One of London's grandest aristocratic houses, Spencer House has been restored to its former splendour after ten years of restoration.
Together with Apsley House, Spencer House is the only great 18th century private London house to survive intact, and is one of the grandest aristocratic town houses built in the city. It was commissioned by John 1st Earl Spencer in 1756, who wanted a London house to establish and cement his position and status. John Vardy, who had studied with William Kent, was hired, and is responsible for the facade of the house that can be seen today. However in 1758 James Stuart, who was a lover of Greek architecture, replaced him as the architect.
The Spencer family lived at the mansion until 1895, when the house was let to a series of tenants. In 1910, the family returned to the house, but it was let again in 1927. The contents of the house were taken to Althorp, the Spencers' country house, and at the height of the Blitz, valuable fixtures such as chair rails, chimney pieces and doors were also removed. In 1986, a 96 year lease (with an additional 24 year option) was purchased by RIT Capital Partners, the company of Lord Rothschild.
The house has been restored to its former splendour after ten years of restoration. It has eight state rooms, all lavishly decorated and furnished as well as one of the largest gardens in Piccadilly, which has been replanted with plants and shrubs from the 18th and 19th centuries. The park originally came right up to the front door, and members of the public could peer into the house. However, as the years passed, the family managed to gain more of a garden from the Council, so, unfortunately, it's no longer possible to get a peek into the house when passing by.
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