichment other than red gauged brick for the flat window arches. In the interiors, Nos. 32, 47, 77, 79 and 80 have original dog-legged staircases, the first two with moulded closed strings, turned balusters and column newels, the others similar but with cut strings and carved step-ends in the lower flights.

The lessees of these houses, where identifiable, were: Nos. 26 and 48, George Gillingham, bricklayer; No. 31, Nathaniel Walker, joiner; No. 32, Robert Hutchinson, carpenter; No. 47, Benjamin Lovett, painter; No. 51, Thomas Bilcliffe, carpenter. (ref. 24)

No. 57 Berwick Street: The Green Man Public House

There has been a public house of this name here since at least 1738. (ref. 37) The building now has a three-storeyed front of yellow brick, probably dating from the early nineteenth century. The second and third storeys each have three widely spaced windows with flat gauged arches, the windows in the second storey being set in shallow segmental-headed recesses. The ground storey has a slightly bizarre public-house front, erected perhaps at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Nos. 63–66 (consec.) and 76 Berwick Street


No. 63 first appears in the ratebooks in 1724, when it was in the occupation of Francis Jackman, timber merchant, by or for whom it was probably erected. It was not rebuilt in the 1730's, when much of the Portland estate was redeveloped, and the southern part of the house survived, together with Nos. 64–66, until 1960.

In 1734–5 the Duchess of Portland leased the house and most of the ground on the west side of the street between Oxford and Noel Streets to Jackman for sixty-five years. (ref. 27) He then subleased the sites fronting Berwick Street to individual building tradesmen (see above), but kept the ground behind for use as a timber yard. (ref. 38) He continued to live at No. 63 until 1755. From 1774 to 1803 the house and yard were occupied by Samuel Wyatt, the builder and architect. In 1804–5 the house was divided into two separate dwellings. (ref. 7)

No. 63 (Plates 130b, 145c, figs. 41–2) was an unusually large and fine house for the northeastern part of the parish and compared even more strikingly with the rather mean houses which occupy the rest of Berwick Street. It was threestoreyed with a front of red brick three windows wide, but Horwood's map of 1792 shows a very wide frontage in relation to the other houses and the front of this house must originally have extended at least two further bays northwards. The windows had flat gauged arches and there was a bandcourse above each storey. The third-storey windows were very small and in the bandcourse above them the three upper brick-courses had a slight projection. Window sashes generally had been altered and a shop-front inserted in the ground storey. Latterly the plan consisted of a single front and back room to each floor with a small closet projecting beyond the back room and a rather cramped staircase in the north-west corner, but probably there was originally another front room to the north, forming perhaps an entrance hall on the ground floor, and possibly a main staircase behind it.

The best feature surviving at the time of demolition was the first-floor front room (Plate 145c, fig. 42), the treatment of which recalls that of several houses in Dean Street, in the parish of St. Anne, Soho. The walls were lined with ovolo-moulded panelling above an altered dado, and were finished with an enriched modillion cornice. The part of the cornice over the chimneybreast had below it a pulvinated bay-leaf frieze and an enriched architrave, and supporting these at either end was a fluted Ionic column. The chimney-breast was flanked by two round-headed semi-circular niches with enriched architraves and keyblocks, and the dado was designed as a pedestal with the panelled door of a cupboard set between panelled dies. The two doors in the west wall were six-panelled and had enriched shouldered architraves. The ceiling was elaborately moulded, having in the centre a large circular panel enclosed on the north and south by two conjoined spandrel panels, each end of the ceiling being occupied by a long narrow panel and each side by five smaller panels, two oblongs alternating with three squares. The circular panel was blank at the time of recording, but the two panels enclosing it were filled with a profusion of foliated C-scrolls centering on a scallop-shell. The outer panels were more regular, the squares containing a four-leaved flower, the smaller oblongs a basket of flowers flanked by foliated C-scrolls, and the larger oblongs a four-leaved flower linked by strapwork and strings of smaller flowers to a lily at each end.

