History of 20 Hertford Street

Number 20 Hertford Street is a particularly well-known house in Hertford Street which was laid out during the great building boom of the mid-1760s.

The first records of residents appeared in 1813 when the house was occupied by the Earl of Clonmell. Samuel Compton Esq lived there between 1820 and 1841 when the most famous landlord moved into No 20. Sir George Cayley was a prolific engineer and one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics. Many experts call him the ‘Father of Aviation’. He designed the first successful human glider and discovered the aerodynamic forces of flight weight, lift, drag, thrust and cambered wings.

Other residents included financiers, an English industrialist and philanthropist, a military officer, Countess and the 2nd Earl of Clonmell.

It was the premises of the Kenmar Club in 1925. From the 1930s it was again used as a home for many a high-profile citizen.

There was another famous resident in 1939. Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan was one of England’s most popular 20th Century dramatists.

During World War II until 1950, the house was occupied by high-ranking British officers, including a Brigadier in the Welsh Guards.

It remained a private residence right until the 1980s when it was believed to have been converted into flats or apartments.