The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 7 Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace, Malborough

Marlborough House

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Marlborough House, separated from the east side of St. James's Palace by a narrow road leading from Pall Mall to the park, is entered from Pall Mall by an unimposing gateway guarded by sentries. The house, the residence since 1926 of the Prince of Wales and not visible from the street, stands in a pleasant garden of over 4 acres, giving upon St. James's Park, Marlborough House, a good example of Sir Christopher Wren's red brick work, was built in 1709-10 for the great Duke of Marlborough, on ground leased from the Crown. The inconvenient approach from the street is said to be due to the malice of Sir Robert Walpole, who bought up the leases of the houses required to improve it. Here, next door to 'Neighbour George,' as she called the King, the great Duchess Sarah lived for 22 years after the death of her husband at Windsor (1722), and here she died in 1744. From 1817 till 1831 Prince Leopold (afterwards Leopold I. of Belgium) tenanted the house. In 1835 the Crown lease fell in, and in 1837 the house became the residence of Queen Adelaide, widow of William IV. After her death in 1849 the Vernon Gallery of pictures and later the Government School of Design were housed here. The house was subsequently altered and enlarged, and Edward VII., then Prince of Wales, took up his abode in 1863 there with his bride Alexandra, and remained until his accession in 1901, when he was succeeded at Marlborough House by the present King, who was born there in 1865. On the death of Edward VII. in 1910 it became the residence of the Queen-Mother Alexandra (died December 1925). The house contains wall-paintings by La Guerre of the battles of the great Marlborough.