Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood (2024)

CHAPTER XXVI.

BERKELEY SQUARE, AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.

"Fountains and trees our wearied pride do please,
E'en in the midst of gilded palaces;
And in our town the prospect gives delight,
Which opens round the country to our sight."—Sprat.

Bruton Street—The "Great" Duke of Argyll—Anecdote of Sheridan—Museum of the Zoological Society—Berkeley Square—Lansdowne Houseand its Occupants—Horace Walpole—Lord Clive—Lady Jersey—Beau Brummell and his "Harbinger of Good Luck"—The EccentricSir John Barnard—Highwaymen and Footpads—Hay Hill—Bolton Row—"The Three Chairmen"—"The Running Footman"—CharlesStreet and its Noted Residents—Hill Street—The Blue-Stocking Club—Davies Street—Lord Byron and Joe Manton—Farm Street andthe Roman Catholic Chapel—Mount Street—Martin Van Butchell, the Quack Doctor—The Coburg Hotel.

Undoubtedly there is a natural pleasure in a rusin urbe, which has no counterpart in any urbs inrure. It is this feeling to which must be ascribedthe fact that in the most crowded parts of thisgreat metropolis we leave open spaces, and plantthem with trees, and rejoice to live in "squares" ifour means will allow us. Still it was long beforeNature asserted her sway. The majority of oursquares, except those of Tyburnia and Belgravia,are the growth of the last century; and few ofthem existed before the accession of George III.,their sites up to that time being mostly sheepwalks, paddocks, and kitchen-gardens.

Mr. Timbs tells us, what few of us remember orknow, that it was at first attempted to call thesquares by the strange and uncouth name of quadrantes; and Maitland, in his "History of London,"retains the term, with only a slight alteration, whenhe mentions "the stately quadrant denominatedKing Square, vulgarly Soho Square." This nameis probably known to few except very learnedantiquaries, so wholly has it passed out of use.

We wish that we could endorse the words ofMr. John Timbs when he calls the garden spacesor planted squares the most "recreative" feature ofour metropolis. At all events, to the multitude therecreation is that of the eyes alone; for, exceptLeicester Square, not one of them is accessible tothe weary working man, the public being allowedonly to stare at them through the iron railingsselfishly set round them.

But to proceed. Again bending our steps towardsthe west, we pass in a parallel line with Piccadilly,but in a somewhat "higher latitude." LeavingConduit Street, which was our point of divergenceat the conclusion of our last chapter, we step acrossBond Street into Bruton Street, which leads directinto Berkeley Square. Bruton Street derived itsname from Lord Berkeley of Stratton, whom wehave already mentioned in connection with Piccadilly, and whose ancestors were known as theBerkeleys of Bruton. This street has had somedistinguished residents in its time; among others,John, the second and "great" Duke of Argyll,who in the reign of William III. was Ambassadorin Spain, and, after the Peace of Utrecht, Commander of the Forces in Scotland. He took partin the suppression of the rebellion of 1715. Thisduke is the same who is immortalised by Pope inthe following lines:—
Argyll, the state's whole thunder born to wield,
And shake alike the senate and the field."

It may be remembered also that Sir CharlesHanbury Williams in his poems identifies the dukewith this street:—
"Yes! on the great Argyll I often wait
At charming Sudbrooke or in Bruton Street.

Sheridan also was living in this street in 1786.At this period his house was so beset with dunsthat, in spite of his seat in Parliament, even theprovisions for his family had to be let down thearea between the railings, as he was afraid to openthe front door. Sir N. W. Wraxall tells a capitalstory apropos of this house and its occupant inthat year:—"Sheridan," he writes, "entertained atdinner here a number of the (Whig) oppositionleaders, though he laboured all the time underheavy pecuniary embarrassments. All his plate, aswell as his books, were lodged in pawn. Having,nevertheless, procured from the pawnbroker anassurance of the liberation of his plate for theday, he applied to Beckett, the celebrated bookseller in Pall Mall, to fill his empty book-cases.Beckett not only agreed to the proposition, butpromised to ornament the vacant shelves with someof the most expensive and splendid productions ofthe British press, provided that two men, expresslysent for the purpose by himself, should be presentto superintend their immediate restoration. Itwas settled finally that these librarians of Beckett'sappointment should put on liveries for the occasion,and wait at table. The company having arrived,were shewn into an apartment where, the bookcases being opened for the purpose, they hadleisure, before dinner was served, to admire theelegance of Sheridan's literary taste, and the magnificence of his collection. But, as all machinery isliable to accidents, so in this instance a failure hadnearly taken place, which must have proved fatalto the entertainment. When everything was readyfor serving dinner, it happened that, either fromthe pawnbroker's distrust, or from some unforeseendelay on his part, the spoons and forks had notarrived. Repeated messages were dispatched tohasten them, and they at last made their appearance; but so critically, and so late, that there notbeing time left to clean them, they were thrown intohot water, wiped, and instantly laid on the table.The evening then passed in the most joyous andfestive manner. Beckett himself related thesecirc*mstances to Sir John Macpherson."

In this street, for a time, resided Lord Brougham,when Lord Chancellor. No. 16 was the townhouse of the late and present Lord Granville,and at one time that of Lord Chancellor Cottenham. It passed afterwards into the hands of anotherwell-known statesman, Lord Carnarvon. In 1841No. 26 was the residence of Sir Matthew Tierney,the favourite physician of George IV.

In Bruton Street was formerly the Museum ofthe Zoological Society, before or about the time ofthe establishment of its gardens in Regent's Park.The studio of Mr. Mark Noble, the sculptor, isin this street.

