CHAPTER 6: LXVI—CADOGAN HOUSE AND CROMWELL HOUSE (FORMERLY Nos. 2 AND 3 WHITEHALL YARD)
The premises are the freehold of the Crown and are used for the
purposes of the Ministry of Transport.
History and Description of Structure.
In 1721 Sir George Byng applied (fn. 1) for a grant of a piece of waste
land between Whitehall Court and the house then in course of erection by
Mr. Hanbury (on the site of Malmesbury House), but finding afterwards
that a portion of the ground had been included in the latter's lease, amended
his application accordingly. (fn. 2) In the report on his memorial, (fn. 3) the ground is
said to have comprised "part of an old Cellar and an old Building called the
Cowhouse and some other small parts of Ruins thereto adjoyning," abutting
north on Whitehall Great Court, east in part on a way or passage leading to
the lodgings in the possession of Mrs. Darcy and in other part on the ground
leased to Hanbury, south on the latter, and west partly on the Privy Garden
and in part "on a building dividing the said Privy Garden from Whitehall
Great Court." The dimensions were: at the north end 76 feet, at the east
end (to a break of 12 feet fronting the south) 58 feet, then again to the east
20 feet, to the south 32 feet, to the west 53 feet, then to the south 33 feet,
and to the west 25 feet.
The plan of 1670 shows that the "old cellar" referred to was the
royal wine cellar. This had not been totally destroyed in the fire of 1698.
The Board of Greencloth wrote (fn. 4) to Sir Christopher Wren on 25th November,
1698: "Mr. Dalton and the rest of the officers of his Mats Cellar have
represented unto us, that a part of his Mats great cellar which was preserved
from the late dreadfull fire at Whitehall, doth lye exposed to raine, and the
wine lodged therein may receive much damage if timely care be not taken.
Wee therefore desire you will give speedy order for making such a cover to
the said Cellar (fn. 5) as may precerve it and ye said wine from the danger of the
weather." Another reference to it occurs (fn. 6) in February, 1701–2: "taking
downe the old walls in & about the old Guard chamber (fn. 7) over the wine
cellar which were in danger of falling."
The lease to Byng (then Viscount Torrington) was granted on 26th
June, 1722, for thirty-one years. In 1739 his son, the 2nd Viscount,
obtained a reversionary lease for a further thirty-six years. Twenty years
later the latter's widow applied for another extension, and desired the
inclusion of a small strip of land between her house and the ground leased
to Lady Catherine Pelham, 53 feet 10 inches long by 34 feet 2 inches wide.
The house was on that occasion reported to be "a substantial building in
very good repair." (fn. 8) A lease was granted on 28th April, 1759, and was
subsequently acquired by Charles Sloane Cadogan, who in 1773 obtained a
new lease to expire on 26th August, 1823. In the report (fn. 9) on his memorial
it is stated that the "messuage … is now divided into two which are in good
repair, now … in the tenure of James Martin, Esqr., and the Memorialist."
The division had evidently been carried out after 1768, when Cadogan had
acquired the original lease (see p. 150).
The most remarkable feature of these premises is situated at the
south-west end, and consists of the remains of a vaulted undercroft (the "old
cellar" above referred to), which evidently formed part of the ancient York
Place. The walls are constructed of small bricks, with stone ashlar of later
date to the exterior facing Whitehall Gardens. The room (Plates 54, 55, 56) is
two bays in width and four complete bays in length, with two incomplete bays
at the southern end. Each bay has a quadripartite vault of brick, with chamfered brick ribs springing from octagonal stone piers ranging down the middle
with moulded capitals, while the side ribs spring from shaped wall corbels
also in stone. At some time the room was plastered, but a portion of
the plaster has been removed, exposing the jointing of the red brickwork to
the vaulting and the main walling.
The present floor is slightly below the road level, but according to
Smirke, (fn. 10) the original floor was about 5 feet 4 inches lower. His drawing
also indicates that the central piers have octagonal moulded bases.
In the east wall of the northern bay is a stone doorway, which has
moulded jambs and a four-centred arch in a square head, with the spandrils
on its eastern face occupied with carved shields and foliage. The shields are
reputed to bear the ancient arms of the see of York impaling Wolsey, but
the stonework has suffered very much from weathering, and is almost undecipherable (Plates 55 and 57). It should be noted that the vaulting ribs cut
into the splay mouldings of the inner face of the arch, suggesting that the
vaulting is of later date than the doorway. The south-western bay has
a much deeper reveal than the others, with a break forward on the external
face, which bears a strong resemblance to a similar break shown on the
plan of 1670 indicating a bay window to this vaulted chamber. In the east
wall at the southern end is a shallow recess with chamfered jambs and a fourcentred head.
