Friday 19 January 2024

A Fire in St Martin's Lane 13 October 1728. Some notes on the North East Side of St Martin's Lane.

(Post in Preparation).

 Fire at the Property of Daniel Bell between St Martin's Lane and Rose Street.

13 October 1728.

Including a few notes on Rose Street formerly White Rose and Red Rose Street, Conduit Court, Lazenby Court and the area on the corner of St Martin's Lane and Longacre and Great Newport St.

This post presents a useful opportunity to have a closer look at the courts at the Northern end of St Martin's Lane's East side, including the locations of the workshops and dwelling houses of Messrs. Harache, Cobb and Vile, Chippendale and Roubiliac in the mid 18th century and the Stone Masons Yard of Nicholas Stone in the 17th Century.

The Fire -13 October 1728.

 A violent fire broke out at a Currier's in Rose Street, an Alley running South at the West end of Longacre, which consumed the house of Cabinet Maker Daniel Bell and 3 others … "& Mr. Bell, an eminent cabinet maker's house that lay backward towards St. Martin's Lane, with the workhouses belonging thereunto, and a great quantity of valuable foreign wood lying in his yard for carrying on his business at which he employed several scores of people every day, so that this loss alone is reckoned to amount to some thousands of Pounds". 

The Daily Journal of 15 October 1728 however, reported that the fire started at Mr Negus's, a Leather Dresser's in Rose St, and consumed nine houses, Mr Bell, away in Brompton at the time, proving ‘the greatest sufferer’. 

Fortunately Daniel Bell had taken out a Sun Insurance policy on 11 May 1728 for £1,800 on his dwellings, stock in trade and merchandise.

Clip from the Daily Journal, 16 October 1728.


Clip from The Daily Post - Ist November 1728.

The Whitehall Evening Post and The Ipswich Journal of 12 October further sensationalised by adding that ‘Mr. Bell had the Misfortune some Time ago to break his Leg into Splinters and was then in the Country dangerously Ill’. 

After the fire ‘Several Men were employ'd in removing his Looking Glasses and other Furniture sav'd out of the Fire; but the Damage in Walnut-Tree Plank only, amounts to £500’. 

A few days after the fire he announced in the Daily Journal, 17 October, ‘I have taken a convenient House and Work Shops opposite to my late Dwelling-House, where all Business in Trade will go forward without the least Hinderance of Time and where I shall be in Person to give Attention, and receive proper Orders’.

October 1728 that “On Sunday Morning at Two o’Clock, a violent Fire broke out at a Currier’s in Rose-Street near Lang-Acre, which consumed his House and three others, among them a Charcoal Man’s House, in which we hear were some Hundred Pounds worth of Charcoal, and Mr. Bell an eminent Cabinetmakers’ House that lay backward towards St. martin’s Lane, with the Workhouses belonging thereunto, and a great Quantity of valuable Foreign Wood lying in his Yard for carrying on his business at which he employed several Scores of People every Day, so that his Loss alone is reckon’d to amount to some Thousands of Pounds: Mr. Bell had the Misfortune to break his Leg into Splinters, and was then in the Country dangerously ill.” (Weekly Journal, or British Gazetteer October 13, 1728).


The Partnership of Daniel Bell and Thomas Moore of St Martin's Lane.

Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert, in the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers (1660-1840), records: Daniel Bell 'St Martin's Lane, London, cabinet maker 1724-1734, ...recorded in partnership with Thomas Moore as early as 1724 when the firm supplied goods to Benjamin Mildmay, Earl Fitzwalter for Moulsham Hall, Essex between 1724-34.

For the furniture to Earl Fitzwalter at Moulsham Hall. see [DEF; Old Furniture, vol. 4, 1928, pp. 48–53.

Thomas Moore is recorded as 'London, cabinetmaker 1734 - d. St Martin's Lane.  

