Sir James Bateman (April 29, 1660 – November 10, 1718), Lord Mayor of London and a Governor of the Bank of England who bought a house on this site in 1717. One of the great merchant financiers of his time, Bateman built his success and colossal wealth upon the mercantile business established by his father, a Flemish émigré. He lived for some time at the Portuguese port of Alicante where he was engaged in the lucrative wine trade before returning to London where he continued to import wine from the Iberian Peninsula. He was an early subscriber to the Bank of England at its inception in 1694 and one of its founding directors, and in 1698 also became a founding director of the New East Indies Company, a rival to the East India Company. After a failed attempt to enter Parliament he embarked upon a career in City politics, and was appointed Sheriff of London for 1701 to 1702. He was elected Deputy Governor of the Bank of England for 1703 to 1705 and Governor for 1705 to 1707 before resuming his position as a director of the Bank of England in 1707 until 1711. In 1708, he became an alderman and a member of the Loriners’ Company. He was a director of the United East India Company from 1709 to 1710, a prime warden of the Fishmongers’ Company for 1710 to 1712 and resigned as Director of the Bank of England in 1711 to become a sub-Governor of the South Sea Company until his death. He was elected Lord Mayor of London for 1716 to 1717 which is around the time he acquired Monmouth House, a palatial 17thCentury country house which dominated the south side of Soho Square. The house, built for the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s illegitimate son who had met a sticky end in 1685 when he was executed for treason, had fallen into decay. After his death, his grandson, the 2nd Lord Bateman, found the house too large for his needs and given Soho was by that time no longer a fashionable place to live, had it demolished in 1773 to make way for a new court and terraces of small houses – Bateman Buildings. The street appears to have been built in the 1670s and was called Queen Street until 1884 when it was renamed after Bateman Buildings.
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