The room is at present used as a staff luncheon-room.
The premises above the cellar, which were erected about 1722,
comprise two storeys. The exterior to Whitehall Gardens (Plate 64) is
in plain brickwork down to the level of the first floor, with keyed segmental
arches to the fenestrations, the sashes being divided into small squares.
The first-floor level is marked by a projecting stone band, and the walling
below (which embraces the vaulted cellar) is
faced in ashlar, with segmental arches to the
windows and plain blocks in slight relief to
the keys and springing. The north and east
fronts overlooking Horse Guards Avenue
are similar in character, but with an attic
storey (Plate 48). The entrance to the
portion known as Cromwell House was
approached by a flight of stone steps leading
from Whitehall Yard, which have now
been supplemented by extra steps on
account of the new levels. The doorway
has stone dressings with blocked quoins, and
a keyed head finished with a moulded pediment, typical of the style of Kent (Plate 52).
The entrance doorway in Horse Guards
Avenue to the part known as Cadogan
House is adversely affected by the new
pavement level, which is above that of
old Whitehall Yard. The doorway has a
moulded eared architrave, flanked with
¾ diameter Corinthian columns, which support an entablature with a modillion cornice, all executed in stone
Balustrading to Staircase.
The premises contain some decorative features which are attributed
to Kent. The staircase to Cromwell House continues around three sides of
the hall to the first floor, and has wrought-iron bar balusters, ornamented
alternately with scrolls and leafage, and a moulded mahogany handrail. The
stair-treads are in stone, with shaped outside ends and soffits. At the firstfloor level is a band with the wave ornament, which is carried round the wall
of the staircase.
Room No. 78 has a deeply recessed window which corresponds with
the bay to the undercroft below. The walls are panelled, while the wood
mantelpiece is carved and has marble slips to the opening.
The panelling to Room No. 79 has carved mouldings, and is finished
with an enriched modillion cornice (Plate 58). The north side contains a
large central panel with a doorway on each side. The panel is formed by a
moulded and carved architrave, with the top ramped over the centre with
scrolls and swag enrichment. The door-casings have carved and moulded
linings with heads comprising a pulvinated frieze and a moulded cornice
decorated with egg-and-tongue ornament. The doors are double margin,
six-panelled, the panels being "raised and fielded." The window reveals
are also panelled, and the chair-rail and skirting moulded. On the east side
of the room is a series of three semicircular arches springing above moulded
and enriched imposts to shallow pilasters. The latter form the responds of
piers, which, with the vaulted arcading to the passage outside (Plate 53),
were originally a feature of the room. The Trial of the Pyx formerly took
place here, and a view of the ceremony in the Illustrated London News for
16th December, 1854, shows the arcading as part of the room.
The chimneypiece to this room is very ornate, and, with the exception
of the moulded jamb linings, which are in marble, is executed in carved
pine. The moulded and enriched mantelshelf is supported on consoles containing eagles' heads, which have a length of guilloche ornament suspending
from their beaks and finishing on their claws; the frieze contains a lion's
head and forepaws between festoons of oak leaves. Above the shelf on
a plinth with the crest ornament is a broad panel, formed by an architrave
of the egg-and-leaf ornament, and having a decorative frieze to the head
surmounted by a moulded pediment. On the outside of the frame on each
side is a fringe of husk ornament with a scroll terminal.
Room No. 80 has the walls panelled as in Room 78, and a marble
mantelpiece (Plate 59).
Room No. 81 originally had a carved wood mantelpiece, which is
now in Room No. 25 of Pembroke House.
The walls of Room 82 are panelled, and finished with a modillion
cornice. The lower part of the chimneypiece is in statuary marble, with an
egg-and-leaf architrave lining to the fireplace, flanked with sculptured female
Hermae supporting a moulded shelf. The frieze contains a central tablet
with a conventional urn between swags, and on each side is a roundel above
a festoon of oak leaves. Above the mantelshelf on a fretted plinth is a
richly carved wood frame in which is a painting of the Toilet of Venus. A
Mephistophelean mask in a shell crowns the frame. The whole design is
typical of the style of Kent and his period (Plate 53).
