History

The Texas Legation’s Royal Treatment in London

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In 1986, 26 Texans made their way across the Pond. To mark the Sesquicentennial of the Republic of Texas, the men traveled to the site of the Republic’s Legation office in London to pay rent that had been outstanding since 1844. No. 4 St. James’s Street in London housed the Republic of Texas office of Dr. Ashbel Smith, charge d’affaires to England and France, from 1842 to 1844. Dressed in buckskins and paying with Republic of Texas bills, the men gave $160 to the legation’s landlord, Berry Bros. & Rudd, wine merchants and makers of Cutty Sark Scotch Whiskey.

Texas Legation Sign in London

Photo: www.britainexpress.com

While Texas was an independent nation for almost a decade, it maintained diplomatic ties with both England and France. As a reminder of the relationship between Britain and Texas, a plaque to the Legation office was placed by the Anglo-Texan Society in 1963. The plaque, reads: “Texas Legation. In this building was the Legation for the Ministers from the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James 1842-1845. Erected by The Anglo-Texan Society.”

Sir Alfred Bossom, president of the Anglo-Texan Society at the time, initiated the placement of the commemorative plaque. Those who attended the unveiling were Texas Governor Price Daniel, Sr., author Graham Greene and Tony Berry, descendant of Berry Bros. & Rudd. The legation is also remembered in Paris with a carving on the wall above the Hotel de Vendome, at 1 Place Vendome. Texas also had a Legation office in Washington D.C.

On May 24, 1992, a replica of the original plaque was presented to Governor Ann Richards by Christopher Berry Green, the managing director of Berry Bros. & Rudd. The plaque was dedicated at the Governor’s mansion in Austin and was on display at the State Capitol. Those attending the luncheon were Sam Houston IV and Bob Wright, an Ashbel Smith descendant. The plaque was presented to commemorate the friendship between Berry Bros. & Rudd and Texas. This replica is now with the Ann Richards collection, located at the Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas in Austin.

Texas Legation Sign and Governeor Rick Perry

Photo: bbrblog.com

While Governor Perry was on an economic tour to Great Britain in October of 2013, he presented Her Majesty’s Consul General Andrew Miller with a new plaque for the Texas Legation office in London. The new plaque reads: “Legation of the Republic of Texas. From 1836-45, The Republic of Texas and Great Britain pursued diplomatic and military relations. Texas opened a legation on this site in 1842. Great Britain opened a consulate in Houston. Placed by Governor Rick Perry for the People of Texas, October 2013.”

Berry Bros and Rudd

Photo: trulyexperiences.com

If you find yourself opposite the gates of St. James’s Palace in London and want to have a look at a slice of Texas history, then head on over No. 4 Pickering Place SW1. If that doesn’t happen to interest you, perhaps a stroll through Berry Bros. & Rudd will.

References:

Handbook of Texas Online

Berry Bros. & Rudd Blog

Email correspondence with Texas Capital Visitors Center

Texas Monthly, September 1986

The Victoria Advocate, May 24, 1992

Facebook/Anglo-Texan Society

Email correspondence with Anglo-Texan Society