Sydney House, No 29 Sydney Buildings

No 29 as it is today

William Harry Earl of Darlington leased the plot in 1829 to Jacob Racker and Thomas Lamborn (both described as masons) for a perpetual yearly rent charge of £2 3s 6d. Racker may already have been building a house on the plot; in any case he was obliged to complete one, to the satisfaction of William Harry’s architect, by 28th March 1830.

A list of 27 legal documents is given as evidence of William Harry’s right to dispose of the plot. They date back to 1735 and most are indentures of lease and release involving members of the Pulteney family.

Racker borrowed £300 from the Rev. James Anthony Savage of Bath. Apparently the loan was secured against use of the house Racker was building for 500 years. It was repayable after six months, i.e. at the end of the period allowed to complete the house.

In 1830 Racker borrowed a further £100 from Savage on the same security.

In 1832 Racker bequeathed to his wife Sarah an annuity of £40 for as long as she remained a widow. He and his wife were living at that time at Sydney Lodge, now No 39, one of six properties he owned in Sydney Buildings. The other five, today’s No 29 (Sydney House) and Nos 35 to 38 inclusive, were left in trust to four of Racker’s friends: Thomas Lamborn (surveyor), Isaac Sumsion (quarryman), Charles Robinson (lime burner) and George Gooding (collar and harness maker). They were to pay his wife’s annuity and smaller bequests of the same sort from income from these properties. They were given the power to sell any of the properties except No 39.

Just five weeks later in 1832 Jacob Racker died.


Henry Singer of Bath (butcher) paid £400 in 1837 to take over James Anthony Savage’s mortgage on Sydney House. Between 1841 and 1849 three of Racker’s trustees died, leaving only George Gooding.

1859: Judgement in Chancery in Sarah Racker’s action against George , apparently because Sarah had not been receiving her £40 annuity and wanted property sold so that it could be paid. The judgement, dated 1860 , clarified outstanding debts incurred by Jacob Racker. Henry Singer was owed £418 12s. 8. in principal, interest and costs to redeem his mortgage on Sydney House. Sarah Racker was entitled to go on living at Sydney Lodge.

Benjamin Shepherd (tailor) paid £550 in 1860 into Court for the purchase of Sydney House, then tenanted by Henry Collisson and before him by Mrs. Frances Danger.

The 1860 auction notice for this house and the other 5 dwellings in the Racker estate can be viewed on the Sydney Lodge (No 39) page.

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Shepherd bequeathed Sydney House in 1861 to his daughter Elizabeth Ann, married since 1849 to John Skeate Brinkworth and with a nine-year-old son named Benjamin John Skeate Brinkworth after her father and her husband.

Both the boy’s parents died during 1864/1865. And in 1868 his maternal grandfather Benjamin Shepherd died.

B.J.S. Brinkworth, described as a British subject living at No 8 Yokohama in the Empire of Japan, appointed Daniel Horton (upholsterer) of 9 Northgate Street, in 1883, as his legal representative for the purpose of selling Sydney House. Represented by Daniel Horton, B.J.S. Brinkworth sold Sydney House in 1883 to Mrs. Rebecca Jordan of 33 Sydney Buildings, widow, for £655. The yearly rent charge of £2 3s. 6d. continued.

In 1897 William Mayo Jordon (only son and heir of Rebecca Jordan, who had died in November 1890) sold the property to Edith Henrietta Sophia Vernon for £750. Jordan’s address at the time was given as 9 Georges Road (presumably George St.), Bathwick Hill.

Francis Forrester, a latter-day member of the Pulteney family, and two trustees of the Pulteney Estate, sold rights in 1921 to the perpetual annual rent of £2 3s. 6d. to Edith Vernon for £55. In effect, the property became freehold.

In 1924 Edith Vernon’s executors – she had died earlier in the year – sold the property to Wallace Wyndham Harden of 39 Sydney Buildings for £1,100.

W.W.Harden sold it to the Great Western Railway Co. in 1942 for £1,494 10s.

Chris Morrissey

April 2010

Sydney Buildings History Group ©