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Bloomsbury Square (possibly no. 40), finished drawing for a house, for Richard Wilbraham Bootle, ND, unexecuted (1)

Richard Wilbraham Bootle was born 20 September 1725, the first son of Randle Wilbraham. He was educated at St. John’s College, Oxford, graduating in 1742. That same year Richard was accepted into Lincoln’s Inn and he was called to the bar in 1747.

On 31 May 1755 Richard married Mary, the daughter and heiress of Robert Bootle, Director of the East India Company. Mary was also the heiress to the estates of her uncle Sir Thomas Bootle MP. Upon their marriage Richard Wilbraham adopted the Bootle name at the bequest of Sir Thomas. The couple had a total of fourteen children, six sons and eight daughters.

In 1761 Wilbraham Bootle was elected MP for Chester and successfully held the seat until his death in 1796. He was considered to be an independent politician and publically spoke against party politics. On 21 February 1783 he gave an impassioned speech in which he stated that:

‘certainly he was of no party. He had seen so much injustice of party while he sat in the gallery and before he was a Member, that when he came into the House he had washed his hands of party for ever’.

Wilbraham Bootle was a member of the St. Albans Tavern group, which in February 1784 tried to bring about a union between Pitt and Fox.

He died 13 March 1796.

Adam’s unexecuted scheme for a townhouse in Bloomsbury Square for Wilbraham Bootle is undated. The number of the house is also unknown, but Bolton suggests that the design was intended for the site of no. 40 and that it is possibly one of Adam’s earlier schemes. The relatively plain design is for the principal front of a 51ft, three-storey terrace house with basement and attic-storey levels.

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 35, 91; D. King, The complete works of Robert and James Adam & unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 78, 129; J. Brooke, ‘Wilbraham Bootle, Richard (1725-96) of Rode Hall, Cheshire’, www.historyofparliamentonline.org; ‘George Romany – Mary Bootle, Mrs Wilbraham-Bootle (died 1813’, www.nationalgalleries.org; ‘Bootle Wilbraham Genealogy’, www.lanthumparktrust.org.uk (accessed February 2021)

Anna McAlaney, 2021
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