On January 23, 1806, at about half-past four o’clock in the morning, William Pitt died at Bowling Green House on Putney Heath. Pitt had rented the house from 1804, when he moved from his London residence at number 14 York Place (now a branch of the Pret a Manger cafe chain on Baker Street; there is a London Remembers plaque on the outside of the house to Pitt’s memory).
Now, whether this bedroom was, in fact, the room in which Pitt died is not by any means conclusive. Indeed, it is now impossible to ascertain. The house was pulled down to make way for a new housing development in the early 20th century. Fortunately, we are left with drawings of the residence to glean an idea of what it would have looked like in Pitt’s day.
Below is a sketch by John Constable done on August 6, 1816 of what was then called ‘The Octagonal House’ - aka Bowling Green House - on Putney Heath.
This would have been much like the house Pitt would have recognised ten years earlier. The drawing just below is an 1878 (or later) print of Bowling Green House engraved by John Charles Griffiths. It depicts the characteristic long, winding road to a small, white-coloured house surrounded by beautiful, lush greenery.
Lastly, the drawing above is Bowling Green House by R.B. Schnebbelie (also late 19th century), which is now located at the Wandsworth Museum, London. Similar to the above two drawings, it gives the viewer an idea of this tranquil, unassuming villa. It must have provided Pitt with a place in the country (certainly Putney was the country at the beginning of the nineteenth century!) to refresh himself whilst still being within easy reach of Westminster.