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Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/FWP/1/1/1
Former ReferenceD3311/3/4/2
TitleFirst page of letter from William Porden to his wife Mary Porden, relating to meeting with the Prince Regent and Mrs Fitzherbert about plans for her new house near the New Pavilion at Brighton, Sussex
Date3 Dec [1801]
DescriptionWith postmark for Lewes and date which of which only "Dec" and "18.." is legible. [The meeting might have taken place in 1801 or 1802. Mrs Fitzherbert bought the house in 1800 and Porden remodelled in 1803-1804. The house would later be known as Steine House.] Paper watermarked 1801. The letter is addressed to "Mama", but his mother, also Mary Porden, had died in March 1800: it is possible that he may have referred to his wife as "Mama" out of habit in a family unit which included their two daughters.
Extent1 sheet
RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
SenderWilliam Porden
Sender LocationNo address
RecipientMrs Porden
Recipient Location59 Berners Street, Oxford Street, London
Archive CreatorWilliam Porden (1754-1822)
Gell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
Transcript or IndexW.P.Esq 3rd Deb(?) [in ink at top in later hand]

My dear Mama
I arrived here last night, after a pleasant journey, fatigued with my Monday night’s exertion, and though I had time enough to have written, my dinner and the business of writing to Mrs Fitzherbert insensibly drew me beyond post-time, which is here seven o’clock. Mrs Fitzherbert sent for me immediately. I waited upon her as a traveller, - she did not expect me so soon – I sat with her an hour, talking over our Business and was appointed to meet her at 12 next morning when she said Mr Day, a friend of Sir Harry’s who had been instrumental in my introduction sh.d show me the Pavillion. This morning at 11 Mr Day came to seek me, I met him on the Stein, when he having an Engagement I pursued my proper Business of collecting information and taking a plan of the old House. In the meanwhile Mrs F. sent for me and the waiters forgot or did not know where I was. When I had done my work I knocked at her door and she was gone out. Shortly I saw the Prince and her cross’d the Stein when I dispatched a waiter with my plans and was immediately ordered to attend. The Prince had left her House but appointed me to meet him at four to explain my design. Mrs Fitzherbert then entered into her Business and after communing together sometime we walked out – went to the place of her new House, and paced over the parades and other places, that, as she said, I might see every thing new in Brighton. After this she went to shew me the Pavilion, we met Mr Day in our way – While at the Pavilion The Prince arrived, I was introduced – made my Bow very gracefully and was from that moment of the Royal Party. His Royal Highness condescended to shew me all he had done and to tell me all he intended to do. After this, we adjourned to Mrs Fitzherberts where my Plans were inspected and approved. The Prince was very flattering on the occasion. His Royal Highness then hinted something to Mrs F. respecting her engagements for the evening, and in the meantime said his Royal Highness I will shew Porden again through the Pavillion – We then crossed the Stein together, went again through every part – His Royal Highness ask’d my opinion on several particulars – seemed to approve every thing I said and to adopt every thing I hinted. You may be sure I found every thing right that was done both in regard to justice to Mr Holland and to the Princes taste, which appears to me very good indeed, and with regard to the Pavillion his Royal Highness has set an example of a Taste which ought to be adopted in all watering Places. When we had gone through the whole His Royal Highness accompanied me to the Hall door and with great politeness took his leave. I was commanded to put on my Hat and to take a chair, which I did not understand was ever by ettiquette permitted in the presence of the Heir Apparent to the Crown. His Royal Highness frequently took my arm in his hand to shew me what he wished me to see and I confess that his affability is such that I do not wonder that people of [inferior Ranks - crossed out] the lower and middle classes should be enamoured of him. His Royal Highness hinted that he should see [me] again in the morning; but whether as he shew[ed] me everything today that will be the case or not I am doubtful. I shall however keep myself in readyness.
We had a good deal of conversation concerning Sir H. F.’s House in which the Prince suggested some judicious alterations.
Mrs F. told me I was a deal indebted to Mr Day for my recommendation as well as to Sir Harry.
I have been very particular in this detail because I thought it would give you pleasure. If no devil puts his foot in the porridge I may hope this will be a favourable event to me, and call out my powers of .... [next sheet missing]

On the back –
Mrs Porden
59 Berners Street
Oxford Street
Stamped – Lewes 50
Postmarked – Dec 18[..]

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Related Names
Name (click for further details)
Porden; William (1754-1822); architect
Porden; Mary (fl 1730-1800)
Plowman, later Porden; Mary (1750-1819)
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