Between the last two rooms is a stone staircase the full depth of the
block. It starts from the entrance in Whitehall Yard and continues to the
second floor, with semicircular landings and winders around an open newel.
Some of the rooms on the floor above are panelled, with cornices in wood,
and with bolection moulded architraves to the doors and windows.
Room 97 (Plate 58), which overlooks the entrance yard to Cromwell
House, still retains the substantial sash-bars which, it is probable were
originally in most of the sash windows in these premises.
Condition of Repair.
The occupiers of these two houses, so far as they can be ascertained, were as follows:
|1730–1||— Byng, Esq.|
|1739–41|| (fn. 11) Capt. Mordaunt|
|1743–4 (fn. 11) ||Capt. Mordaunt|
|1756–8||Rt. Hon. Wm. Pitt|
|* * * * * * * * * *|
|Cadogan House||Cromwell House|
|1773||Chas. Sloane Cadogan (Earl Cadogan)|
|* * * * * * * * * *|
|1792–5 Evan Nepean||1792–1824 Sir William Lemon|
|1825||The Misses Lemon|
George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington, was born in 1663. His career at first wavered
between the army and the navy, and he actually held commissions in both services. In 1688 he
was entrusted with the task of canvassing the navy captains in the interests of the Prince of Orange,
and obtained the latter's goodwill. Soon after this he gave up his commission in the army, and
devoted himself to service afloat. By 1703 he had risen to the rank of rear-admiral. He took
part in 1704 in the capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Malaga, and was knighted for his services.
In 1705 he was made vice-admiral, and in 1708 admiral, and in the latter year repulsed the Pretender's fleet. In 1715 he was made a baronet. In 1718 he was promoted Admiral of the Fleet,
and in the same year gained the notable victory of Cape Passaro, in which he entirely destroyed the
Spanish fleet. On his return to England in 1721 he was appointed Rear-Admiral of Great Britain
and Treasurer of the Navy, and was created Baron Southill and Viscount Torrington. In 1725
he was made K.B., and in 1727 became First Lord of the Admiralty. He died on 17th January,
1732–3. He was father of the Admiral Byng who was executed in 1757.
Byng, Viscount Torrington.
He seems to have entered into occupation of the house in Whitehall Yard in 1724 (being
shown there in the 1725 ratebook), but apparently did not reside there after 1729.
Colonel Byng, who lived at the house from 1732 (perhaps 1730) to 1733, was probably
his son Edward.
Pattee Byng, 2nd Viscount Torrington, Paymaster-General in Ireland, died on 24th
January, 1746–7," at his House in Whitehall." (fn. 12) His residence there had been intermittent. In
the intervals the house seems to have been occupied (though the evidence of the ratebooks is not
entirely clear) by Capt. Mordaunt.
The 2nd Viscount left his "house at Whitehall, with all the pictures, furniture and household goods of whatever kind" to his widow (fn. 13) Nevertheless the ratebooks show that he was succeeded at the house by his brother, the 3rd Viscount, and this is to some extent confirmed by the
latter's will, which refers to certain of his books "at my late Brothers House at Whitehall." (fn. 14) He
died on 7th April, 1750, at Southill, and the dowager viscountess (fn. 15) entered into occupation of the
The ratebooks show that from Christmas, 1756, to 1758, she let the house to William
For details of the life of William Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham, the reader is referred
to the standard biographies, which, however, contain no particulars of his residence at this house.
His correspondence, on the other hand, includes a number of letters about this period, addressed
from "Whitehall." It is worthy of note that when Pitt in February, 1757, was pleading with the
King on behalf of Admiral Byng he was living in the house belonging to the family and rented from
the admiral's sister-in-law.
The dowager viscountess died on 17th March, 1759. By her will (fn. 16) she left her house
"situate in the Palace of Whitehall … now in my own Occupation" to her executors for the use
of "the Person who for the time being shall be Viscount Torrington and Intitled to the capital
Seat at Southill, . . belonging to the Torrington Family."
