A brief history of 10-11 Carlton House Terrace

The home of the British Academy.

The British Academy occupies No. 10 and No. 11 Carlton House Terrace – premises built in 1831 to designs by John Nash, and previously occupied by Sir Matthew White Ridley, Lord Monson, four-times Prime Minister William Gladstone, and a First World War Hospital for Wounded Officers

Carlton House Terrace was built in 1831. The overall responsibility for design lay originally with John Nash, but he was notorious for delegating details.

The terraces as a whole were conceived as a scenic backdrop to St James's Park.

Nash told a Parliamentary committee of enquiry that he was thinking "as a painter" and pressed originally for a fountain on the site of the Duke of York's Column.

The houses have always had a rather mixed press. Sir John Summerson grudgingly admitted that they were "impressive in their loose, almost shoddy fashion".

Former occupants

The Ridley family of Northumberland were at No. 10 from the 1830s to the 1920s.

Sir Matthew White Ridley, 5th Baronet and 1st Viscount Ridley, Lord Salisbury's Home Secretary, was born there in 1842. The 2nd Viscount Ridley installed the grand French staircase in 1908.

In the First World War, No. 10 housed a Hospital for Wounded Officers, organised by Lady Ridley (Miss Buffard as matron).

No. 11's occupants have been slightly more varied.

First in was Lord Monson, then William Crockford, proprietor of the celebrated gambling hall. He was followed by the Earl of Arundel and Surrey, heir to the Duke of Norfolk.

Gladstone took up occupation in 1856, and was there during the early years of his first great ministry, 1868-74; and finally the Guinness family took over, staying on until the 1920s (with an interruption when the house became an annexe to the Horse Guards' high command).

At that point the Union Club took a lease of both 10 and 11 until the 1950s.

Sections of the Commonwealth Secretariat occupied No. 10 and much of No. 11, until the British Academy took over occupation in 1998. The Foreign Press Association were located in part of No. 11 until 2009.

In March 2010, the Academy embarked on an ambitious £2.75m project to renovate and restore the public rooms in No. 11, and link the two buildings together. The work was completed in January 2011 and the spaces, including a 150-seat state-of-the-art auditorium, are now available for hire. For more information, visit www.10-11cht.com

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