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  • image SM 37/1/28

Reference number

SM 37/1/28


Survey of the Speaker's House, 1794


Plan of the late Duke of Newcastle's House / in the Exchequer (since The Speaker's House)


bar scale of 1/6 inch to 1 foot


as above, labelled: Closet, Housekeeper's Room, Wine Cellar (twice), Beer Cellar, Entrance / Hall, Porter's Hall, Bed Room, Wash house, Steward's Room, Servants Hall, Knives, Powdering Room, Area, Passage, Lobby, Waiting Room, Dining Parlour, Long Passage, Strong Room, Cellar, Kitchen, Scullery, Charcoal, Coals, Wall of Westminster Hall, Passage, Pantry, Waiting Room, Water Ct, Steward's / Private Room, Gt Dining Parlour, Maid Servants / Room, Lobby, Butler's Pantry, Bed Room, Room, Cooks, Area, Larder, Westminster Hall Passage, Area, Closet, Bath, Engine Room, Water Ct, Closets, Grotto Room, J. Soane Esqre and dimensions given

Signed and dated

  • 1794
    J. T. Groves / New Palace Yard / 1794

Medium and dimensions

Pen and sepia wash, pricked for transfer within single-ruled border on wove paper (843 x 616)


John Thomas Groves (c.1761 - 1811)


James Whatman Turkey Mill Kent 1789


From 17 June 1794 until his death on 24 August 1811, John Thomas Groves was Clerk of Works at St James's, Whitehall and Westminster, in which role he succeeded Soane who had resigned in 1793. This drawing, which has been pricked for transfer, may be a copy of a plan made by Soane as it is inscribed 'J. Soane Esqre' at the top but signed and dated 'J. T. Groves / New Palace Yard / 1794' at the bottom. It shows the lower level of the two-storeyed St Stephen's Cloister with the House of Commons/St Stephen's Chapel (top of the sheet) to the south. Formerly occupied by the Auditor of the Exchequer, Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme (1720-94), in 1794 the Speaker of the House of Commons, Henry Addington (1757-1844), moved in and more than £1,000 was spent on fittings and alterations over the next four years. Brayley and Britton were critical of the many alterations, including the addition of a "shed-like kitchen" in the court, the conversion of the "exquisite lower Oratory" into a scullery and the division of the upper Cloister into small apartments and offices (not shown on the plan) (Brayley and Britton, op. cit.). However, John Smith wrote that Addington's alterations were an improvement (Smith, op. cit.).

The "Grotto Room" or Sub-Chapel of St Stephen's was used, in the early eighteenth century, as a store for coals, wood and lumber. Under Robert Walpole (1701-51) it was fitted up as a domestic apartment. The ceiling was "of stone, and enriched with historical sculpture, delineating the 'Stoning of St Stephen' &c of the time of Edward III [r.1327-77]", partly restored c.1800 (Smith, op. cit.).

Tom Drysdale, November 2014


J. T. Smith, Antiquities of Westminster, 1807, p. 264
E. Brayley and J. Britton, The Ancient Palace at Westminster, 1836, pp. 455-6.
J. M. Crook and M. H. Port, The History of the King's Works, VI, 1973, p. 533.



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