Lord Derby’s Dressing Room

I recently purchased two reference books that I adore.

The first is The Great Houses of London by David Pearce (The Vendome Press) in which there is a floor plan for 26 Grosvenor Square (Derby House) c 1773 by Adams.

The floor plan shows two stories on a rectangular lot that was 50 feet wide. The house is shaped a bit like a squared off lower case b with the bottom portion of the B being the street facing side. The gap between the upstroke of the b and the rectangle of the lot appears to be a garden or other outdoor area. There was also a square structure at the back, the width of the lot, also two stories. That housed the kitchen on the ground floor and was connected by a walkway to the main house. The first floor of this structure housed the laundry, the hayloft and the groom’s room.

In the house proper, in the lower (square) of the b, the entry is on the left into the hall. To the right of the hall is an ante-room. “Above” the hall are two staircases, one to the left, the other to the right. To the right of the right-most staircase is a parlor.

In the upstroke of the b, from bottom to top are:

Great Eating Room
Lord Derby’s Dressing Room
Staircase || Cabinet
a staircase || a space into which the kitchen passage would exit.

Following that same pattern for the 1st floor:

Ante Room || First Drawing Room
Stairs || 2nd drawing room

In the upstroke of the b:
Third Drawing room
Lady Derby’s Dressing Room
Bed Chamber
stairs || Closet

Do you notice there is only one bedchamber?

The library is an oval (on its side)

Lady Derby’s Dressing Room is easily 1.5x the size of the bedchamber and, since it is over the library, it is also oval.

Lord Derby’s Dressing Room is really pretty small, and on the ground floor, while Lady Derby’s HUGE dressing room is on the 1st floor.

The 3rd drawing room as built opens into Lady Derby’s Dressing room and the opening is wide wide wide with columns. There would be no privacy between the two spaces.

The other book I bought is The Lost Mansions of Mayfair by Oliver Bradbury (Historical Publications). It is, as you might guess, all about Mayfair mansions that no longer exist. There are a LOT of pictures and illustrations. This book is lovely, but it makes me sad.


So. Why do YOU think Lord Derby’s Dressing Room is so small and where did he sleep?

About carolyn

Carolyn Jewel was born on a moonless night. That darkness was seared into her soul and she became an award winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical and paranormal romance. She has a very dusty car and a Master’s degree in English that proves useful at the oddest times. An avid fan of fine chocolate, finer heroines, Bollywood films, and heroism in all forms, she has two cats and a dog. Also a son. One of the cats is his.
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Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
10 years ago

Perhaps he was unusual in that he slept with Lady Derby, thus not needing a seperate bedroom? Ooh, and thanks for the groovy new reference books I need to add to my pile of books to buy.

Isobel Carr
10 years ago

Guessing they were a loving couple who shared the main chamber. And the dressing room situation sounds just like modern life. Wives often take ALL of the main closet and the husband has to make do with a small one in a secondary bedchamber, LOL!

Victoria Vane
10 years ago

If this is the 12th Lord Derby, he definitely slept with his 2nd wife as this was a very famous love match. Lord Derby and former actress Elizabeth Ferrren had a decades long liaison before Derby’s first wife died and he finally got to marry his mistress.(I actually came across their story while I was writing A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE as my female protag is an actress and a contemporary of Elizabethe Ferren.)

10 years ago

His “closet” was convenient to his study so he could change quickly at get out to the next activity: riding in the Park, schmoozing at a Ball, attending parliament, or hanging at White’s. All would require different jackets and footwear, probably he changed his pants, shirt, and waistcoat as well. I’m guessing that in the morning and evening, his valet would cart the things to and from the bedroom. Huh. No wonder my hucband keeps one one outfit of each kind now.

Jane George
Jane George
10 years ago

Lord Derby suffered from acute panic attacks and his closet was his happy place?

10 years ago

Yes, I think Lord Derby was probably a frequent visitor to the bedroom.

The ground floor library on back is quite clearly the “man-cave” portion of the house. The position of the closet would indeed make it easy for him to do his manly stuff in the library etc and change clothes to got out or head up the back stairs to visit his wife…

Evangeline Holland
10 years ago

Lady Derby’s dressing room, or boudoir, was large because she would have used it to entertain intimates or for solitary pursuits such as embroidery or reading.

10 years ago

A man didn’t need as much room as a woman to dress and store his clothing. Having it separate allowed him to dress for an early morning ride or change after coming in late without disturbing his wife. No doubt they shared the bed chamber.
The lady’s dressing room needed to be larger to accommodate all her clothing and the room needed to dress. As for the 3rd drawing room opening on the lady’s dressing room, I don’t think that is too much different from the sitting areas that are sometimes found in modern master suites. She could have tea with her lady friends or visit and I think it would be quite comfortable. I bet you would have found a desk and setting arrangement in this room.

Evangeline Holland
10 years ago

Ooh! I’m reading Lucy Worsley’s “If Walls Could Talk” and a gentleman did sleep in his dressing room.