Samuel Wyatt's occupation of the house had left little trace, but in the north wall of the entrance passage, which must formerly have been part of the ground-floor front room, was a roundheaded niche containing in its head plasterwork probably of the late eighteenth century. At springing-line was a thyrsus entwined with foliage, having on its centre an urn enriched by a wreath. From each end of the thyrsus sprang an arc of leaves following the curve of the niche and below it were three pendants, an oval medallion at each end and an antique lamp in the centre. The chimneypiece in the first-floor back room was of roughly the same date, having an enriched wooden architrave, a frieze with festoons, urns and paterae, and an enriched cornice-shelf.

Nos. 64, 65 and 66, which were probably built between 1734 and 1741, were similar to each other in style, containing three storeys and a garret and having fronts three windows wide. All had had shop-fronts inserted in the ground storey and Nos. 64 and 65 were stuccoed, while at No. 66, though the yellow stock brick was still exposed, the gauged arches and the surrounds of the windows were largely concealed by stucco architraves. In plan they had a single front and back room to each floor with a staircase to one side of the back room, a slightly unusual feature being that, at No. 66, the front room had its chimneybreast off-centre against the back wall instead of centrally against one of the party walls. Very little original panelling survived in them, but the firstfloor front room of No. 64 had a wooden dentilled cornice, and that of No. 66 a plain dado with heavily moulded rail and skirting, the wooden chimneypiece having a moulded architrave, a frieze with shaped ends and an enriched cornice. The staircases were very plain, being built round a narrow well with moulded closed strings, turned balusters, moulded handrails and column newels. Another house now demolished, No. 76, which was already in ruins when recorded, had a good wooden doorcase composed of a pair of broad Doric pilasters supporting an entablature with triglyphed frieze and dentilled cornice.

Figure 41: No. 63 Berwick Street, section and first-floor plan

Nos. 1–7, 10–13 (consec.) Livonia Street


This was a new street laid out in 1736, as part of the redevelopment of Doghouse Close. It was called Bentinck Street (from the family name of the Duke of Portland) and there is a plaque on the south side of the street marked 'Bentinck Street 1736' with an intricately woven and undecipherable monogram surmounted by a ducal coronet. In 1894 the street was renamed Livonia Street, presumably in geographical allusion to the neighbouring Poland Street.

The leases for all fourteen sites in the street were granted by the Duchess and Duke of Portland in 1736 and 1737 respectively. On the north side the lessee of No. 1 was George Gillingham, bricklayer, No. 2 John Gardner, carpenter, No. 3 Benjamin Lovett, painter, and Nos. 4–7 George Gillingham. (ref. 39) On the south side the lessees were No. 8 George Gillingham, No. 9 Jonathan Brewster, painter, No. 10 William Hewitt, plumber, No. 11 Thomas Grimbaldson, painter, Nos. 12 and 13 Thomas Gingell, carpenter, and No. 14 John Matthews, plasterer. (ref. 40) Other tradesmen who worked on these houses included William Taylor, glazier, (ref. 41) William Insley, (ref. 42) and Thomas Bilcliffe, carpenters. (ref. 43)

Figure 42: No. 63 Berwick Street, first-floor front room detail

John Sherwin the engraver is said to have been a resident, although there is no ratebook evidence. He may possibly have lived with, or been confused with another engraver, Francesco Bartolozzi (his teacher), who lived in this street from 1778 to 1780. (ref. 44)

Livonia Street was a cul-de-sac of moderate sized houses, reached through a gap between Nos. 81 and 82 on the west side of Berwick Street. At the time of demolition in 1955, four early eighteenth-century houses survived on the south side and the north side of seven houses was complete (Plate 130c, fig. 43). Nos. 10–13 on the south side were built in two pairs with mirrored plans, the first floor showing the usual arrangement of a large room in front of the dog-legged staircase and a small back room with a closet wing. Each house contained a basement, three storeys, and a garret in the mansard roof. The houses shared a uniform elevation, three storeys high and built of stock bricks with a bandcourse at second-floor level and a double bandcourse below the parapet. The windows, grouped three to each house, had barred sashes in flush frames set in plain openings with straight arches of gauged brickwork. No. 11 had a large two-light dormer and the other houses had single-light dormers. The doorcases varied, No. 10 had an architrave, pulvino-frieze and pediment; No. 11 had an architrave and a dentilled cornice resting on plain brackets; Nos. 12 and 13 shared a doorcase of Doric pilasters supporting a simple entablature.

