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Bolton House / 71 Russell Square

Picture source: RomanticLondon.org and maps.nls.uk - see the text for the links.

Bolton House / 71 Russell Square

Building  From 1759  To 1913

Categories: Property

UCL has an extremely helpful page on Bolton House: Built in 1759 for Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore (1731-71) as Baltimore House and in 1770 leased by the Duke of Bolton when it changed its name to Bolton House. "Its west facade looked out onto Southampton Row {later the east side of Russell Square}, and there was a north-facing facade later adapted to make a new entrance when the house became multiple residences." "The plans for the house, and designs of the later extensive refurbishment of the interiors by Robert Adam, can be seen in Sir John Soane’s Museum."

c.1804 James Burton developed the area and built Russell Square. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Loughborough, had leased Bolton House since at least 1799 and when Russell Square was built he got a new lease which allowed him, in 1803, to convert the house into three separate properties.

UCL writes: "the resulting houses became nos 66 and 67 Russell Square (no 66 being the larger and further south of the two) while the third unit, attached to the back of these houses next to what was then Brunswick Place {later Queen Square Place}, became known as Bolton Gardens and later 71 Russell Square."

For our image we've taken close-ups of two maps and put them side-by-side. On the later map we've overlaid a blue shape showing where we think the old house was. So you can see how it was split and how much demolition and how much new building took place. Just hope you find this map detective work as fascinating as we do.

Horwood's 1792-9 Plan shows Bolton House, built up behind (to the east) but with no houses near it to the north, west or south. Note particularly the 3 boundary lines (probably parish boundaries) that meet immediately to the east of the house. Find the meeting point of these 3 lines on the OS 1894-6 map and you know exactly where you are.

This later map shows the whole area developed. To the west is Russell Square. The empty spaces to the north and the south have been built up. Immediately to the north three houses (numbers 68, 69, 70) have been built, towards the end of the nineteenth century, on Russell Square. To the south the space fronting Russell Square has been filled with 3 or even 4 terraced houses.

Both maps show a projection (probably a bow window) on the west face. Locate this and it helps you to see the zig-zag (east/west) line splitting the house in two (numbers 66 and 67). Various additions have been made to the east. The pavement in (Upper) Guilford Street is shown with a driveway across it leading up the side of one house (number 71) and then passing through a roofed space (shown with the X) allowing access to two more structures behind numbers 66 and 67, which could be stables, etc. 

Look and Learn have a 1911 photo of Bolton House, or rather part of the east front of the two houses that it became. It shows the bow window that can be seen on both maps (and was incorporated into number 66), and the porch steps immediately to the north, which can be seen on the later map, being the entrance to number 67. Confusingly these two houses continued to be known as Bolton House, which must have confused people, even at the time.

The third house, to the rear of 66 and 67 must have been largely a new-build. It's the horseshoe-shaped building with both wings pointing towards what is now Guilford Street. This "became known as Bolton Gardens and later 71 Russell Square".  That large area between the house and Guilford Street must have been garden and/or private driveway.

UCL names a number of residents of these 3 houses, 4, if you include the original one. Looking at just number 71: Thomas Leverton Donaldson (architect) lived here from at least 1847 to at least 1861; and the plaque puts D'Oyly Carte here 1881-86. 

UCL says that Number 71 was apparently demolished in or before 1898 but gives no reference for that. It's odd since the Wikipedia page for the National Union of Teachers says that in 1889 the NUT moved its headquarters to Bolton House, 67/71 Russell Square and didn't move out until 1915. UCL assumes no 71 was rebuilt and then, presumably along with all the surrounding buildings, was demolished in 1913–1914 for the Imperial Hotel extension. "Many of its interior fittings were removed prior to demolition and can be seen at the house to which they were removed, 680 Park Avenue, New York." This link shows some interiors but we don't know if they are the Bolton House ones.

The Soane Museum adds some information: "Harry Paulet (or Powlett), 6th Duke of Bolton, (1720-94), succeeded his brother Charles in 1765. ... In 1770 he took a lease on 26 Southampton Row (later 66-67 Russell Square), which had been built in 1759-63 for Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore, probably by John Vardy (1718-1765), not by Henry Flitcroft as suggested by some authorities. ... In 1770 Baltimore House was leased to the 6th Duke of Bolton who promptly employed Robert Adam to make additions and internal alterations. The transformation ... took seven years to complete. After the Duke's death in 1794 the lease of the house was acquired by another Adam patron, Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn (Mitcham Grove, Surrey). It was incorporated into the Imperial Hotel in 1910 and finally demolished in 1913. The Adam ceiling for the Duchess of Bolton's dressing room and the chimneypiece from the drawing room were purchased for Percy Pyne and installed in his Neo-Georgian mansion at 680 Park Avenue, New York, ...."

See other memorials in this area

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Bolton House / 71 Russell Square

Information Commemorated at

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