Berkeley Square, which we now enter on itseastern side, was built in 1698, and named afterJohn, Lord Berkeley, of Stratton, whose mansionand grounds we have already described as situatedon the north side of Piccadilly. From the rear ofDevonshire House they extended back to Hay Hill,in the south-east corner of the square. In thecentre of the square, which contains about five acresof ground, are some fine, tall, and shady plane-trees,which impart an air of cheerfulness and picturesqueness to the spot. Within the enclosure there wasformerly an equestrian statue of George III., erectedby the Princess Amelia. The statue, which wasexecuted by Wilton, stood on a clumsy pedestal,and represented the king in the character of MarcusAurelius. At one time this square was the mostfashionable locality in London. The houses arerather heavy and monotonous in appearance; anda few link-extinguishers may still be seen flankingthe doorways, reminding us of the days of sedanchairs and cumbrous family coaches.

The magnificent mansion standing within itsgarden and gates, which occupies the southernside of the square, and has been for four generationsthe town-house of the Marquises of Lansdowne,was originally built by Robert Adam, the architectof the Adelphi, for John, Earl of Bute, the favouritePremier of George III. in his early days. It wasscarcely finished when, in 1762, after an administration of about two years, during which he hadbrought the war with France and Spain to a closeby the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Lord Bute suddenlythrew up the reins of government, and retired intoprivate life. The act was most unpopular. Thismagnificent residence, just completed and newlyoccupied, exposed his lordship to the most malignant comments; and his enemies asserted that hecould not possibly have erected such a mansionby honest and fair means. They concluded, therefore, that he had either received large presentsfrom the Court of France for signing the treaty,or had made large purchases in the public funds,previous to signing its preliminaries. The accusation was made publicly by others as well as by"Junius," who in the plainest terms accused theearl of selling his country. It is not a littlesingular that, when some twenty years later thehouse passed by purchase into the hands of LordShelburne, afterwards Marquis of Lansdowne, thesame accusation was revived, the public againraising an outcry to the effect that it could nothave been bought except by moneys paid to hislordship for concluding the peace of 1783. LordShelburne, however, took no notice of the cry, for,according to Jeremy Bentham, he "was the onlyminister who did not fear the people."

Lord Bute was known to be, or at all events tohave been, a poor man until called to the post ofPremier; and his enemies were not slow to drawattention to the fact, that he could never haveafforded to build such a house either from hispatrimony or from his marriage with the daughterof Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. The "scandal"is recorded in the gossiping pages of Sir N. W.Wraxall, who adds, "As little could he be supposedto have amassed during his very short administration enough to suffice for such a building. Theonly solution of the difficulty, therefore, lay inimagining, however unjustly, that he had eitherreceived presents from France, or had made largepurchases in the public funds previous to thesignature of the preliminaries of peace" with thatcountry. Whatever may have been the realsolution of the mystery, there can be no doubtthat the mansion brought nearly as much of publicodium on Lord Bute as the building of ClarendonHouse, as we have already seen, had entailed acentury before upon Lord Chancellor Hyde.

The story of Lord Bute's first introduction toroyal circles is told at considerable length by SirN. W. Wraxall. The substance of it is that in1747, whilst living, from motives of economy, ata villa on the banks of the Thames, he was atEgham races, and that a shower coming on, andthe Prince of Wales, accidentally finding him without a conveyance, offered to give him a seat inhis own carriage, and took him to Cliefden, nearMaidenhead, where he stayed the night. Herendered himself extremely acceptable to theirroyal highnesses, and thus laid the foundation,under the succeeding reign, of his elevation to thepremiership—a promotion which may be said tohave been a consequence of this turn in the chapterof accidents. When young he had a very handsome person; and long after he became a constantvisitor and almost an inmate of Leicester Houseand of Cliefden, he would frequently play the partof "Lothario" in the private theatricals exhibitedby the duch*ess of Queensberry for the amusem*ntof those royal personages—a fact to which Wilkesalludes more than once with a sly inuendo in oneof his publications. If this be really the truehistory of the rise of Lord Bute to place andpower, it is but a modern instance of the Latinsatirist's remark, "Voluit Fortuna jocari."

In 1762 Dr. Johnson waited here on Lord Buteto thank him for the literary pension which, at hisrecommendation, the King had settled on him.Lord Bute on this occasion said to him expresslythat this mark of royal favour was "given him notfor anything he was to do, but for what he hadalready done." As Boswell remarks, Lord Bute onthis occasion behaved in a very handsome manner."A minister of a more narrow and selfish disposition would have availed himself of such an opportunity to fix an implied obligation on a man ofJohnson's powerful talents to give him his support."

Lord Bute does not appear to have long residedhere, for very soon after the mansion was completedit was sold to the Earl of Shelburne, afterwards firstMarquis of Lansdowne. John Timbs tells us that"the price was £22,000, being some £3,000 lessthan it cost." He also mentions the canard whichwas current in the last century with respect to thehouse, namely, that "it was built by one Peace,that made by Lord Bute, in 1762, and paid for byanother."

In the spring of 1780, on the failure of his publisher, Mr. H. Payne, of Pall Mall, George Crabbe,poor and unknown, came to this house, in orderto ask for temporary aid; but he was refused byLord Shelburne once and again. Crabbe's sontells us in his "Life" that "often in latter timeshe would express the feelings with which he contrasted his reception at this nobleman's door in1780, with the courteous welcome which he received at a subsequent period in that same mansion,now Lansdowne House." "Dined at LansdowneHouse," writes the poet, in his "Diary," in 1817."My visit to Lord Lansdowne's father in thishouse, now thirty-seven years since!" The onlywonder that one feels in reading such an episode,even in a poet' slife, is that he could condescend,when his name was known as the author of "TheVillage," to enter the doors of that Mæcenas fromwhich he was so rudely repulsed when he neededtemporary assistance.