Figure 43: Livonia Street, elevations and plan

On the north side Nos. 1 and 2 were similar to the houses just described, and the doorcase of No. 2 had carved brackets below the hood. The fronts of Nos. 3–7 were four storeys high, there being no garrets, and each house was two windows wide except for No. 4, a wide three-windowed house extending over the carriage-way into Portland Mews. The ground storey of these houses had been stuccoed, the doorcases removed and the windows enlarged. The upper face was of stock bricks, with a bandcourse at second-floor level, and the barred sashes were recessed in plain openings with flat arches of gauged brick.

Generally, the interiors were panelled throughout, except for the basements and garrets. In some rooms the panelling was of excellent quality, for example, in the first-floor front room of No. 12 the plain panels were set in moulded framing, with a moulded dado-rail and a dentilled boxcornice. The fireplace was furnished with a wooden chimneypiece composed of an architrave frame, a 'Gothick' frieze of interlacing ogee curves, and a cornice-shelf. On the right of the chimney-breast was a china cupboard with shaped shelves.

D'Arblay Street

This was a new street laid out in 1735 as part of the redevelopment of Doghouse Close by the Portland family. It was originally called Portland Street but was renamed D'Arblay Street in 1909, to commemorate the residence of Fanny Burney (later Madame D'Arblay) in Poland Street (see page 245). It may be noted that Portland Street (unlike Noel Street) extended into Poland Street from the time of its layout.

The first houses there were built and occupied by 1737 and the street seems to have been completed by 1744. The building tradesmen to whom leases were granted included Thomas Seaton and Samuel Austin, carpenters (six sites), (ref. 45) John Phillips, plasterer (four sites), (ref. 46) James Gunter, carpenter (one site and ground for three stables), (ref. 47) Thomas Plunkett and Samuel Elkins, bricklayers (three sites), (ref. 48) Christopher Purdum, carpenter (two sites), (ref. 49) George Gillingham, bricklayer (site for a stable yard), (ref. 24) Joseph Saige, plasterer (two sites), (ref. 50) Edward Prestidge and Peter Vandercom, masons (four sites), (ref. 51) John Macy, mason (one site), (ref. 52) John Atkinson, bricklayer (one site). (ref. 53) William Taylor, glazier, (ref. 54) Thomas Siggins, painter, (ref. 55) and Richard Harris, bricklayer, (ref. 56) were among the other building tradesmen working in the street.

In D'Arblay Street Nos. 2–4, 10, 11, 13, 24 and 25 all date from around 1740, although most have been heavily altered. In addition to these Nos. 20–23 and 32–34, which are outwardly early or mid nineteenth century in date, may incorporate part of the carcases of older buildings. There is nothing else of architectural interest in the street and the remaining buildings are late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century warehouse and tenement blocks together with a group of office blocks of the 1920's and 1930's which occupy the middle of the south side.

In the return wall of No. 37 Berwick Street is a stone tablet bearing a cartouche surrounded by draperies, having in its centre a cross moline and above it a coronet, while below is the inscription 'Portland Street MDCCXXXV'. No. 37 is a building of very recent date, but a drawing of 1926 (ref. 57) shows the tablet set into the wall of the house which originally occupied this site.

Wardour Mews and Portland Mews now consist entirely of mid nineteenth-century warehouse buildings, mostly of yellow brick. None is of great interest, but Nos. 16–17 Portland Mews have iron columns dividing the lights of the windows, as at Nos. 3–5 Lexington Street.

No. 1 D'Arblay Street: The George Public House

There has been a public house of this name here since at least 1739. (ref. 37) The present building was erected in 1897.