It might be presumed that George, the 4th Viscount, succeeded his aunt at once in the
occupation of the house, but it is impossible to confirm this from the ratebooks, which (incorrectly)
show Lady Torrington still there until 1762 (the last book containing any entries for Whitehall
Yard). Moreover, he was only just of age at his aunt's death, and did not marry until 1765. It
was perhaps in connection with the latter event that on 22nd April, 1765 (three months before the
marriage) Lady Torrington's executor sold (fn. 17) the remainder of the lease to the viscount. (fn. 18)
On 24th February, 1768, the latter disposed of (fn. 19) the property to the Hon. Charles Sloane
Charles Sloane Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan, son of Charles, 2nd Baron Cadogan, was born
in 1728. From 1769 to 1784 he was Master of the Mint. He succeeded to the Barony in 1776
and in 1800 was created Viscount Chelsea and Earl Cadogan. He died on 3rd April, 1807, still
in possession of the lease, of which he had obtained an extension.
Cadogan, Earl Cadogan.
It is known that by 1773 (see p. 146) the house had been divided into two (Nos. 2 and 3,
Whitehall Yard), which were occupied respectively by Cadogan himself and James Martin.
In the absence of any ratebook evidence for this period, it is not possible to say how long Cadogan
remained at No. 2; but in 1792 Evan Nepean was in occupation.
Evan Nepean was born in 1751. In 1782 he became Under-Secretary of State in the Shelburne ministry, and after holding several other offices he was in 1795 appointed Secretary of the
Admiralty. He was created a baronet in 1802. In 1804 he was for a few months Chief Secretary
for Ireland, and then returned to the Admiralty for about eighteen months as Lord Commissioner.
From 1812 to 1819 he was Governor of Bombay. He died in 1822.
He is shown in residence at No. 2 Whitehall Yard in the second (but not the first) edition
of Boyle's Court Guide for 1792, (fn. 20) and he may therefore be presumed to have entered into occupation
in that year. The last issue showing him at the house is that for 1795, so that he probably removed
thence on his appointment to the Admiralty. The house does not appear to have had another
Although the lease of the premises did not expire until 1823, the house was used at least as
early as 1803 (see Plate 47) as the office of the Comptroller of Army Accounts. <In the PRO is a transfer of a house in Whitehall Yard, dated 27 June 1808, from the executors of the will of Lord Cadogan to the Comptrollers of the Accounts of the Army; this obviously refers to Cadogan House. See Survey of London, volume XIV, The Parish of St Margaret, Westminster (Part 3), 1931, p.170.>
The issue of Boyle's Court Guide for 1792 shows Sir William Lemon in occupation of
No. 3, and he continued in residence until his death in 1824, (fn. 22) but there is nothing to indicate the
date when his "term" in the property began. (fn. 23) The lease had expired in 1823, after which
Lemon had continued as tenant at will, and according to the Government records was succeeded for a time by his son, Sir Charles Lemon, (fn. 24) but Boyle's Court Guide for 1825 shows the
"Misses Lemon" there. In 1826 the premises were taken over and used as an office for the auditor
of the Civil List.
In the Council's Collection are:—
(fn. 24) General exterior of premises to Horse Guards Avenue (photograph).
(fn. 24) General exterior of premises to Whitehall Gardens (photograph).
(fn. 24) Detail of entrance doorway to Cadogan House (photograph).
(fn. 24) Detail of entrance doorway to Cromwell House (photograph).
Detail of entrance doorway to Cromwell House (measured drawings).
Detail of iron stair balustrading, Cromwell House (measured drawings).
(fn. 24) Ground and first-floor plans (measured drawings).
(fn. 24) View of undercroft looking north (photograph).
(fn. 24) View of undercroft looking south (photograph).
(fn. 24) Detail of arched doorway in east wall to undercroft (photograph).
(fn. 24) Detail of arched doorway in east wall to undercroft (measured drawing).
(fn. 24) Plan of undercroft (measured drawing).
Room No. 77, detail of marble mantelpiece (photograph).
Room No. 78, detail of wood mantelpiece (photograph).
Room No. 79, general view looking north (photograph).
(fn. 24) Room No. 79, detail of chimneypiece (photograph).
Room No. 79, general view showing arcading (photograph).
(fn. 24) General view of arcading in passage (photograph).
Detail of arcading in passage (measured drawing).
(fn. 24) Room No. 80, detail of marble mantelpiece (photograph).
Room No. 82, detail of chimneypiece (photograph).
(fn. 24) Room No. 97, general view of panelling and windows (photograph).