IN CARLTON TERRACE, occupying Numbers 10 and 11, the British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences – the study of peoples, cultures and societies, past, present and future. It funds fellowships, research grants, awards,  and charitable activities, including British Film Awards.

The British Academy website is here.

On the ground floor for the Open City visitors, the BA displayed an exhibition of photos from the history of the house. Here is their explanation of the exhibition:

“From 1830 until 1920, 10 Carlton House Terrace was the London Home of the Ridley family. The Ridleys were a wealthy Northumberland family who had made their fortune in Coal mining. When war broke out, in 1914, Lady Ridley decided to open up her London home as a hospital for wounded officers.

Affiliated with Queen Alexandria’s Military Hospital in Milbank, it was principally a convalescent hospital. It was staffed by a house doctor, trained nurses, and members of London/52 Voluntary Aid Detachment (VADs). According to newspaper clippings of the time, it  quickly established itself as ‘by far the most fashionable hospital for officers in the war’; and it soon became a popular sight-seeing spot. One report from the period states that ‘every morning an interested crowd collects to see the public shaving of the wounded soldiers, who are so comfortably situated in the temporary hospitals which are perched on the top of terraces behind Carlton House Terraces.’

In 1918, Lady Ridley was made a Dame in recognition of her work as donor and administrator of the Hospital. Upon the hospital’s closure in February 1919, she  wrote to express her gratitude to those who had worked there: ‘It is largely owing to the devoted band of VADs  that the hospital achieved such a standard of efficiency and comfort, and was and was able to bring such a great measure of relief and happiness to those who suffered so much in the War.’”

Lady Rosamund Ridley  (1877-1947)
Lady Ridley was a cousin of Sir Winston Churchill and wife of Matthew White Ridley, 1st Viscount Ridley. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Ridleys redecorated the house in the French style and installed  the grand staircase.
French Staircase
Beginning in 1914 with 25 beds, Lady Ridley expanded her hospital to 60 beds by 1917.  One volunteer, Aileen Maunsell, became a nurse and worked at Lady Ridley’s Hospital where she also entertained the patients by playing concerts for them. Eventually she married 2nd Lt. Gell in 1920.

Lady Ridley’s Hospital stayed open for several months after the war ended. In later years, the building was the residence of Lord Monson, four-time Prime Minister William Gladstone (1856 to 1875), and the Guinness family, before becoming home to the British Academy in 1998.

The music room from the wedding venue page

The British Academy was established in 1902; a fellowship of more than 900 leading scholars spanning all disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. it is an independent registered charity. The exterior of the building 10-11 Carlton House Terrace can be seen on the popular BBC’s Sherlock,as the Diogenes Club.

Our next goal was a stroll down Pall Mall to Marlborough House…

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