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Number 5, Royal Terrace


Number 5 Royal Terrace

Number 5 Royal Terrace was the sixth house in the terrace, located at the centre of the block, overlooking the River Thames. On 1 June 1771, a 96-year lease was arranged for David Garrick (1717-79), with an annual ground rent of £34.13.0.

David Garrick was an actor and playwright. He was the third of seven children of Peter Garrick, an army officer and himself the son of a French Huguenot émigré merchant. From 1737 Garrick and his brother Peter established themselves as wine merchants, with an office and cellars in Durham Yard off the Strand. It was through this profession that Garrick became acquainted with various theatre managers, began to write plays, and then to act professionally in 1741. His innovative naturalistic acting style made him popular, and brought him considerable wealth. In 1747 he was able to spend £8,000 on a 50% share of the patent to manage the Drury Lane Theatre. In 1749 he married a Viennese dancer, Eva Maria Veigel (1724-1822), and five years later in 1754 they purchased Hampton House, Hampton-on-Thames.

In 1743 Garrick had acquired 27 Southampton Street, close to the Drury Lane Theatre. Twenty-eight years later he purchased 5 Royal Terrace. In the same month he allowed his name to be used in an advertisement for the Adelphi in the Town and Country Magazine, which recorded that ‘one of the centre houses is purchased by Mr Garrick, and is almost completely fitted up in a truly classic style’. The Garricks moved from Southampton Street to the Adelphi in 1772, being the first residents within the complex, and commissioned new furniture for their new house from Thomas Chippendale. Fanny Burney’s diary records that David Garrick was living at number 5 Royal Terrace, and receiving calls as early as April 1772.

In this house Adam planned a dining room at the front on the ground floor, with a library behind, two drawing rooms on the first floor, two bedrooms and a dressing room on the second floor, and three small bedrooms and two dressing rooms on the third floor beneath the garrets. Following his arrival, Garrick swapped the dining room and the library on the ground floor, providing himself with a view of the river as he was writing. In the dining room (later Garrick’s library) a chimneypiece was installed to a design which had been made for the first-floor dining room at number 7 Adam Street (Adam volume 24/14). It was photographed by the LCC in 1936, and was then removed from the house prior to its demolition, and survives within the collection at the V&A Museum in London. It is interesting to note that this design corresponds with Adam’s section of the house (Adam volume 42/61). In the library (later the dining room) a chimneypiece was installed in painted pine to a design which had been made for the front parlour at number 5 Adam Street (Adam volume 24/9). This survived to be photographed by the LCC in 1936, and was sold at auction in the same year.

Garrick died from kidney stones at number 5 Royal Terrace in 1779 and was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. Eva Maria remained in the house, dying herself there in 1822 aged 100. Following Eva Maria’s death, both Hampton House and the lease of 5 Royal Terrace were purchased by Thomas Carr, Eva Maria’s solicitor.



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Contents of Number 5, Royal Terrace