With respect to the history of this house and itsnoble owners, we may be pardoned for drawinglargely here upon one of the literary articles of theTimes:—"In 1805 died the first Marquis of Lansdowne, having by that time passed very much outof popular notice; and the principal cause of publicregret for his demise was, that only a fortnightbefore his death he had declared his knowledge ofthe Junius secret, and yet among his papers was tobe found no indication that could lead to its discovery. He was succeeded by his eldest son, theEarl of Wycombe, whose first act on coming intopossession was to sell almost all the literary andartistic treasures which his father had accumulatedwith so much love and labour. The greater partof these were dispersed under the hammer of theauctioneer, many of the pictures going to enrichthe National, the Grosvenor, and other galleries;only the Lansdowne MSS. were kept together,being purchased by the British Museum; whilethe Gallery of Antique Marbles was the soleportion of the collection for which the marquisshowed any appreciation—his opinion being expressed in the fact that he purchased it from hisfather's executors for £6,000. If, however, thisnobleman did not show much respect to his father'scultivated taste, he was not without a certainancestral pride, for he tried to build a vessel onthe principle of Sir William Petty's double-bottomedship, that was to sail against wind and tide, a modelof which was then, and is perhaps still, exhibitedin the council-room of the Royal Society. Ofnautical habits, he also erected, near the Southampton water, a marine villa, in which, from dininghall and private bower to kitchen and scullery, allwas pure Gothic, while the gardens belonging tothe castle were laid out at Romsey, some ten ortwelve miles distant, on a site which formed theoriginal estate of the Petty family. Here, if notin yachting voyages to Ireland or the Continent,he spent most of his time. In London he wasa marked man—remarkable for his disregard ofdress, and for the pride he took in appearing onthe coldest days in winter without a great-coat andwithout gloves. He died in November, 1809, andwas succeeded by his half-brother, the third Marquis,whose first care was to purchase the antique marblesfrom his sister-in-law; and there, at LansdowneHouse, they may now be seen—some of them, asthe youthful 'Hercules' and the 'Mercury,' justlyconsidered the finest statues of the kind that havefound their way to this country. As for thepictures, when the marquis succeeded to the title,in 1809, there was not one in this splendid mansion,with the exception of a few family portraits; butLord Lansdowne set himself to the formation of agallery, which now comprises nearly two hundredpictures of rare interest and value, but miscellaneousin their character, no school or master predominating, unless it be Sir Joshua Reynolds. Someof the portraits in this collection are of greatinterest. There is the celebrated portrait of Pope,by Jervas; Reynolds's wonderful portrait of Sterne;one of Franklin, by Gainsborough; a beautiful oneof Peg Woffington, by Hogarth; Lady Hamiltonappears twice—as a bacchante and a gipsy, fromthe pencil of Romney; Horner, the old collegefriend of Lord Lansdowne, is not forgotten; and,most interesting of all, there is the lovely portrait ofMrs. Sheridan, as St. Cecilia, painted by Reynolds."

It may recall with some vividness the fashion ofthose times if we record a little incident connectedwith this portrait. During the short-lived Ministryof "All the Talents" the Whig leaders celebratedtheir return to power by a continual round offestivities, in which Sheridan outvied all his colleagues. One Sunday (25th of May, 1806) hegave a grand dinner; on the Monday following asupper and ball, at which the dancing was prolonged to past eight o'clock next morning; on theTuesday a christening, a masque, and another ball,the Prince being present on each occasion, and theLord Chancellor Erskine, and the young Chancellor of the Exchequer, Henry Petty, being conspicuous among the dancers. On the occasion ofthis dinner, the portrait of Mrs. Sheridan was redeemed for one night only from the pawnbroker's,and exhibited in its place in the dining-room.When poor Sheridan died, it was still in possession of the pawnbroker; it then fell into thehands of Sheridan's solicitor, and from him it waspurchased for £600 by Lord Lansdowne. In thislittle incident we get some glimpses of that conviviality for which the Whigs were distinguished."Le Whig est la femme de votre Gouvernement,"says Balzac; and the truth of the remark is especially illustrated in that social influence which theWhigs have always cultivated.

The name of Petty was assumed by the Hon.John Fitzmaurice, second son of Thomas, twentyfirst Lord Kerry, and of Anne, only daughter of SirWilliam Petty, on inheriting the Petty estates onthe death of his maternal uncle, Henry Petty, Esq.,of Shelburne. He was created a peer of Irelandas Viscount Fitzmaurice, and soon after promotedto the Earldom of Shelburne. His son and successor, William the second earl, and the purchaserof Lansdowne House, was advanced to the Marquisate of Lansdowne in 1784. The above SirWilliam Petty, of whose talents and public serviceswe have spoken in a previous chapter (page 256), isstyled by Aubrey "a person of a great stupendousinvention, and of as great prudence and humanity."Sir William was one of the members of the "Rota"or Coffee Club, to which John Milton and Pepysalso belonged. The character of the club may beinferred from the lines in "Hudibras:"—
"—as full of tricks
As 'Rota-men' of politics."

Continuing our account of the mansion, we maysimply state that it is large and of somewhat heavyproportions, and that the front is of white stone,ornamented with Ionic pillars and a pediment; butit is almost shut out from view by the rich foliageby which the mansion is surrounded; upon thegate-piers is a beehive, one of the crests of thehouse of Lansdowne. The pictures mentionedabove are, for themost part, hung ina gallery of fineproportions (being100 feet long by 30wide); and besidesthese there is inthe ante-room acopy of Canova's"Venus." Thehouse also containssome fine specimensof antique busts andstatues collectedby Gavin Hamilton.The "classic" diningroom served formany years, withHolland House andDevonshire House,to bring togetherthe principal leadersof thought andaction belonging tothe old Whig coterie.Here the Russellsand Greys, and SirJames Mackintosh,would often meetaround the hospitable table of Henry, the thirdmarquis, so long the venerated "Nestor" of theLiberal party, who divided his time between thishouse and his seat of Bowood, in Wiltshire, till hisdeath in 1863. Mr. Rush, the American Minister,was a frequent guest here in the days of theRegency, and he speaks of the hospitality of its"classic" dining-room in most glowing terms.We learn from Brougham's "Life" that cabinetcouncils were occasionally held here.

Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood (1)

Among the most constant and most welcomeguests here was "Tommy" Moore—"AnacreonMoore," as he was often called, in allusion to hislight and sparkling verses.

Horace Walpole lived for the last fifteen years ofhis life at No. 11 on the east side of this square,and here he died on the 2nd of March, 1797, a fewyears after succeeding to the Earldom of Oxford, atitle he scarcely ever cared to assume, preferringto be called plain "Horace Walpole" to the end.He thus writes to the Countess of Ossory, underdate October, 1779, which fixes the date of hisremoval hither from Arlington Street, where we havealready been introduced to him:—"I came to townthis morning to take possession of [my house in]Berkeley Square, and am as well pleased with mynew habitation as Ican be with anythingat present. LadyShelburne's beingqueen of the palaceover against me"(he is referring, ofcourse, to Lansdowne House)" hasimproved the viewsince I bought thehouse, and I trustwill make your ladyship not so shy asyou were in Arlington Street."

Walpole was attacked at Strawberry Hill by thecold, about the closeof November, 1796,and at the end ofthat month he removed to his housein Berkeley Square,which he never leftagain. On thiscold supervened anattack of gout. Hestill amused himself with writing and dictating briefnotes, instead of letters, and with the conversationof his friends; and, exhausted by weakness, sunkgradually and died painlessly, on the 2nd of thefollowing March. On the death of Horace Walpole, the house passed to his niece, Lady Waldegrave, who was living here at the beginning of thepresent century.

It has been said of Horace Walpole, with somejustice, by Mr. Charles Knight: "The chief valueof his letters consists in his lively descriptions ofthose public events whose nicer details, withoutsuch a chronicler, would be altogether hid underthe varnish of what we call history."

The house No. 13, two doors further to thenorth, was at one time occupied by the lateMarquis of Hertford, who kept here the nucleusof the fine gallery of paintings now at HertfordHouse, Manchester Square.

No. 45, on the west side of the square, was thehouse of the great Lord Clive, the founder of ourIndian Empire—"that second Kouli Khan," asHorace Walpole styles him. Sated with successand honours, his restless spirit seems to have enfeebled his nervous system, and there is too muchreason to fear that he fell by his own hand, inNovember, 1774. Lord Clive in Dr. Johnson'sopinion, was a man who, though loaded withwealth and what the world called honours, had yet"acquired his fortune by such crimes that hisconsciousness of this impelled him to cut his ownthroat, because he was weary of still life, littlethings being not sufficient to move his greatmind." The house now belongs to his nearestrepresentative, the Earl of Powis, who, though aHerbert by birth, bears the name of Clive.

Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood (2)

An amusing story, showing how Lord Cliveobtained his wife, is thus told by Sir BernardBurke in his "Rise of Great Families:"—"Mr.Maskelyne (brother of Dr. Nevil Maskelyne, theAstronomer-Royal) went as a cadet to India, wherehe became acquainted with Mr. Clive (afterwardsLord Clive). The acquaintance ripened into intimate friendship, and led to constant association.There hung up in Mr. Maskelyne's room severalportraits; among others a miniature, which attracted Clive's frequent attention. One day, afterthe English mail had arrived, Clive asked Maskelyne if he had received any English letters, adding,'We have been very much misunderstood at home,and much censured in London circles.' Maskelyne replied that he had, and read to his friend aletter he then held in his hand. A day or twoafter, Clive came back to ask to have the letterread to him again. 'Who is the writer?' inquiredClive. 'My sister,' was the reply; 'my sisterwhose miniature hangs there.' 'Is it a faithfulrepresentation?' further asked Clive. 'It is,' rejoined Maskelyne, 'of her face and form; but it isunequal to represent the excellence of her mindand character.' 'Well, Maskelyne,' said Clive,taking him by the hand, 'you know me well, andcan speak of me as I really am. Do you thinkthat girl would be induced to come to India andmarry me? In the present state of affairs, I darenot hope to be able to go to England.' Maskelyne wrote home, and so recommended Clive'ssuit, that the lady acquiesced, went to India, and,in 1753, was married at Madras to Clive, thenrising to the highest distinction. Lord Clive returned to England in 1767, having done more toextend the English territory and consolidate theEnglish power in India than any other commander.His name stands high on the roll of conquerors;but it is found in a better list—among those whohave done and suffered much for mankind. Hedied at the age of forty-eight, in a fit of insanity,produced by the ingratitude and persecution of hiscountry."

In another house in this square died, in 1762,Martha Blount, the friend and correspondent ofPope. At No. 48 resided Earl Grey for severalyears both before and after his premiership. In1842 this square numbered among its residentsSydney Smirke, the architect, and Sir John CamHobhouse, afterwards Lord Broughton.

Another celebrated house in this square is No.38, for half a century or more the residence ofthe Earl of Jersey. Here the celebrated LadyJersey, the widow of the fifth earl—one of thefemale favourites of George IV., in the old days ofCarlton House, and in after time one of the mostomnipotent and imperious queens of "Almack's"—held her receptions. Half the fashionable worldhad the entrée to these, and the other half soughtthe privilege in vain, with watering lips. LadyJersey was the daughter and heiress of Mr. RobertChild, the banker; and her large interest in thebank of Messrs. Child, at Temple Bar, and theincome which she drew from it, threw a haloaround her which blinded the upper ten thousandto the facts of her early married life.

