The Old Deanery was built in 1672-73 as the residence of the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. William Sancroft became Dean in 1664 and was the first occupant. He greatly assisting with the rebuilding of St Paul’s after the Great Fire of London and contributed £1400 towards it. Although often ascribed to Christopher Wren the surveyor Edward Woodroffe signed the building contract so it is unlikely to be by Wren, though he may have been consulted.
The house is of seven bays with a dentil cornice, dormers, a fine doorcase and a double flight of entrance steps up to the front door. The 1677 survey shows that the front door originally had a shell-like hood porch, which has been replaced with a flat projecting hood
The windows were changed to sash probably over a number of years; the ground floor on the west side has sash windows with more substantial glazing bars which seem likely to date from the mid eighteenth century, whereas most of the other windows with the narrower profile of the glazing bar may date from works carried out in the early 1820s, when the new stone cills are recorded as having been inserted. Accounts of 1820-1821 also describe the lead-paned attic dormer windows being converted to sash at that time.
Other works mentioned in the early nineteenth century include the installation of a water closet, the fixing of several marble chimneypieces, and the replacing of the hearth in the library. The 1821 bill from Messrs. Coad and Adams (Paper Hangers of 68 The Strand) tells us that the entrance hall and staircase were painted and grained wainscot (oak) and that mahogany graining was executed in the library.
The house was modernised in the 1950s and a major restoration was carried out in 1981-82 prior to it becoming a commercial premises. In 1996 it became the residence of the Bishop of London who previously resided at Fulham Palace.
I was asked for advice on its redecoration.
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