Nos. 2–4 (consec.) D'Arblay Street

These houses, together with No. 1 (now rebuilt), were built under leases granted to John Phillips, plasterer, by the Duchess of Portland in 1736 and the Duke in 1737. (ref. 58) They clearly formed a uniform terrace originally, but Nos. 3 and 4 have since been refronted, No. 3 having an added storey at the front. When first built they must all have contained three storeys with a garret in the mansard roof, their brick fronts being, as now, two windows wide. At No. 2, the front of which appears unaltered, the windows have segmental gauged arches and flush frames, but the brickwork has been painted red and a shop-front inserted in the ground storey. In plan they have a single front and back room on each floor with a dog-legged staircase beside the back room. The entrance passage of No. 4 retains its ovolo-moulded panelling with moulded dadorail and box-cornice, and has at the far end, flanking the opening into the staircase compartment, a pair of Doric pilasters. The staircase compartment has plain rebated panelling and the staircase has moulded closed strings, turned balusters and column newels.

Nos. 10, 11 and 13 D'Arblay Street

These houses were all built under leases granted by the Duchess of Portland in February 1734/5, Nos. 10 and 11 to Joseph Saige, plasterer, and Nos. 12 (now rebuilt) and 13 to Edward Prestidge and Peter Vandercom, masons. (ref. 59) They evidently formed another almost uniform terrace, but slightly superior in quality to Nos. 2–4. Nos. 10 and 11 (Plate 130a, fig. 44) have been heightened by a storey and Nos. 10 and 13 stuccoed at the front, but originally all three must have contained a basement, three storeys and a garret, their brick fronts being three windows wide. Nos. 10 and 11 have stuccoed bandcourses above the ground storey, but there is nothing to show if these are of original brick underneath. The same two houses have flat arches to the windows while No. 13 has segmental ones, an original feature, to judge from the back wall. At No. 11 the brickwork is pinkish-yellow and the window arches are of red gauged brick. All three houses retain original stone doorcases with moulded architraves and cornices on carved consoles. Internally they have the same plan as Nos. 2–4, but with a closet projecting beyond the back room. Nos. 10 and 13 have lost much of their original finishings, but both have unaltered staircases, whereas No. 11 has fairly complete panelling and has had the lower part of its staircase replaced. In general the ground- and first-floor rooms have ovolo-moulded panelling finished with a moulded dado-rail and a box-cornice, while on the second floor the front room only has ovolo-moulded panelling and there is a smaller moulded cornice in all three rooms. In the second-floor front and back rooms of No. 11 are original stone chimneypieces, now painted, with shaped lintels and slight mouldings on the inner and outer edges. The lower flights of the staircases have cut strings with shaped step-ends, and turned balusters having a square neckingpiece, the moulded handrail being continued over column newels. Above the second floor the same pattern of baluster is used, but with a moulded closed string and a column newel which has the handrail running into it.

Figure 44: Nos. 10 and 11 D'Arblay Street, ground-floor plan, elevations and section

Welsh Wesleyan Chapel


Between 1871 and 1894 a Welsh Wesleyan chapel is listed in the Post Office directories at No. 16 Portland Street (now D'Arblay Street). (ref. 60) The chapel is also shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1870, on the north side of the street to the east of Poland Street.

Nos. 20–25 (consec.) D'Arblay Street

The leases for these sites were all granted in 1736 by the Duchess of Portland to Thomas Seaton and Samuel Austin, carpenters. (ref. 61) Nos. 24 and 25 are uniform three-storeyed houses with rebuilt roofs. Their fronts are three windows wide and built of yellow stock brick with segmental arches of red gauged brick to the windows, although the stocks may have been dyed yellow at some later date. The windows contain flush frames, with continued sills in the second storey, and above the second storey is a raised bandcourse. The interiors have been completely altered.

Nos. 20–23 appear to date from the early or mid nineteenth century, but may contain remnants of older buildings. Nos. 22 and 23 are three-storeyed houses with a common stucco façade, the upper-storey windows being arranged in two groups of three and two. No. 22 is built over the entrance to Portland Mews and is probably completely nineteenth-century, since Horwood's map of 1792 shows no house at this point. The second- and third-storey windows have flat heads, but whereas the former are simply treated with moulded architraves, friezes and cornices, the latter have above them semi-circular lunettes each containing a lion-head, while below them are sunk panels, the whole being enclosed by a moulded architrave. There is a heavy moulded crowning cornice which is surmounted by an unusual brick parapet in Flemish bond, gaps being left, however, where the headers would have been.

