Sydney Lodge No 39 Sydney Buildings

No 26 pre 1902

No 39 today

In 1820 the Earl of Darlington released a plot to Mr Jacob Racker, of the Parish of Bathwick, to build five dwellings. The houses shown on the plan are part of the terrace of houses, known as Sydney Parade, to the right of No 39. Sydney Lodge was built in 1826.

1820 Plan showing the plot

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Jacob Racker died in 1832 leaving his wife, Sarah, the right to occupy Sydney Lodge rent free for her lifetime.

The 1841 census recorded Sarah Racker, aged 50 as independent, and two servants: John Whittingham, aged 30, and Fanny Stockman, aged 20. The 1851 census shows Sarah Racker, still in residence with one servant, Ester Manning, aged 17.

1860 Auction notice

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In February 1860 six freehold properties, including No 26, were offered for sale by auction. Mrs Racker, under the terms of her husband’s will, was still in residence. Mr Richard Martin, of the City of Bath, General Salesman, purchased the property. Sarah Racker remained. The 1861 census recorded Sarah Packham, aged 83, as the lodging housekeeper.


In 1962 Richard Martin agreed an annual sum of £20 to Mrs Racker for her to forgo her rights to the premises. Richard Martin then sold the property to James Grove, a retired draper.

1860 Sarah Racker's mark on the Conveyance

There is a reference to the premises being enlarged by Richard Martin. The plan of the building on the Tithe map of 1840, and the map of 1854, differs from the current shape as shown on the 1886 map. It looks from the maps that the main part of the building was extended at the back, the building joined to No 25 [now 38] and a portico put on the front, but as building regulations were not required until after this time no record remains.

1840 Section of Tithe map showing plot 255

1886 Map section [at letter 'd']

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The 1871 census recorded James Grove, aged 73, his wife Sarah, also aged 73, and their daughter Sarah, 43, with a servant Emma Hemmings, aged 32.


James Grove died in December 1871 and his daughter Sarah inherited the property. The 1881 census shows her, now aged 53, as the head of the household, with two servants: Emma Hemmings, 40, and Jane Hemmings, 21.

In 1885 Sarah Grove sold the property to Mr Benjamin Kitt, of Twerton and moved to No 5 Sydney Buildings.

1872 Inland Revenue document submitted by Sarah Grove

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Six years later the 1891 census lists Benjamin Kitt, a civil engineer aged 53, with his sister Ellen Kitt, aged 43 and living on her own means, with two servants: Mary Hine, a cook aged 26, and Fanny Southfield, a housemaid aged 21.

By 1895 Benjamin Kitt had acquired the house next door, No 27 [to become No 40 after 1902] presumably for his sister to live in as no other names were listed in the Post Office Directories. In 1909 Benjamin Kitt died leaving the two houses to his sister. He is buried in Smallcombe Cemetery, as is his sister although she had moved away from Bath at the time of her death in 1913.

Some time during the Kitts' ownership a 4 storey single room block was added to the back of the house, to accommodate bathrooms.

Mr John Elliot Mills of Combe Down purchased No 39 in 1910 for £517 and then sold it two years later, in 1912 , to Mrs Martha Tucker, a widow, of Raby Villa, Bathwick, for £700.

Mrs Martha Tucker lived at No 39 until 1922 when she moved to No 51, where William Tucker [possibly her son] had been living since 1903. No 39 was sold in the January of 1923 to Mr Frederick James Wills, of No 40 Sydney Buildings, for £1,300. No 39 and 40 had the same owner again, but only briefly as 6 weeks later Frederick Wills sold the property for £1,475 to Mr Wallace Wyndham Harden of 4 Darlington Place.


Wallace Harden is listed in the 1924 Post Office Directory as living at No 39 but in August of that same year he had sold it to Mr William Hammon Devenish of Widcombe Hill House, Bath for £1,850. William Devenish then makes over the property to be jointly owned with his wife, Beatrice Laugharne Philipps Devenish, who was 14 years younger than her husband.

1924 Indenture

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William Devenish remained in residence until 1927 when it was rented out, and from 1934 through to the early 1970s became apartments. The Monk family were one of many that lived in part of the house during this period. [See Julien Chilcott-Monk's reminiscences from the People page on this site.]

1950 Julien Chilcott-Monk in the back garden

William Hammon Devenish died in 1933, aged 71, and is buried in Smallcombe Cemetery. Beatrice Devenish died in 1946, aged 69, bequeathing the property to Captain Charles Oliver Lloyd Devenish, of 5 Herbert Road, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, and William Reginald Devenish of Strumpshaw Rectory Norwich, in Holy Orders, as trustees.

In 1953 the trustees sold to Mr Edward William Green, of Aldmore Lodge Bathford, Somerset, for £1,500. [The value had dropped by £350 from the 1924 sale.]

Edward William Green died in 1957 and in 1964 the trustees sold to Mr William Harry Allen, of No 46 Sydney Buildings, for £5,250. [He was then living at No 45 so possibly owned both No 45 and No 46.] William Allen had also acquired the small plot of land opposite No 47 so in 1972 when he sold No 39 to Dr Gordon Hudson Mungeam and Mrs Elizabeth Ann Mungeam, this plot was included. The house was once again owner-occupied.

The Mungeams sold the house to the present owners in 1980.

2008 Julien Chilcott-Monk in the back garden, 58 years later

Extracts from the deeds. Photographs with permission from Julien Chilcott-Monk.

Neal Kerss

January 2009

Updated July 2010

Sydney Buildings History Group ©