Revisiting Lord Derby

JopinkjpgHi, Jo here, confessing that she forgot today was her blog day. Clearly I'm still not in sync with 2016!

So I've pulled out an old post that's still of interest, where we can enjoy an imaginary visit to a London town house.

I just picked up a book called The Classic English Town House, by Rachel Stewart. It has Adam's plan for Lord Derby's house at 26, Grosvenor Square. I've seen it before, but this time I decided to simplify it to make the layout easier to follow, so we could imagine visiting it.

It's a plan for the refurbishing of the interior of an existing house, probably a similar one to these. Grosvsq

The plan is only of the ground floor and first floor, which is the second to an American. There were probably two more floors of bedrooms and servants' quarters in the attics. There was certainly a basement with storerooms, kitchens and other offices.

So here's the simplified plan of the ground floor. Remember, you can click on an image to see it in a larger size.

The house was about 30 feet wide.

Townhouse2

Visiting the House.

(All that follows is my interpretation of what I've read. I'd love to have additional or conflicting information.)

Simple folk like us.
We knock at the door, which is in the center of the hall. Of course, being of the lower orders we're shooed away, or to the servents' entrance, but let's assume we have some reasonable reason for invading. We'll be left in the hall, or perhaps offered a chair under the beady eye of the porter. His quarters are the tiny square in the hall there.

If we're respectable enough, we would be taken to the anteroom whilst the footman goes to inform milord or milady of our arrival.

Dinner guests

Let's assume we're invited to the house to dine. You'll see that the dining room is on the ground floor. This is efficiently closer to the kitchens, but it's also on the public floor of the house, not the more intimate first floor. We will probably be taken through the anteroom to the parlour before the meal. If it is a gentlemen's meal, which they often were — business lunches, in effect, and in the 18th century an afternoon meal — then the diners might progress no further than the dining room.

However you'll see that beyond the dining room is the library, which would largely be a male domain, so some might be invited there after the meal for further discussions.  Beyond that lies milord's dressing room. There would be a single bed there for his use when not visiting his wife on the upper floor. Interesting to see both here and in milady's suite a water closet, though it's not clear where it discharges to.

If the meal was for gentlemen and ladies then the ladies would leave and go to one of the drawing rooms on the first floor to enjoy tea or coffee while the gentlemen got down to serious business over port and such. Townhousedr

A Rout

Now let's consider that popular form of entertaining, the rout. I assume, but do not know, that the name comes from route, because it was a matter of traveling through the house, seeing and being seen. For these events as much furniture as possible would be removed.

I've cut down to the drawing rooms. There's a reason for three. We enter the house and divest ourselves of cloaks and such, giving them into the care of our maid or valet. We go upstairs and work our way through the first, second, and third drawing rooms, where there's a convenient exit to the stairs and off we go!

A Ball?

These townhouses weren't suitable for grand balls, but the Third Drawing Room, at 22 x 33 feet could hold a small dance. In that case the other two rooms could be for cards or gossip.

Other Entertainments

There could be a musical evening, a card party, a salon of poetry and discussion, all in one or more drawing rooms. This museum room has no furniture, but we could enjoy the like.

Room

I hope you enjoyed this visit. Remember, too, that this would be one of the grander townhouses in London, where land was scarce and expensive. Others were narrower and might have fewer floors.

The book The Classic English Town House points out that these small aristocratic houses only worked because they were surrounded by services. In the country the nobility could house many servants, incluing maintenance staff, services such as a bakery and brewhouse, and large storage areas. That wasn't possible in a London townhouse, but extra servants, food, drink, repair people and such were all around, for there wasn't much separation between rich and poor. If the house didn't have stables there would be a livery stable not far away. Tvnawnewsm

In The Viscount Needs a Wife, Kitty goes to inspect their London house, which has been unused for a while. It's quite like this one. She's already dealt, or sort of, with the country house you see in the background of the cover. She likes the town house more. The book will be out in April, but it can be ordered now.

I hope you enjoyed this.

Cheers

Jo

75 thoughts on “Revisiting Lord Derby”

  1. Thanks for the tour. I’m learning so many interesting things on this website. Learning is a joy when it is so interesting.
    For some unknown reason, I have always loved looking at floor plans. Would love to see the plans for the 3rd floor and attic as well as the basement area.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the tour. I’m learning so many interesting things on this website. Learning is a joy when it is so interesting.
    For some unknown reason, I have always loved looking at floor plans. Would love to see the plans for the 3rd floor and attic as well as the basement area.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the tour. I’m learning so many interesting things on this website. Learning is a joy when it is so interesting.
    For some unknown reason, I have always loved looking at floor plans. Would love to see the plans for the 3rd floor and attic as well as the basement area.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for the tour. I’m learning so many interesting things on this website. Learning is a joy when it is so interesting.
    For some unknown reason, I have always loved looking at floor plans. Would love to see the plans for the 3rd floor and attic as well as the basement area.

