Located in the thick of London’s Soho, Dean Street Townhouse is a thirty-nine bedroom hotel and all-day dining room, rich in both it’s historic past and architecture.
Numbers 69 and 70 Dean Street were built in 1732-1735 by John Meard, a carpenter, on land leased from the Pitt estate. Throughout the eighteenth century, the buildings were occupied by aristocratic families, and Soho itself was thriving with a community of traders, artists and professionals. Dean Street became somewhat of a cosmopolitan centre, home to a number of sculptors, architects and artists of note – William Hogarth, for one.
In 1834, the lease of number 69 was taken over by Vincent Novello, a composer and musical editor, and his son Joseph Alfred, a music seller and publisher. In 1847, the Novello family branched fully into music publishing – the two upper storeys of number 69 were constructed between 1864 and 1875 to accommodate the firm’s musical print works. The Novellos went on to purchase number 70 in 1875 to use for storage purposes. And so the link between the two buildings emerged.
In 1901, both buildings were drastically remodelled and converted to industrial premises. In 1928, the socialite aristocrat David Tennant founded the Gargoyle club on the top floors of number 69, a socially radical club and well-known hangout of politicians, cosmopolitan intellectuals and artists. Consisting of a vast ballroom, bar, coffee room and drawing room, the Gargoyle dripped with decadence and lavish interiors, some by Henri Matisse. Regulars included Fred Astaire, though the popularity of the club began to dwindle by the mid 1950s – the in-crowd inevitably moved on to pastures new. The club went into decline, becoming a drinking den frequented by artists such as Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. By the 1970s, a theatre had been added to the top floor and revue shows were staged, though this could not keep the club afloat. The Gargoyle closed its doors in the late 1970s, and the buildings were listed Grade II in 1978.
The ground floors of the buildings have hosted various establishments over the years, ranging from auction rooms, a snooker club and a sauna /massage parlour for men, until the 1990s when further alterations were carried out. Most recently, the lower floors and basement were occupied by a bar, restaurant and nightclub, whilst the upper floors remained unoccupied.