Noel Street

This street takes its name from Elizabeth, Duchess of Portland, who before her marriage was Lady Elizabeth Noel and who initiated the redevelopment of the estate in 1734. The eastern part of the street was originally known as Tweed Street (presumably from the neighbouring Berwick Street) and had been laid out in 1706. The houses which were erected at this time were evidently rebuilt in the 1740's, when the street was extended westward across Berwick Street as far as the boundary of Little Gelding's Close. In 1912 two houses on the east side of Poland Street were demolished in order to connect that street with the west end of Noel Street. (ref. 62) A slight break in the line of Noel Street still indicates the boundary between Little Gelding's Close and Doghouse Close.

The building tradesmen mainly responsible for the building of the street include Jonathan Firth, painter (five sites), (ref. 24) John Phillips, plasterer (two sites), (ref. 63) Edward Prestidge and Peter Vandercom, masons (two sites), (ref. 64) Samuel Reynolds, bricklayer (two sites), (ref. 65) Richard Twiss, carpenter (two sites), (ref. 66) Francis Jackman, timber merchant (one site), (ref. 67) and John Lamb, carpenter, and Joseph Bone, bricklayer (one jointly). (ref. 68) Other tradesmen working here include Thomas Cheek and John Petty, carpenters, (ref. 69) and Thomas Huddle, bricklayer or brickmaker. (ref. 70)

Noel Street contains very little of interest, and nearly all the north side between Berwick Street and Poland Street has recently been demolished to make way for Waverley House, a big block fronting on to Berwick Street. Only two houses, Nos. 5 and 18, remain from the rebuilding in the 1740's, the rest of the street consisting mainly of mid-to-late nineteenth-century warehouses and tenement blocks interspersed with a few early nineteenth-century houses. There is also a large early twentieth-century Baroque restaurant, Nos. 24–25, at the eastern end, and at the western end the French Protestant School, Nos. 14–17, by (Sir) Aston Webb, 1897–8. (ref. 71)

Nos. 5, 11 and 18 Noel Street

No. 11 demolished

Nos. 5 and 18 each contain a basement, three storeys and a garret, the latter formed inside a mansard roof. Their brick fronts, now resurfaced, are two windows wide, the windows having flat gauged arches and, at No. 18, flush frames. Both have been altered in the ground storey, but No. 18 has a wooden doorcase, with moulded architrave and cornice on shaped consoles, which is evidently an imitation of the original one. (ref. 72) In plan they have a single front and back room to each floor with a dog-legged staircase beside the back room, but the original finishings have almost entirely gone. Until its demolition recently No. 11 (fig. 45) was of the same pattern as these houses, but it had some plain rebated panelling and, at the end of the entrance passage, a pair of fluted pilasters similar to an odd one which still survives at No. 18. The staircase had moulded closed strings with turned balusters, moulded handrail and column newels.

Figure 45: No. 11 Noel Street, elevation, section and plans

Nos. 14–17 (consec.) Noel Street

Formerly French Protestant School

This building was erected in 1897–8 to the designs of (Sir) Aston Webb. (ref. 71) It continued in use as a school until 1939, but is now used for industrial purposes.

Nos. 14–17 are three-storeyed with a red brick and terra-cotta front five windows wide, but an extra storey has been added at the east end. The style is Georgian in origin with pilasters between the upper-storey windows supporting an entablature and balustrade. The frieze is inscribed in high relief ECOLE DE L'EGLISE PROTESTANTE FRANCAISE DE LONDRES, and in the ground storey two doorways with swan-neck pediments are separately marked FILLES and GARÇONS.

Oxford Street

The sites of the present Nos. 127, at the west corner of Wardour Street, to 151 (odd) formed part of Doghouse Close, and a considerable amount of rebuilding took place here between 1734 and 1738. Building tradesmen to whom the Duchess and Duke of Portland granted leases include Jonathan Firth (four sites), (ref. 73) Joseph Parish, carpenter (three sites), (ref. 74) John Grout, Thomas Stephens, both carpenters, (ref. 75) and John Bonner, painter (one site each). (ref. 76) Francis Jackman, timber merchant, was also granted a site with a frontage of 50 feet to the street. (ref. 77) None of the houses built at this time survives.

