Carlton House Terrace

Coordinates: 51°30′21″N 0°07′58″W / 51.5058°N 0.1327°W / 51.5058; -0.1327
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Carlton House Terrace
Nos. 1-9 Carlton House Terrace, facing St James's Park
LocationWhitehall, London
Coordinates51°30′21″N 0°07′58″W / 51.5058°N 0.1327°W / 51.5058; -0.1327
OS grid referenceTQ296801
ArchitectJohn Nash with James Pennethorne, Decimus Burton and others
Architectural style(s)Neoclassical
OwnerCrown Estate
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameNumbers 1-9 including railings to north and east
Designated9 January 1970
Reference no.1209780
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameNumbers 10 to 18 (including the Institute of Contemporary Arts) and railings to north and west
Designated9 January 1970
Reference no.1209794
Listed Building – Grade II*
Official name1, Carlton Gardens, London, SW1
Designated9 January 1970
Reference no.1357247
Listed Building – Grade II*
Official name2, Carlton Gardens, London, SW1
Designated9 January 1970
Reference no.1209730
Listed Building – Grade II*
Official name3, Carlton Gardens, London, SW1
Designated9 January 1970
Reference no.1066349
Carlton House Terrace is located in Central London
Carlton House Terrace
Location of Carlton House Terrace in Central London

Carlton House Terrace is a street in the St James's district of the City of Westminster in London. Its principal architectural feature is a pair of terraces, the Western and Eastern terraces, of white stucco-faced houses on the south side of the street, which overlook The Mall and St. James's Park. These terraces were built on Crown land between 1827 and 1832 to overall designs by John Nash, but with detailed input by other architects including Decimus Burton. Construction was overseen by James Pennethorne. Both terrace blocks are Grade I listed buildings. A separate but linked cul de sac at the terrrace's western end is named Carlton Gardens.

In the early 18th century, a townhouse built on the site was rented by Baron Carleton, from whom the present name of the terrace derives. A century later, Carlton House gained a prominent social profile when it was occupied by the Prince Regent. After falling out of favour with George IV, who moved into Buckingham Palace on his accession in 1820, the house was pulled down. The current terraces replaced the demolished palace. They are divided by the Duke of York's Steps which lead down from Pall Mall to The Mall, as part of Nash's triumphal redesign of central London. A smaller flight of steps at the terrace's western end divides it from Carlton Gardens. These steps are the site of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Memorial.

The site's proximity to the centres of royal and political life in London have seen a large number of notable people take up residence in the terrace and the adjacent gardens. These include Prime Ministers, Lords Palmerston and Grey, William Gladstone, who lived in a number of houses in both the terrace and the gardens, and Arthur Balfour; other senior politicians such as Lord Curzon; and soldiers including Lords Cardigan and Kitchener. In the mid-20th century, Number 9 served as the German Embassy while Number 4 Carlton Gardens housed the offices of Charles de Gaulle's Free French forces. The terrace is a centre for the arts and sciences, housing the headquarters of the British Academy, the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Federation of British Artists. In the 21st century the majority of the houses are occupied as corporate or institutional headquarters, while a smaller, but increasing, number serve as private homes. For many years Numbers 13-16 housed the headquarters of the Crown Estate which continues to own the freehold of the terrace.



The land on which Carlton House Terrace was built had once been part of the grounds of St James's Palace, known as "the Royal Garden" and "the Wilderness". The latter was at one time in the possession of Prince Rupert of the Rhine (cousin of Charles II) and was later called Upper Spring Garden.[1] From 1700 the land was held by Henry Boyle, who spent £2,835 on improving the existing house in the royal garden.[2] Queen Anne issued letters patent granting Boyle a lease for a term of 31 years from 2 November 1709 at £35 per annum.[2] Boyle was created Baron Carleton in 1714, and the property has been called after him since then, although at some point the "e" was dropped.[n 1]

On Carleton's death the lease passed to his nephew, the architect and aesthete Lord Burlington, and in January 1731 George II issued letters patent granting Burlington a reversionary lease for a further term of 40 years at an annual rent of £35.[1] By an indenture dated 23 February 1732 the lease was assigned to Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II, who predeceased his father, dying in 1751; his widow, Augusta, continued living in the house, making alterations and purchasing an adjoining property to enlarge the site. She died in 1772 and the house devolved to her son, George III.[2]