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the tour. I’m learning so many interesting things on this website. Learning is a joy when it is so interesting.
    For some unknown reason, I have always loved looking at floor plans. Would love to see the plans for the 3rd floor and attic as well as the basement area.

    Reply
  6. I love these floor plans. They underline how public life was then. People were always more or less on stage, and not just because they were surrounded by servants. The only “private” rooms seem to have been the dressing rooms, and they were only for the master and mistress of the house. I suspect that, more than the absence of plumbing or central heating, would be the biggest shock for a time traveller.

    Reply
  7. I love these floor plans. They underline how public life was then. People were always more or less on stage, and not just because they were surrounded by servants. The only “private” rooms seem to have been the dressing rooms, and they were only for the master and mistress of the house. I suspect that, more than the absence of plumbing or central heating, would be the biggest shock for a time traveller.

    Reply
  8. I love these floor plans. They underline how public life was then. People were always more or less on stage, and not just because they were surrounded by servants. The only “private” rooms seem to have been the dressing rooms, and they were only for the master and mistress of the house. I suspect that, more than the absence of plumbing or central heating, would be the biggest shock for a time traveller.

    Reply
  9. I love these floor plans. They underline how public life was then. People were always more or less on stage, and not just because they were surrounded by servants. The only “private” rooms seem to have been the dressing rooms, and they were only for the master and mistress of the house. I suspect that, more than the absence of plumbing or central heating, would be the biggest shock for a time traveller.

    Reply
  10. I love these floor plans. They underline how public life was then. People were always more or less on stage, and not just because they were surrounded by servants. The only “private” rooms seem to have been the dressing rooms, and they were only for the master and mistress of the house. I suspect that, more than the absence of plumbing or central heating, would be the biggest shock for a time traveller.

    Reply
  11. That’s a good point, Lillian, about privacy. The wealthy adopted the bell system pretty speedily because before then they had servants hovering nearby all the time in case they were needed.

    Reply
  12. That’s a good point, Lillian, about privacy. The wealthy adopted the bell system pretty speedily because before then they had servants hovering nearby all the time in case they were needed.

    Reply
  13. That’s a good point, Lillian, about privacy. The wealthy adopted the bell system pretty speedily because before then they had servants hovering nearby all the time in case they were needed.

    Reply
  14. That’s a good point, Lillian, about privacy. The wealthy adopted the bell system pretty speedily because before then they had servants hovering nearby all the time in case they were needed.

    Reply
  15. That’s a good point, Lillian, about privacy. The wealthy adopted the bell system pretty speedily because before then they had servants hovering nearby all the time in case they were needed.

    Reply
  16. Like everyone else, I enjoyed these floor plans. Most city lots in St. Louis when I was growing up were more narrow than in other cities. In fact there were 30 feet wide. (Most homes were built on two or mor lots.) This gives me a visual idea of the size of the house that is stronger than looking at plans. I had always imagined that the rooms were very grand, but these drawing rooms are only slightly larger than the typical 9×12 room of the U. S. Six feet wider adds room for about 3 more standing guests (except when the rout is a crush!).

    Reply
  17. Like everyone else, I enjoyed these floor plans. Most city lots in St. Louis when I was growing up were more narrow than in other cities. In fact there were 30 feet wide. (Most homes were built on two or mor lots.) This gives me a visual idea of the size of the house that is stronger than looking at plans. I had always imagined that the rooms were very grand, but these drawing rooms are only slightly larger than the typical 9×12 room of the U. S. Six feet wider adds room for about 3 more standing guests (except when the rout is a crush!).

    Reply
  18. Like everyone else, I enjoyed these floor plans. Most city lots in St. Louis when I was growing up were more narrow than in other cities. In fact there were 30 feet wide. (Most homes were built on two or mor lots.) This gives me a visual idea of the size of the house that is stronger than looking at plans. I had always imagined that the rooms were very grand, but these drawing rooms are only slightly larger than the typical 9×12 room of the U. S. Six feet wider adds room for about 3 more standing guests (except when the rout is a crush!).

    Reply
  19. Like everyone else, I enjoyed these floor plans. Most city lots in St. Louis when I was growing up were more narrow than in other cities. In fact there were 30 feet wide. (Most homes were built on two or mor lots.) This gives me a visual idea of the size of the house that is stronger than looking at plans. I had always imagined that the rooms were very grand, but these drawing rooms are only slightly larger than the typical 9×12 room of the U. S. Six feet wider adds room for about 3 more standing guests (except when the rout is a crush!).

