No. 20 Berkeley Square

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Although it appears uncertain whether he died there, it is known that Colley Cibber once lived at 20 Berkeley Square, at the north corner of Bruton Street, and it is likely that he produced some of his numerous plays here. He said in his Apology:

"It may be observable that my muse and my spouse were equally prolific, that the one was seldom the mother of a child but in the same year the other made me the father of a play. I think we had a dozen of each between us, of both of which kinds some died in their infancy, and near an equal number of each were alive when I quitted the theatre."

John Taylor, in his Records of My Life, stated that his mother told him that she once saw Colley Cibber "standing at his parlour window (in Berkeley Square), drumming with his hands on the frame. She said he appeared like a calm, grave, and reverend old gentleman."

It has already been established that it is uncertain whether Cibber died in Berkeley Square, and indeed Dr. Doran said "In December 1757 I read in contemporary publications that there died at his house in Berkeley Square, Colley Cibber, Esq., Poet Laureate" might seem to have authority. However, Dr. Doran cannot totally be relied on, as further on he stated that "Cibber was carried to sleep with kings and heroes in Westminster Abbey" - which is not the case, as he was not buried in the Abbey at all.

However, it was probably in Berkeley Square that Horace Walpole hailed him on his birthday, saying "I am glad, Sir, to see you looking well," to which Cibber replied "Egad, Sir, at eighty-four it is well for a man that he can look at all."

Two years later, on 12th December, "his man-servant, who had conversed with him at six o'clock, found him with his face reclining on the pillow quite dead at the hour of nine."

In 1868 Robert Birkbeck, Esq. bought the house, which appears to have been rebuilt in 1825, from the second Lord Brougham. Twenty years later enlarged it by taking in a portion of the next house, No. 21, the two houses having been joined together in Lord Brougham's time.

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