A curious story which connects this square witha turn—though only a temporary turn—in the fortunes of "Beau" Brummell, of whom we havespoken in our chapter on Carlton House, (fn. 1) is toldby Mr. Raikes in his "Journal:"—"At five o'clockon a fine summer's morning, in 1813, he was walkingwith me through Berkeley Square, and was bitterlylamenting his misfortunes at cards, when he suddenly stopped, seeing something glittering in thekennel. He stooped down and picked up a crookedsixpence, saying, 'Here is an harbinger of goodluck.' He took it home, and before going to beddrilled a hole in it, and fastened it to his watchchain. The spell was good: during more than twoyears he was a constant winner at play and on theturf, and, I believe, realised nearly £30,000."

The blind god, or goddess, of gain, however,appears speedily to have deserted him, for in 1816he was obliged to fly the country on account ofdebt, and to retire to Calais, between which placeand Caen, where he ultimately became EnglishConsul, he spent his latter days.

Brummell outlived most of the Carlton Houseset: he died in 1840. Mr. Raikes describes himas tall, well-made, and of a good figure, and ageneral favourite with ladies society. "Latterly,"he writes, "he became bald, and continued to wearpowder to the last of his stay in England, ratherpiquing himself on preserving this remnant of theveille cour amidst the inroads of the Crops andRoundheads who dated from the French Revolution. He was always studiously, and even remarkably, well-dressed; never at all outré; and thoughconsiderable time and attention were devoted byhim to his toilette, when once accomplished, it neverseemed to occupy his attention. His mannerswere easy, polished, and gentleman-like, stampedwith what St. Simon would call l'usage du monde, etdu plus grand, et du meilleur, and regulated by thatsame good taste which he displayed in most things.No one was a more keen observer of vulgarism inothers, or more piquant in his criticisms, or moredespotic as an arbiter elegantiarum; indeed, hecould decide the fate of a young man just launchedinto the world by a single word. His dress wasthe general model; and when he had struck out anew idea, he would smile at observing its gradualprogress downwards from the highest to the lowestclasses. . . . He was not only good-natured, butthoroughly good-tempered. I never remember tohave seen him out of humour. His conversation, without having the wit and humour of LordAlvanley, was highly amusing and agreeable, repletewith anecdotes not only of the present day, but ofsociety several years back, which his early introduction to Carlton House and to many of the Prince'solder associates had given him the opportunities ofknowing correctly." "Beau" Brummell, indeed,has never been equalled or paralleled since, noteven by Count D'Orsay, whom he in some respectsresembled.

In this square died, towards the close of the lastcentury, the eccentric son of Sir John Barnard,sometime alderman of and M.P. for London, andone of those few members whose "price" even SirRobert Walpole could not find out. This was themore remarkable in his case, as he was extremelypenurious. Lord Chatham called him "the GreatCommoner," probably in jest; but it is recordedthat more than one high Minister of State constantly consulted him on all measures of finance,and that once, at least, he was offered the Chancellorship of the Exchequer. His son inheritedhis penurious tastes. The circ*mstances of hisdeath were singular. One Monday morning hewoke, having dreamed that he should die in thecourse of the week. He used to have a cup ofchocolate for breakfast daily, and every Mondaymorning he gave his housekeeper the money forthe weekly supply. He was so impressed withhis dream, however, that he told her on this occasion to get only half the quantity. Before thefourth morning came he was found dead.

In the days of the Regency Berkeley Squareprobably vied with Grosvenor Square in being themost fashionable spot in the West-end, and theneighbourhood of both was constantly spoken ofin the last century as the very type of Londonwealth, taste, hospitality, and luxury. Hence thesarcastic remark of Cawthorne—
"Alas! no dinners did he eat
In Berkeley Square or Grosvenor Street."
Nevertheless, in spite of its wealth and luxury, thelocality seems to have had its drawbacks, for itenjoyed the unenviable distinction of being infestedwith highwaymen and footpads. According to Dr.Doran, the district around the square, Hay Hill,Hill Street, &c., continued to be a dangerous onedown to the middle of the reign of George III.Lord Cathcart, in an unpublished letter to his sonWilliam, dated December, 1774, affords an instanceof the peril which people ran on their way to thehouses of Mrs. Montagu, Lady Clermont, LadyBrown, and other residents of that neighbourhood.Lord Cathcart tells his son that as his sisters andMr. Graham (afterwards Lord Lynedoch) weregoing to Lady Brown's in a coach, they wereattacked by footpads on Hay Hill. One openedthe door and demanded the company's money.The future Lord Lynedoch showed the stuff ofwhich that gallant soldier was made. He upsetthe robber who addressed them, then jumped outand secured him. The confederate took to hisheels. We may add, on the authority of Walker's"Original," that George IV. and the Duke of York,when very young men, were stopped one night byhighwaymen on Hay Hill, whilst riding in a hackneycoach, and robbed of what valuables they hadabout them.

Then, again, this neighbourhood has more thanonce been the scene of civil strife and bloodshed;and Mr. Planché tells us, in his agreeable "Recollections and Reflections," that he remembers seeingartillerymen standing with lighted matches by theside of their loaded field-pieces in Berkeley Squarein the days of Lord Liverpool's ministry.

Hay Hill, which connects the south-east angleof the square with Grafton and Dover Streets, isa steep slope, and covers part of the site of thegardens belonging to Berkeley House. It is generally thought to derive its name, like Farm Street,on the other side of the square, from the ruralmanor of which it once formed a part. But PeterCunningham considers it is a corruption of the"Eye" or "Aye," a brook which ran at its footfrom Tyburn, which he supposes to be a corruptionof "Eye-burn" or "Ay-burn."

Near this, in the reign of Queen Mary, asalready mentioned, a skirmish took place betweena party of insurgents, under Sir Thomas Wyatt,and a detachment of the royal army, in which theformer were repulsed. After the subsequent defeatand capture of Sir Thomas Wyatt at Ludgate, hewas executed, and, as Stow tells us, his head set upon a gallows at this very place.

