Osnaburgh House Hotel, Regents Park

Osnaburgh House was a regency town house and, latterly, small town hotel just off Regents Park in Camden, north of the Euston Road. It was destroyed or knocked down, during or immediately after the war around 1941-45. It was immediately adjacent to Cumberland Market.

It is significant as it is the recorded address of William Henry Morgan in the September 1939 Register.  Here, the occupants of the hotel at the time at the very outbreak of war are listed in full. William Henry Morgan, with his profession listed as Incorporated Accountant, is the very first name. The second name, after him and before the other guests is the Hotel Manageress, Ada Lucy Sole.

Elsewhere, in the same register, the rest of William’s wider family is listed at an address in Harold Wood some twenty miles to the east – the home of his son-in-law Frederick Hennessy.

This register, akin to a census, is only a snapshot of one night but it offers an insight  into the Morgan family set up, and the disjointed relationship between William and his wife Emma.

In his will written in 1944 William leaves a considerable sum of money to Ada Lucy Sole – that suggests that the relationship, which may have started professionally as a hotel business account of the Morgan’s accounting firm, soon became much more important.

It is not entirely clear who owned the Hotel but there is a clue in one of the hotel residents, a Gertrude Sophia Hobson. Back in 1911 this lady’s sister Ellen Mary Hobson had a mortgage on a similar property in Brighton and gives her address as Osnaburgh House. The speculation would be that the Hobson’s were clients of J R Woodley Morgan, the forerunner of Morgan Back and Co. Ellen Hobson, still of Osnaburgh House, a spinster, died in 1930 and left her estate to her younger spinster sister Gertrude.

The list of residents at the hotel on the night of 29 Sep 1939 shows a highly respectable establishment with an ophthalmologist and two clergymen amongst the clients.

Jennifer Hennessy, William’s granddaughter, recalled that her grandfather was often absent from the household in Ilford that they all shared. The excuse given to the young child was that it was because of the bombing it was dangerous to commute up and down to the city offices in Gresham Street from Ilford.

The reality was that it was probably far more dangerous to spend the blitz in such a central location.

Sources and Notes

  • 1939 register for  the Hennessys at Fairholm, Queens Park Road, Harold Wood are Fred Hennessy, Winnie Hennessy, Margaret Hennessy*, Emma Ida Morgan (mother-in-law) and her seventeen year old son, Donald Morgan*. Details of the starred names are not yet available. Jennifer the Hennessy’s second child was born 20 Oct 1939.
  • Ada Lucy Sole was born in Ireland in 1903 but had English relations in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. She is recorded as being aged 36 and ‘single’
  • East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO), Mortgage AMS 6717/2/7
  • William Henry Morgan’s death certificate, 26 Apr 1947, gives his address as 4 Westbourne Grove, Paddington. It is believed, Ada Lucy Sole was his housekeeper there. It is assumed that Osnaburgh House had been rendered uninhabitable by then.