The property was granted by George III to his eldest son, George, Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent) on the latter's coming of age in 1783. The Prince spent enormous sums on improving and enlarging the property, running up huge debts. He was at loggerheads with his father, and the house became a rival court, and was the scene of a brilliant social life.[2] Despite expenditure of over £160,000 on the house, the diarist Joseph Farington recorded that it was "a thing of threads and patches" and was considered to be unsafe.[2] The Prince Regent came to dislike the building and on his accession in 1820, he moved to Buckingham Palace.[2] Instructions were given in 1826 to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests that "Carlton Palace" should be given up to the public, be demolished and the site and gardens laid out as building ground for "dwelling houses of the First Class".[3] By 1829 the Commissioners reported that the site was completely cleared and that part of it had already been let on building leases.[4] Materials from the demolition were sold by public auction, with some fixtures transferred to Windsor Castle and to "The King's House, Pimlico". Columns of the portico were re-used in the design for the new National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, interior Ionic columns were moved to the conservatories of Buckingham Palace, and some of the armorial stained glass was incorporated in windows of Windsor Castle.[4]


After Carlton House was demolished the development of its former site was originally intended to be part of a scheme for improving St James's Park. For this John Nash proposed three terraces of houses along the north of the park, balanced by three along the south side, overlooking Birdcage Walk. None of the three southern terraces and only two of the three northern ones were built, the latter being the west (No.1–9) and east (No. 10–18) sections of Carlton House Terrace.[n 2] These two blocks were designed by Nash and Decimus Burton, with James Pennethorne in charge of the construction. Decimus Burton exclusively designed No. 3 and No. 4. Carlton House Terrace.[6] These townhouses took the place of Carlton House, and the freehold still belongs to the Crown Estate. Nash planned to make contiguous the two blocks with a large domed fountain between them (re-using the old columns of the Carlton House portico), but the idea was vetoed by the King;[7] the present-day Duke of York's Steps took the place of the fountain. In 1834 the Duke of York's Column was erected at the top of the steps. It consists of a granite column designed by Benjamin Wyatt topped with a bronze statue by Richard Westmacott of Frederick, Duke of York.[8]

The terraces, which are four storeys in height above a basement, were designed in a Neoclassical style, stucco clad, with a Corinthian columned façade overlooking St James's Park, surmounted by an elaborate frieze and pediment. At the south side, facing the park, the lower frontage has a series of squat Doric columns, supporting a substantial podium terrace at a level between the street entrances to the north and the ground floor level of the modern Mall.[7] The houses are unusual as they are expensive London terraces which have no mews to the rear. The reason for this was that Nash wanted the houses to make the best possible use of the view of the park, and also to present an attractive façade to the park. The service accommodation was placed underneath the podium and in two storeys of basements (rather than the usual one storey).[9]

According to the architectural historian Sir John Summerson Nash's designs were inspired by Ange-Jacques Gabriel's buildings in the Place de la Concorde, Paris. Summerson's praise of the buildings is muted:

The central pediments are a somewhat too contrived means of preventing an apparent sag in a very long façade and the attics on the end pavilions may be over-emphatic. Subtlety of modelling there is none. In fact, Carlton House Terrace is thoroughly typical of the extraordinary old man who designed it, but whose only contribution to the work was probably the provision of a few small sketches, done either in the glorious painted gallery of his Regent Street mansion or the flower-scented luxury of his castle in the Isle of Wight.[7]

The authors of the Survey of London take a more favourable view:

The houses … form a double group each side of the Duke of York's Column. Designed as an architectural entity, facing the Park, they represent with their range of detached Corinthian columns, a pleasing example of comprehensive street architecture; an effect greatly enhanced by the freshness of their façades … The end house to each block is carried up above the roof of the main façade, thereby effecting a successful pavilion treatment. The return fronts of the houses facing the steps are also effectively treated in a complementary manner.[9]

