Letters of the 5th Duke of Portland to William Pierce, builder, concerning renovations toa house in London, 1855-1857

Scope and Content

The collection comprises a series of letters from the 5th Duke of Portland to the builder WilliamPierce relating to the rebuilding of 13 Hyde Park Gardens, 1855-1857. The letters demonstrate theDuke's eccentricity and his direct involvement in details of the building work. Details underdiscussion included the design of windows, screens and light gauze veils, water closets, plungebaths and showers. The relationship between client and builder is also vividly revealed in theletters.

Administrative / Biographical History

William John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879), lived at Welbeck Abbey,Nottinghamshire. Although he was Member of Parliament for King's Lynn from 1824-1826 he took noactive part in politics, allowing three years to pass between his succession to the dukedom andfirst taking his seat in the House of Lords. The Duke had his London residence at Harcourt House,Cavendish Square, but he also bought the lease of 13 Hyde Park Gardens in 1855 and occupied 11 HydePark Gardens from 1855 to 1860. The Hyde Park Gardens properties were part of the Bishop of London'sPaddington estate, developed for housing from the 1830s. The Duke appears to have purchased 13 HydePark Gardens for the storage of surplus family furniture and there is no record of habitationbesides that of a housekeeper prior to its sale by the 6th Duke in 1890.

Nothing is known of William Pierce, the builder with whom the Duke corresponded in these lettersand who was responsible for the renovation of 13 Hyde Park Gardens.


The collection has been listed chronologically.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make published use of any material from this collection must be soughtin advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections(email mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk). TheDepartment will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but this can be difficult and theresponsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the person wishingto publish.


Custodial History

The collection was acquired by The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts andSpecial Collections through the generosity of the Friends of the National Libraries in June1988.

Related Material

  • The University of Nottingham; Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections: papers ofWilliam John Cavendish Bentinck Scott, 5th Duke of Portland in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection,1790-1881. The University of Nottingham; Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections: ThePortland Collection being legal, financial and estate papers of the Dukes of Portland, 1304-1940. (GB 159 Pw K)(GB 159 Pl)