The Houses of the Dukes and the Lords of London
Somerset House (Existing)
Grosvenor House. Demolished.
The Grosvenor family own most of Mayfair, so it is strange that they slummed in on Millbank until 1807, when Robert Grosvenor, the 1st Marquess of Westminster, acquired the lease of what was then Gloucester House for £20,000. A lick of gilt, some crimson damask, scarlet carpets, fancy chandeliers and a bit of stucco later, and the house was good to go. (Lord Lonsdale said at the time that it was ‘most expensively furnished but in bad taste’.) Later the 2nd Earl of Grosvenor added a couple of picture galleries, as you do, to house his collection, which included works by Gainsborough and Velázquez. In 1889 electricity was introduced – very hi-tech for the time. The Government occupied the house in 1916 and the 2nd Duke of Westminster did not return after the war. It was demolished in 1927 and replaced by the Grosvenor House Hotel, the first hotel in London to have a separate bathroom for every bedroom.
Cumberland House. Demolished.
Cumberland House was a mansion on the south side of Pall Mall in London, England. It was built in the 1760s by Matthew Brettingham for Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany and was originally called York House. The Duke of York died in 1767 aged just twenty eight and the house was taken over by Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, whose name it has retained.
Lanchaster House (Stafford House)
Stafford House was the London residence of the 4th Duke of Sutherland. His wife, Millicent, whose descent down the gorgeous stairway figured in so many Edwardian memoirs, was half-sister to Daisy, Countess of Warwick, and associated with both the Marlborough House Set and the Souls–a unique event, for the aims of the two social circles rarely, if ever, met. The home was initially built in the 1820s for the Duke of York and Albany, and was known then as York House. After the duke’s death in 1827, the home was but a shell, but it was quickly purchased by and completed for the 2nd Marquess of Stafford, and it was known as Stafford House from then on.
Grand Staircase of Dorchester House. Demolished.
Dorchester House was one of Mayfair’s most breathtaking of mansions. Built for R.S. Holford in 1851-53 on the site of an older house of the same name belonging to the extinct earldom of Dorchester, Augustus Hare described it as “an imitation, not a caricature of the best Italian models.” The house was shaped like a parallelogram: the mansion stood before a triangular forecourt, a massive stone wall enclosed the grounds, and passage was gained through the lodge stationed at the entrance where Deanery Street ran into Park Lane. The most impressive part of this house was the grand staircase. It dominated the center of the house “in a great balconied hall that rose three full stories.”
Norfolk House Demolished
Londonderry House Demolished 1965
Londonderry House was an aristocratic townhouse situated on Park Lane in the Mayfair district ofLondon, England. The house was the home to the Irish, titled family called the Stewarts who are better known as the Marquesses of Londonderry. It remained their London residence until its demolition in 1965.
Lansdowne House is a building to the southwest of Berkeley Square in central London, England. It was designed by Robert Adam as a private house and for most of its time as a residence it belonged to the Petty-FitzMaurice family, Marquesses of Lansdowne.
In between his two Grand Tours of Italy (1714 and 1719) young Lord Burlington’s taste was transformed by the publication of Giacomo Leoni‘s Palladio. In 1717 or 1718, Colen Campbell was appointed to replace Gibbs, who was working in the Baroque style of Sir Christopher Wren, to recast the work in a new manner, on the old foundations. This was a key moment in the history of English architecture, as Campbell’s work was in a strict Palladian style, and the aesthetic preferences of Campbell and Burlington soon joined by their close associate William Kent, who worked on interiors at Burlington House, were to provide the leading strain in English architecture and interior decoration for two generations.
Devonshire House (1896) Demolished
Devonshire House in Piccadilly was the London residence of the Dukes of Devonshirein the 18th and 19th centuries. It was built for William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire in the Palladian style, to designs by William Kent. Completed circa 1740, empty after World War I, it was demolished in 1924.