The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 9 Piccadilly

Bond Street and Albemarle Street and Arlington Street

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We may return to Piccadilly via BOND STREET, the south portion of which is Old Bond Street, while the north portion, running to Oxford St., is known as New Bond Street. Bond St. is named from Sir Thomas Bond, who began to lay it out in 1686, and it forms the east boundary of Mayfair. It is renowned for its fashionable shops and contains also many dealers' picture-galleries. Among the noted residents of Old Bond St. have been Sterne (who died at No. 41 in 1768), Sir Thomas Lawrence (at Nos. 24 and 29), and Boswell. In New Bond St. lived Dean Swift (in 1697), Nelson (at No. 147 in 1797), and Lady Hamilton (at No. 160 in 1813). But all these houses have been rebuilt. Albemarle Street, the next turning from Piccadilly on the right, occupies the site of Clarendon House, built about 1664, afterwards sold to George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, and pulled down about 1683. No. 50, on the left, is the house of Mr. John Murray, publisher, containing memorials of Lord Byron and other men of letters who had dealings with the firm in the 19th century. The classic building at the north end of the street, on the right, houses the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a society founded in 1799 for the encouragement and diffusion of scientific knowledge, on the initiative of the cosmopolitan Sir Benjamin Thompson (born in 1753 at North Woburn, Mass., and later Count Rumford of Munich), of whom Gibbon writes as 'Mr. Secretary-Colonel-Admiral-Philosopher Thompson.' Here Campbell's lectures on Poetry were delivered in 1812 and Carlyle's on Heroes in 1840. Amongst the most popular of its lectures are the courses for children, delivered in the Christmas holidays. The Davy-Faraday Research Laboratory (at No. 20), presented to the Royal Institution in 1896 by Dr. Ludwig Mond (died 1909), commemorates the names of two illustrious chemists closely connected with its work. In Grafton Street, at the end of Albemarle St., are the Grafton Galleries. On No. 4 a tablet records the residence here of Lord Brougham. We return to Piccadilly. On the south side, opposite Albemarle St., diverges St. James's St. The site of the White Horse Cellars, once the starting-point of the mail-coaches to the West of England, is now occupied by Hatchett's Restaurant, a little farther on. In Dover Street, the next street on the north, is a Piccadilly Tube station. The Albemarle Club, at No. 37, retains parts of Ely House, a fine mansion given by Government in 1772 to the bishops of Ely in exchange for their previous residence in Ely Place. No. 34 is the Bath Club and No. 40 the Arts Club. On the south side of Piccadilly, between Arlington St. and the Green Park, rises the large Rite Hotel, a welldesigned building, with an arcade over the pavement. Sir Robert Walpole lived at No. 5 Arlington St., C. J. Fox at No. 9, Lord Salisbury (died 1903) at No. 20. Wimborne House (No. 22) is the finest in the street. New Devonshire House, the palatial block of flats and shops opposite the Ritz Hotel, between Berkeley St. and Stratton St., was designed by the American architects Carrere and Hastings, and Prof. Reilley. It occupies the site of the ducal Devonshire House, long famous as one of the great Whig mansions of London, pulled down in 1924. Other huge blocks and two new streets occupy the former garden. Devonshire House was the residence of the Duke of Devonshire until it was sold in 1919. It was erected by Kent on the site of Berkeley House, which was built in 1665 and burned down in 1733. The wrought iron gates of the forecourt, originally at Heathfleld House, on Turnham Green, and later at Chiswick House, were removed in 1921 to the Green Park, opposite Half Moon St., farther west. Beyond this point Piccadilly is bounded on the south by the Green Park. The house of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts (1814-1906), at the corner of Stratton St., and No. 80 Piccadilly (next door), the residence of her father, Sir Francis Burdett, were demolished in 1925. The next three side-streets, all abounding in fashionable lodgings and private hotels, lead from Piccadilly to Curzon St., Mayfair. In Bolton Street lived Pope's friends, Martha and Theresa Blount, 'the young ladies of Bolton Street.' At No. 11 Mme. d'Arblay was visited by Sir Walter Scott in 1818. At Bath House (rebuilt in 1821), at the corner of Piccadilly then the residence of Lord and Lady Ashburton, Thomas Carlyle paid more visits than pleased his wife. In Clarges Stree lived Lord Macaulay (at No. 3; in 1838-40), Edmund Kean (No. 12; 1816-24), William Mitford (No. 14; 1810-22), and Lady Hamilton (No. 11; 1804-6). In Halfmoon Street, named after a tavern, Boswell, Mme. d'Arblay, Hazlitt, and Shelley all lived. Farther on Piccadilly is a street of clubs. No. 85 is the Turf Club. The Naval and Military Club, at No. 94, known also as the 'In-and-Out Club,' occupies an 18th century building occupied by Lord Palmerston in 1855-65. Then follow the American Club (No. 95), the Junior Naval and Military Club. (No. 96), the Badminton (No. 100), the Junior Constitutional (Nos. 101-104), and, beyond two new hotels, the St. James's (No. 106). The last, a diplomatic club, occupies a mansion designed by Kent, the dining-room of which is adorned with small ceiling-paintings by Angelica Kauffmann. No. 107, where Field-Marshal Blucher found a temporary home in 1814, is now the Savile Club. The Junior Athenaeum (No. 116) occupies Hope House, at the corner of Down St., in which is a Piccadilly Tube station. The next clubs are the Cavendish (No. 119), the Cavalry (No. 127), and the Royal Air Force (No. 128). On the south side of the street, opposite the Cavalry Club, is an unassuming relic of bygone times and customs, in the shape of a Porters Rest, an elevated shelf for burdens, supported by upright standards, placed there in 1861. No. 138 Piccadilly, now occupied by the Lyceum Club, was the house of the notorious Duke of Queensberry (died 1810), familiarly known as 'Old Q,' and No. 139 (formerly 13 Piccadilly Terrace) was the early married home of Lord Byron. Here Ada, 'sole daughter of my heart and home,' was born in 1815.