10 SEPTEMBER 1921, Page 25

The Story of Stafford House, now the London Museum. By

Arthur Irwin Dasent. (Murray. Is. 6d. net.)—Mr. Dasent, in this instructive little essay, traces the history of the site of the London Museum from the days when the Abbot of Westminster maintained a hospital there for fourteen women lepers. Henry VIII. expelled the lepers and built St. James's Palace, draining the land to the south in order to form the park. Charles IL was born in the palace and spent much of his time in the gardens and in the adjacent Pall Mall, where Nell Gwynno lived at No. 79. Lady Oglethorpe, whose infant child—according to a lying Whig rumour—was smuggled into Queen Anne of Modena's room in a warming-pan and substituted for the dead Prince of Wales in 1688, had secured a lease of the London Museum site in 1685 and built a house. This house passed to Lord Lexington and then to Godolphin, the man of whom Charles IL said that he was " never in the way and never out of the way." From the Godolphin it passed a century later to the ninth Duke of Bedford, and then to the Duke of York. The Duke pulled the old house down in 1825 and commissioned Benjamin Wyatt to build a mansion more suitable for the heir- apparent. But the Duke died in 1827, and the house, still unfinished, was leased by the Crown to the first Duke of Suther- land, who gave it to his eldest son " with an estate of £25,000 a year to keep it up." Barry completed the house by 1834. Its history since then is familiar Lord Leverhulme bought the lease in 1913 and assigned it to the Trustees of the London Museum.