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Albany, an exclusive appartment complex between Piccadilly and Vigo Street, London

Posted in Architecture, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, London on Monday, 2 September 2013

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Albany off Piccadilly, picture, image, illustration

The Albany, Piccadilly, London

Albany, or less grandly The Albany, is both a building and a court or close off Piccadilly. It was originally built in the early 1770s by Sir William Chambers as York House, but was bought by Lord Melbourne, who gave it the more familiar name of Melbourne House. Chambers was one of the principal architects in the late English Palladian style, and this house was a straightforward example, following the much imitated plan of the Parisian hotel particulier, which resembled a petit palais or small country house in town. The main facade was seven bays with a projecting three-bay pediment and simple Tuscan porch. To the sides a nine-bay range of service buildings, one and half storeys and similarly distinguished by a central three-bay pediment. Ordinary enough, until Henry Holland remodelled the house into appartments in 1803, and built a range of delightful stuccoed chambers in parallel rows to the rear. These were accessed from a central covered walkway which ran the length of the elongated rear courtyard through to Vigo Street and Burlington Gardens. Designed for bachelors, they have been variously occupied by the dissolute, eccentric and literary, as well as the great and the good; Byron and Gladstone are among the more illustrious of its many famous occupants. From Piccadilly Albany is approached through a formal gateway.In Vigo Street lies a fine gated entrance by Henry Holland, with a single-storey shop to each side, one traditionally serving as a florist for the equally colourful residents.

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