Wardour Street

The general history of the west side of Wardour Street is described on page 221. The Wardour Street sites in Doghouse Close (comprising the sites of Nos. 147–203 odd) were first developed in 1687, probably under sub-leases from James Pollett. There were seven new houses built there by 1687, twenty-seven two years later and the whole street frontage was built up by 1692. (ref. 7)

These first houses were rebuilt between 1735 and 1743 under leases granted by the Duchess and Duke of Portland in 1735–6 and 1737–43 respectively. Lessees included John Phillips, plasterer (six sites), (ref. 78) James Gunter (ref. 79) and Thomas Pollett, both carpenters (four sites each), (ref. 80) John Petty, carpenter (three sites), (ref. 24) and Jonathan Firth, painter (ten sites). (ref. 81) The latter seems to have been associated with Henry Broadhead of St. Giles's, esquire, to whom a lease of the carcases of six of Firth's houses was granted in 1743, (ref. 82) and also with Richard Twiss, carpenter, to whom the houses were eventually assigned. (ref. 83) Other building tradesmen working here included John Gregory and John White, both bricklayers, (ref. 84) and Linstead Reeves, carpenter. (ref. 85)

Nos. 149–165 (odd), 171 Wardour Street

Formerly Nos. 99–107 (consec.), 110

The houses on the west side of Wardour Street were illustrated in Tallis's London Street Views of c. 1839, and a photograph of Nos. 149–165 is reproduced on Plate 130d. Nos. 147 (rebuilt in 1910) and 149 were both leased by the Duchess of Portland to Isaac Rumball of St. Giles's, coal merchant, in January 1734/5. (ref. 86) Tallis's view (where they are numbered 97 and 99) shows that they formed a pair, four storeys high and each house three windows wide. The present No. 149 has one giant angle pilaster at the north end of the first and second floors, the dentilled cornice at sill level below the third-floor windows breaking over the pilaster. The three upper storeys are of yellow stock brick and the window openings have segmental heads and surrounds of red brick. A nineteenth-century shop occupies the ground floor, which had a shop in Tallis's view. The house door at the south end of this front has eight raised-and-fielded panels.

Nos. 151–157 (odd) were leased to Thomas Pollett, carpenter. (ref. 24) Tallis's view (where they are numbered 100–103 consec.) shows that Nos. 151–155 (odd) were a furniture warehouse and the shop-fronts were built to one design. Tallis showed these houses, each two windows wide, with four storeys and roofs concealed by parapets as now. The first floor has been covered with stucco, with a moulded cornice. The two upper floors are of yellow stock brick, with a straight joint in the brickwork between Nos. 151 and 153. All the windows are flat-headed, with plastered reveals and stone sills. Each shop-front has a dentilled cornice, with egg-and-dart ovolomoulding and brackets above fluted Corinthian pilasters. At No. 157 the three upper storeys as shown by Tallis appear to have been uniform with the last three houses, though with a different shopfront, but the window levels are not precisely the same. It is a four-storey house, two windows wide, of yellow stock brick recently repointed, with a stone-coped parapet.

Nos. 159–163 (odd) were leased to John Petty, carpenter, (ref. 24) and appear in Tallis's view as Nos. 104–106 (consec.). No. 159 is a single house, in height and width similar to its neighbours but with slightly lower storeys. Tallis's view shows an iron guard-rail or balcony across the two first-floor windows above a low shop-front, but the fascia has since been raised in front of the lower part of the windows, and the only guard-rails are in front of each second-floor window. Nos. 161 and 163, both with entrances at the north end of their present shop-fronts, are distinguishable from the other houses in this street by the broad bandcourses of brick between their upper storeys (indicated in Tallis's view). Both fronts are of yellow brick, repointed at No. 161, and the window openings have segmental heads of red gauged brick, plastered reveals, and stone sills. Above the modern shop-fronts are remains of cornices of earlier shop-fronts.

