Street Views: 17 and 1 Suppl.
Address: 18 Regent Street

As we saw in the post on Mortlock & Sturges of 250 Oxford Street, John and William Mortlock dissolved their partnership in 1809 with John to remain at Oxford Street and William II to set up on his own in Regent Street. His sons John and Frederick also worked in the Regent Street business. William’s other son, also William, worked for his uncle in Oxford Street until 1828, when he partnered with his brother John at Regent Street. In 1835, however, uncle John of Oxford Street retired and nephew John left Regent Street to take over the business in Oxford Street. All quite complicated, but the end result was that William III was the sole proprietor of the Regent Street business.

advertisement in The Times, 23 May 1836

The Mortlock family did not live above the shop, or at least, they did not when the censuses were taken and the 1841 census only listed a shopman and several servants on the premises of 18 Regent Street. In 1851, James Clark and his wife Susannah are taking care of the shop with their son William acting as errand boy. James and Susannah are still there in 1861 and 1871, but by 1881 they have been replaced by Charles Cruse and his wife Dinah. The Cruses are still acting as caretakers at the time of the 1891 census, but by 1901 the premises appear to be empty. At least, number 18 is no longer mentioned in the census record which jumps straight from no. 16 (the Raleigh Club) to no. 20 (William P. Rowlands who worked on the Stock Exchange).

A coffee beaker with Mortlock’s mark on the bottom (Source: worthpoint.com)

William III Mortlock himself was listed as a retired china dealer in the 1871 census, but the next generation, brothers William IV and Frederick, had already taken over by then and in March 1872, a notice appeared in The London Gazette that the partnership between the three Mortlocks had officially been dissolved with the younger generation to continue the business. William III died in 1879 and left an estate of £60,000.(1) The brothers were both listed in the 1881 census as “gentleman”, suggesting they had retired. William IV died in 1888 and Frederick in 1915.(2)

In 1896, a large advertisement appeared in The Times for a sale at Mortlock’s in which they say they have sold the lease of 18 Regent Street. The 1902 Post Office Directory, however, still lists them, albeit with the information that the business had been transferred to Phillips Ltd of 19-21 Mount Street, Grosvenor Square. An intriguing notice appeared in The Times of 6 July 1881, in which Messrs. W. Mortlock and Sons of 18 Regent Street and 19 St. James’s Street state that, although the defendant in the Tower v. Mortlock case has several china shops in London, their business has no relation with that Mortlock. Although I have no idea what the court case was about, the notice in The Times tells us that at some point Mortlock had a second shop in St. James’s Street. The censuses for 1871 and 1881 have no names listed for the property, so no one was sleeping on the premises on the night of the census taking, but in 1891, the widow Clermont is listed at number 19 as a caretaker. Not that that proves anything as it does not say for whom she is caretaking. Tallis has a Mr. Brumby, glass manufacturer at the address, a business that was later taken over by J. Green and the 1856 Post Office Directory lists a J. Dobson, also a glass dealer. Did the Mortlocks take over from Dobson?

top section of the advertisement in The Times, 28 May 1896

Minton china plate, 1885, with Mortlock’s retailer’s mark on the bottom (Source: V&A)

More examples of Mortlock wares, both from the Oxford Street and the Regent Street shops are to be found here.

18 Regent Street is now part of the listed Dorland House at 14-22 Regent Street.(3) It was built in the 1920s and designed by John James Joass (1868-1952) whom we have come across in the post on John Belcher, the architect and surveyor at 5 Adelaide Place. Joass continued the Belcher business after the death of John Belcher junior and was very successful. He designed, for instance, the Mappin and Webb building at 1 Poultry.

Regent Street looking towards Piccadilly Circus, with Dorland House on the right (Google Street View, March 2017)

(1) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1859. The executors were sons William and Frederick.
(2) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1888 and 1915. William left an estate of almost £40,000 and Frederick one of ±£43,500.
(3) Historic England, Grade II, list entry Number: 1222573 (see here).


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