Northumberland House, Hugh Smithson, and Elizabeth Percy blue plaque in London

Site of
Northumberland
House

"Suffolk House" redirects here. For a similarly named mansion in Penang, Malaysia, see Suffolk House, Penang.Northumberland House (also known as Suffolk House when owned by the Earls of Suffolk) was a large Jacobean townhouse in London, which was so called because for most of its history it was the London residence of the Percy family, who were the Earls and later Dukes of Northumberland, and one of England's richest and most prominent aristocratic dynasties for many centuries. It stood at the far western end of the Strand from around 1605 until demolished in 1874. In its later years it overlooked Trafalgar Square.In the 16th century Strand, which connects the City of London with the royal centre of Westminster, was lined with the mansions of some of England's richest prelates and noblemen. Most of the grandest houses were on the southern side of the road and had gardens stretching down to the River Thames. In around 1605 Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton cleared a site at Charing Cross and built himself a mansion, which was at first known as Northampton House. The Strand facade was 162 feet (49 m) wide and the depth of the house was marginally greater. It had a single central courtyard and turrets in each corner. The layout reflected medieval traditions, with a great hall as the principal room, and separate apartments for members of the household, who would still at that time have included gentlemen attendants. Many of these apartments were reached from external doors in the courtyard in the manner still seen at Oxbridge colleges. The exterior was embellished with classical ornament in the loose way of ambitious Jacobean buildings. The most striking external feature was the elaborate four storey carved stone gateway fronting the Strand. The garden was 160 feet (49 m) wide and over 300 feet (91 m) long, but unlike those of the neighbouring mansions to the east it did not reach all the way down to the river.The house passed from Lord Northampton to the Earls of Suffolk, who were another branch of the powerful Howard family headed by the Dukes of Norfolk, and in the 1640s it was sold to the Earl of Northumberland at the discounted price of £15,000 as part of the marriage settlement when he married a Howard.Regular alterations were made over the next two centuries in response to changes in fashion and to make the layout more convenient for the lifestyle of the day. John Webb was employed from 1657 to 1660 to relocate the family's living accommodation from the Strand front to the garden front. In the 1740s and 1750s the Strand front was largely reconstructed and two wings were added which projected from the ends of the garden front at right angles. These were over 100 feet (30 m) long and contained a ballroom and a picture gallery, the latter itself 106 feet (32 m) long. The style of the new interiors was late palladian and the architects were Daniel Garrett until his death in 1753, and then the better known James Paine. In the mid-1760s Robert Mylne was employed to reface the courtyard in stone, and he may also have been responsible for extensions to the two garden wings which were made at this time. In the 1770s Robert Adam was commissioned to redecorate the state rooms on the garden front. The Glass Drawing Room at Northumberland House was one of his most celebrated interiors. Part of the Strand front had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1780. In 1819 Thomas Cundy rebuilt the garden front five feet further south as the wall was unstable, and in 1824 he added a new main staircase. By the mid 19th century all of the other mansions on the Strand had been demolished. The area was largely commercial and was not a fashionable place to live. However the Duke of Northumberland of the day was reluctant to leave his ancestral home, despite pressure from the Metropolitan Board of Works, which wished to build a road through the site to connect to the new roads along the Embankment. After a fire, which caused substantial damage, the Duke eventually accepted an offer of £500,000 in 1866 (which translates to approximately £39,220,000 in 2012). Northumberland House was demolished and Northumberland Avenue was constructed in its place. One of the largest buildings on Northumberland Avenue was a 500 bedroom hotel called the Victoria Hotel. During the Second World War, it was taken over by the Government for use by the Ministry of Defence and renamed Northumberland House. This "new" Northumberland House was left empty for several years until it was purchased by the London School of Economics for conversion into a student hall of residence. The building opened to students at the start of the 2006-2007 academic year, and rooms are let to tourists during the summer vacation.An archway from Northumberland House, designed by William Kent was sold for the entrance to the garden of Tudor House, which formerly stood in Bromley-by-Bow. This was moved in 1998, to form the principal entrance to the Bromley by Bow Centre.

Source: dbpedia

Elizabeth Percy, Duchess of Northumberland (née Seymour; 26 November 1716 – 5 December 1776), also suo jure 2nd Baroness Percy, was a British peeress.

Source: dbpedia

Sir Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland KG, PC (c. 1714 – 6 June 1786) was an English peer, landowner, and art patron.He was born Hugh Smithson, the son of Langdale Smithson and grandson of Sir Hugh Smithson, 3rd Baronet from whom he inherited the baronetcy in 1733. He changed his surname to Percy when he married Lady Elizabeth Seymour, daughter of Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset, on 16 July 1740. She was Baroness Percy in her own right, and indirect heiress of the Percy family, which was one of the leading landowning families of England, and had previously held the Earldom of Northumberland for several centuries. The title, Earl of Northumberland passed to Hugh Percy, as Elizabeth's husband, when her father died. In 1766, the earl was created 1st Duke of Northumberland and was created Baron Lovaine on 28 June 1784, with a special remainder in favour of his younger son, Algernon. He was created a Knight of the Order of the Garter (K.G.) in 1756 and a Privy Counsellor in 1762.Sir Hugh was one of the most important patrons of Canaletto in England. The other great patron, Lord Brooke (Earl of Warwick, fourth creation), of Warwick Castle was a quasi-brother-in-law. Smithson made a Grand Tour and was in Venice in 1733, where he acquired two large Canalettos for his seat at Stanwick. In 1736 he became one of the two vice presidents of the Society for the Encouragement of Learning. He re-built Stanwick Park c. 1739–1740, mostly to his own designs. He was one of the 175 commissioners for the building of Westminster Bridge, a structure he had Canaletto paint two more large canvases, c. 1747. He built an observatory, designed by Robert Adam, on Ratcheugh Crag, at Longhoughton. Thomas Chippendale dedicated his Gentleman & Cabinet maker's director (1754) to him. He became 2nd Earl of Northumberland (fifth creation) on the death of his father-in-law, Duke Algernon, on 7 February 1750.The duke and duchess were prominent patrons of Robert Adam for neoclassical interiors in the Jacobean mansion Northumberland House, the London seat of the Earls of Northumberland; it was demolished ca. 1870–1871, in connection with the creation of Trafalgar Square. Remnants of the Northumberland House Glass Drawing-Room are preserved at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The greater Adam interiors for the Duke are at Syon House, executed in the 1760s. At Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, the Duke employed James Wyatt, whose work has been effaced by later remodellings. One or other Adam designed Brizlee Tower for the duke.[citation needed]Hugh died in 1786 and was buried in the Northumberland Vault, within Westminster Abbey. The duke and duchess had three children:[citation needed] Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland (1742–1817) Algernon Percy, 1st Earl of Beverley (1750–1830) Lady Elizabeth Anne Frances Percy (d. 1761); buried within the Northumberland Vault in Westminster Abbey.The duke's illegitimate son (by Elizabeth Hungerford Keate), James Smithson (1765–1829), is famed for having made the founding bequest and provided the name for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C..

Source: dbpedia

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