The house on the east side became famous in 1760 as “Madame Cornelys’ Entertainments”. The former opera singer threw truly fabulous parties almost every night of the week, gave birth to Casanova’s daughter, Sophia Wilhelmina Frederica, and Charles Dickens even once wrote that ‘the World was dying to be on Mrs. Cornelys’ list’. Sadly this lifestyle caught up with the Madame and she died in a debtors prison aged 74. The house never regained its prominent status and was demolished in 1791.
Over on the west side of the square, Carlisle House, located on Kings Square (as Carlisle street was then known), was doing things very differently indeed. In June 1756 the house was bought by Baron John Delaval and in March 1764, with Italian fencing and riding Master Domenic Angelo, he built a riding school in the rear, took in pupils as boarders at 100 guineas a head, and formed London's pre-eminent School of Arms and Manners.
Taken over by artists in the 1780s, the newly styled house inspired Charles Dickens, who used it as the model for the home of Dr. Manette and his daughter Lucie in A Tale of Two Cities. The house lived on while its sister property was demolished and became home to medical and legal students studying in London. Things were pretty normal after that, until the 1940s and the Blitz..
On the 10th May 1941, during a full moon, the house was hit in a bombing raid. Most of the building was instantly destroyed, killing the couple who lived in the house and the local air-raid warden who had stopped over for tea. The site was quickly re-built after the war as an office building typical of its era, unlikely to ever see the glory days again. Then in 2010, an entrepreneur, inspired by the reception his new hotel concept had received in Kensington and Liverpool, saw the potential in the building’s history and location and decided to create a flagship hotel for his fast-evolving brand...