- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
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Unfortunately, Gordon’s over-eager demolition left the Whitster’s residence, which was attached to the pavilion, exposed to the effects of the weather. (A Whitster was a washerwoman or man, particularly involved with bleaching). Soane himself reported the damage and its likely effects to the Board on 13 April 1809 (as recorded in the meeting minutes). Alongside his report, Soane presented watercolour views to show the state of the buildings (drawings 19 to 24). The Whitster’s residence was at this point adjacent to the laundry and airing grounds, but part of the Yarborough House gardens.
Despite the damage caused to the Whitster’s residence, a new house was not built until1821 (adjoined to the Surgeon’s new house).
The remainder of the drawings in this group (drawings 25-30) show Colonel Gordon’s House and must be copies, made by a Soane pupil, of Thomas Leverton’s originals. Under pressure from Soane, Gordon did alter his plans for a villa slightly, but not enough to make a substantial impact on the fate of Soane’s new Infirmary.
The lease of Colonel Gordon’s villa ran out in 1889, at which point it was let for the Royal Military and Naval Exhibitions and two years later converted into a residence for the Infirmary nurses. Gordon House is now much altered but still provides accommodation for staff.
Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).
Contents of House for the Whitster and Gordon House (designed by Thomas Leverton), April 1809 - February 1818 (14)
- Record drawings of the partly demolished Whitsters' residence, 12 April 1809 (7)
- Copies of Thomas Leverton's design for Gordon House (6)