Thomas Sheraton, the furniture designer, lived at No. 163 (then No. 106) from 1793 to 1795, his residence there being commemorated by a plaque erected by the London County Council. From 1798 to 1800 he occupied a house on the site of part of the present No. 147 (then No. 98). From 1804 until his death in 1806 he lived in Broad (now Broadwick) Street (see page 222n.). (ref. 87)

Nos. 165–171 (odd) were leased to James Gunter, carpenter, (ref. 24) and appear in Tallis's view as Nos. 107–110 (consec.). No. 165 (with, originally, Nos. 167 and 169, the three of them shown by Tallis as Hull's Ancient Furniture Warehouse) has three storeys, two windows wide, and a garret with one wide dormer. This front, above a modernized shop, is of yellow brick, and the window openings have flat arches in red brick. The modern casements on the first floor, and the sashes on the second floor, are hung in flush frames. The mansard roof is tiled, and there is a plain stone-coped parapet. Nos. 167 and 169 were rebuilt in this century. No. 171 is four storeys high and two windows wide, as it was in Tallis's view. The window openings are flat-headed with plastered reveals. The brick has been dyed yellow.

Nos. 175–179 (odd) Wardour Street

Formerly Nos. 112–114 (consec.)

Although their combined façade was given a uniform architectural treatment, Nos. 175–179 (odd) are three separate buildings, erected during a period of five years. No. 175 was erected in 1907–8. The architect's name is unknown. No. 177 was erected in 1910–11 from plans submitted by the architects Henry Metcalf, Thomas Greig and George Vernon of Bedford Row. The builders were Messrs. Barber and Sons of Fetter Lane. No. 179 was erected in 1911–12 from plans submitted by George Vernon of Mortimer Street, architect. (ref. 88) The latter was possibly responsible for the design of the whole façade.

Nos. 175–179 are five storeys high and above the shop-fronts they are faced with red brick and a series of stone bands. Triangular pilaster-strips, the sill-courses breaking over them, divide the central part into three bays, and each outer part into two bays of unequal width with the narrower bays at the ends. The transomed and mullioned windows are deeply recessed between these pilasters, the window recesses of the first and second floors being segmental-headed with label mouldings intersected by keystones and intermittent voussoirs. The third floor has flat-headed window recesses, above which extend a plain frieze and a heavy cornice, breaking round the triangular pilaster-strips, which are carried up the gables above it. In the central gable are three low round-arched windows with keystones of exaggerated length. In each of the loftier outer gables is a large round-arched window over which a corbelled colonnette breaks through a semicircular pediment to support an obelisk. Each narrow end bay of the façade is repeated above the cornice with a low round-arched window below a concave coping.

Nos. 187 and 189 Wardour Street

Formerly Nos. 118 and 119

Nos. 187 and 189 were leased to Jonathan Firth, painter, (ref. 24) and appear in Tallis's view as Nos. 118 and 119. Above the shop-front No. 187 is still in essentially the same form as Tallis shows it—three storeys and a garret, two windows wide to Noel Street, four windows wide to Wardour Street, with flat-headed windows having plain reveals, and segmental-headed dormers. Tallis shows iron guard-rails before each firstfloor window. The ground floor then had two tripartite display windows to Noel Street, and two more to Wardour Street with a shop door (now canted across the corner) between them and with the house entrance at the north end as now. No. 189 has suffered more alteration, for Tallis shows that it then had three storeys and a garret with one dormer. Now there are four storeys with a parapet concealing the roof, and the brick is painted red. The shop on the ground floor has been modernized. Ceilings are much lower than those of No. 187. The flat-headed windows have plain reveals.