The younger James Moore, son of the Royal cabinetmaker, died in 1734, and it seems probably that Thomas was a member of the family who at that date or earlier had entered into partnership with Daniel Bell.'

In partnership with Daniel Bell, Thomas Moore supplied ‘The Honourable Counsellor Rider’ with a quantity of furniture in May and June 1734. These bills are receipted: ‘Daniel Bell and Self, Thos. Moore’; but the bills for further consignments from 31 October to 18 December of that year are receipted by Moore only.

According to Katherine Esdaile in Roubiliac, pub. 1929, when the St Martin's Poor rate was levied in November of 1741, on five successive houses on the east side of St Martin's Lane as Daniel Bell, James King, two empty houses, and Thomas Carter (is this the sculptor?)

Against the name of King the rate collector has written on the interleaved blotting paper "Roubilac Xmas"; in the fair copy King's name is erased and that of Roubilac substituted. 

Therefore Roubiliac moved from Peter's Court and took what became number 66 St Martin's Lane at Christmas 1740.

Probably a coincidence and not related to the Thomas Carter mentioned above -


For an interesting article mentioning the Carter Brothers, Thomas and Benjamin see -


In 1755, Daniel Bell was still in the same location, just south of Long Acre. He appears in the Rate Book next door to "Lewis Francis Roubiliac," between New Street and Castle Court, five names down from Thomas Chippendale’s three houses.

Locating the House and workshops of Daniel Bell in Rose Street behind the East Side of St Martin's Lane at the time of the fire on his premises in 1728.

It is not entirely clear but as he describes himself as of St Martin's Lane I suspect that his house located  in Angel Court - No 141 in the William Morgan Map - in the Court between 64 and 66 St Martins Lane on Horwood's Map of 1799.

The William Morgan Map.

Key to the Courts off St Martin's Lane.

The Morgans map of London in 1682 lists '143 Cross keys Inne' in St Martins lane, '144 Kings arms Inne' in St Martins lane and Bedfordbury, and also '139 King head Inne', which is in Long Acre.'


John Roque's Map of London, 1746.


Crop from Stowe's Survey published in 1755.

with the key to the Courts around St Martin's Lane below.

NB - the Courts off St Martin's Lane.

18 Castle Court.

19 Cross Keys Inn.

20 Angel Court


Horwood's Map of London 1799.

The North End of St Martin's Lane and the West End of Longacre

Showing the individual houses and their numbering (introduced in about 1769).
I'm not entirely sure that we can trust the accuracy of this survey and more works need to be done in scrutinising the rate books and there must have been a considerable amount of rebuilding in the area.

Roubiliac's Residence and Studio at 63 St Martins Lane.

The Chippendale Residence and workshop at 59, 60, 61, and 62 St Martin's Lane.

It is possible that Chippendale took over at least some of the former workshops of Daniel Bell whose premises appear to have stretched from St Martin's Lane to Rose Street.

Ther premises of Thomas Harrache, which later those became of Messrs Cobb and Vile stretched around the corner of Long Acre and St Martin's Lane

Bells premises at 64 St Martins Lane is on the corner of the court. 


Another useful plan showing the proposed improvements to St Martin's Lane area.

With the individual properties affected.

Henry Sawyer.

circa 1826.

British Library.


Plan showing the proposed route of  New King Street built 1859 - 61 and renamed Garrick Street in 1864.


Interior of a house in Rose Street in 1835.
John Wykeham Archer

Inscription content: Inscribed on mount: "Room in a House Rose Street, Covent Garden, formerly occupied by Samuel Butler d. 1680, author of Hudibras - Drawn 1853."


Rose Street, 1948.

The Lamb and Flag.

Rebuilt 1858.

The Alley on the right leads into Lazenby Court (Glastonbury Court on Roque's map).

For anyone interested in London and its Past see the very excellent -

The image below - a photograph taken by the author's father in 1948.


Rose Street - The Survey of London


The Sculptor Nicholas Stone (1586 - 1647).

