Somerset House rebuilt

Previous page: The Royal Academy

In 1761 Somerset House was settled upon Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg in the event of her surviving George the Third, but in 'the meanwhile the want of room for public offices made it imperative that new ones should be built somewhere, and Somerset House and gardens presented a valuable and convenient site.

An Act was obtained by which old Buckingham House, St. James's Park, was bought and settled on the Queen for life, and Somerset House went the way of nearly all the other old mansions on the bank of the river.

It was replaced by the present one, built 1746 to 1750, from the designs of Sir William Chambers, a wonderfully fine building, the main courtyard and the terrace front being about the finest specimen of architecture still to be seen in London. It was finer still before the Embankment was made, when the terrace rose from the Thames at high water.

Next page: Theatre