LXX.—NOS. 6 and 6a, BEDFORD SQUARE. (fn. 1)
Ground landlord and lessees.
Ground landlord, The Crown; lessees, William Harris, Esq. (No. 6),
Walter F. Trow, Esq. (No. 6A).
General description and date of structure.
This house was not in existence on 20th November, 1777, as the
lease of No. 7, Bedford Square, granted on that date, (fn. 2) mentions as the
southern boundary "ground contracted to be built upon." It first appears
in the parish ratebooks in 1781.
The house is centrally placed on the east side, and is the largest in the
square (Plate 69). It is now in two occupations, each being given a separate
entrance. The hall has been divided and a few of the earlier openings
closed, but otherwise the premises are, on the whole, as originally erected.
An important feature is the hall
containing a staircase to the first
floor, constructed of stone, with a
balustrade of wrought iron formed
with pairs of simple bars alternating
with an ornamental baluster. There
is an enriched cornice and ceiling
below the first floor landing and this
level is marked on the wall of the hall
by a beautiful band of ornament (illustrated on the next page). The side
walls above this level are enriched with
plaster mouldings. The end walls are
semi-circular in plan. The ceiling at
the second floor level is an exceptionally
good example of design in plaster
(Plate 70), composed of two decorated
and fluted semi-domes over the end
walls, supporting pendentives which
carry a circular cornice, from which
springs a domical lantern. The front
room on the ground floor has a white
marble inlay chimneypiece. The front
room on the first floor to the south
has a much damaged painted ceiling,
and a fine marble chimneypiece (Plate71) with Ionic columns and sculptured
panel in the frieze.
IRON STAIR BALUSTERS
The long room to the front on the same floor in No. 6A has a segmental
ceiling similar to that in No. 10 (Plate 74), but is not decorated. There are
two ornamental plaques in the frieze of the end walls, and the eastern back
room on the second floor contains a white marble chimneypiece with
sculptured figure and festoons.
No. 6, Bedford Square, Detail of Plaster Decoration to Staircase
Condition of repair.
The premises are in good repair.
The ratebooks show that the first occupant of the house was Lord Loughborough,
whose residence here began in 1781 and lasted until 1798. Particulars of the life
of Alexander Wedderburn, Baron Loughborough, afterwards Earl of Rosslyn, have
already been given in the previous volume dealing with the Parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields. (fn. 3)
In 1798 Loughborough was succeeded in the occupation of the house by Lord
John Scott, first Earl of Eldon, was born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1751. The
son of a coal-factor, he was at first intended for that business, but through the influence
of his brother William (afterwards Lord Stowell), he went to Oxford in 1766, with
a view to taking orders. After his marriage in 1772, he gave up the church and turned
to the law. He became a student at Middle Temple in January, 1773, and was called
to the Bar in 1776. In 1783 he became King's counsel and was returned to Parliament
as member for the close borough of Weobley, Herefordshire. In Parliament he gave
general support to Pitt and in 1788 was appointed solicitor-general, and was knighted.
He succeeded in 1793 to the attorney-generalship, in which he conducted the vigorous
prosecutions against British sympathisers with French Republicanism, and became
for the time the best hated man in England. In 1799 he became Lord Chief
Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and on the formation of Addington's ministry
in 1801, he was appointed Lord Chancellor. Lord Eldon continued in office
as Chancellor under Pitt (1804–1806), and on the formation of the Portland administration in 1807, resumed the Great Seal, which he retained for twenty years. His
influence in the Cabinet was supreme, and he was, in all but name, prime minister
of England. His one aim in politics was to keep in office and maintain things as
he found them. In 1821, Lord Eldon was created Viscount Encombe and Earl of
Eldon. He died in London on 13th January, 1838.
In the Council's collection are:—
(fn. 4) Ground and first floor plans (measured drawing).
Staircase in No. 6 (photograph).
(fn. 4) Stair balusters (measured drawing).
Ornamental ceiling of landing and lantern light over staircase (photograph).
(fn. 4) Lantern over staircase (photograph).
Panel on wall of staircase (photograph).
(fn. 4) Detail of plaster decoration of staircase (photograph).
Marble chimneypiece in front room on ground floor (photograph).
General view of rear room on ground floor (photograph).
(fn. 4) Marble chimneypiece in front room on first floor (photograph).
Marble chimneypiece in rear room on second floor (photograph).
General view of front room on first floor (No. 6A) (photograph).
No. 8, Bedford Square—
Inner doorway and fanlight (photograph).
Lantern over staircase (photograph).