In 1635 and 1636 the fourth Earl of Bedford granted in fee farm several sites between Long Acre and Hart Street  later renamed Floral Street (so far as can be judged, excluding those on which building had taken place recently) and thus abrogated control over their subsequent development. 

One such development attracted the attention of the Privy Council in 1638 and was referred to Inigo Jones. The property concerned was the 'handsomely plainted' garden between Long Acre and New Street (now New Row).

After being granted in fee farm in 1635 it had changed hands and been parcelled out. Several persons were concerned (including Richard Harris, a Covent Garden chapelwarden, and Nicholas Stone, master mason of the King's Works) but John Ward, citizen and girdler, was singled out by the Privy Council. According to Inigo Jones, Ward had designed to make a communication from Long Acre towards Covent Garden by means of an alley about 9 feet wide extending south (to be called White Rose Street), which was to open into a second alley extending east, about 18 feet wide (to be called Red Rose Street), and, if possible, to continue the second alley southwards over ground which did not belong to him.

Jones thought that Ward would not be able to buy the land which he needed, and complained about 'the pestering of such places with Allyes of meane houses having but one way into them, and no other to goe out', and the Privy Council, 'disliking the desine', ordered Ward 'to disist'. (fn. 26) However, the northern and east-west arms of what is now Rose Street had already been built, and were allowed to remain.

The scheme was finally completed in 1640, by Richard Harris, who had bought the land he needed from Ward in the previous year. Harris's development required the collusion of the Earl of Bedford, who 'did condiscend' that Harris should build the southern arm of Rose Street to connect with the recently opened New Street. It evidently proved an ill speculation for Harris, who in 1647 was complaining that he had entered into it 'most unfortunately … with two Thousand pounds Losse, to the utter ruyne and undoeing of [him], his wife and Children'. (fn. 29) The contorted remains of Rose Street still survive as a monument to speculators' folly, and the ineptness of Charles I's Privy Council.

Nicholas Stone the sculptor occupied a piece of land on the east of White Rose Street on which stood a two-storey brick house, one timber and one brick 'workhouse'. In 1636 he obtained a grant of this property in fee farm. Three years later he contracted with Richard Harris for a piece of ground between his house and the alley called White Rose Street where he agreed to build a house over the passage entrance with a 'faire and lardge stone Arche of Twelve foote in height and Eleaven foote in widenes'. It appears that he did build it, for his descendant, John Stone, described as a stone-cutter, was in possession of a messuage called 'the Arch house' in 'Whitecrosse' (i.e., White Rose) Street in 1661. Other masons who occupied houses in Long Acre in c. 1624 were Baernert Janson (Barnard Johnson) and James White, tombmakers, and John Medhurst.


Strype's survey of 1720 says - Rose Street -

King-street, a handsome large Street, with well built and inhabited Houses, especially on the North Side. At the upper End of this Street is White Rose-street, which turns into Red Rose-street, and that into another called White Rose street, which hath an Entrance into Long Acre. Of these Rose-streets, the first is White Rose street, which, with about half of Red Rose-street, is in this Parish: The other Part is in St. Martin's Parish. This Street is indifferent well built and inhabited, especially White Rose-street.

Strype - St Martin's Lane.

Then beyond New-street, near the turning into Long Acre, is Castle Court, which is but small and ordinary; and near unto this is the Cross Keys Inn, which is large, and of a good Resort.


William Hallet Cabinet Maker

William Hallet (1707 - 81). His premises were on the corner of St Martin's Lane and Longacre from 1752, the building having previously been occupied from 1740 by Thomas Harrache Jeweller, Goldsmith and Toyman  (Harache was the sole executor of the will of Roubiliac).

Thomas Harrache (1717 - 85) in 1751 moved West to the Golden Ball and Pearl, in Pall Mall.

The Roubiliac bank account records with Drummonds for the years 1752 to 1757 survives. Huguenot names which recur in the ledgers include 'Mr. Minett, Mr. Andrew Regnier (possibly a relative of Roubiliac's fourth wife), Mr. Timberel and Mr. Harache.