Although Nash delegated the supervision of building to Pennethorne, he kept the letting of the sites firmly in his own hands. Ground rents, payable to the Crown, were set at the high rate of 4 guineas per foot frontage. Nash himself took leases of five sites – nos 11–15 intending to let them on the open market at a substantial profit. In the event he could not cover his total costs and made a small loss on the transactions.[7]

Later history[edit]

In 1832 the Carlton Club, which had been formed by the Duke of Wellington and others shortly beforehand, took up residence in number 2, courtesy of one of its supporters Lord Kensington The club soon found the building to be too small and it moved to a new purpose built clubhouse on Pall Mall in 1835 but retains the Carlton name.[10]

In the 20th century the terrace came under threat of partial or complete demolition and redevelopment, as were country houses at that time. By the 1930s there was little demand for large central London houses, and the Commissioners of Crown Lands were having difficulty in letting the properties. Two properties were let to clubs: no 1 to the Savage Club and no 16 to Crockford's gambling club, but residential tenants became hard to find.[7] Proposals for redevelopment were put forward by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield, who had earlier been one of those responsible for replacing Nash's Regent Street buildings with larger structures in the Edwardian neo-classical style. Blomfield proposed rebuilding "in a manner suitable for hotels, large company offices, flats and similar purposes".[11] The suggested new buildings were to be two storeys higher than Nash's houses, and there was an outcry that persuaded the Commissioners not to proceed with the scheme.[12]

The terrace was severely damaged by German bombing during the Second World War. In the 1950s the British government considered acquiring the terrace as the site for a new Foreign Office headquarters. The Nash façades were to be preserved, but it was widely felt that the height of the redevelopment behind them would be unacceptable and the plans were not taken forward.[13]


The terrace has had many notable residents, both corporate and individual:

Carlton Gardens[edit]

At the west end of Carlton House Terrace is a cul-de-sac called Carlton Gardens, which was developed at a slightly later date. It originally contained seven large houses, though all but Numbers 1-3 have been replaced by office blocks.


As with Carlton House Terrace, the houses in Carlton Gardens have had a large number of notable residents:

Historic listing designations[edit]

Carlton House Terrace is a Grade I listed building. The listing is in two parts, the first covering Numbers 1–9, and the second Numbers 10–18.[21][38] The buildings comprising Carlton Gardens have three listings, all at Grade II*, for No.1,[39] No.2,[40] and for No.3.[41] Twenty seven lamp standards illuminating the terrace and garden are listed at Grade II.[42][43] [44] A pair of bollards outside No.4 Carlton House Terrace also has a Grade II listing.[45]



  1. ^ The location is shown as "Charlton House" in Roque's 1746 map of London.
  2. ^ Nash's plans included the demolition of Marlborough House to the west, replacing it with the third terrace; this idea was reflected in some contemporary maps, including Christopher and John Greenwood's large scale London map of 1830,[5] but this proposal was not implemented.
  3. ^ The reference to Number 18 is likely a typographical error for Number 19. Historic England's listing is clear that Number 18 formed the original eastern end of the East block of Nash's terrace.


