Historic building survey of Spencer House in London

Spencer House, City of Westminster, London – Grade I Listed

We are proud to be acting as surveyors to the fabric and lead consultants for the design and acquisition of listed building consent for external masonry cleaning and repair and upgrades to the existing rainwater services at one of London’s finest grade I listed buildings, Spencer House in St James’s, London.

Spencer House was built by John, 1st Earl Spencer – an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales – between 1756 and 1759 to the designs of notable 18th century architect John Vardy in the Palladian style.

However, at some point in late summer or early autumn 1758, Vardy was laid off in response to the changing fashion in architecture in which Palladianism was rejected in favour of Neo-Classicism.

Consequently, with only the exteriors and part of the ground floor completed, James ‘Athenian’ Stuart was brought in to complete the project in a manner more directly informed by direct parallels to classical antiquity.

Now on long-term lease to Lord Rothschild’s RTI Capital Partners, Spencer House is considered to be a particularly important heritage asset as a rare surviving example of a mid-eighteenth century aristocratic mansion in Westminster.

As an important heritage asset that actually spanned and encouraged the transition between Palladianism and Neo-Classicism, and as such continues to garner praise:
‘It is the finest C18 London mansion remaining’ (Pevsner & Bradley 2003, 621).

‘It is not only a rare survivor of a St James’s mansion, it is also the finest’ (Jenkins 2003, 465).

‘Magnificent though Spencer House was, and is, the surprising thing about it is its charm’ and ‘The most splendid example of conspicuous consumption in London was Spencer House’ (Picard 2000, 49, 278).

‘In historical terms the importance of Spencer House is hard to exaggerate. Rarely can one say of any building that its construction marked a watershed in the development of taste. But at Spencer House one clearly sees this process at work.’ (Friedman 1993, 18).

Surveying of Spencer House in London