Little Charles’ Birthplace

August 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm (estates) (, , , , , , , )

As Emma notes (and Annual Register published), the birth of Mary’s son Charles – born 15 September 1827 – took place at 32 New Norfolk Street (London):

“In New Norfolk-street, the lady of sir C. Smith, bart. a son and heir.”

Imagine my surprise last night in learning that this was (1) the home of Grandmamma, Lady Cunliffe; and (2) the building still exists (more or less…)! The Survey of London, vol. 40 (British History Online) in its survey of The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair has the following to say about the area and the building; photographs come from the same source:

“Today, looking over the wide dual carriageway of Park Lane with Hyde Park stretching beyond, it is difficult to imagine that this road was once a narrow, rutted and unlit track alongside a high brick wall which screened it from the park. In 1741 Tyburn Lane (as it was then known) was one of a number of roads taken over by the Kensington Turnpike Trust…. A short terrace of houses—King’s Row on the site of the present Nos. 93–99 (consec.) Park Lane—was built there in the 1720’s and 1730’s, but it was set back from the roadway behind a small plantation, and few other houses were erected directly along its remaining frontage. When Norfolk (now Dunraven) Street was laid out in the 1750’s the houses on the west side turned their backs to Park Lane, a circumstance that eventually led to much picturesque modification of these rear elevations….”

{the ‘rear’ view of houses provides this photos unusual juxtaposition of buildings}



caption to plate 73b: Nos. 117 (formerly 37) Park Lane (right) and 128 park Lane (left) with backs of Nos. 25-31 Dunraven Street between (left to right) in July 1926. (note: Nos. 25-31 demolished.)


“Originally called Norfolk Street, it was sometimes known as New Norfolk Street in the nineteenth century and was renamed Dunraven Street by the London County Council in 1939 after the fourth Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, a former resident of the street….”

And specifically, for our purposes here:

“No. 117.

This house, originally No. 32 Norfolk Street, and from 1872 to 1934 known as No. 37 Park Lane, stands on a plot sub-leased by Edmund Rush, mason, to John Adams, glazier, in 1756. (ref. 182) It is broader than were other houses between Wood’s Mews and Green Street, having five windows towards Park Lane, four towards Dunraven (formerly Norfolk) Street, and stucco on all three elevations (Plates 73b [picture above], 74e [see below]). Almost certainly it is an entire replacement of the previous house on the site, which was smaller and was entered from Norfolk Street. The Greek style of the present broad porch and passage towards Park Lane and of the surviving interior features (Plates 74c, 75c), principally a fine staircase from ground- to first-floor level, suggest that this reconstruction took place in about 1822, when a new lease came into operation, but there is no certain evidence on the point. (ref. 183) Possibly somewhat later, an elaborate first-floor verandah was added, with a conservatory over the entrance passage.

The detail of No. 117’s hall (plate 74c), c1978: 


No. 117’s Chimney piece (plate 75c), also c1978:


In 1884 the house was taken by Robert Wellesley Grosvenor, subsequently second Lord Ebury, a first cousin to the Duke of Westminster. On his behalf new rooms were erected on the top, and the exterior was painted, ‘orange colour with a deeper shade for the ground floor’ being suggested. (ref. 184) In 1903 the next occupant, Victor Cavendish, M.P., added a completely new top storey. (ref. 185) On succeeding in 1908 as ninth Duke of Devonshire he moved to the family mansion in Piccadilly. The house then fell empty and a proposal by John Garlick to refront it came to nothing. But in 1911 Lord Moreton took it on, and his family remained here for some years. (ref. 186)

The house suffered some damage in the war of 1939–45, and much renovation took place in 1948–9 under the direction of C. Edmund Wilford for Hammersons, the developers. Inter alia, the approach from Park Lane and the verandah above were simplified. (ref. 187)

Occupants include: Countess of Huntingdon, wid. of 9th Earl and foundress of ‘Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion’ of Calvinistic Methodists, 1759–62. Lieut.-gen. Lord John Murray, son of 1st Duke of Atholl, 1764–70. Lady Cunliffe, wid. of Sir Ellis Cunliffe, 1st bt., 1771–1814: her son-in-law, William Gosling, banker, 1816–27. Robert Wellesley Grosvenor, latterly 2nd Baron Ebury, 1884–94. Victor Cavendish, M.P., later 9th Duke of Devonshire, 1895–1908. Lord Moreton, son of 3rd Earl of Ducie, 1911–20: his wid., 1920–44.

(plate 74e): No. 117 Park Lane (Dunraven Street front), in 1976:


There is NO WAY William lived there; he had his own home in Portland Place (never mind at Roehampton Grove; as well as the estate of Hassobury). Lady Cunliffe died in 1814, so what happened after that event is up for grabs. Mary and Charles can only be placed there (at present) in 1827. Eliza Chute, interestingly enough, mentions Norfolk Street (no number) in all her early diaries: being a bosom friend to Eliza Gosling (even when she was still Eliza Cunliffe), Eliza Smith (as she was before her marriage) visited Miss and Lady Cunliffe quite often when in town with her father Joshua Smith.

1 Comment

  1. rxfogarty said,

    This message is unmatched))), very interesting to me:)

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