  1. ^ a b Pithers (2005), p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gater, G. H.; Hiorns, F. R., eds. (1940). "Chapter 8: Carlton House". Survey of London: Volume 20, St Martin-in-The-Fields, Pt III: Trafalgar Square & Neighbourhood. London: London County Council. pp. 69–76. Retrieved 2 September 2013 – via British History Online.
  3. ^ Regent Street, Carlton Place Act 1826 (Act 7 Geo IV cap 77)
  4. ^ a b Pithers (2005), p. 2.
  5. ^ "Greenwood Map of London 1830". MOTCO – Image Database. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  6. ^ Williams, Guy (1990). Augustus Pugin Versus Decimus Burton: A Victorian Architectural Duel. London: Cassell Publishers Ltd. pp. 135–157. ISBN 0-304-31561-3.
  7. ^ a b c d e Pithers (2005), p. 3.
  8. ^ Bullus, Asprey & Gilbert (2008), p. 240.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gater, G. H.; Hiorns, F. R., eds. (1940). "Chapter 9: Carlton House Terrace and Carlton Gardens". Survey of London: Volume 20, St Martin-in-The-Fields, Pt III: Trafalgar Square & Neighbourhood. London: London County Council. pp. 77–87. Retrieved 2 September 2013 – via British History Online.
  10. ^ a b "History". Carlton Club. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Carlton House Terrace". The Times. 16 December 1932. p. 10.
  12. ^ "The Crown Landlord". The Times. 19 December 1932. p. 13.
  13. ^ "No F.O. at Carlton House Terrace". The Times. 2 December 1960. p. 14.
  14. ^ "History of the Institute". IOM3.
  15. ^ "Les Ambassadeurs Club Ltd v Salah Hamdan Albelwi" (PDF). BAILII. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  16. ^ "CARMIGNAC GESTION LUXEMBOURG S.A., UK BRANCH". Companies House Registry. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Charter, Statute and Regulations". Royal Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  18. ^ "History of 6–9 Carlton House Terrace". Royal Society. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Great Houses of London". English Heritage. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  20. ^ Buckle, Jack (2019). Monumental Tales: The Fascinating Stories behind the World's Pet Statues and Memorials. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0718895457.
  21. ^ a b Historic England. "Numbers 1-9 including railings to north and east (Grade I) (1209780)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  22. ^ Lashmar, Paul; Oliver, James (1988). Britain's Secret Propaganda War 1948-1977. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing. p. 30.
  23. ^ Karmali, Naazneen (8 October 2013). "Carlton House Terrace: The Hindujas' New $500 Million Real Estate Masterpiece". Forbes.
  24. ^ Nelson, Dean; Chittenden, Maurice (27 August 2006). "Hindujas to build 'palace' on the Mall". The Sunday Times.
  25. ^ "Who we're are". Mall Galleries. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  26. ^ "Carlton House Terrace and Carlton Gardens". Survey of London, Volume 20. British History Online. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  27. ^ "The £250m home next to the Queen: London property smashes UK house price record as it goes on sale". Evening Standard. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  28. ^ Pinto, Marissa (23 April 2013). "At £250 million 18 Carlton House Terrace in London is set to become UK's most expensive property". Luxury launches. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  29. ^ "Yours for £250m: Inside the world's most expensive house". The Week. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  30. ^ "Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes". London. 25 January 1888. Retrieved 25 January 2019 – via Internet Archive.
  31. ^ Syal, Rajeev (5 October 2008). "Yard probes billionaire spy's death". The Observer. London. Retrieved 5 October 2008.
  32. ^ "Written Answers to Questions: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: 1 Carlton Gardens". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 6 May 2009. col. 165W.
  33. ^ "Contact us". Institute for Government. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  34. ^ "Contacting the Privy Council Office". Archived from the original on 4 March 2008.
  35. ^ Dorril, Stephen (2000). MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations. London: Fourth Estate Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85702-093-9.
  36. ^ Morrison, Sean (21 January 2019). "Hedge fund tycoon buys £95m mansion overlooking Buckingham Palace in most expensive UK home sale since 2011". United Kingdom: The Evening Standard (London). ESI Media. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  37. ^ "General Charles de Gaulle". English Heritage. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  38. ^ Historic England. "Numbers 10 to 18 (including the Institute of Contemporary Arts) and railings to north and west (Grade I) (1209794)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  39. ^ Historic England. "1, Carlton Gardens, London, SW1 (Grade II*) (1357247)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  40. ^ Historic England. "2, Carlton Gardens, London, SW1 (Grade II*) (1209730)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  41. ^ Historic England. "3, Carlton Gardens, London, SW1 (Grade II8) (1066349)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  42. ^ Historic England. "9 Lampstandards numbered 4-12 (consecutive) (Grade II) (1357248)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  43. ^ Historic England. "18 Lampposts numbered 1-18 (consecutive) (Grade II) (1209820)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  44. ^ Historic England. "Two bollards outside No.4 (Grade II) (1209742)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  45. ^ Historic England. "Two bollards outside No. 4 (Grade I) (1209742)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  • Bullus, Claire; Asprey, Ronald; Gilbert, Dennis (2008). The Statues of London. London: Perseus. ISBN 978-1858944722.
  • Pithers, Margaret (2005). A Short History of 13–16 Carlton House Terrace. London: The Crown Estate.

External links[edit]