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Frederick's Place, number 6 (The Great House), London, Mr. Adam, 1776 (6)

1776
Frederick’s Place is an example of the Adam office’s expansion into speculative property development. The project, dating from 1775-1778, would appear to have been overseen by James Adam, with several of the surviving drawings at the RIBA signed James Adam for Brothers & Self-.

Previously the site of the old Excise Office, the building was pulled down in 1773-74, in preparation for the new development. The construction of 1-8 Frederick’s Place, alongside 34-35 Old Jewry, was gradual. However King notes that no. 5 (now a nineteenth-century house) was originally constructed in the Adam development as a warehouse. He also notes that the interiors of no. 8 would suggest this building predates James Adam’s work, and it seems the construction of nos 2-4 was passed on to the builder Samuel Dowbiggin.

A cul-de-sac, Frederick’s Place is closed off at the western end by three properties of an earlier date. The houses 1-4 run on the north side, and 5-8 on the south side. At the eastern end, to create the impression of a square, nos 1 and 8, and a bay of no. 7 project forward, in order to create a narrow entrance. Bolton compares the composition, with one closed end, to that of Stratford Place.

Each of the properties were four-storey, yellow brick buildings, designed with a plain finish of varied widths. James Adam used relieving arches on the ground floors of nos 2-7 to create movement, and King compares their use here to that employed in the designs for Fitzroy Square.

The Great House, or no. 6 Frederick’s Place, is the largest property in the development, with a six-bay principal façade. Interestingly it is reserved under the Adam name. It is the best preserved of the houses, and retains Adam interiors, including the ceiling for the first-floor drawing room. It survives in situ, executed to the design of SM Adam volume 13/103.

No. 7 / 35 Old Jewry (a single combined property) also survives, however the no. 7 façade has undergone significant alterations at ground-storey level. Within no. 35, King notes a surviving Adam-style ceiling in the first floor front drawing room; he suggests that this may be original, but with the centrepiece introduced at a later date. The remaining houses at Frederick’s Place have undergone significant alterations or have since been rebuilt.

At the RIBA there are a number of drawings which relate to James Adam’s work at no. 7 / 35 Old Jewry, for John Whitmore (SC120 / 1 (1-9)). These include plans of the ground, first, second and attic storeys, an elevation of the principal façade with a section detailing floor heights, and a plan and laid-out wall elevations for Whitmore’s counting house. Several of the drawings are signed James Adam for Brothers & Self- and dated London 26 July 1775.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 37, 60; D. King, The complete works of Robert and James Adam & unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 11, 77, 96-97, pl. 121; ‘Contract drawings for 7 & 8 Frederick’s Place, Old Jewry, London, for John Whitmore’, www.architecture.com; ‘35, Old Jewry, EC2’, historicengland.org.uk; ‘Frederick’s Place, EC2’, historicengland.org.uk (accessed April 2019)

Anna McAlaney, 2019
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