Roubiliac's ledgers show that he paid Mr. Harrache 10 guineas on November 1st, 1753; £20 on March 4th, 1755, and received £20 from Tho. Harrache on May 9th, 1755. On December 10th, 1757, Roubiliac paid his friend a further £20.

Note - Cobb and Vile.

John Cobb (c.1715 - 78). William Vile (Fl.c. 1740 - d. 1767).

William Vile should not be confused with Viall (d.1780) the carver and framemaker in Great Newport St.

Cobb remained at the premises until his death in 1778.

72, St Martin's Lane.

North of the entrance to Castle Court, at the corner of Long Acre on the East side of the North end of St Martin's Lane the cabinetmakers and upholsterers William Vile and John Cobb occupying conjoined houses that were leased by Vile’s master, the cabinetmaker William Hallett, which had previously been the shop and house of the first-generation Huguenot goldsmith and “toyman” Thomas Harrache, who operated in St. Martin’s Lane from 1740 until 1751 when he departed for Pall Mall

Litchfield and Graham took over the premises until c 1785.

The firm's fire insurance record has been first noted for 1752. (a) ‘… on their Household Goods, Utensils and Stock in Trade, and Goods in Trust in their now Dwelling houses, being Three Houses, Land together and in & over the Warehouses & Workshops, only Communicating with the Same, part Timber, situate as aforeside, not Exceeding Seventeen Hundred Pounds. 

On their Glasses therein only, not Exceeding Three Hundred Pounds. On their Stock in their Yard only, belonging to the Said Dwelling … (Total £2,600).’ (b) 11 June 1755. Insured for £4,500, Glass £500, Stock in Yard £1,000. Total £6,000 — 

A further policy in the same vol. is ref. 147142. Cobb took out insurance on his household goods in the house he had ‘over a gateway, leading into the yard of Messrs Vile & Co in St Martin's Lane’ in 1755.


Together with the sculptor (John or Henry) Cheere, Sir William Chambers, James Paine and Ince & Mayhew, Vile & Cobb were directors of the Westminster Fire Office (on the East side of St Martin's Lane).


Thomas Chippendales (d.1779) premises on the East side of St Martin's Lane.

59, 60, 61, and 62 St Martin's Lane.

At the Sign of the Chair.

Only known trade card below.

The earliest trustworthy evidence of Chippendale's presence in London is his marriage licence for a ceremony at St George's Chapel, Mayfair where "19 May 1748, Thomas Chippendale and Catherine Redshaw of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

A payment in Lord Burlington's private account book "13 October 1747 to Chippendale in full £6-16-0d"

The first Chippendale premises noted in 1749 appear to have been in Conduit Court off Long Acre, the next court eastwards from Rose Street, approached from a covered alley between what is now 17 and 18 Long Acre.

In 1752 he was in Somerset Court (later renamed Northumberland Court).Matthias Darly, who engraved most of the plates for Chippendales Director shared the house for several months in 1753.

Press notices soliciting subscriptions give the author's address as Northumberland Court"

Thomas Chippendale from December 1753 was at The Sign of the Chair" at nos 61 and 62 St Martin's Lane with the workshops behind.

Jamie Rannie was Thomas Chippendale's first partner and put up capital to finance an expansion of the business following publication of the Director in 1754. They signed a joint lease on the spacious premises in St Martin's Lane in August 1754 and issued a trade card [Westminster City Libraries] see above about this time.

Chippendale is shown by the rate books to have occupied or used the first house on the west side of Somerset (Northumberland) Court to the East of Northumberland House, Strand from Midsummer, 1752, until Lady Day, 1753. Matthias Darley the engraver lived at the same address.

See -

Another Fire in St Martin's Lane.

Chippendales Premises in- April 1755.

