In the late 17th Century, two mansions were built on opposing side of Soho Square. As they shared name of Carlisle House, rumours arose that the pair we’re connected via a secret tunnel. The house on the east side became famous in the 1760s as “Madame Cornelys’ Entertainments”. The former opera singer, who threw fabulous parties almost every night of the week, gave birth to Casanova’s daughter Sophia Wilhelmina Frederica. Charles Dickens once wrote ‘the world was dying to be on Mrs. Cornely’s list”. However, she died at the age of 74 when this extravagant lifestyle landed her in debtor’s prison. The house never regained it once esteemed reputation and was demolished in 1791.

The house on the west led a very different life. In 1764 the current owner Baron John Delaval, set up a riding school with master Domenic Angelo. They took on students as boarders and formed London’s School of Arms and Manners. After being taken over by artists in the 1780s, this newly styled house became the inspiration for the home of Dr. Manette and his daughter Lucie from Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities.

Unfortunately, everything changed on 10th May 1941. The house was bombed in the London Blitz attacks during World War II; it was instantly destroyed, killing the couple who currently lived there. The house was then rebuilt as an office building typical of its era. However, in 2010 an entrepreneur saw potential in this building and its colourful history, turning it into the flagship hotel for his rapidly evolving brand.