Mansion House

Town Hall in/near City of London, existing until now

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Town Hall · City of London · EC4N ·
September
3
2013

Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Built between 1739 and 1752, it was designed in the then fashionable Palladian style by the City of London surveyor and architect George Dance the Elder.

The site, at the east end of Poultry, had previously been occupied by the 'Stocks Market', which by the time of its closure was mostly used for the sale of herbs. The construction was prompted by a wish to put an end to the inconvenient practice of lodging the Lord Mayor in one of the City Halls. Dance won a design competition over solicited designs from James Gibbs and Giacomo Leoni, and uninvited submissions by Batty Langley and Isaac Ware. Construction was slowed by the discovery of springs on the site, which that meant piles had to be sunk to form the foundations. The original building had two clerestory roof extensions, nicknamed the Mayor's Nest and Noah's Ark. In 1795 George Dance the Younger re-roofed the central courtyard, and had the Noah's Ark demolished. In the same year, the original Grand Staircase was removed to make way for a further two rooms. In 1835 the entrance steps were reduced to one flight; and in 1842 the Mayor's Nest was demolished after the Ball Room was reconstructed. The Lord Mayor's private entrance in Walbrook was created in 1845; and in 1849 the former Swordbearer's Room was converted into the Justice Room.

Mansion House is home to The Harold Samuel Collection of Dutch and Flemish Seventeenth Century Paintings, described as the finest collection of such works to be formed in Britain this century (Sutton 1992).

It consists of 84 paintings and includes some outstanding works by artists including Hendrick Avercamp, Gerard Ter Borch, Pieter Claesz, Aelbert Cuyp, Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Jacob van Ruisdael, Jan Steen, David Teniers the Younger and Willem van de Velde.

In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain made up a story about the erection of the building.

»It reminded me of something I had read in my youth about the
ingenious way in which the aldermen of London raised the money
that built the Mansion House. A person who had not taken the
Sacrament according to the Anglican rite could not stand as a
candidate for sheriff of London. Thus Dissenters were ineligible;
they could not run if asked, they could not serve if elected.
The aldermen, who without any question were Yankees in disguise,
hit upon this neat device: they passed a by-law imposing a fine
of £400 upon any one who should refuse to be a candidate for
sheriff, and a fine of £600 upon any person who, after being
elected sheriff, refused to serve. Then they went to work and
elected a lot of Dissenters, one after another, and kept it up
until they had collected £15,000 in fines; and there stands the
stately Mansion House to this day, to keep the blushing citizen
in mind of a long past and lamented day when a band of Yankees
slipped into London and played games of the sort that has given
their race a unique and shady reputation among all truly good
and holy peoples that be in the earth.«


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Citations, sources, links and further reading

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VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1750s
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VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1800s
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VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
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VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
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VIEW THE CITY OF LONDON AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

City of London

The City of London constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond its borders.

As the City's boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of Greater London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It holds city status in its own right and is also a separate ceremonial county.

It is widely referred to as 'The City' (often written on maps as City and differentiated from the phrase 'the city of London') or 'the Square Mile' as it is 1.12 square miles in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which continues a notable history of being largely based in the City.

The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London.

The City is a major business and financial centre, ranking as the world's leading centre of global finance. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, and continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.

The City had a resident population of about 7000 in 2011 but over 300,000 people commute to it and work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City - especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple - fall within the City of London boundary.
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Cruchley's New Plan of London Shewing all the new and intended improvements to the Present Time. - Cruchley's Superior Map of London, with references to upwards of 500 Streets, Squares, Public Places & C. improved to 1848: with a compendium of all Place of Public Amusements also shewing the Railways & Stations.
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Cary's New And Accurate Plan of London and Westminster (1818) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cary's map provides a detailed view of London. With print date of 1 January 1818, Cary's map has 27 panels arranged in 3 rows of 9 panels, each measuring approximately 6 1/2 by 10 5/8 inches. The complete map measures 32 1/8 by 59 1/2 inches. Digitising this map has involved aligning the panels into one contiguous map.
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John Rocque Map of London (1762) FREE DOWNLOAD
John Rocque (c. 1709–1762) was a surveyor, cartographer, engraver, map-seller and the son of Huguenot émigrés. Roque is now mainly remembered for his maps of London. This map dates from the second edition produced in 1762. London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751. His widow continued the business after his death. The map covers central London at a reduced level of detail compared with his 1745-6 map.
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Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
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London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
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London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
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Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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