    Reply
  20. Like everyone else, I enjoyed these floor plans. Most city lots in St. Louis when I was growing up were more narrow than in other cities. In fact there were 30 feet wide. (Most homes were built on two or mor lots.) This gives me a visual idea of the size of the house that is stronger than looking at plans. I had always imagined that the rooms were very grand, but these drawing rooms are only slightly larger than the typical 9×12 room of the U. S. Six feet wider adds room for about 3 more standing guests (except when the rout is a crush!).

    Reply
  21. On my first visit to London I stayed in the Bloomsbury neighborhood in a bed and breakfast. The building was two merged or converted town homes. While the house in this floor plan is bigger (deeper) than that hotel, it was very much on this model.
    Breakfast was served off the kitchen in what had probably been the servants dining room. While the rooms were small and the stairs narrow by American standards I was thrilled to be in a Regency era building. It had character unlike many American business class hotels. I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  22. On my first visit to London I stayed in the Bloomsbury neighborhood in a bed and breakfast. The building was two merged or converted town homes. While the house in this floor plan is bigger (deeper) than that hotel, it was very much on this model.
    Breakfast was served off the kitchen in what had probably been the servants dining room. While the rooms were small and the stairs narrow by American standards I was thrilled to be in a Regency era building. It had character unlike many American business class hotels. I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  23. On my first visit to London I stayed in the Bloomsbury neighborhood in a bed and breakfast. The building was two merged or converted town homes. While the house in this floor plan is bigger (deeper) than that hotel, it was very much on this model.
    Breakfast was served off the kitchen in what had probably been the servants dining room. While the rooms were small and the stairs narrow by American standards I was thrilled to be in a Regency era building. It had character unlike many American business class hotels. I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  24. On my first visit to London I stayed in the Bloomsbury neighborhood in a bed and breakfast. The building was two merged or converted town homes. While the house in this floor plan is bigger (deeper) than that hotel, it was very much on this model.
    Breakfast was served off the kitchen in what had probably been the servants dining room. While the rooms were small and the stairs narrow by American standards I was thrilled to be in a Regency era building. It had character unlike many American business class hotels. I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  25. On my first visit to London I stayed in the Bloomsbury neighborhood in a bed and breakfast. The building was two merged or converted town homes. While the house in this floor plan is bigger (deeper) than that hotel, it was very much on this model.
    Breakfast was served off the kitchen in what had probably been the servants dining room. While the rooms were small and the stairs narrow by American standards I was thrilled to be in a Regency era building. It had character unlike many American business class hotels. I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
  26. Most of the London houses in the Regency were quite small. We tend to give a more expansive impression in the novels! I’ve just written a scene in a very overcrowded typical house.

    Reply
  27. Most of the London houses in the Regency were quite small. We tend to give a more expansive impression in the novels! I’ve just written a scene in a very overcrowded typical house.

    Reply
  28. Most of the London houses in the Regency were quite small. We tend to give a more expansive impression in the novels! I’ve just written a scene in a very overcrowded typical house.

    Reply
  29. Most of the London houses in the Regency were quite small. We tend to give a more expansive impression in the novels! I’ve just written a scene in a very overcrowded typical house.

    Reply
  30. Most of the London houses in the Regency were quite small. We tend to give a more expansive impression in the novels! I’ve just written a scene in a very overcrowded typical house.

    Reply
  31. There are a lot of hotels like that in London, Julie, and they’re worth trying out. The rooms will be small, and probably the bathrooms as well, but it can give a feel for living in them.

    Reply
  32. There are a lot of hotels like that in London, Julie, and they’re worth trying out. The rooms will be small, and probably the bathrooms as well, but it can give a feel for living in them.

    Reply
  33. There are a lot of hotels like that in London, Julie, and they’re worth trying out. The rooms will be small, and probably the bathrooms as well, but it can give a feel for living in them.

    Reply
  34. There are a lot of hotels like that in London, Julie, and they’re worth trying out. The rooms will be small, and probably the bathrooms as well, but it can give a feel for living in them.

    Reply
  35. There are a lot of hotels like that in London, Julie, and they’re worth trying out. The rooms will be small, and probably the bathrooms as well, but it can give a feel for living in them.

