Texas Legation (London, England)

Texas Legation
Photo by Benjamin Ragheb

There was a point in time when Texas was more than a state, something the people of Texas will remind people from any other state in the United States. There is one thing that Texas does have, or did have, that they can officially claim that no others do though. An Embassy… Sort of. Actually three separate Legations around the world, but still something that made the Republic of Texas an international player in some way.

Located in a prime spot above the Berry Brothers & Rudd wine shop, Texas’ little embassy at 4 St James’s Street in London, England was only open for three years. The building is now marked with a gold and black plaque in honor of the former Legation. The plaque is on the north side of the building in an alleyway and 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

The plaque was erected in 1963 by the Anglo-Texan Society, which apparently is a thing. Led by the efforts of society member Alfred Bossom, the plaque was unveiled by the Governor of Texas, Price Daniel. While the Legation was technically located on St James’s Street, the plaque is on the corner of Pickering Place.

In an attempt to keep itself safe from invasions from both Mexico and the United States, the government of the Republic of Texas, in an attempt to foster international ties opened the Texas Legations in London, Paris, and the United States. Texas was a British ally and served as a tactical barrier to the United States.

For those that do not know what a Legation is, it is a diplomatic representative office of lower rank than a traditional embassy. A diplomatic mission of sorts that is headed by an official that ranks just lower than an ambassador.

There has been some debate as to the real reasons behind the opening of the Texas Legation, but it’s commonly agreed thatit would give Texas a place at the international table and provide them a better bargaining position with the United States. Because of their location between the United States and Mexico, Texas was in an ideal location to host British of French soldiers interested in the gaining traction in the United States.

Despite the Crown’s support of its independence, Texas joined the Union in 1845 and the Embassy in London was closed. In a possible sign of what was to come, the Texas delegation left their prime London location above one of the city’s finest wine shops with an outstanding £160 rent bill.

Texas Legation Facts

    • When the Republic of Texas became the state of Texas in 1845 the legations were shut down.
    • Berry Brothers & Rudd is one of the most distinguished wine merchants in London and have provided high quality wine and spirits to royalty since King George II.
    • The three Texas Legations were maintained by the Republic of Texas in Washington, D.C., London, and Paris from 1836 through 1845.
    • In 1986 a group of London based Texans settled the outstanding £160 debt with the wine shop.
    • The small plaque was installed in 1963.
    • The address of the Legation is 4 St James’s St, St. James’s, London SW1A 1EF, United Kingdom.
    • Geographic coordinates: 51.5056°N 0.1380°W
    • Another “Embassy” in France was located in what is now the Hôtel de Vendôme.