No. 10 Lobby / 10-11 CHT Entrance

As part of Open House London, discover the historic home of the British Academy, the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences.

No. 10 entrance

Carlton House Terrace was built from 1827-1833 on the site of Carlton House, the former home of the Prince Regent. When the Prince became King George IV in 1820, he felt that none of the royal residences were adequate for his needs. Although he considered refurbishing Carlton House on a far larger scale, he eventually decided to rebuild his father’s house, Buckingham Palace.

Carlton House was demolished in 1825 – most of the furniture and paintings were moved to Buckingham Palace, many of the doors in the house were re-used at Windsor, and the portico of Carlton House was donated to the National Gallery, which now forms part of the main entrance today. The house itself was replaced by the two grand terraces that we have here today; each terrace on either side of the Duke of York column, consists of nine large houses.

The overall responsibility for the design of the Terrace lay with John Nash but many of the details were delegated to other architects. The large houses were intended for private use and all of the interiors were designed individually – so no two in the Terrace are the same. Carlton House Terrace quickly became one of the most fashionable addresses in London. Art Historian Nikolaus Pevsner described the terrace as among "the greatest terrace houses ever built in Britain".

The buildings are Grade I listed placing them in the top 2 per cent of all listed buildings in the country. Our neighbours include the Royal College of Pathologists at No. 2, the Royal Academy of Engineering at Nos. 3 and 4 and the Royal Society at No. 6 to 9. To our right, we have the offices of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at No. 12, and the Mall Galleries at No. 17.

The British Academy moved into number 10 in 1998. In 2010, it acquired number 11 and the two houses were linked by the Academy’s architects Feilden and Mawson who helped to restore both buildings in a way that facilitates their use but is also faithful to their historic character.

No 10 Carlton House Terrace

Number 10 was the London home of the Ridley family from 1831 until just after the First World War. The Ridleys were wealthy landowners in Northumberland. Legend has it that the Ridleys received the lease for the house from the Prince Regent in exchange for one of their racehorses!

The original interior of number 10 was designed by Ignatius Bonomi. But, in 1905, the 2nd Viscount Ridley commissioned Detmar Blow and Fernand Billerey to remodel the building in the French classical style. Much of this work survives today. The remodelling included a new porch, the installation of the black marble staircase and the grand corniced ceilings. Here you can see the Ridley family crest set into the floor of the entrance hall.

The tondo of the Fall of Phaeton in the porch was installed around 1850 – the artist, J G Lough, was born in Hexham, and was a protégé of the Ridley family.

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