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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Embassy of Finland, London: Embassy: Ambassador's residence

EMBASSY OF FINLAND, London

38 Chesham Place
London SW1X 8HW
Tel. +44-20-7838 6200
E-mail: sanomat.lon@formin.fi
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The Residence of the Ambassador of Finland, 14 Kensington Palace Gardens

Ambassador's Residence facadePhoto: Petteri Kokkonen

The house has been the official residence of the Finnish Ambassador since 1952. 

The original plans for a house were designed by T. Hayter Lewis and approved by the Commissioners in 1845 but the plot was still vacant in 1847. The house was not erected until in 1850-1851 under an agreement between the commissioners and Edmund Antrobus of the Strand, a tea merchant. 

Ambassador's Residence indoorsPhoto: Petteri Kokkonen

This house was designed and built by Thomas Cubitt, but according to archives, the designs compared unfavourably with other houses in the road, '...the Architecture of the fronts would be much inferior to those built by Mr Grissell and other gentlemen...'. Despite this, building began in May 1850 and by June 1851, the house became occupied. The lease, for 100 ft of frontage at an annual rent of £75, was granted to Edmund Antrobus in January 1852, and he lived here until his death in 1886. The ground lease was subsequently sold at auction for £8,100 to Henry Solomon of Inverness Terrace, Bayswater. 

Ambassador's Residence indoorsPhoto: Petteri Kokkonen

In 1887, substantial alterations were made for Henry Solomon from the designs of  Joseph and Smithem. An extra storey and attic were added, the interior remodelled and the elevations worked over in a French Renaissance style. The present front elevation was designed by White, Allom & Co in 1908 for Solomon's son. At the back, the stucco-dressed white-brick facade of the original design can still be discerned, despite the additions of 1887, and a bay window designed by Cubitt in 1855. 

Inside, almost every trace of the original decorations has been removed, except for the cast-iron stair balusters. The dining-room is in the late seventeenth-century style: the principal parts of the woodwork, including the chimneypiece, over-doors and architraves were designed by James Gibbs (1682-1754) for a house in Hatton Garden, from where they were removed and re-erected at 14 Kensington Palace Gardens in 1908.

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Updated 14/01/2014


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