Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A remnant of Northumberland House

The hero of Silk is for Seduction requiring a domicile in Town, I looked around early 19th century London for a little something suitable for a duke.  I'd already moved characters from previous books into St. James's Square, so that was getting crowded.  Where, then?  Berkeley Square?  Nope.  I'd already stuck a family there.  Somewhere overlooking one of the parks? Nice, but none of the houses seemed to suit my hero

Eventually, my real estate search led me to the Strand, a much less fashionable neighborhood.  Once upon a time, (the time of Susan's historical novels, for instance) all the great noble palaces lined the Strand.  By 1835, the area had gone into trade.  But Northumberland House, home of the Duke of Northumberland, remained. 

So I stole—borrowed it, called it Clevedon House, made some architectural and decorative adjustments, and gave it to my hero.

Over at Two Nerdy History Girls, you'll find a post with lots of links to historical information about this fascinating holdover.  It occupies several pages in Christopher Simon Sykes's wonderful Private Palaces:  Life in the Great London Houses.  In London today all that remains is the street named after it, Northumberland Avenue, a doorway carefully preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a miniature of the room the doorway belonged to, the Glass Drawing Room. 

 Photos courtesy me.

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