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Bridgewater House (Berkshire House) (Cleveland House)

  • House & Family History: Located at 14 Cleveland Row, Westminster (adjoining Green Park), Bridgewater House is one of London's grandest townhouses. The earliest known house on the site was called Berkshire House, built circa 1626-27 for Thomas Howard, second son of the Earl of Suffolk. Howard was master of the horse to the prince of Wales (later Charles I) and was created 1st Earl of Berkshire in 1625, thus the name of the house. Berkshire House was occupied by the Roundheads during the Civil War and was later used as the Portuguese embassy. It may have received its most notable early fame when it was the home of Barbara Villiers, one of Charles II's notorious mistresses. Villiers was created Duchess of Cleveland in her own right in 1670, after which Berkshire House became Cleveland House. The duchess, known in her lifetime as "The Uncrowned Queen," wielded enormous influence over the king (Charles gave her Nonsuch Palace as a gift) and spent large amounts of money refitting her new London house, adding wings and refacing the old house. In 1700 Cleveland House was sold to John Egerton, 3rd Earl of Bridgewater. In 1846 the House we see today was born when Cleveland House was re-rebuilt in a massive Italian palazzo style to the designs of Charles Barry for Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere. Ellesmere was the second son of George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland, and was the great nephew and heir of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater (the duke never married and the dukedom became extinct at his death). The newly-rebuilt house, based on Barry's Reform Club, was covered in fine quality white Bath stone and was renamed Bridgewater House at its completion in 1851. The House is particularly noted for its two story (with arcades on both floors), top lit, marble-lined High Renaissance style central hall. Bridgewater House remained the London home of the dukes of Sutherland until 1948 (during World War II a high explosive bomb fell on the House, causing enormous damage). In 1956 the British Oxygen Company leased Bridgewater House, together with nearby Spencer House, for their offices. In 1981 the leasehold for Bridgewater House (the freehold is still owned by the dukes of Sutherland) was purchased by Greek ship-owner and entrepreneur Yiannis Latsis, who spent lavishly to restore the House. Latsis died in 2003, but his family continues to occupy Bridgewater House today.

    Collections: The 3rd Duke of Bridgewater amassed an enormously important collection of paintings at Bridgewater House; among his treasures were approximately 70 paintings (including five Titians) acquired from the Duc d'Orléans. Many of these paintings today are in the collection of the dukes of Sutherland, some of them on permanent loan from the duke to the National Gallery of Scotland, others having been sold by the duke to the NGS. During the collection's heyday in the early 19th century the paintings could be viewed in the Bridgewater Gallery in a semi-public opening arrangement, whereby the "proper" sort of people (acquaintances of the family or artists recommended by a member of the Royal Academy) gained admittance. An early 19th century English console table with dolphin supporters designed by C.H. Tatham, and probably manufactured by Marsh & Tatham for Cleveland House, is today in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (see photo in "Images" section). The table, of giltwood and gesso with a porphyry top, was part of a suite of two large and five small tables commissioned by George Granville Leweson-Gower, later Marquess of Stafford. In 2015 the New York City dealer Shrubsole had for sale a 1682 silver tankard marked "LV" with the arms of Thomas Howard, 3rd Earl of Berkshire.

  • Architect: Charles Heathchote Tatham

    Date: Early 19th century
    Designed: Gallery for Marquess of Stafford, later 1st Duke of Sutherland.

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    Architect: Charles Barry Sr.

    Date: 1846-51
    Designed: House for Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere.

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  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pg. 102
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Art Treasures of England: The Regional Collections
    Author: Waterfield, Giles; et al.
    Year Published: 1998
    Reference: pg. 20
    Publisher: London: Royal Academy of Arts
    ISBN: 0900946598
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Spencer House: Chronicle of a Great London Mansion
    Author: Friedman, Joseph
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: London: Zwemmer
    ISBN: 0302006176
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: No Park

  • "Brideshead Revisited" (1981 - TV mini series, as the exterior of Marchmain House, the Flytes's London house). "Downton Abbey" (2013-14 - TV series, as the exterior of Grantham House, Lord Grantham's London house, in the episode "The London Season" in Season 4 and in in Episode 8 of Season 5). "The Crown" (2016 - TV series, as exterior of Clarence House).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Latsis family, since 1981.

    Past Seat / Home of: Thomas Howard, Earl of Berkshire, early 17th century. Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, 17th century. Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, late 17th century. John Egerton, 3rd Earl of Bridgewater, early 18th century. George Granville Leveson-Gower, Marquess of Stafford, later 1st Duke of Sutherland, early 19th century. Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere, mid-19th century. Yiannis Latsis, 1981-2003.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Mixed Use

    Ownership Details: The leasehold of Bridgewater is held by the Latsis family and is used as a private home and conference center.

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No