Londonderry House

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Coordinates: 51°30′20″N 0°9′1″W / 51.50556°N 0.15028°W / 51.50556; -0.15028

The Waterloo Gallery at Apsley House was an inspiration for the Gallery at Londonderry House

Londonderry House was an aristocratic townhouse situated on Park Lane in the Mayfair district of London, England. The house was the home to the Irish, titled family called the Stewarts who are better known as the Marquesses of Londonderry. It remained their London residence until its demolition in 1965. [1]

Brief history[edit]

Londonderry House was bought by The Rt. Hon. The 1st Baron Stewart, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, in 1819 to serve as a home whilst the family stayed in London during the season. Lord Stewart succeeded as The Most Hon. The 3rd Marquess of Londonderry in 1822. Although the house was in their possession for more than 150 years, it actually started life before the Londonderry's. The house was bought by the Sixth Earl of Holdernesse more than half a century before in the 1760s when the Earl is thought to have bought the house next door as well but at a later date. He later joined the two so the house became a double fronted London Mansion.

In 1819, as already stated, Lord Stewart (later Marquess of Londonderry) bought the huge house to become the London home of the family during their long stays in the capital. (The family also owned the palatial Wynyard Park, County Durham, and Mount Stewart in the Province of Ulster in Ireland). Soon after this, he began redecorating. The Marquess spared no expense- shown in his taste of architects: the Wyatt brothers, Benjamin Dean Wyatt and Philip Wyatt.

By 1835 the grand transformation was complete and it was the awe of London. The main stairway was meant to outdo that of nearby Lancaster House in nearby St James's. It succeeded in this- it had a large skylight, Rococo chandelier and two individual flights of stairs flanking each other. This graceful stairway led into the Grand Ballroom which, rather individually held pictures of the Stewart family men in Garter Robes. Said to have been inspired by the 'Waterloo Chamber' of Apsley House, it also outdid that. Around the room were large Marble statues by Canova and chairs in the French style.

Much of the famous Londonderry Silver can be seen at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.

On from that was the Dining Room which held the Londonderrys' amazing collection of silver, known as the 'Londonderry Silver' (most of which was bought by the Brighton council for the Royal Pavilion where it can be seen today, along with the Ormonde silver too).

Another elegant room was the tri-partie Drawing Room which held more Londonderry Silver, French furniture, international paintings and painted ceilings with birds.

During World War I the house was used as a military hospital. After World War ICharles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, and his wife, Edith Helen Chaplin, continued to use the house and entertained extensively. After World War II the house remained in the possession of the Londonderry family.

The Londonderry age was over by the late 1950s due to the huge expense a house of that size would create.

It was sold in 1962 and demolished.

See also[edit]

Sources and Further Reading[edit]

De Courcy, Anne. Society's Queen: The Life of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry. London: Phoenix, 2004. ISBN 0-7538-1730-6 (Originally published as Circe: The Life of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992. ISBN 1-85619-363-2)

Sykes, Christopher Simon. Private Palaces: Life in the Great London Houses. New York, Viking Penguin Inc 1986. ISBN 0-670-80964-0.