The Stafford House became prominent in London in 1807 when the Frederick, Duke of York (1763-1827, see picture) and second son of King George III (1738-1820), moved into what was then Godolphin House in Stable Yard, just east of Saint James's Palace.  At that time he intended to add two drawing rooms at the west end, but never got it.  Following his father's death in 1820 and assent to the throne of his brother as King George IV (1762-1830), the Duke of York decided a larger home should be built in its place.  The Godolphin House was demolished in 1825 and the exterior of the new York House was built by 1826, followed by expensive work on the luxurious interior.  When the Duke of York died in 1827 he was much in debt, but  had not yet lived in the house.  

The government in 1828 sold the still unfinished mansion to the Marquis of Stafford (1758-1833), who proceeded to invest much more in its completion.  The name was changed to Stafford House.  In 1833, the Marquis of Stafford was elevated to the 1st Duke of Sutherland, then died later in the year, still with the house unfinished.  His son, the 2nd Duke of Sutherland (1786-1861, see picture) had the mansion completed by 1842, and lived there until his death in 1861. His wife, Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland (1806-68, see picture), was a close friend of Queen Victoria, who was often a guest at the house.  Duchess Harriet was well-known for her work for prison reform, improvement of the lot of miners, and assisting workhouses were many of the poor lived.  In addition, both Duke and Duchess supported the abolition of slavery in the United States, and used the house as a site for lively discussions and debates. 

The Stafford House was widely regarded as the grandest town house in London and remains to the present, renamed in 1912 as Lancaster House.  It appears with no name as a black square in the immediate center of cell N 13 of the Reynolds map.  


(Quarter Mile Section - N 13)


Yorke J. Lancaster House -- London's Greatest Townhouse, 2001.

Russell J. London1994.

Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.

Godolphin House before change to York House

Click here to view Shepherd's painting

Exterior of York House in 1826

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Interior of Stafford House in 1832

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Interior of Stafford House in 1839 

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Site in Davies' London Map of 1843

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Interior of Stafford House in 1850

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Old Ordnance Survey Map of 1869

Click here to see more details 10 years later