According to the "Annual Register" for 1799,"Hay Hill was granted by Queen Anne to thethen Speaker of the House of Commons; butmuch clamour being made about it as a bribe, . . .the Speaker sold it for £200, and gave the moneyto the poor. The Pomfret family afterwards purchased it, and it has lately been sold for £20,300."

At the foot of Hay Hill, in a lane leadingtowards Bruton Mews South, is a small publichouse called the "Three Chairmen," pointing backto the days when sedan chairs were in fashion.

A narrow passage between the gardens of Lansdowne and Devonshire Houses leads to Bolton Rowand Curzon Street. It is sunk below the level ofthe ground, and at one end is a flight of steps,with an upright iron bar in the centre. It is saidthat this bar was put up because a highwaymanwho had done some deed of violence in May Fairrode his horse through the defile, much to thedanger of the foot-passengers. In Bolton Row,in the early part of the present century, residedMr. Henry Angelo, the noted teacher of the nobleart of fencing, who lived all his life in the world offashion, and whose "Reminiscences" occupy twolarge volumes.

Charles Street and Hill Street, both on thewestern side of the square, are handsome thoroughfares; and the houses in both have always beentenanted by the highest and noblest families.In Hayes Mews, running northwards betweenthese two streets, there is a public-house bearingthe sign of the "Running Footman," much frequented by the servants of the neighbouring gentry.Upon the sign-board is represented a tall, agileman in gay attire, and with a stick having a metalball at top; he is engaged in running, and underneath are the words, "I am the only running footman." We have given a copy of this curious signon page 330. It is obvious that the very word"footman," still in constant use for a man-servant,implies the original purpose for which such aservant was kept—namely, to run alongside hismaster's carriage.

Chambers tells us in his "Book of Days,"that the custom of keeping running footmen survived to such recent times that Sir Walter Scottremembered seeing the state-coach of John, Earlof Hopetoun, attended by one of the fraternity,"clothed in white, and bearing a staff." It isbelieved that the Duke of Queensberry—the "OldQ." already mentioned—who died in 1810, kept upthe practice longer than any other of the Londongrandees; and Mr. Thoms tells an amusing anecdote of a man who came to be hired for the dutyby that ancient but far from venerable peer. Theduke was in the habit of trying the pace of candidates for his service by seeing how they could runup and down Piccadilly, watching and timing themfrom his balcony. They put on a livery before thetrial. On one occasion, a candidate presentedhimself, dressed, and ran. At the conclusion ofhis performance he stood before the balcony."You will do very well for me," said the duke."And your livery will do very well for me," repliedthe man, and gave the duke a last proof of hisability as a runner by then running away with it.

In Charles Street, at No. 22, lived the Duke andduch*ess of Clarence, prior to the accession of theformer to the throne as King William IV. In thisstreet, too, have resided at one time or another, theEarl of Ellenborough, some time Governor-Generalof India; Mr. James R. Hope-Scott, of Abbotsford, who came into possession of that propertythrough his marriage with the grand-daughter andheiress of Sir Walter Scott; Mr. Thomas Baring,M.P., the distinguished master of finance, whosehouse was noted for its fine gallery of paintings;Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, the victor ofNavarino, and subsequently M.P. for Devonport;Lady Grenville, sister of Lord Camelford, andwidow of the Premier of 1806-7, the head of the"ministry of all the talents:" she lived till 1864,and died at the age of upwards of ninety.

Of John Street, which connects the western endof Charles Street with Hill Street, there is littleor nothing to say, beyond the fact that it bearsthe Christian name of Lord Berkeley of Stratton,whom we have already mentioned. At the junctionof these two streets stands Berkeley Chapel, oneof the many proprietary chapels in the parish ofSt. George's, Hanover Square, to which a conventional district out of that parish has beenattached. It dates from about 1750. SydneySmith, at one time, was its officiating minister.Externally, it has as little to recommend it as mostWest-end proprietary chapels; but in 1874–5 itsinterior was decorated in good ecclesiastical taste.

Hill Street, so called from some trifling ascenton the farm of Lord Berkeley already mentioned,was erected in the early part of the last century. Itcomprises none but fine and handsome houses,and has always been inhabited chiefly by titledfamilies, or, at all events, those of high aristocraticconnections. Amongst its former residents Mr. P.Cunningham enumerates the "good" Lord Lyttelton; Mrs. Montagu, before she became a widowand removed to her more celebrated house inPortman Square; the first Lord Malmesbury; andLord Chief-Justice Camden, who died here in1794. In this street the late Lord De Tabley,better known by his former name of Sir JohnLeicester, made his fine collection of paintings ofthe English school. In 1826, it counted amongits residents Mr. Henry Brougham, M.P. for Winchelsea; he lived at No. 5, the same house where,in 1835, resided Lord Albert Conyngham, afterwards Lord Londesborough. At No. 19 lived Mr.N. Ridley Colborne, afterwards Lord Colborne;both the latter were known for their galleries ofpictures. At No. 9, in 1841, resided Admiral SirPhilip Durham, the last survivor, it is supposed, ofthose who escaped from the Royal George, when shewent down at Spithead, with Admiral Kempenfeltand "twice four hundred men."

