BRIEF HISTORY DURING THE SNOW ERA (1813-58)
Serving as the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London (and his wife, the Lady Mayoress), the Mansion House was first occupied in 1753. The architect was George Dance. Besides being home to the Mayor, the building also contained a court of justice and a small prison. The two main rooms were the Egyptian Hall for banquets (first floor) and the Dancing Gallery or Ball Room (second floor).
In 1849 the Justice Room was built as a magistrate's court for the Lord Mayor who also is Chief Magistrate of the City. Beneath this room were 11 cells, ten for men and one for women.
Later in 1849, the Lady Mayoress invited several hundred sons and daughters of the citizens to the Mansion House for a Juvenile Entertainment on New Year's Eve. A reporter for the Illustrated London News described the activity.
At eleven o’clock, the polyphonist, Mr. Love, commenced his popular entertainment. The program included the performance of “Love in all Shapes,” with its five clever portrait-sketches; and then came a vocal sketch entitled “Love’s Labor Lost,” in which the artiste impersonated various characters, and introduced a variety of striking ventriloquial effects.
At about eleven o’clock, the parents and friends of the children joined the party, and supper was served. After supper, dancing was resumed till twelve o’clock, when the band played softly the chimes: a deep-toned bell struck the midnight hour, during which the gas-lights in the Hall were gradually diminished, in significance of the old year going out; and when twelve o’clock had struck, the Hall was suddenly re-illuminated, giving a very pleasant effect, the reverse of poor Cinderella’s fate. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress then seated themselves at the upper end of the Hall; and the company passed before them each shaking his Lordship by the hand, and wishing him “a happy new year. The party broke up shortly after twelve o’clock, evidently highly delighted with the evening’s entertainment.
The Mansion House is shown in the 1859 map in the lower left quadrant of cell K22, identified as Mans. Ho.
de Vries L, Robertshaw U. History as Hot News, 1842-1865, 1967.
Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.