Created By: Emma Dermott
Before his marriage Sir Walter had had only one servant, Stephen Black, and Sir Walter’s confidence in this person knew scarcely any bounds. At no. 9 Harley-street he was called “butler”, but his duties and responsibilities extended far beyond the range of any ordinary butler: he dealt with bankers and lawyers on Sir Walter’s behalf; he studied the accounts of Lady Pole’s estates and reported to Sir Walter upon what he found there; he hired servants and workmen without reference to any one else; he directed their work and paid bills and wages. Of course in many households there is a servant who by virtue of his exceptional intelligence and abilities is given authority beyond what is customary. But in Stephen’s case it was all the more extraordinary since Stephen was a negro. I say “extraordinary”, for is it not generally the case that a negro servant is the least-regarded person in a household? No matter how hardworking he or she may be? No matter how clever? Yet somehow Stephen Black had found a way to thwart this universal principle."
from "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke
Harley Street was first developed in the latter half of the 18th century. The area until then had been pastoral, with few inhabitants, at the heart of which was the original Marylebone village, St Mary-le-Bourne, named after the location of its church beside the Tyburn brook.
9 Harley Street is the home of Sir Walter Pole, his manservant Stephen Black and later on his wife Emma Wintertowne.
Their neighbours would have included Turner and Arthur Wellesley (later Lord Wellington).
This point of interest is part of the tour: Mr Norrell's London