The Newspaper reports about fires, given Mr Bells experience was a hazard in furniture workshops,  provide insight into the number of journeymen and material located there. 

A report in the Gentleman's Magazine in April 1755, which has been cited many times in relation to scholarly research about Chippendale, reported that 'the chests of 22 workmen' had been consumed by the fire. It is the only known reference to the number of workmen in Chippendale's workshop.


Public Advertiser 18 March 1766.

Death of Rannie and the subsequent auction.

Plan of  Thomas Chippendale's Jr's premises on the East side of St Martin's Lane, 1803. 

Taken from a Sun insurance policy.

In 1787 Haig and Chippendale were at 60 St Martin's Lane.

The Roubiliac residence and workshop / studio from 1740 until 1762 when he died was next door at no. 63. 

The premises were taken over after his death by his assistant Nicholas Read.

Roubiliac's Home, Studio Workshop.

63, St Martins Lane.

At Xmas 1740 (see ref to Esdaile above) Roubiliac moved from Peter's Court on the west side of St Martins Lane to what became 63 St Martin's Lane on the East side and remained there until he died in 1762.

JT Smith in Nollekens and his Times states that his house and studio were "approached by a long passage and gateway". 

Some thoughts on the Earlier Roubiliac Premises.

It has always been assumed that Roubiliac's studio prior to his move to 63 St Martins Lane was in the old Presbyterian Meeting House in  Peters Court between St Martin's Lane and Hemmings (Hemings) Row but given that if one accepts that the St Martin's Lane Academy was in based in this building from 1735 it seems unlikely that a sculptors workshop with the dust and noise would be in the same building - the drawings of the Academy show a large room with a brick floor.

It is possible that Roubiliac lived at Peters Court but worked elsewhere - moving the life size statue of the seated Handel (now V and A) from St Martin's Lane to Vauxhall doesn't seem to me to make much sense - perhaps it was made at Vauxhall. It is possible that Roubiliac was peripatetic working as a sub contractor in the premises of  Thomas Carter, Henry Cheere and John Cheere.


John Trotter at Roubiliac's Premises.

In 1747 John Trotter upholder and cabinet maker took out a Sun insurance policy on the contents of his apartments and timber workshops over the Roubiliac studio.

Trotter, John, ‘at Mr. Roubiliac Statuary on the East side of St. Martin's Lane in the Parish of St. Martin in the Fields’, London, upholder and cm (1746/47). Took out a Sun Insurance policy on 13 January 1746/47 for £300 on household goods and stock in trade in his apartments; and £400 on utensils and stock in his three timber workshops, partly over Roubiliac's workshop and partly over yard. [GL, Sun MS vol. 79, ref. 107286]

This must be the very successful John Trotter (c.1713 - 99), Cabinet maker to George II whose business was at 43 Frith Street, Soho. from 1748 - 99. Liveryman in the Joiners Company - originally came from Scotland.

Trotter was a subscriber To Chippendale's Gentleman's.. Cabinet Maker, 1754.

Bought Horton Place near Epsom in 1768.


John and Coutts Trotter.

The Salisbury and Winchester Journal from 29 June 1752 reported:- ‘A few days since was married at Mordaunt [sic] College, Black-Heath, Mr John Trotter, an eminent Cabinetmaker and Upholder, in Frith Street, St Ann’s, Soho, to Miss Betts, an agreeable young lady with a Fortune of Five Thousand Pounds’


Roubiliac's assistant Nicholas Read (d. 11 July 1787 in the house at St Martin's Lane) took over the premises after the death of Roubiliac in 1762.


63 St Martin's Lane.

 No. 67.—This building (probably the workshop /studio of Roubiliac) is sited in a courtyard off the east side of St. Martin's Lane, behind No. 63, and is three-storeyed, of brick and timber construction. The ground floor has been adapted and remodelled as offices. The walls are of brick of modern work. The two upper floors appear to retain their original framing and fenestrations, and are now used as studios and workshops, by a firm of stage designers. They are timber framed, plastered on the exterior, with the roof tiled.

