No. 5 St. Mary Le Strand & Somerset House Volunteer
FIX BAYONETS [3rd motion] (see original 1798 description below)
St Mary le Strand (see map) is a Church of England church at the eastern end of the Strand in the City of Westminster, London. It lies within the Deanery of Westminster (St Margaret) within the Diocese of London. The church stands on what was until recently a traffic island to the north of Somerset House, King’s College London‘s Strand campus, and south of Bush House (formerly the headquarters of the BBC World Service and now also part of King’s College London). It is the official church of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, and has a book of remembrance for members who have died in service. The nearest tube station is Temple, with the now-closed Aldwych station nearly opposite the church. It is known as one of the two ‘Island Churches’, the other being St Clement Danes.
Somerset House is a large Neoclassical complex situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The Georgian era quadrangle was built on the site of a Tudor palace (“Old Somerset House”) originally belonging to the Duke of Somerset. The present Somerset House was designed by Sir William Chambers, begun in 1776, and was further extended with Victorian era outer wings to the east and west in 1831 and 1856 respectively. The site of Somerset House stood directly on the River Thames until the Victoria Embankment parkway was built in the late 1860s. The great Georgian era structure was built to be a grand public building housing various government and public-benefit society offices. Its present tenants are a mixture of various organisations, generally centred around the arts and education.
Original Description of the unit from 1799:
MARY LE STRAND AND SOMERSET HOUSE VOLUNTEERS.
SOMERSET House and Strand Association was formed April 20th, 1798, under the Command of Walter Sterling, Esq.; not to go out of the district but with its own consent. They are composed of two Companies of Light Infantry; and each Member of the Corps has the care of his own Arms. They have a Committee, which is chosen by the Associators; and this Committee has liberty to increase their numbers as there shall be occasion. G. T. Goodenough, Esq. is their Chairman. The Corps has not joined any other; nor have they yet received their Colours, but expect them at the hand of Lady Jane Dundas.
OFFICERS, NAMES AND RANK.
Major Commandant, Walter Sterling. Adjutant, William Creswell. First Company, Captain, Joseph Stewart; Lieutenant, William Cresswell; Ensign, Henry Buckley. Second Company, Captain, William Harrison; Lieutenant, William Davies; Ensign, George Arbuthnot.
Bear Skin Helmet; White Feather tipped Red.
Breast Plate, oval; the Crown above a Garter, inscribed PRO REGE ET PATRIA: S.P. and S. A. within the Garter in Cyphers; the colour, Yellow upon White Cross Belts.
Cartouch, a Star.
Buttons, a Crown.
Dark Blue Pantaloons, with Half Gaiters, Black, &c.
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