Commercial premises

Nov 7th, 2015 | | Commercial premises | Portfolio | No Comments

46 Berkeley Square

46 Berkeley Square

No. 46 formed part of the early phase of speculative house-building development that led to the creation of Berkeley Square. In 1737 William Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley of Stratton and his son John entered into an agreement with two carpenters, Edward Cock and Francis Hillyard, for a building lease of about six and a half acres of Berkeley Fields for the development of part of their estate. The first houses were erected in the following year, and were known originally as Berkeley Row. The houses that defined the west side, including No. 46 were erected in 1741-45. No. 46 formed part of a block of terraced houses that ran between Hill Street and Charles Street. Now numbered Nos 42-52, they were formerly numbered Nos 1 to 11 Berkeley Square, with No. 46 numbered as No. 7. All had sizeable mews which were reached from Hay’s Mews to the west.

No. 46 was built at the same time and in the same style as No. 45 (formerly No. 8) and the design of both is attributed to Henry Flitcroft (1697-1769), although William Kent and Isaac Ware’s names have also been suggested. No. 46 was built by the carpenter John Phillips.

Lead Cistern 1744

A Water Cistern dated 1744 now stands in the garden at the rear

It is a substantial four-bay house with a basement, three main floors and attic with pedimented dormers. The entrance hall is of two bays with a grand open-well staircase to the rear. Two large rooms to the R/H side and a smaller room with a canted bay to the rear which overlooked the garden and mews. Many of the elements survive from the 1740s but there is much evidence of later work – from the 1770s, from 1890 and more recently.

No 46 was the London house of the Earls of Darnley from 1745 until 1835. Their country house was Cobham Hall, near Gravesend in Kent, until that too was sold and became a school. The Mildmay family owned No 46 until 1947. It was one of the last private houses in Berkeley Square.

In ca.1771-74 the architect George Shakespear made alterations for John Bligh, 3rd Earl of Darnley (1719-81), including Adamesque plaster ceilings by Joseph Rose and Thomas Heafford to the grand first-floor rooms.1 Early maps suggest that between 1799 and 1875 much of the rear garden was built over. In 1889-90 Richard Norman Shaw made alterations for Henry Bingham Mildmay (1828-1905), namely a small new wing at the rear of the house (removed in the mid-twentieth century) and perhaps, a compartmented ground-floor front ceiling.

From 1948 until the end of the century it was occupied as offices by a succession of commercial firms, namely The British Aluminium Company, the Chase National Bank of New York, and Ralli International Limited. In 1958 it was listed Grade I. In 1963 it was the subject of a Building Preservation Order which forestalled possible demolition and in 1965 was the focus of a Public Inquiry, which ruled against the Chase National Bank’s plans to modify the ground floor. In 1968 the bank vacated the premises which were taken over by the Haslemere Group. They were granted a number of minor alterations and extensions to the property in 1970, including the ‘removal of later accretions with the object of restoring the most important interiors to former grandeur’. In early 1972 Ralli International Limited acquired a 25 year lease on No. 46. Some interior partition walls were permitted, but other proposals were rejected. In 2014 No. 46 was put up for sale.

I was asked to help with dating of the elements in various rooms and to provide and account of the paint colours used since the house was first built.

Gilded Sample
A cross section of paint from a door architrave showing five schemes of gilding and one of bronze paint
(under Plain and UV light)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Click on the griffin for more information on what I do.

Much of this has been taken from the report produced by Jonathan Clarke in March 2014: “Report on No 46 Berkeley Square.”
1 The name of Joseph Rose is always associated with Robert Adam and Heafford is best known for his work at St James’s, Piccadilly and 14 St James’s Square (now the site of the London Library).

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