HOLLAND, Henry (?1775-1855), of Sloane Place, Chelsea and Albany Chambers, Piccadilly, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1802 - 1806

Family and Education

b. ?1775, 1st s. of Henry Holland, architect, of Sloane Place by Bridget, da. of Lancelot (‘Capability’) Brown of Fen Stanton, Hunts. educ. Harrow 1786-91; St. John’s Camb. 1791; L. Inn 1794, called 1799. unm. suc. fa. 1806.

Offices Held


Holland’s father, the son of a prosperous Fulham builder, became one of the greatest architects in 18th century England. In 1771 he went into partnership with his future father-in-law, with whom he worked on the rebuilding of Claremont for Lord Clive. His work in designing Brooks’s Club, completed in 1778, brought him to the notice of the Prince of Wales, who in 1783 chose him to redesign Carlton House and later employed him on the Marine Pavilion at Brighton. His clientele included a number of leading Whigs, notably the 5th Duke of Bedford, the 2nd Earl Spencer, Whitbread and Sheridan. During the 1770s he bought leases on the Chelsea property of the Cadogan family, developed the Hans Town area as a speculation and erected a villa there for his own use. In 1799 he was appointed surveyor to the East India Company.1

Young Holland accompanied Spencer on his special mission to Vienna in 1794.2 On his return he continued his legal training, but it is not known whether he practised at the bar after his call in 1799. In 1802 his father quarrelled with the Prince over patronage at Okehampton, where he and his brother, Richard Bateman Robson*, had an electoral interest based on purchased property and where Henry had already come forward as a candidate for the next general election. On 26 Apr. 1802 the architect wrote to William Adam* congratulating him on his appointments as auditor to the 6th Duke of Bedford and solicitor-general to the Prince of Wales, and asserting that ‘if in these great careers you should be enabled to take my son by the hand you would find him well qualified and well inclined to business’.3

Holland’s election was contested, but he topped the poll and survived the subsequent petition. On 18 Dec. 1802 he objected to the power vested in the commissioners of naval inquiry to put questions at their own discretion. He did not vote for inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s debts, 4 Mar. 1803, but on 3 June voted against ministers on Patten’s censure motion and was subsequently described by Canning as one of five ‘stragglers’ who had acted with the ‘new opposition’ on this occasion.4 He opposed government on the Irish rebellion, 7 Mar., the war in Ceylon, 14 Mar., and the naval administration, 15 Mar. 1804, and was now listed as a follower of Windham. He voted against the Irish militia offer bill, 10 Apr., and for inquiry into the national defences, 23 Apr., was placed under ‘Grenville’ in the ministerial list of May, opposed Pitt’s additional force bill in June and was listed under ‘Fox and Grenville’ in September 1804. As a member of the Liskeard election committee he unsuccessfully opposed Rose’s motion, 11 June 1804, that the miscreant under-sheriff be taken into custody, his contention being that a reprimand would be sufficient punishment. He continued to vote regularly, if unobtrusively, with the opposition to Pitt’s ministry during 1805 and was appointed a manager of Melville’s impeachment, 26 June. On 30 Jan. 1806 his father recommended him to Spencer for employment in the ‘Talents’ ministry.5 Nothing was done for him, but he supported the government and voted for the repeal of the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806.

He had apparently decided to retire from Parliament by June 1806 when his father died, leaving the Okehampton property in trust to Bateman Robson and a cousin. At the dissolution in October he offered a seat to government, but to his embarrassment he was prevented from fulfilling the engagement when Bateman Robson decided at the last minute to stand himself: ‘the power he possesses in my affairs’, he explained to Spencer, ‘leaves me no choice of conduct on the occasion’. His ‘state of health’ at the time of the election was ‘such as to prevent his taking an active part’.6

He appears subsequently to have tried his hand at legal practice, but evidently without any lasting success. He was appointed a magistrate at Union Hall police office, Southwark, in 1807, but resigned the post a year later.7 He was listed as a barrister on the western circuit in the 1810 Law List, simply as a barrister in 1811 and as a commissioner of bankrupts in 1812; but his name had disappeared from the Law List by 1814. Holland resided in the Albany, his father’s last major work, until about 1826, when he moved to Montagu Square. He died there, ‘aged 79’, on 20 Jan. 1855, apparently in comfortable financial circumstances.8

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. See D. Stroud, Henry Holland (1966).
  • 2. Ibid. 102.
  • 3. Ibid. 148-50; Prince of Wales Corresp. iv. 1628; Blair Adam mss.
  • 4. Morning Chron. 8 June 1803; Add. 38833, f. 149.
  • 5. Spencer mss.
  • 6. PCC 483 Pitt; Spencer mss, Holland to Spencer, 22 June, 19 Oct., to Fremantle, 18 Oct., Fremantle to Spencer, 18 Oct.; Blair Adam mss, Bridget Holland to Adam, 27 Oct. 1806.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. (1807), ii. 661; (1808), ii. 943.
  • 8. Ibid. (1855), i. 332; PCC 1855, f. 131.