.’. Devonshire House .’.

Devonshire House was built on the site of Berkeley House, which John, Lord Berkeley, erected at a cost of over 30,000 on his return from his tenure of the viceroyalty of Ireland; it was constructed from 1665 to 1673. The house was later occupied …

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Devonshire House was built on the site of Berkeley House, which John, Lord Berkeley, erected at a cost of over £30,000 on his return from his tenure of the viceroyalty of Ireland; it was constructed from 1665 to 1673. The house was later occupied by Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, a mistress of Charles II. The house, a classical mansion built by Hugh May, had been purchased by William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire in 1697 and subsequently renamed Devonshire House.

Devonshire House in Piccadilly was the London residence of the Dukes of Devonshire in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was built for William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire in the Palladian style, to designs by William Kent. Completed circa 1740, empty after World War I, it was demolished in 1924.

In 1897, the house was the location of a large fancy dress ball celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The guests, including Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and The Princess of Wales, were dressed as historical portraits come to life. The many portrait photographs taken at the ball serve to illustrate countless books documenting the social history of the late Victorian era.

Before the early 20th century, many of Britain’s peers maintained large London houses which carried their name, As a ducal house (only in mainland Europe were such houses referred to as palaces) Devonshire House was one of the largest and grandest, ranking alongside Burlington House, Montague House, Lansdowne House, Londonderry House Northumberland House and Norfolk House. All of these, like most of the great London free-standing houses are now long demolished, apart from Burlington and Lansdowne (which have both been substantially altered).

Today, the site is occupied by offices, known as Devonshire House; if the original Devonshire House stood, it would be a Listed building, considered of national importance.

Some of the paintings and furniture are now at the Devonshire’s principal seat, Chatsworth House. Surviving fragments of Devonshire House include the gateway at the entrance to Green Park and the wine cellar (now the ticket office of Green Park underground station). Other architectural salvage included doorways, mantelpieces and furniture which were relocated to Chatsworth.

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Author: Dani Middleton

I was born in Brazil in 1981 and lived there for 23 years before emigrating to the UK in 2005. I had read about England’s history since a young age however I moved here purely due to the history of London itself. Everything in this city fascinates me; from its parks, pubs and buildings to street names, post boxes and bollards. Watching children “beating the bounds” or the rose ceremony, you can never be tired of London. I love the quirkiness of the little alleys, the secrets of the forgotten architecture and how wonderful it can be to simply turn a corner and suddenly find a whole new world. I have worked in some remarkable places in London: museums, palaces, galleries, archives, even digging for the MoL on the Thames foreshore but I now work for Tower Bridge where, daily, I can see the City from a different point of view. Working for the City, learning its history and stories makes me eager to learn more. London is a flowing, living organism, with the old and new together transforming it every day, but always with its history at your fingertips. One step, an intricate Victorian coal hole; another step, an old Police box; yet another, an office block built seamlessly onto an old roman ruin. I am just a girl, lost in London trying not to find the way out but a way deeper, further inside what makes this city so… special, so… unique, so… me. I am a Londoner.

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