    Reply
  36. Fascinating, Jo. Many thanks. Responding to your comment on the origin of “rout”, I had a rummage in the Oxford English Dictionary. I didn’t find anything to confirm or deny what you suggested about “rout’s” origin, but I did find a delicious quote that made me smile:
    1745 Eliza Heywood Female Spectator (1748) II. 269 She told me, that, when the number of company for play exceeded ten tables, it was called a racquet; if under, it was only a rout; and if no more than one or two, it was only a drum.

    Reply
  37. Fascinating, Jo. Many thanks. Responding to your comment on the origin of “rout”, I had a rummage in the Oxford English Dictionary. I didn’t find anything to confirm or deny what you suggested about “rout’s” origin, but I did find a delicious quote that made me smile:
    1745 Eliza Heywood Female Spectator (1748) II. 269 She told me, that, when the number of company for play exceeded ten tables, it was called a racquet; if under, it was only a rout; and if no more than one or two, it was only a drum.

    Reply
  38. Fascinating, Jo. Many thanks. Responding to your comment on the origin of “rout”, I had a rummage in the Oxford English Dictionary. I didn’t find anything to confirm or deny what you suggested about “rout’s” origin, but I did find a delicious quote that made me smile:
    1745 Eliza Heywood Female Spectator (1748) II. 269 She told me, that, when the number of company for play exceeded ten tables, it was called a racquet; if under, it was only a rout; and if no more than one or two, it was only a drum.

    Reply
  39. Fascinating, Jo. Many thanks. Responding to your comment on the origin of “rout”, I had a rummage in the Oxford English Dictionary. I didn’t find anything to confirm or deny what you suggested about “rout’s” origin, but I did find a delicious quote that made me smile:
    1745 Eliza Heywood Female Spectator (1748) II. 269 She told me, that, when the number of company for play exceeded ten tables, it was called a racquet; if under, it was only a rout; and if no more than one or two, it was only a drum.

    Reply
  40. Fascinating, Jo. Many thanks. Responding to your comment on the origin of “rout”, I had a rummage in the Oxford English Dictionary. I didn’t find anything to confirm or deny what you suggested about “rout’s” origin, but I did find a delicious quote that made me smile:
    1745 Eliza Heywood Female Spectator (1748) II. 269 She told me, that, when the number of company for play exceeded ten tables, it was called a racquet; if under, it was only a rout; and if no more than one or two, it was only a drum.

    Reply
  41. Very interesting, Joanna. I’ve never heard of a racquet in that meaning. Two tables of play hardly warrants a name at all, unless it was a many-player gambling game. I think bassett was like that.

    Reply
  42. Very interesting, Joanna. I’ve never heard of a racquet in that meaning. Two tables of play hardly warrants a name at all, unless it was a many-player gambling game. I think bassett was like that.

    Reply
  43. Very interesting, Joanna. I’ve never heard of a racquet in that meaning. Two tables of play hardly warrants a name at all, unless it was a many-player gambling game. I think bassett was like that.

    Reply
  44. Very interesting, Joanna. I’ve never heard of a racquet in that meaning. Two tables of play hardly warrants a name at all, unless it was a many-player gambling game. I think bassett was like that.

    Reply
  45. Very interesting, Joanna. I’ve never heard of a racquet in that meaning. Two tables of play hardly warrants a name at all, unless it was a many-player gambling game. I think bassett was like that.

    Reply
  46. So different from now, when the most heavily used rooms in a single family home are probably the family room and kitchen. I wonder when it became OK for people to have guests in the kitchen? I’m guessing it was the 1950’s or later, and before that the dinner guests would go straight from the living room to the dining room, and no one even saw the kitchen.

    Reply
  47. So different from now, when the most heavily used rooms in a single family home are probably the family room and kitchen. I wonder when it became OK for people to have guests in the kitchen? I’m guessing it was the 1950’s or later, and before that the dinner guests would go straight from the living room to the dining room, and no one even saw the kitchen.

    Reply
  48. So different from now, when the most heavily used rooms in a single family home are probably the family room and kitchen. I wonder when it became OK for people to have guests in the kitchen? I’m guessing it was the 1950’s or later, and before that the dinner guests would go straight from the living room to the dining room, and no one even saw the kitchen.

    Reply
  49. So different from now, when the most heavily used rooms in a single family home are probably the family room and kitchen. I wonder when it became OK for people to have guests in the kitchen? I’m guessing it was the 1950’s or later, and before that the dinner guests would go straight from the living room to the dining room, and no one even saw the kitchen.

    Reply
  50. So different from now, when the most heavily used rooms in a single family home are probably the family room and kitchen. I wonder when it became OK for people to have guests in the kitchen? I’m guessing it was the 1950’s or later, and before that the dinner guests would go straight from the living room to the dining room, and no one even saw the kitchen.

    Reply

Leave a Comment