Among the gems of Boston's architectural heritage are the three adjacent Beacon Hill townhouses known as the "Swan Houses" on Chestnut Street, designed by Charles Bulfinch.
These townhouses are 200 years old this year. Two of them are private residences, but the third has been the official residence of the British consul general in Boston for the past 40 years.
The current consul general, Phil Budden, hosted a reception this week to mark the bicentennial (accompanied by some fine British ales). The residence has been through a major refurbishing, starting in 2007 and overseen by the residence manager, Kurt Steele. The results are subtly splendid, and are viewable in an on-line pamphlet at the consulate's web site.
|Photo by Christian Kozowyk, courtesy British Consulate, Boston|
The land was owned during the American Revolution by the artist John Singleton Copley, who left Boston for England in 1774 and never returned. He later sold the land to developers including Hepzibah Swan, who had Bulfinch design the townhouses for her three daughters.
The Swan daughters moved into their new homes in 1809. The Federalist houses have sweeping spiral staircases, high ceilings and tall windows. The British residence is featured in more detail in the summer homes issue of Boston Magazine.
Phil Budden and his Boston-bred wife, Deborah, and their two daughters have been in Boston since 2007. Budden has also had postings at the British Embassy in Washington and in Vienna. The consulate general is across the Charles River in the Kendall Square section of Cambridge, firmly amid the very modern high-tech greater Boston of the 21st century.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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