Northumberland House was one of the last survivors of the noblemen’s palaces which originally lined the Strand. It stood on the south side of Trafalgar Square at the start of the Strand, and was recognised by its distinctive lion on the top of the roof. This lion is the symbol of the Dukes of Northumberland, and its twin now stands on the gates to Syon Park in West London. It’s strange to think that, before the rapid expansion of London, Syon Park would have been considered a country residence in the early nineteenth-century!
The western end of the Strand was redesigned and rebuilt in the first half of the century. Now, busy commuters pass every day the last tell-tale traces of vanished Strand residents.
This map shows the original site of Northumberland House, as well as of the Golden Cross Inn, a popular coaching inn remembered by Dickens from his childhood. Both have left their mark on building and road names on the Strand.
In this lithograph from 1842, Northumberland House still stands, dwarfing the small figures of the street children clustered around the statue of King Charles I: