74 St. James Street is an amazing building, now part of a international bank which has preserved the colorful interior.  Victoria here, telling you that Kristine and I could hardly believe our eyes after already visiting three lavish mansions during the 2014 Open City London days…in 2016, the Open weekend will be Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18.

74 St. James Street

74 St. James’s Street was the site of the old Conservative Club, now dissolved. Construction started in 1843,  In 1950 it merged with the Bath Club, and was disbanded in 1981. From 1845 until 1959, the club occupied a building at 74 St James’s Street.and although the club moved out a century later, the building went on to be home to McKinsey and Co. in the early 1970s, and now houses the London office of HSBC Private Bank. 

Prior to the Conservative Club’s occupation of the site, there stood on that corner a range of low buildings derived from the country estate of Sir William Pulteney. The original complex had been converted during the 18th century into shops, taverns and pieds-a-terre. The principal establishment on the site was the Thatched House Tavern, located in the upper stories of the shops lining St. James’s Street and set back from the building line so that the roof of the one-story shops formed a balcony overlooking St. James’s for the drinkers and as a vantage point for watching special events, such as the Duke of York’s funeral procession. 

The tavern was much frequented by clubs and societies: the Society of Dilettanti, the Noblemen and Gentlemen’s Catch Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron, to name a few. A narrow lane at right angles to St. James’s, running through the middle of the site, gave access by a side door to the tavern and led on through to a small court (Thatched House Court) behind it. The Court was of small by pretty houses providing London apartments for people of fashion such as Edward Gibbon, who lived there until his death in 1894. 

The new building built on the site by the Conservative Club at a cost of twenty nine thousand pounds was completed in 1845. The proportions of the saloon were injured in 1951 by the removal of the grand staircase, which led out of the middle door 

The approach hardly prepared us for the colorful and amazing craftsmanship of the interior.

The series of portrait medallions honor the great artists and writers of Britain.

Could you get any work done under this ceiling? I 
think I would spend my time admiring the workmanship.

The inevitable mix of modern work areas with Victorian surroundings.

 We stood on the balcony and looked across St. James Street to the famous wine dealer, Berry Brothers and Rudd.

A wider view. To the far right would be St. James Palace.

Thank you, HSBC Bank for preserving this wonderful building in St James Street.
Following our feast for the eyes, we were ready for luncheon! So we went right across the street. coming next! Eating in Pickering Place – yummaaaay.


  1. If you want to see another fascinating Victorian bank, you should go to Lloyds Law Court branch in the Strand (as its name suggests, it's opposite the Law Courts, near St Dustan's Church. It is elaborately tiled throughout. It's not as glorious as the one at 74 St James's Street, but it's an interesting survival! http://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/Our-Group/our-heritage/2015-our-milestone-year/250-years-of-lloyds-bank/branch-stories/law-courts-london/

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