Gore House was a three-acre (12,000 m²) estate comprising a Georgian mansion and extensive gardens opposite Hyde Park. The house had a number of famous inhabitants before briefly becoming a restaurant. Charles Dickens gave a speech here on sanitary reform.
Built in the 1750’s for Robert Michell of Hatton Garden the house soon attracted some notable occupants including the sixth Earl (later first Marquis) of Drogheda and Admiral Lord Rodney.
In 1808 the house, then in a state of some neglect, was taken as the residence of the noted political reformer William Wilberforce, who lived there until 1821.
From 1836 to 1849 the estate was then occupied by the Countess of Blessington, the society beauty and writer, and the Count D’Orsay, one of the foremost dandies of his time. In 1849 the pressure of debts forced both of them to leave England with much of the contents of the house being auctioned off.
Gastronomic Symposium of All Nations Restaurant.
Alexis Benoist Soyer (1810 – 1858) was a French chef who became the most celebrated cook in Victorian England and was arguably the first celebrity chef and a former chef of the Reform Club.
In December 1850, Alexis Soyer took a lease of Gore House to provide a fashionable restaurant near to the Great Exhibition. The result was the Gastronomic Symposium of All Nations, which consisted of the house itself, garishly transformed, and in the grounds, a Baronial Banqueting Hall and a four-hundred-foot-long Pavilion of All Nations.
Charles Dickens and Gore House.
In the five months of its existence—from May to October 1851—the restaurant earned £21,000, but it had cost £28,000 to establish and manage.
After the Great Exhibition had finsihed and following the advice of Prince Albert, Gore House and its grounds were bought by the Exhibition’s Royal Commission to create the cultural quarter known as Albertopolis. In 1871, the Royal Albert Hall was completed on the site of the former house. It was officially opened by Queen Victoria.
Gore House no longer exists, having been demolished in 1857. The Royal Albert Hall now stands on the site of the former house.