Mary, Queen of Scots House

From Wikipedia:

“…On 26 January 1569, Mary was moved to Tutbury Castle and placed in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury and his formidable wife Bess of Hardwick. Elizabeth considered Mary’s designs on the English throne to be a serious threat and so confined her to Shrewsbury’s properties, including Tutbury, Sheffield Castle, Sheffield Manor Lodge, Wingfield Manor, and Chatsworth House, all located in the interior of England, halfway between Scotland and London and distant from the sea.

Mary was permitted her own domestic staff, which never numbered fewer than sixteen. She needed 30 carts to transport her belongings from house to house. Her chambers were decorated with fine tapestries and carpets, as well as her cloth of state on which she had the French phrase, En ma fin est mon commencement (“In my end lies my beginning”), embroidered. Her bedlinen was changed daily, and her own chefs prepared meals with a choice of 32 dishes served on silver plates. She was occasionally allowed outside under strict supervision, spent seven summers at the spa town of Buxton, and spent much of her time doing embroidery. Her health declined, perhaps through porphyria or lack of exercise. By the 1580s, she had severe rheumatism in her limbs, rendering her lame.

In May 1569, Elizabeth attempted to mediate the restoration of Mary in return for guarantees of the Protestant religion, but a convention held at Perth rejected the deal overwhelmingly…”

From the blog Memoirs of a Metro Girl:

“…In the early 20th century, Scottish landowner and liberal politician Sir John Tollemache Sinclair (1825-1912) acquired the land of 143-144 Fleet Street. He commissioned architect Richard Mauleverer Roe (1854-1922) to design an ornate, Neo-Gothic office building in 1905. At the time, Gothic revival was steadily falling out of fashion in architecture, although the new dawn of Modernist design was still a way off. The building has five storeys, one of which being a roof storey. The ground floor is surrounded by a stone arch with zigzag mouldings.

Sir John was apparently a huge fan of the Stuart monarch, Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) and commissioned a statue of her to be erected on the façade. The 2.2 metre statue, whose carver is unknown, features the Queen in a long dress, cape, ruff collar and cap. Mary became Queen in 1542 when she was only six days old following the death of her father, King James V of Scotland (1512-1542). She was executed in Northamptonshire on the orders of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1587. Despite having little connection to London, having spent most of her life in Scotland and France, Mary was buried in Westminster Abbey.

The first tenants of the building were a Scottish insurance company, so Sir John was clearly looking out for his fellow countrymen. The insurers soon made way for the publishing industry, as Fleet Street’s journalist population boomed. In the 1920s, the North Wiltshire Herald and the Middlesborough Sports Gazette had offices in the building. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Western Morning News and the Isle of Wight County Press were based at Mary Queen of Scots House. The ground floor was home to the Press Cafe & Restaurant in the 1950s, then the Val Ceno trattoria, then the latter closing at some point in the early 21st century. In 1977, the building was Grade II listed by *Historic England. Today, the upper storeys contain short-term rental apartments for tourists looking for a central London base.”

*Late C19; elaborate carved stone gothic facade; 2 gabled bays; 4 storeys and roof storey; the ground floor with modern shopfronts within and partly concealing original stone surround with zigzag and prism and rope mouldings. A pair of canted oriels of shallow projection occupy almost the whole width of the facade, rising through 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, containing at each level paired stone mullioned sash windows with elaborately traceried heads; traceried panels to the blind returns and window aprons and pierced tracery to the oriel parapets; the party divisions emphasized by rope moulded shafts rising through the 3 upper storeys. In a hooded niche at 1st floor level between the oriels a statue of Mary, Queen of Scots. Finely shaped, pierced and ornamented bargeboards to the twin gables. Tiled roof with iron cresting. Prominent stone party stacks with relief carving and moulded caps.

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