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Great George Street, number 10, London and an unknown site for Henry Drummond, 1765-1781 (13)

The Honourable Henry Drummond was born 7 February 1730, the fourth son of William 4th Viscount Strathallan and his wife Margaret, daughter of Lord William Murray. In 1744, at the age of 14, Henry Drummond and his elder brother Robert were sent to London, entrusted to the care of their uncle Andrew Drummond. This was possibly a prelude to the ensuing Jacobite rising of 1745, in which Strathallan was to play a major role. A prominent Jacobite, he had previously supported the rising of 1715, and on 3 September 1745 he joined the army of Charles Edward Stuart at Perth. He subsequently led the Calvary unit at Prestonpans, and following Prince Charles’s march South was appointed the General Officer commanding Scotland. He was subsequently killed in April 1746 at the Battle of Culloden.

Based in Charing Cross, Andrew Drummond, Strathallan's younger brother, was a successful banker and the founder of Messrs Drummond's Bank. By 1749 both Henry and Robert Drummond had begun working with their uncle, alongside Andrew’s son John. Henry Drummond would prove himself to be particularly skilled at the profession, and throughout the course of the Seven Years War (1756-63) acted as an agent for the 42nd, 46th, 87th and 89th regiments. From 1764 he began working with fellow army agent Richard Cox, with whom he established his own successful business in Craig’s Court, Charing Cross.

On 21 March 1761 Henry Drummond married Elizabeth Compton, with whom he had one son, Henry (13 Jan 1762- 4 July 1794), and a daughter Anne.

In 1763 he was made financial agent for New Jersey, in what was to be the beginning of his considerable business dealings in North America. This was furthered by his appointment in 1770 to the position of paymaster to the British forces in America, a role he shared with Thomas Harley.

In 1774 he began a career in parliament, purchasing his first seat as MP for Wendover, Buckinghamshire from Lord Verney. Always a keen supporter of Lord North’s administration, his good relations with North began to wane around 1777, when Harley and Drummond were presented with twelve months’ notice, terminating their American contract. This was further exacerbated by North, when he repeatedly deferred in the repayment of a considerable loan that Drummond had personally brokered on his behalf. By the summer of 1778, however, circumstances appear to have altered, and Harley and Drummond had not only managed to secure the renewal of their North American contract, but had extended their remit to include the role of paymasters to the Caribbean. Drummond’s support for North continued and in 1780, at Lord North’s suggestion, he stood as MP for Midhurst, Sussex, a seat he held until 1790.

Drummond also fulfilled a significant role in the family business, Messrs Drummond. Following the death of its founder Andrew Drummond in 1769, the Bank was initially managed by his son John and nephew Robert. However in 1772, as a result of John’s failing health, Henry Drummond ended his partnership with Richard Cox and returned to the family bank as a partner, a role he held until his death in 1795. It is perhaps testament to his skills that at the time of his death Messrs Drummond held almost 3,200 accounts, more than double the 1,500 held when he joined the partnership in 1772. For several generations the bank continued to be managed under the three branches of the Drummond family, the descendants of Henry, John and Robert.

Robert Adam’s designs for Henry Drummond are problematic in that they range in date from 1765-1781, and are clearly intended for multiple sites. The earlier drawings, dating to 1765, are for Drummond’s property at Great George Street, ‘the tenth house on the south side of said street’, which he purchased 22 June 1762. For this site Adam produced two designs for a dining room ceiling (Adam volume 11/128-129), along with a design for an ornamental frieze, (Adam volume 53/53) also intended for the dining room and likely forming part of the same scheme.

A number of the drawings, however, form part of a separate scheme for a townhouse (Adam volume 1/273, 46/44-49); they are for an unknown site and are undated. In design they are of the mature Adam style and certainly postdate the designs for the dining room in Great George Street. On 21 June 1771 Drummond sold the lease of 10 Great George Street to Joseph Chaplin Hankey. As a result King tentatively dates this scheme to c1772, suggesting that they were intended for a currently unknown London site, newly acquired by Drummond at this time. He does, however, point to possible indicators that the drawings may date to later than 1772, in particular the style of the upper string course and the use of the sphinx in the principal façade, with the earliest comparable design dating to 1775. Therefore these drawings have been given a date of c1774.

Further to this there are three designs for furniture (Adam volume 6/39, 17/67, 20/224) dating to 1781, also for an unknown site.

Adam also produced a number of part-executed designs for Messrs Drummond's Bank, Charing Cross, London dating from 1777-1779.

See also: Drummonds Bank, Charing Cross, London

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 37, 69; M. H. Cox (ed.) Survey of London: Volume 10, St Margaret, Westminster, Part I: Queen Anne’s Gate Area, 1926, pp30-31; E. Harris, The Furniture of Robert Adam, 1963, p.55, 102-03; G. Beard, The Work of Robert Adam, 1978, p. 9; R. Saville, Bank of Scotland – A History, 1695-1995, 1996, pp. 152, 168, 544; D. King, The complete works of Robert and James Adam & unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 94-97, 135, pl. 97-100; P. Winterbottom, ‘Drummond, Henry (c1730-1795)’, www.oxforddnb.com, 2004; P. Winterbottom, ‘Andrew Drummond (1688-1769)’, oxforddnb.com, 2010; M.G.H. Pittock, ‘Drummond, William, fourth Viscount of Strathallan (1690-1746)’, www.oxforddnb.com, 2013; ‘Drummond, Hon. Henry (1730-1795) of Charing Cross, London, and the Grange, Hants’, historyofparliamentonline.org; www.rbs.com/heritage/companies/messrs-drummond; www.rbs.com/heritage/people/henry-drummond-of-the-grange (accessed Oct. 2018)

Anna McAlaney, 2018
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