Sir N. W. Wraxall, in his "Historical Memoirsin his own Time," gives us a most interesting picture of the gatherings of literary celebrities andfashionable ladies under the roof of Mrs. Montagu,which were nicknamed the Blue Stocking Club,and into which, he tells us, he was introduced bySir William Pepys. He describes minutely herdinners, and her evening parties, and the goodlooks and esprit of the hostess as she was seen inthe season of 1776, when verging on sixty. Herefrequently came the ponderous and sententiousDr. Johnson, as a satellite attendant on Mr. andMrs. Thrale; Edmund Burke, grave and reserved,his society being more coveted than enjoyed;Lord Erskine, then just beginning to be known tofame as an orator; Dr. Shipley, the Bishop of St.Asaph, and his daughter, afterwards married to SirWilliam Jones, the Orientalist; Mrs. Chapone, whoconcealed the most varied and superior attainments under the plainest of outward forms; SirJoshua Reynolds, with his ear-trumpet, preventedby deafness from joining in the general conversation; Horace Walpole, full of anecdote, gatheredpartly by contact with the world and partly bytradition from his father, the great Sir Robert; thelearned and grave Mrs. Carter, the "Madame Dacierof England;" Dr. Burney, and his daughter, afterwards Madame D'Arblay, the author of "Evelina"and "Cecilia;" David Garrick, whose presenceshed a gaiety over the whole room; the duch*essDowager of Portland, grand-daughter of the LordTreasurer Harley, Earl of Oxford; and Georgina,duch*ess of Devonshire, then in the first bloom ofyouth.

Davies Street, which runs from the north-westcorner of Berkeley Square, across Grosvenor andBrook Streets into Oxford Street, is named afterMiss Mary Davies, the rich heiress of Ebury Manor,who carried the estate at Pimlico by marriageinto the house of Grosvenor; or else, as Mr. PeterCunningham suggests, after Sir Thomas Davies,some time Lord Mayor of London, who inheriteda large part of the fortune of "the great Mr.Audley," whose name is connected with North andSouth Audley Streets. In this street lived "JoeManton," the gun-maker, before his removal toDover Street. When in London Byron used to goto Manton's shooting-gallery, to try his hand, as hesaid, at a wafer. Captain Gronow, in his agreeableanecdotes and reminiscences, tells us that Wedderburn Webster was present one day when the poet,intensely delighted with his own skill, boasted toJoe Manton that he considered himself the bestshot in London. "No, my lord," replied Manton,"not the best, but your shooting to-day was veryrespectable;" upon which Byron waxed wroth, andleft the shop in a violent passion.

The top of Davies Street runs into OxfordStreet, not at right angles, as most of the otherthoroughfares, but diagonally, and appears to followthe course of an old and narrow thoroughfare calledShug Lane, which, in the "New View of London,"published in 1708, is mentioned as in a line withMarylebone Lane. The very name of Shug Lane,however, has long since passed away.

Farm Street, for such is the name by which themews at the rear of the north side of Hill Streetis dignified, contains the Jesuit Church of theImmaculate Conception, a handsome and loftyGothic structure of the Decorated style, designedby Mr. J. J. Scoles, and built in 1848–9.

The fabric is the first possessed by the Jesuitsin London since the expulsion of the order fromSomerset House and St. James's under the Stuartsovereigns. (fn. 2) The front, which looks south insteadof west, is a miniature reproduction of that ofthe Cathedral of Beauvais. The high altar, designed by the late Mr. A. W. Pugin, was the giftof Miss Tempest, and cost £1,000. The churchhas two other altars, and dwarf side-aisles. Havinghouses built up against it on either side, it is litfrom a clerestory above.

Mount Street, which was built gradually atvarious dates, between the commencement andthe middle of the last century, commemorates inits name a fort or bastion in the line of fortification so hastily drawn round the western suburbsin 1643, by order of the Parliament, when anattack from the royal forces was expected. Therewas a mount at the west end of this street, on theeastern border of Hyde Park. The eastern entranceto this street is in the corner of Berkeley Square, atthe south end of Davies Street. Most of the streetconsists of shops, irregular in plan and size, and byno means of the first calibre.

Peter Cunningham tells us that in later timesthere was in this street a celebrated coffee-house,called "The Mount." It was probably one whichwas frequented by the charming Lawrence Sterne,towards the end of his life, whilst occupying thelodgings in Bond Street, where he died. Fromthis coffee-house, at all events, many of his loveletters to Mrs. Draper and other ladies are dated.

In Mount Street was living, at the commencement of the present century, a singular character,one Martin Van Butchell, a quack doctor anddentist of celebrity, who claimed to be able to curethe king's evil, teeth, ruptures, fistula, and everykind of evil to which flesh is heir, and who, consequently, obtained from his patients fees suitedrather to the extent of their credulity than to thatof his own merits. He applied, through the LordChamberlain of the Household, for the post ofdentist to George III.; but when the consent ofhis Majesty was obtained, he said that he did notcare for the custom of royalty. His wife havingdied, he had her body embalmed and kept in hisparlour; and he outdid even this act of eccentricity by allowing his beard to grow, which at thattime was reckoned sheer madness. He is said tohave sold the hairs out of his beard at a guineaeach to ladies who wanted to become the mothersof fine children. He described himself in one of hisprinted circulars as "a British Christian man, witha comely beard full eight inches long." He usedto ride about the West-end on a shaggy pony,always unclipped, of course, and painted with spotsby the hand of its master. Its bridle was one ofVan Butchell's contrivances, being really a blind,which could be let down over both the pony's eyesin case of the animal taking fright. He lived inthe same house for nearly half a century, and neverwould go to visit a patient. "I go to none," hesaid and wrote, and he was true to his word, thoughas much as £500 was offered him to induce himto alter his resolution. And yet, when at home,he would sit and sell oranges, cakes, and gingerbread to the children at his doorstep. He usedto make his wife and children dine by themselves, and to come when called by a whistle; hedressed his first wife in black, and his second inwhite, never allowing either a change of colour.He was also one of the earliest of teetotalers.He died in 1810.

Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood (3)
Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood (4)

No. 111, now occupied by a detachment of priestsof the Order of Jesus, was at one time the manorhouse of an estate extending southwards to theborders of the property of the Berkeleys. In thegarden behind it are some fine trees, which oncestood, doubtless, in the open fields; and FarmStreet in the rear still serves to keep up the tradition of its former rurality. A few doors west, onthe southern side of the street, stands the Workhouse of St. George's, Hanover Square, a dingyand gloomy building externally. Nearly oppositeto its gates, from the middle of Mount Street toGrosvenor Square, runs a short thoroughfare calledCharles Street, of which there is little or nothingto say, beyond the fact that in it is the CoburgHotel, kept by Francis Grillon, an offshoot ofGrillon's Hotel, of Albemarle Street. In 1832, theduch*esse d'Angouleme, in her way from Edinburgh to France, held receptions at this hotel.

In this street, during the years 1767–68, when,as we have seen, he removed into the artisticneighbourhood of St. Martin's Lane, Josiah Wedgwood had his West-end show-rooms of pottery andporcelain, the royal arms over his door denoting—what at that time and in his case was no fiction—the patronage and custom of royalty which hisfirm enjoyed. Hither Queen Charlotte woulddrive from Buckingham House to see those arttreasures by the production of which Wedgwoodwas destined in a few short years to make thename of England famous in Continental courts.The fact is that the rooms here were small, andas the patronage of the wealthy classes poured inupon him in a stream, he soon found himself quiteat a loss for room when large and handsome vases,as well as dishes and dinner-services, had to bedisplayed.

Charles Street was probably so called after oneof the Stuart kings, from whose reign it dates.It may be interesting to record here that in the"Post Office Directory" for 1876 there are asmany as forty Charles Streets mentioned as beingwithin the limits of the metropolis, to say nothingof a Charles Square, three Charles Places, and aCharles Mews.

Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood (2024)

FAQs

Is there a season 2 of Berkeley Square? ›

Apparently, there were plans for a second season of Berkeley Square, but this was never made! That, I think, is a pity, because there was more then enough potential for another ten episodes with Mattie, Hannah and Lydia.

What is Berkeley Square famous for? ›

This famous square was once the home of Oscar Wilde, the home of Robert Clive, and the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

Can you sit in Berkeley Square? ›

Visit Berkeley Square

Place yourself at the center of Mayfair's prosperous history by sitting on one of the benches at the park's core.

How big is Berkeley Square? ›

Berkeley Square is a town square of 1 hectare, first laid out in the 1740s. The present design dates from the late 1760s.

Did season 2 of you come out? ›

On December 16, 2019, the official trailer for the second season was released. The second season was released on December 26, 2019.

How many episodes are in season 2 of the other two? ›

Episodes
SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
Network
110Comedy Central
210HBO Max
310HBO Max / Max

What is the richest neighborhood in Berkeley? ›

Check Out The Top 10 Most Expensive Neighborhoods To Live In Berkeley:
  1. Thousand Oaks. With a median home price of $2,679,135 and a median rent of $2,103, Thousand Oaks is the most expensive neighborhood on our list. ...
  2. Southside. ...
  3. Cragmont. ...
  4. North Berkeley. ...
  5. Westbrae. ...
  6. Northbrae. ...
  7. Central Berkeley. ...
  8. Berkeley Hills.

What is the haunted house in Berkeley Square? ›

50 Berkeley Square is a reportedly haunted townhouse on Berkeley Square in Mayfair, Central London. In the late 19th century it became known as one of the most haunted houses in London, with its attic room said to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman who had committed suicide there.

How old are the trees in Berkeley Square? ›

There are about thirty Victorian plane trees in Berkeley Square all planted in 1789, making them over two hundred years old.

Is it safe to walk around Berkeley at night? ›

Safety at night:Moderate

Berkeley, is relatively safe overall, but it's always important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings, especially at night. While the areas near the University and downtown are generally well-lit and busy, some parts of the city can be quieter and darker, increasing the potential risk.

Who originally sang "A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square"? ›

The song was published in 1940, when it was first performed in the London revue New Faces by Judy Campbell (later the mother of Jane Birkin). In the same year it was also performed by both Ray Noble and then by Vera Lynn. The tune is a recurring theme in the Fritz Lang film Man Hunt (1941).

Is Berkeley a walkable city? ›

Q: Is Berkeley walkable? A: Most of Berkeley is extremely walkable. Maps are available at the Berkeley Visitor Information Center.

Who lived in Berkeley Square? ›

The Square has been the home to various well-known residents including Winston Churchill who lived at number 48, and PG Woodhouse's fictional character Bertie Wooster.

What is the story in Berkeley Square? ›

A young American man comes to believe that he can will himself back to London in the time of the American Revolution and meet his ancestors, who lived in the house he has just inherited.

What is the meaning of Berkeley Square? ›

/ˌbɑːkli ˈskweə(r)/ /ˌbɑːrkli ˈskwer/ ​a square in west central London that still has several of its original 18th-century buildings. It is mentioned in the song A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, written in 1940 and still popular.

Is season 2 out for 1923? ›

The release date for 1923 Season 2 remains uncertain, hampered by delays from recent writers' and actors' strikes. Initial estimates aimed for late 2023 or 2024, but a June 2023 announcement indicated an indefinite delay post-strikes. With the strikes resolved, updates on the release date are awaited.

Who is playing Ellie in season 2? ›

HBO/Max has released the first look at Pedro Pascal's Joel and Bella Ramsey's Ellie in Season 2 of The Last of Us, and the scenery looks familiar.

Is season 2 of the ultimatum coming out? ›

In the meantime, the second season of The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On (a.k.a. the heterosexual version) will be available on Netflix in a few months, with episodes 1-8 premiering August 23, and episodes 9 and 10 premiering on August 30.

What is Joe's name in season 2? ›

Joseph Goldberg (Penn Badgley) is a bookstore manager at Mooney's who stalks and dates Guinevere Beck in the first season. In the second season, he goes by the name Will Bettelheim and works as a bookstore clerk at Anavrin, and stalks and dates Love Quinn.

References

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