XLVI.—No. 40 QUEEN ANNE'S GATE: (Formerly No. 1 Queen Square).
The freehold belongs to Mr. Alexander Murray Smith, who is also the
General Description of Structure.
On 5th April, 1726, the South Sea Company Trustees sold (fn. 1) to John
Dive two houses in Queen Square. One of these (for which the purchase
price was £790) is said to have been at the time in Dive's own occupation,
and is described as the ninth house on the north side of the square, (fn. 2) 38 feet
in front and 27 feet 8 inches deep, "which messuage containeth three
stories in height, and two rooms and a large closett on a floore, and garretts
on the roof, with a kitchen, washhouse and other conveniences below
stairs, and iron railings before the front of the said messuage," as well as
vaults and a small yard.
At the present time the two lower storeys are stuccoed, a work which
was probably carried out when the entrance porch was added. The keystones to the two principal floors have carved masks, while the usual flat
bands indicate the floor levels.
The premises internally contain little of interest. The staircase has
turned balusters and moulded close strings and a heavily moulded wood
cornice to the landings.
In the basement is some oak panelling which is of an earlier date than
the house, and was probably brought from some other premises.
Fixed on the exterior of the premises are portions of three ornamental lead cisterns (Plate 124). One with the date 1745 and the letters
I.D.D. is stated to have been used in the house. The letters probably
represent the initials of John and Dorothy Dive.
Condition of Repair.
The occupiers of this house up to 1840 were, according to the ratebooks, as follows:—
|1768–73||Hon. Dorothy Dive.|
|1775–78||Col. Wm. Wynyard
|1779–96||Louis Geo. Dive.|
|1810–13||George Manners. (fn. 3) |
|1832–||Dr. John Bowring.|
The "James Mills" of the ratebooks was James Mill, the well-known philosopher,
born in 1773 in Forfarshire. Although the son of a country shoemaker, he was enabled by
the patronage of Sir John Stuart to study at Edinburgh University, where he became distinguished as a Greek scholar. In 1802 he came to London to pursue a literary career, but after
one or two short experiences in editing, he was compelled for some years to make a more or less
precarious livelihood by reviewing and miscellaneous work. In 1818 his History of India
appeared, and was at once successful. In the following year he entered the service of the
East India Company, and in 1830 attained the headship of his particular office in India House.
He died in 1836. In addition to many important contributions to reviews and magazines,
he wrote Elements of Political Economy, Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind and
Fragment on Mackintosh. The first and second, as well as the History of India, were produced
at the house in Queen Square. His residence here began in 1814, when his friend, Bentham,
let him the house (fn. 4) (first at £50 a year, afterwards increased to £100 when Mill could afford
the full rent), and lasted until 1831 (fn. 5) when he removed to Kensington. During the whole of
this period Mill's famous son (John Stuart Mill), born in 1806, was a member of the household.
Mill was succeeded in his occupation of No. 1 Queen Square by John (afterwards Sir
John) Bowring (another friend of Jeremy Bentham), born in 1792. On leaving school he
adopted a mercantile career, in the course of which he travelled extensively in Europe. In
1828 he was sent by the Government to Holland and afterwards to France to report on the
system of keeping the public accounts. He gave such satisfaction that he was appointed secretary
to the commission for inspecting the accounts of the United Kingdom, and the reports which
he made in that connection were the means of instituting great improvements in the system
In 1831 he was appointed one of the two commissioners to investigate the commercial
relations between Great Britain and France, and from 1832 to 1837 was employed on various
commercial missions in Europe and the Near East. He became one of the founders of the
Anti-Corn-Law League, and in 1841 entered Parliament, principally with the object of
furthering the aims of the League. In 1847 he obtained the position of Consul at Canton,
and, except when on leave, spent the next twelve years in the East. In 1854 he was appointed
plenipotentiary to China and Governor of Hong Kong, was accredited to the Courts of Japan,
Siam, Cochin-China and Korea, and received the honour of knighthood. The firm attitude
which he adopted against the Chinese Government on the occasion of an outrage committed
on a ship carrying the British flag was gravely criticised, and a vote of censure proposed by
Cobden, his former friend, was carried against the Government. Lord Palmerston appealed
to the country, which endorsed Bowring's action. In 1857 he and his family were poisoned
by the Chinese. Lady Bowring's constitution was so impaired that she had to return to England, where she died soon after her arrival, and Sir John did not entirely recover from the effects
of the poison for some years. In 1859 he returned to this country for good, suffering shipwreck
on the way. He died in 1872.
Bowring was a marvellous linguist. He contributed largely to magazines and reviews,
was the first editor of the Westminster Review, and wrote many poems and hymns. His foreign
honours and academic distinctions were numerous. The doctorate by which he is distinguished
in the ratebooks was the LL.D. of Groningen, which was conferred on him in 1829.
In the Council's Collection are:—
(fn. 6) General view of exterior (photograph).
(fn. 6) General view of lead-cistern faces (photograph).