This past week has been FILLED with letters (thank you Anna!), some of which have given the harrowing details of the last illness of William Gosling, senior partner in the banking firm Goslings and Sharpe – and my Mary’s father. Mary lost two family members in January 1834 – her brother William also died (of scarlet fever).
But it is from a diary, written by a young girl who, though ever so nominally ‘related’ to the Smiths and Goslings, probably never met any of them. The connection is Mrs Thomas Smith – sister-in-law of Joshua Smith, she was Great Aunt to Emma and Charles Smith; and through her own sister Juliana (née Mackworth Praed), aunt to the diarist Emily Shore and her sisters, as well as Winthrop Mackworth Praed.
But I digress…
It is May 20, 1835 – and Emily Shore and her mother have been invited to visit a London family. Oh, Emily has some very choice words to say about the fog, smog, smoke of London. The country-girl was unimpressed.
So how wonderful to then read what DID impress her: Portland Place!
But let’s first put Emily on the road :
“We avoided the City altogether, going by the New Road, through Regent’s Park. I was altogether disappointed in the Park. I had expected at least to see fine timber. No such thing. The horrid atmosphere of London checks all vegetation. As far as I could see, there was not a tree in Regent’s Park to compare with the greater part of those in Whitewood. Besides, the sky is smoky and dingy, there is not freshness in the air, nor the bloom of spring everywhere, as in the country. It has also a formal look; it is intersected with wide public roads, which are inclosed by hedges or railings. These roads were full of carriages, cabs, horsemen, and pedestrians, which are supposed to give so much liveliness to the scene; so they do, but I like a retired, unfrequented park much better.
On leaving Regent’s Park we entered Portland place. Here I was much struck with the grandeur of the buildings, surpassing anything I ever saw in the shape of private houses. If London had all been like this, it would have been a magnificent city. But I believe not many parts are so noble as this.”
To remind Two Teens in the Time of Austen readers, the Goslings lived at No. 5 Portland Place, and the Smiths were next door, at No. 6 — No. 5 is the address in the middle, with the “longest” yard and “shortest” house (click to enlarge map), and at the right (with the white pilasters) in the photo below, which looks UP the street from Langham Place; Regents Park is at the opposite end.
- Emily Shore’s published diary @ Archive.org
- News of the existing Original diaries, University of Virginia Press [diaries @ University of Delaware Library]
- Do your own “drive” up Portland Place
As mentioned in an early post <fit for a queen> the family of the Duke of York (the future George VI, his wife Elizabeth and daughters Elizabeth and Margaret Rose) inhabited No 145 Piccadilly. The release of THE KING’S SPEECH (with Colin Firth as the Duke and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue) on DVD gives the opportunity of “revisiting” this house (although it no longer exists). Here it is, as depicted in the film:
While the Drummond Smiths lived at No 144 Piccadilly, Drummond’s brother and sister-in-law, the Smith-Burgesses, lived at No 145!
Here are a couple images I’ve managed to unearth of the real “royal residence” at No 145. This first is young little Princess Elizabeth:
This link is to news reel footage, where the King and Queen are entering then exiting the premises.
Obviously, though, the film crew used some building. And guess which they happened to choose? No. 33 PORTLAND PLACE! The Very Street upon which the Smiths & Goslings once lived! The film has more to show than JUST in the exterior: the Georgian interior AS WELL AS the fabulous consultation rooms of Lionel Logue were filmed at No. 33!
When you see a shot like this, looking down all levels of the staircase, you no longer have to imagine how Charlotte Gosling could fit hundreds of people in for an evening’s party (see this post).
Kate in Norfolk forwarded me a couple of highly interesting links: This first one, an interview with production designer Eve Stewart, discusses the film THE KING’S SPEECH. The second also discusses Logue’s consultation room — and obsesses on that wall (I love the windows!). It also links up the Guardian’s article.
Just search for “33 Portland Place” I had already come across the website for the building. Just marvel at the interiors, as you read about the history of the place. A 2nd website provides a few more photos and info.
Have to wonder: Did anyone realize the 19th century inhabitants of 145 Piccadilly may have visited No. 33 Portland Place??
In the papers, in January 1816, this announcement:
“It is rumoured among the Court Circles that a marriage is agreed on between the Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince De Cobourg.”
Come May the papers could say, “The Royal marriage continues fixed for Thursday, at Carlton House — the ceremony to take place in the evening, after a grand entertainment, to which 140 are invited.
Mr. Satterfield, linen-draper to their Majesties, is said to have presented the Princess Charlotte with a dress of Manchester manufacture; and Miss Harrison, confectioner to the Princess, has also presented her with a large bride cake, beautifully ornamented with arms, &c. — both were graciously accepted.
No less than three artists at one time were taking likenesses of the Princess Caroline on Thursday, as her Royal Highness sat at Cranbourne Lodge, viz. Rosenberg, sen. and jun. taking her profile and miniature, and Turnerelli modelling her bust.
Prince Leopold arrived at Windsor on the 22d, and continued there the whole week in close attention to the Queen, Princesses, and more particularly to his intended bridge. –Prince Leopold left Windsor Castle on Monday, and was met at Turnham Green by several carriages and officers of the Regent’s household, who conducted him to Clarence House, in the Stable Yard, where he was received in state by the Ministers, &c. &c. who were invited to dine with him the following day.”
On the same page as some Royal news, this insert about the Hon. Charlotte Gosling: “We have authority to state, that Mrs. William Gosling’s Ball in Portland-place, which was to have been on Friday, the 3d of May, is to take place on Thursday, the 2d.” Surely, then, this was some ball related to the royal wedding!
In Emma’s diary is this snippet: “Mama & Augusta went to Mrs Goslings ball & supper”.
Of this “very splendid Ball and Supper” The Morning Post called Charlotte “that distinguished luminary in the fashionable world” and termed No. 5 Portland Place a “superb mansion decorated with flowers and exotic plants.” “Here was a matchless specimen of taste and elegance.”
The day before the wedding “Prince Leopold returned to Clarence House, where after partaking of some refreshment, he went out in a private carriage attended by Sir Robert Gardner, and rode in the Parks. His Serene Highness got out of the carriage and walked in Hyde Park, without being recognized by any person except the Marquis of Anglesea, who was driving in his curricle, and stopped and spoke to his Serene Highness. On his return to Clarence House he was received with acclamations by a crowd collected round the house; he afterwards continued to appear frequently at the window of the balcony on the first floor, to gratify the curiosity of the spectators, till seven o’lock, when he retired to dinner, at which he entertained the Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers.”
“The dinner was served up in the dining parlour, in a very elegant and splendid manner. The table was decorated with a very brilliant plateau, and delicately white ornaments. The illumination of the room continued to attract the multitude, but they behaved very orderly. Great part of the populace were drawn away at four o’clock to Cumberland House, in consequence of the arrival of the Prince Regent… The Regent remained there till near six, when he was received with loud cheering by the populace.
Great numbers of Noblemen and Gentlemen resorted to Clarence House during the day, to make their respectful inquiries. A large assemblage of rank and fashion, to the amount of several hundreds, also paid their respects to the Princess Charlotte at Warwick House.”
The dress comes up for mention next:
“Tuesday last was the day appointed for the inspection of her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte’s wedding suits, &c. which were executed by Mrs. Triaud, Bolton-street, in a style, peculiarly elegant, and appropriately splendid for the occasion, when her Majesty, his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, the Princesses, and all the Illustrious Personages present, were pleased to express their highest approbation of the exquisite taste and magnificence display in the various designs. We shall to-morrow, present to our readers a full description of this truly elegant portion of the Royal marriage preparations.–”