The history of our new London hospital

Our new eye hospital in London is actually two properties combined into one – the front has been kept in the original style which is why it looks like we have two front doors.

These two properties were initially numbered 45 and 46 Queen Anne Street, but were renumbered in 1859 to number 27 and 25 respectively.

For some reason the earliest building on this site was considerably later than in most of Queen Anne Street, where development began around 1760.  A famous map of London that was drawn by a man called Richard Horwood in the 1790s shows the land as a vacant site. In the below image, the area as an empty white box. 

The first lease of the site appears to have been in 1804 for 40 years to William Leader, although he did not begin building until 1818. It was then that the two houses, 45 and 46, were built.

In 1830 Harry Bristow Woods became the leaseholder of no.25 and he rebuilt the house in 1843. The below plan of the property was drawn up at the change of lease in 1830 which references a Mr Turner.

This was the famous painter, JMW Turner, who was then living and working at no.47, now 23 Queen Anne Street. When no.25 was re-developed in 1843, the terms of the lease were offered “upon the understanding that you have the approval of Mr Turner to your proposed building, and nothing is to be done herein to the annoyance or injury of your neighbours”. This photo shows Turner’s plain brick house at 23 Queen Anne Street in c.1880, which presumably also shows No.25 next to it.

No. 25 was re-developed again in 1903 and was designed by William Henry White, a talented architect who was responsible for a number of newly rebuilt properties on the Howard de Walden Estate at this period.
No.27 was rebuilt in 1881 by the then leaseholder, George Shaw, who was himself a builder. The below images shows the frontispiece of Shaw’s 1896 lease for No.27 Queen Anne Street. 

Sadly, both properties were damaged in bombing raids during the Second World War and this gave rise to changes and modernisation taking place in them both in the 1950s.

In 2015, Optegra has invested £13m to transform the buildings into a fully-equipped eye hospital with specialist facilities, whilst maintaining the Edwardian and Victorian facades.

Materials courtesy of The Howard de Walden Estate.

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