 According to a note in the rate book these premises were "burnt out" in 1788. 

They were occupied in 1789–93 by Anne Tapp, who was succeeded by Francis Tapp (1794–1803), John Vernon (1804) and Alexander Copland (1805–13). The latter is described as a "builder" in Holden's Trade Directory for 1805–07.


Thomas Ewart - Facing Old Slaughters Coffee House. 1746.

British Museum.

In 1759 Ewart's address was The Beehive Hartshorn Lane, off the south side of the Strand.

The following addresses probably all refer to the same premises, Hartshorn Lane was renamed Northumberland Street in 1760:

at the Bee-hive near St. Martin's Lane in the Strand (1757).

see -

at rhe Bee-hive, opposite Hartshorn Lane in the Strand (1759)

at the Bee-Hive opposite Northumberland-Street, Strand (1762-66)

at the Bee-Hive opposite Northumberland House, Strand (1762)

On the corner of Hudson's Court, Strand near St Martin's Lane, Strand, London (print sold in 1781).

This is the first court East of St Martin's Lane on the North side of the Strand. (see Roques Map).

Info above from the BM.



Scale: 1 : 852

Description: This plan was ordered by the House of Commons and is titled in the top right border ''FIRST REPORT ON METROPOLIS IMPROVEMENTS - 1840''. It shows the extension of Longacre into Leicester Square, beyond to Princes Street and the widening of Upper St Martin's Lane. The areas coloured pink are those that need to be destroyed to make way for the improvements.

A useful plan which shows the individual houses in Cranbourne Street, Great Newport St, the North West Corner of St Martin's Lane (74 - 78), the North side of St Martin's Court and the three individual houses in Little Court the homes of John Gwynn (d.1786) and Samuel Wale behind the house of James Paine -


Goad's Insurance Maps.


Conduit Court. Longacre

Christopher Gilbert states Chippendales premises was in Lazenby Court off Conduit Court. The sixth house one of 10 rated at £12 which rose to £14 in 1751. He moved to Somerset Court off the Strand in 1752

The Entrance to Conduit Court from Long Acre.

Alley next to The Bird in Hand.
The Bird in hand was in existence from at least 1792,


Image below used with permission.


For a list of publicans from

Image below from the very excellent Spitalfields Life.



Bird in Hand 1926.


Bird in Hand - 1954 - Just prior to demolition.

The back wall above the Alley has been rebuilt and strengthened with an RSJ


For a list of Publicans/Licence Holders of the Bird in Hand from 1799 see


Red Lion Court.
South side of Longacre

The Craftsman, 24 July 1742: ‘This is to give Notice, that Furbur's Collection of Twelve Monthly Flower Prints are now reprinted, and to prevent the Public being imposed upon, by spurious Copies sold about Town, the original Prints are Sixteen inches and a Quarter by Twelve, with a Handsome Title Plate of the Subscriber's Names, and under each Plate is engrav'd these words, From the Collection of Robert Furbur, Gardener at Kensington, design'd by P. Cassteels, and engrav'd by H. Fletcher; and now sold colour'd for Two Guineas a Set by Samuel Sympson, Engraver and Print Seller, in Maiden-Lane, Covent Garden; John Channon, Cabinet maker and Frame Maker, in St Martin's Lane and George Lacy who colours the said Flowers, in Red Lion Court, Long-Acre. NB At the above Places are sold Mr. Furbur's Collection of Fruit Pieces’.


Langley Court.

Looking North.

The Courts Eastward from Conduit Court, Red Lion Court and Banbury Court off Longacre.

Image pre WW1.


Simon Gribelin (1661 - 1733), Engraver.

Addresses -

Arundel Street, the next turning down the King's Arms Tavern, next door to the White Lion (in 1690)

The corner house of Banbury Court in Long Acre, London (from at least 1707 until his death)

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