Titania: The House That Has No Knocker

By the time Robert Stephenson, the preeminent engineer, was ready to move into his new home at 34 Gloucester Square, around November 1847, he was already familiar with the Hyde Park Estate or Tyburnia, as it was then known, having moved from a smaller home on Cambridge Square.

Stephenson’s Gloucester Square home was described by Architectural Historian Gordon Toplis as having a back-to-front design, with the grandiose full-height side of the building facing the central Garden, whilst the tapered, functional rear of building (pictured) faced the street.

Whilst already showing the symptoms of Brights Disease by this time, Stephenson was an enthusiastic host, and as … notes:

At 34 Gloucester Square, Robert Stephenson entertained his friends with liberal hospitality. Few private entertainments in London were more pleasant than his ‘Sunday Lunches,’ at which many chiefs of literature and science were in the habit of meeting. Baden Powell, Sir R Murchison, Sharpe, M. Bonomi, Captain Pim, Sir James and Lady Prior, Mr. Lough, Dr Mayo, Dr Jorhn Percy, Brunel, and other not less eminent persons came to Gloucester Square for these receptions”

Robert Stephenson shown at no.34 Gloucester Square in the 1857 Boyle’s guide

The Problem of a Little Red Book

As the most successful and prolific train engineer of his day, railway promoters and inventors would frequently vie for Stephenson’s time, looking for his endorsement and or financial backing. Stephenson was a known pragmatist, and his backing was seen as increasingly influential, especially after the bursting of the Railway Mania bubble c.1849.

Unfortunately for Stephenson, it was common for the Rich and Famous to find their address listed in directories published every few years, such as the Boyles Fashionable Court and Country Guide. Whilst many would pay these publications to see there name listed, the rich and famous more often than not, saw their details listed without consultation.

Even when ill health kept Stephenson away from his office at Great George Street, promoters, inventors, and clients would still track him down at home, where eaffreson describes of Stephenson in his Gloucester Square home:

Swarms of Talkative, and for the most part profitless clients intruded on the privacy of the man whose too pliant temper laid him open to their annoyance”

Titania: The House That Has No Knocker

A Ticket into Old Money High Society

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Part of the America's Cup Origin Story

The Fire (May 5th, 1952)

Titania (2)

Christmas Dinner with Brunel, in Cairo

Stephensons Final Sail

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