Street View: 9 Suppl.
Address: 76 Strand
The elevation at the top of this post is from the original 1839 booklet of Tallis’s Street View of the Strand (number 19), but the index to that edition does not mention anyone occupying the premises, so it was presumably empty at the time. On the right-hand side of the building is the entrance to Ivy Bridge Lane; the name is not very clear on the picture, but the index lists Bridge Lane between numbers 75 and 76. To confuse the issue somewhat, the 1847 edition of Tallis’s Street View calls it Ivy Lane. The official name was Ivy Bridge Lane and it is already depicted on the mid-16th century Agas map (see here). The lane used to slope down to the river (see for pictures here and here), but these days ends in Savoy Place. There are gates on either side of the lane, so no longer publicly accessible. My facsimile copy of Tallis’s work unfortunately shows number 76 in the 1847 Street View across two pages, split in half on either side of the fold, so not very convenient to show at the top of this post, but as it looks as if the 1847 occupant embellished the front of his shop with fancy lintels above the windows and the figures of two angels (?) between the first-floor windows, I thought it best to show you the picture anyway.
The occupant in 1847 was Isaac Henry Robert Mott, piano-forte maker. Isaac did not live above the shop, but from about 1830 to 1846 at Blythe House, Brook Green, Hammersmith, and later at Notting Hill. In the 1841 census, Isaac’s parents-in-law, George and Rebecca Jackson are living at Blythe House with one of their own daughters and six Mott children, three from Isaac’s first marriage and three from his second marriage to Rebecca Anne Jackson.(1) George Jackson was a ship and insurance broker of Billiter Court and he may have assisted Isaac financially when he was facing bankruptcy proceedings in 1840.(2) Blythe House was a rather grand building and most likely the property of George Jackson. When George died in 1846, his will (dated 1 October 1845) makes no mention of Blythe House, which suggests he did not own it.(3) Around 1846, Isaac Mott moved to Notting Hill, an event very likely to have been forced upon him by the death of his father-in-law; the baptism of the youngest child was registered at St. John the Evangelist, Ladbroke Grove, rather than at St. Paul, Hammersmith, as the other children from his second marriage had been.
Isaac Henry Robert Mott had a rather checkered career: in 1814 he is listed as a musician at Birmingham, but from 1817 onwards we find him as a piano-forte maker and that is what he is certainly best known for. However, in 1839 we also find him as a distiller at 75 Dean Street and 3 Richmond Mews. The distillery business seemed to have been short-lived and may have been the cause of his bankruptcy in 1840 and is no longer mentioned in directories for the 1840s. Early on in his career, from 1814 to 1818 or 1819, Mott lived at Brighton where he developed the New Steyne Library and Assembly Rooms. In 1817, he took out a patent for his ‘sostinente pianoforte’ and when George IV bought one of his instruments, his career was made. ‘Piano-forte maker to the king’ sounds much better than plain ‘music teacher and instrument maker’. Brighton could no longer hold him and Mott sought further fortunes in London; the library and assembly rooms he left behind were turned into the New Steyne Bazaar.
See the article by Katherine Prior (@Churchwardress) in the Kemptown Rag of May 2018, page 15, for more on Brighton’s New Steyne/Steine and the link with Mott.
Isaac and his cousin Julius Caesar Mott started a piano-forte business in Pall Mall, together with one John Chatfield, who may have been a relation of Sarah Chatfield, the stepmother of Isaac’s father. The partnership was dissolved in 1824, not entirely without acrimony, and Isaac continued on his own at 92 Pall Mall.(4) For a short period, 1829-1832, Mott also had an outlet in Oxford Street, and the review of Mott’s Advice and Instruction for Playing the Piano Forte with Expression in The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review of 1824 mentions 24 Dover Street, Piccadilly, an address that can also be seen on ‘Fly ye moments!’ and Sacred Melodies below. The first mention of 76 Strand is in an Old Bailey case of January 1842 where Mott had to testify as, in December 1841, someone had falsely claimed that 76 Strand was his address. Mott denied knowing this person and stated that he lived in the country and has his piano-forte “ware-rooms” at 76 Strand since mid-November. Mott explained that nobody lived at the premises and that he had no lodgers. There was only one small bedroom and his son slept there to keep an eye on the place at night.(5) The 1843 Post Office Directory duly lists his Strand address. It also lists a Mrs Rebecca Mott at 24 Old Fish Street as a carwoman, but whether she was Isaac’s wife or someone else altogether I do not know. From 1842 till 1849, Mott also had premises at 23 Poppin’s Court.
The 1851 census shows Isaac, Rebecca and six of their children at 48 Norland Square, Notting Hill. Isaac is listed as piano-forte maker, employing 12 men. The Poppin’s Court property is no longer mentioned for Isaac in the 1851 Post Office Directory. In 1855, when on a business trip to France, Isaac died suddenly. R.E.M. Harding in her The Piano-Forte of 2014 lists “Mott’s Piano-Forte Athenaeum” in 1857, but the reference is without a source, so I am not sure where it came from. I have not found any indication that the piano business survived after Isaac’s death, so will end this post here.
1814 Maphouse Lane, Birmingham
1815-1818 Brighton (New Steyne?)
1830-1846 Blythe House
1846-1855 48 Norland Square, Notting Hill
1815-1818? New Steyne, St. James’s Street, Brighton
1819?-1825? 95 Pall Mall
?-1824 24 Dover Street, Piccadilly
1825?-1841 92 Pall Mall
1829-1832 315 Oxford Street (later renumbered to – I think – 283)
1839-1840 75 Dean Street & 3 Richmond Mews (distillery)
1841-1855 76 Strand
1842-1849 Poppin’s Court
(1) Isaac married Fanny Rackstrow in July 1813 at Oxford. Their children were Henry Isaac Robert July 1814-Dec. 1814; Henry Isaac Robert July 1815-Oct. 1815; Henry George Dennison 1817-before 1874; Evelina Maria Christina 1820-1901; Rosa Fanny 1822-1892. Their mother Fanny died in 1826 and Isaac remarried Rebecca Anne Jackson in April 1830. They had 8 children: George Henry 1831-1906; Emily 1832-1875; Fanny 1834-1913; Arthur Robins 1835-1876; William Henry 1837-1923; Herbert Frederik 1839-1840; Ernest Charles 1844-1899; and Francis De la Motte 1846-1902. More on the Mott family here.
(2) The London Gazette, 10 November 1840.
(3) PROB 11/2033/11.
(4) The London Gazette, 1 June 1824; and The Morning Post, 25 March 1824.
(5) Old Bailey case t18420103-452.
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