1. P.R.O., E317/Middlesex 38; C10/126/38.
2. Ibid., CREST 6/20, pp. 142–50; Kingsford, p. 7.
3. P.R.O., CREST 6/20, pp. 142–50; Survey of London, vol. XXIX, 1960, pp. 21–2.
4. Chatsworth MSS., box 18, no. 190.
5. P.R.O., C6/86/78.
6. Ibid., C8/343/31.
7. R.B.
8. P.R.O., CREST 6/20, pp. 142–50; C54/4808, no. 10; C66/3403, no. 1.
9. B.M., Egerton MS. 1708, f. 276.
10. House of Lords Act, 1 Geo. II, no. 11.
11. M.L.R. 1734–42 passim; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
12. University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.; M.C.R.O., LTA (W)259.
13. M.L.R. 1735/2/338, 496; 1736/5/221–5; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
14. M.L.R. 1735/3/63–5; 1735/5/4–5.
15. Ibid., 1735/4/160; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
16. M.L.R. 1736/5/395–7; 1737/2/218.
17. Ibid., 1737/1/270–3.
18. Ibid., 1737/1/244–5; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
19. M.L.R.1737/2/445–7.
20. University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.; Colvin.
21. M.L.R. 1736/3/452–4.
22. Ibid., 1736/2/198; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
23. M.L.R. 1736/4/67.
24. University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
25. M.L.R. 1739/1/459.
26. Ibid., 1736/4/66.
27. Ibid., 1735/2/196–7.
28. Ibid., 1735/4/516.
29. Ibid., 1735/3/184.
30. Ibid., 1736/3/29.
31. Ibid., 1736/5/711; 1737/1/179; 1739/2/101
32. Ibid., 1735/5/399.
33. Ibid., 1739/1/416.
34. Ibid., 1738/1/103; 1739/1/465.
35. Ibid., 1738/1/137; 1739/5/282.
36. Ibid., 1735/5/6; 1738/2/373.
37. M.C.R.O., LV(W) passim.
38. R.B.; Rocque's map of 1746.
39. M.L.R. 1736/5/226; 1737/1/223; 1737/2/118, 464–7; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
40. M.L.R. 1736/3/61–2, 83, 146, 215; 1737/1/ 222, 524; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
41. M.L.R. 1737/2/426.
42. Ibid., 1744/1/413.
43. Ibid., 1746/2/276.
44. R.B.; D.N.B.
45. M.L.R. 1736/3/357–9; 1736/4/359–61.
46. Ibid., 1737/2/303–4; 1737/2/305–6.
47. Ibid., 1735/4/473; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
48. M.L.R. 1737/4/196–8.
49. Ibid., 1735/5/415; 1741/4/178.
50. Ibid., 1736/4/177, 477.
51. Ibid., 1735/3/402–3; 1735/4/400; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
52. M.L.R. 1735/3/152.
53. Ibid., 1736/4/68.
54. Ibid., 1735/4/402.
55. Ibid., 1735/4/474.
56. Ibid., 1744/1/353.
57. The Sunday Times, 4 July 1926.
58. M.L.R. 1737/2/303–6; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
59. M.L.R. 1735/3/402–3; 1735/4/400; 1736/4/ 177, 477; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
60. P.O.D.
61. M.L.R. 1736/3/357–9; 1736/4/359–60.
62. W.C.C. Minutes, 9 May 1912, p. 287; 5 Dec. 1912, p. 643.
63. M.L.R. 1737/4/383; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
64. M.L.R. 1739/3/109; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
65. M.L.R. 1737/3/235–6.
66. Ibid., 1742/4/354.
67. Ibid., 1744/2/155.
68. Ibid., 1737/2/448.
69. Ibid., 1742/4/21751744/3/37.
70. Ibid., 1738/1/259; 1739/1/465.
71. J. H. Cardwell, Two Centuries of Soho, 1898, p. 60.
72. Photograph of 1949 in L.C.C. collection.
73. M.L.R. 1736/4/369; 1737/1/439, 441, 443.
74. Ibid., 1738/3/310; 1739/5/120–1.
75. Ibid., 1738/3/418; 1739/1/370.
76. Ibid., 1739/1/459.
77. Ibid., 1735/2/196.
78. Ibid., 1737/1/400; 1738/2/99, 101, 103; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
79. M.L.R. 1735/5/388; 1736/1/10; 1736/2/23; 1736/3/419.
80. Ibid., 1736/2/500–3.
81. Ibid., 1737/1/433–40; University of Nottingham, Portland MSS.
82. M.L.R. 1743/2/272.
83. Ibid., 1743/2/330–5.
84. Ibid., 1736/1/266; 1736/2/338.
85. Ibid., 1739/2/16.
86. Ibid., 1736/1/265.
87. L.C.C. Members' Library, file 371.
88. R.B.; E.S. 4064, 4065, 8508.