Street View: 65
Address: 23 Charles Street


Charles Street, frequently referred to as Charles Street, Middlesex Hospital, or Charles Street, Cavendish Square, was the continuation of Goodge Street, leading to Mortimer Street. The name for that stretch of the A5204 has disappeared and what was once 23 Charles Street is now 27 Mortimer Street (opposite Nassau Street) and a different building altogether.

The index to the Tallis Street View booklet number 65 lists Tarring at 23 Charles Street as dancing master, but that must have been a mistake. John Tarring was an architect who lived at 23 Charles Street from at least July 1837 when the births of his daughter Ellen Tryphosa Pearse and his son John Henry are registered at Dr. Williams’s Library. In 1868, when his son Frederick William (born 1847), also an architect, applies for the freedom of the City of London, the address for both of them is given as 69 Basinghall Street, but that may just have been the address of their office, as the 1871 census still gives John Tarring with his wife Ellen, sons John Henry and Charles James, widowed daughter Ellen and granddaughter Nelly at 23 Charles Street. Frederick William is listed at 42 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, at the same address as his sister Emily, but he may just have been visiting while living somewhere else.

1870 ILN Wesleyan church

Father and son were working as partners and they designed, for instance, the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Mostyn Road, North Brixton, which was illustrated in The Illustrated London News of 12 February 1870 (see above). The Tarrings frequently designed churches and chapels for non-Anglican denominational congregations and John is sometimes referred to as ‘the Gilbert Scott of the Dissenters’ because he introduced spires in Congregational buildings. Other buildings he designed were the Methodist church in Lansdowne Road, Great Malvern, the Victoria Road Church in Leicester, the Congregational Church in Weybridge (see here), and Horbury Chapel, Ladbroke Road (see here). And in London he designed the Congregational Memorial Hall (1879 photograph here) and Whitefield’s Chapel in Tottenham Court Road. No, not the one you see today, that one was built after WWII, nor the one Tallis depicted, but one that only stood from the late 1850s to 1889 when the foundations gave way. More buildings designed by Tarring are listed on his Wikipedia page.

Source: http://www.allaboutweybridge.co.uk/aaw/weybridge/surrey/united-reformed-church-history.htm

Source: website All about Weybridge (see here)

John Tarring was born in 1806 at Holbeton near Plymouth and moved to London in 1828. In 1830, he married Ellen Pearse in his home town. At least, her name is given as Ellen Pearse in the list of ‘Select Marriages 1538-1973’ at ancestry.co.uk, which is taken from the registers at Salt Lake City, but I think her name was Ellen Pearse Crapp as the register of the birth of two of their children at Dr. Williams’s Library give her as the daughter of Thomas Crapp, gentleman, of Devonport. Also note that John and Ellen’s daughter had the Pearse name added to her first name. The couple also had a son Thomas Crapp Tarring who was born in 1831 and who was also to become an architect, but unfortunately died in 1858 while on a trip to Brazil.(1)

Not much is known about Tarring’s business other than the buildings he designed, but in 1844 he registered a design for a ventilator to be used in smoky chimneys.(2) I have not found a drawing nor a detailed description for the ventilator online, so no more information is available at the moment. And there is something to tell about one of his apprentices. Sir John Soane’s son George was a great disappointment to his father as he preferred literature and the theatre over architecture. George was always in debt and even had to spend some time in the Debtor’s Prison. He was certainly not his father’s dream son. George’s son Frederick, who suffered from the domestic violence inflicted upon him and his mother by his father, however, was set up by Sir John to continue the family tradition and placed with John Tarring. But Victorian morality being what it was, Frederick’s relationship with a Captain Westwood was considered ‘inappropriate’ and Sir John became so alarmed that he even had Frederick followed. Tarring asked Soane to remove his grandson because he was not applying himself to his work as he should and was staying out late with Westwood. To explain his behaviour towards his son and grandson, Sir John wrote the privately printed booklet, Details respecting the conduct and connexions of George Soane, late of Southampton and Worthing, now of Portland Place, Borough of Southwark, and West Place, London Road; and also of Frederick Soane, removed from Mr. Tarring’s, Charles Street, Middlesex Hospital, to No. 9 Alfred Place, Newington Causeway.(3)

John Tarring died in December 1875 and was buried at Kensal Green. His probate record says that he was formerly of 3 Dartmouth Park Road, Highgate Road, Middlesex, but late of St. Audrie’s Torquay, Devon.(4) Son Frederick William continued the business until 1923 when he retired. He died in 1925.(5)

Grave monument at Kensal Green (Source: website Friends of Kensal Green)

Grave monument at Kensal Green (Source: website Friends of Kensal Green)

(1) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858. Estate valued at under £1,500. Father John was one of the executors.
(2) National Archives, BT 45/2/287.
(3) http://collections.soane.org/b5543. For Soane and his worries over his son and grandson see also Dorothy Stroud, Sir John Soane Architect (1984).
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1876. Estate valued at under £2,000. The executor was son Charles James, a barrister.
(5) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1925. Estate valued at just over £390. The executors were widow Eliza and son Bateman Brown, surveyor.


<– 24 Charles Street 22 Charles Street –>