No 21 Sydney Buildings

No 21 as it is today

An Indenture dated 23 & 24 June 1812 made between the Right Honourable William Harry Earl of Darlington, John Clapham (Victualler) and John Parsons allows for 3 houses and also warehouses to be built in two separate plots, situated as shown on an attached map, between 29 September and 24 June 1814.

Buildings including the current 21 & 22 Sydney Buildings were to be built on the second plot of land, which included what was then Sydney Wharf. The land formed part of the Manor and Parish of Bathwick and John Pinch had been given permission to build on adjoining land. The plot was:

“bounded on or towards the East by an intended foot & Carriage Road or way of 22’ wide intended to lead to & from the said Parish Road to & from other parts of the said Manor of Bathwick on or towards the West by the Bank of the Kennett & Avon Canal on or towards the North by Ground agreed to be granted for Building to the said John Pinch & on or towards the South by Garden Ground other part of the Manor … to form part of an intended Village to be called Bathwick Village”.

Ground rent was to be paid (see below) and there were certain conditions:

“Not to carry on certain prohibited trades. Tanners etc Fishmonger Blacksmith Brightsmith Slaughterman Tallow Chandler Soapboiler Scavenger Plumber etc. Not to sink any Cess pool on the said premises. Not to keep pigs ducks geese rabbits or other offensive animals. Not to burn weeds coutch grass etc.”

The deeds don’t give any more information for the rest of the 19th Century but we can see who the occupants of Sydney Buildings were at the beginning of the 20th Century from looking at the 1901 Census. This shows that Frederick D Shellard (63) and his son Frederick P (34), both General Accountants, lived at No 11 (now No 21) with Kate (31) daughter of Frederick senior. It isn’t clear if they were tenants or owners but a future schedule refers to a conveyance between A J King and J S Gibbs on 23 December 1903, and also (confusingly, given what happens later) to a copy of a conveyance on 22 June 1907 between J S Gibbs and A J Cook.

Photograph of the Kennett & Avon Canal showing No 21, circa 1900

The Census shows that living at No 3 Sydney Buildings at the time were James W Gibbs, an Insurance Surveyor aged 50, his wife Emily A Gibbs, aged 49, and daughter Mabel B Gibbs, aged 16.

On 28 August 1922 Emily Augusta Gibbs (widow) and Mabel Beatrice Gibbs (spinster) were both living at 21 Sydney Buildings. They sold No’s 21 & 22 "formerly known as 11 & 12" to Josephine Alexandra St George (of 13 Pulteney Street, wife of Leonard Durant St George), for £815. John Stillman Gibbs, who died on 16 August , left the proceeds of his estate to Emily and Mabel in equal shares, and as a result of this, money from the sale is divided equally between the two.

Rent (5 shillings) for use of the land between that belonging to the property and the canal is payable to the Great Western Railway Company; the yearly ground rent (four pounds and eightpence) is mentioned as being part of a yearly ground rent of twenty one pounds five shillings and eightpence “charged on the said premises and other hereditaments adjoining thereto known as Numbers 24 and 25”. Emily Augusta Gibbs’s signature on the sale document was witnessed by Effie Elizabeth Bale (spinster), also of 21 Sydney Buildings.

On 12 April 1928 Josephine Alexandra St George sold to Lt Col Charles Spencer Warwick and his wife Mary Elizabeth Warwick.

Charles Spencer Warwick died of a carcinoma of the tongue on 5 January 1933 and Mary Elizabeth Warwick died on 19 August 1971. Mrs Warwick’s executors (Marguerite Emma Shepherd and Annie Isobel Travis) sold No’s 21 & 22 to Bishop Hugh Rowlands Gough and Madeline Elizabeth Gough on 20 December 1971; they moved from The Rectory at Freshford.

On 4 September 1924 Francis William Forester had sold the Bathwick Estate to the Bathwick Estate Company, who continued to receive the “fee farm rent” for No’s 21 and 22, however the Goughs arranged to be released from the annual charge of £4.03 in return for a payment of £80.60.

On 4 December 1974 the Goughs sold No 21 to Lady Mary Adelaide Nora Luce (who moved from Monastery Garden, Edington, Westbury) and John Martin Luce. No 22 was sold separately.

On 12 August 1997 No 21 was sold to the present owners.

Also see the article on the Reverend Hugh Gough, viewed from the PEOPLE page.

Sarah Pooley

June 2009

Photograph, c1900, added January 2010

Sydney Buildings History Group ©