In the heart of Soho, Dean Street Townhouse occupies numbers 69 and 70 Dean Street, a pair of Georgian residences built by carpenter John Meard in 1732-1735. Home to aristocratic families and, at one point, King Charles II’s mistress Nell Gwynne, the houses were located in Soho Fields, which gradually became a cosmopolitan centre, attracting sculptors, architects and artists, the painter William Hogarth among them.
In 1928, socialite aristocrat David Tennant founded the Gargoyle Club on the top floors of number 69, It was a well-known hangout of politicians, intellectuals, artists and entertainment royalty, including Noël Coward, Tallulah Bankhead and Fred Astaire.
The decadent and lavishly decorated club, which had Henri Matisse’s L’Atelier Rouge on one wall, went into decline by the mid 1950s, although it survived as a drinking den frequented by artists such as Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. It enjoyed a last hurrah in 1979, when the Comedy Store took over the club, while in the basement Billy’s – then renamed Gossip’s – became a hangout for a new generation of British music stars.
Soho House took over the site in 2008, and opened Dean Street Townhouse the following year.