Hamilton Terrace 1851-1911

Hamilton Terrace - west side
Jeanne Strang

The numbering of the houses in the Terrace has been changed three times during the period from its beginning to the 1930s. The original plan was for plots for 54 houses starting with no 1 on the east side, continuing as far as Verulam Terrace (now Hall Road) then returning back on the west side towards St Johns Wood Road.

By 1840 most of these were built and building was continuing north towards Abercorn Place. So in 1841 the numbers on the west side were changed to incorporate a further 38 houses.

Beyond Abercorn Place further building then took place along what was named as Upper Hamilton Terrace and these houses had their separate numbers.  It was not until 1936/7 that Upper Hamilton Terrace was incorporated into Hamilton Terrace which meant an entirely new numbering with even numbers on the east side, odd on the west.

1851 Census

It is noticeable that a considerable number of widows, 11 in all, lived in the southern part of the terrace, together with their families. The oldest  was  88 years of age, probably a good age for that time. Apart from these there were more stockbrokers, solicitors, merchants and proprietors of houses, or land.

Robert Sutton, a stockbroker and JP, lived in some style at number 79 (now replaced by 25-29a) with his wife, 4 year old son and five servants including a footman. There is also first evidence that the Terrace was a desirable address to retire to – a retired builder,  bookseller and coachmaker moved in.

1861 and 1871 Census

By 1861, there was still a high number of widows (12), even one as young as forty-three, whilst of the other heads of households a quarter were under fifty and had some occupation .

Ten years later there are first signs of the arts in the Terrace with at number 15 (now 36) the painter Henry Stacy Marks,  and the blind musician Sir George MacFarren at number 7 (now 20) where there is a plaque to his memory. (For more details see  Houses and their Occupiers in Victorian Times).

The music publisher John Boosey, founder of Boosey & Hawkes, lived at number 19 (now 48). Number 78 (now 31) was a school with 17 pupils from all over the country, plus 7 servants, whilst there was a retired governess with 2 scholars at number 12 (now 30).  It is also worth noting that at  number 77 (now 35) lived the then vicar of St Mark’s Church, Hamilton Terrace, Canon Robinson Duckworth who was instigator of a plan to  plant the  plane trees in the Terrace.  Twenty of the residents had remained since the last Census, ten years before. And the number of widows was almost the same.

1881 Census

In 1881, there was a mix of artists, professional men and business men with a number of the  latter in retirement.  Stacy Marks had moved to number 17 (now 40) with stables attached, and had built on a studio at the rear. A few doors away at number 21 (now 54) was Barnet Solomon Cohen whose father had established a lead pencil making business. Barnet  succeeded to the business which went on to win prizes.

Robert Christie, described as a cabinet maker, was occupying number 15 (now 36) at the age of 47, and remained there for the next 20 years.  Amongst the retired were two builders, a butcher, an insurance agent and a wine merchant.

1901 and 1911 Census – 

Stockbrokers, solicitors, barristers and doctors featured from 1851 onwards to the 1911 Census, the last full records we have.  Moving into the twentieth century, there was a variety of new occupants – a vet, a bank manager, silversmith, bootmaker,  tailor,  and sanitary engineer.  One intriguing resident  living at number 68 (now 53) for the 1901 Census gave his profession(s) as ventriloquist, conjuror and dentist’s assistant.

The 1901 Census

shows the population of the 52 houses at the south end of Hamilton Terrace was the highest to date, 340 in all compared with 196 in 1841. In some cases the families were larger and these called for more servants, in others it was perhaps a matter of style.  Lewin Cholmeley, a solicitor of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, living at number 19 (now 48) in 1911 employed a nurse, cook, parlourmaid, housemaid, under-housemaid and kitchen maid.

By 1840 most of these were built and building was continuing north towards Abercorn Place. So in 1841 the numbers on the west side were changed to incorporate a further 38 houses.

Beyond Abercorn Place further building then took place along what was named as Upper Hamilton Terrace and these houses had their separate numbers.  It was not until 1936/7 that Upper Hamilton Terrace was incorporated into Hamilton Terrace which meant an entirely new numbering with even numbers on the east side, odd on the west.

The arts were represented  at no 4 (now 14) by the Austrian violinist Hans Wessely, a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, by the painter & etcher William Strang at no 7(now 20), by Nathaniel Westlake at no 11 (now 28) an artist specialising in stained glass, and at no 65 (now 61) by George Simmonds, a successful sculptor who created the memorial to Sir Joseph Bazalgette on the Victoria Embankment.

The number of widows had declined after the turn of the century although one of them, Emma Calder, the widow of a wholesale stationer, who had lived at number 76 (now 37) for forty years, was still there in 1911, at the age of 93.

Also in the Terrace were two musicians: at no 12 (now 30) the baritone Theodore Lierhammer, a Professor of Singing at the Royal Academy of Music, and at number 15 (now 36) William Shakespeare, also a Professor of Singing.  William Strang was still at no 7 and continued to live there until his death in 1921. ( He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery where a grey Celtic cross marks his grave.)

Amongst other residents were ten ‘merchants’ dealing in yeast, sand and gravel, iron, India rubber, grain, provisions and even in ostrich feather manufacture!

This page was added on 21/09/2011.

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