The Stricklands and Lamb's Conduit Passage
The connection between the Stricklands and the properties in Lamb's Conduit Passage, which became part of the property on which Conway Hall is built, shown in our leases spans from at least 1778 to 1922. The first mention we come across the family are in leases dated 1778; one with John Freeman as a party, the other to John and his son Strickland (1754-1821) as parties to a lease. John Freeman was married to Elizabeth Stickland, the only daughter of Sir William Strickland, 4th Baronet of Boyton.
Strickland Freeman married his cousin, also called Elizabeth Strickland and the daughter of the 5th Baronet Sir George Strickland, and leased the property at Lamb's Conduit Passage until at least 1815. Strickland and Elizabeth do not appear to have had any children and there is a gap of 20 years before we have another lease where a Strickland is the landlord, this time to Juliana Sabina Strickland (d. 1849). Juliana leased 14, 15, 17, 18, 19 and 20 Lamb's Conduit Passage in 1835 and 16 in 1839.
As an aside, Strickland Freeman produced a book called "Selected Specimens of British Plants" which was published in 1797 and illustrated by his sisters-in-law, Juliana Sabina and Charlotte. There are very few copies of this book now extant and it is considered very valuable indeed.
The property appears to have passed to Henry Eustatius Strickland (1777-1865), Juliana's only surviving brother, on her death. Henry Eustatius is a party to a lease written in 1857 and is mentioned in leases following his death where he appointed his first cousin, once removed, Algernon Augustine de Lille Strickland (b. 1837) as tenant for life for the Lamb's Conduit Passage properties. The trustees of this also bought, for the benefit of Algernon Augustine de Lille, 25 Red Lion Square in 1911.
Prior to Algernon Augustus de Lille Strickland being mentioned however there were other Stricklands that were party to leases for some of the Lamb's Conduit Passage properties. John Henry Strickland (born 1818), the son of Henry Eustatius, is mentioned in several leases, dating 1869, 1882 and 1888. John Henry's sister, Frances, is mentioned too as a member of the committee for John Henry's estate, as the leases state that he was "of unsound mind." For every lease in which John Henry is the landlord, there are also included reference to and signatures of a 'Master in Lunacy.' These Masters acted for "...the crown [which] assumed a parens patriae jurisdiction over the persons and estates of the mentally ill."1
Algernon Augustus de Lille and his brother Walter Cecil Stickland (1839-1913) were also included in the later leases for John Henry as members of the committee for his estate. In later years Algernon's sons, Algernon Henry Peter Strickland (1863-1928) and Augustine Cecil (1864-1925) were included in conveyance (sale) documents for 25 Red Lion Square and the former site of of the properties on Lambs Conduit Passage and one other document.
Shortly thereafter the properties came into the possession of the South Place Ethical Society, now called the Conway Hall Ethical Society, and Conway Hall was built.
In the course of researching for this contextual information it has been useful to understand the relationships of those members of the Strickland family that are mentioned in so many of our leases. To aid us we created a partial Strickland family tree from information found on Camilla von Massenbach's excellent website.
1. Szerletics, Antal, "The Court of Protection," Essex Autonomy Project Briefing Document (Univesity of Essex: Essex Autonomy Project, 2011), accessed 13 September 2016.