Posts Tagged ‘1988. London’

Around Pont St, 1988

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-01-positive_2400
Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-01

Back in 1988 I seem to have sentenced myself to wander extensively along Pont St, in earlier days one of London’s most fashionable streets and still one of its more expensive, linking Knightsbridge and Belgravia.

Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-55-positive_2400
Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-55

Pont Street gets its name from the bridge over the river Westbourne, probably close to where Cadogan Lane now crosses the street close to its east end. Knightsbridge too was named for its bridge over this river, which flows down from Hampstead Heath to the Thames in Chelsea, passing across Sloane Square Underground Station in a very visible 19th century iron aqueduct. The bridge is still marked on maps from 1830 when the east section of Pont St was first developed but by 1840 the river had disappeared underground.

Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-56-positive_2400
Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-56

Pont Street originally was developed to the east of Sloane St and was only developed to the west in the late 1870s, with building continued in the following decade. Cadogan Square was built between 1877 and 1888.

Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3j-65-positive_2400
Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3j-65

‘Pont St’ became a synonym for the snobbish posh, and the architectural style of most the area around Pont St west of Sloane St was called by Osbert Lancaster ‘Pont St Dutch’. In Pevsner and Cherry’s London 3 North West, published in 1991 it is described as “tall sparingly decorated red brick mansions for very wealthy occupants, in the semi-Dutch, semi-Queen Anne manner of Shaw or George & Peto”. It is very handy for both Harrods and Sloane Square.

Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-64-positive_2400
Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-64

A welcome departure from this incredible rash of red-brick is St Columba’s Church, designed by Sir Edward Maule for the Church of Scotland. Completed in 1955 it replaced the orginal 1884 St Columba’s Church on the same site which had been destroyed by bombing in 1941. I think it altogether a more attractive building than Maule’s Guildford Cathedral.

St Columba's Church Of Scotland, church, Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3j-62-positive_2400
St Columba’s Church Of Scotland, church, Pont St, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3j-62

Pont Street has had some famous residents, including Lillie Langtry who lived for five years at No 21. This became a part of the Cadogan Hotel, where famously Oscar Wilde was arrested in 1985.

Hans Place, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-66-positive_2400
Hans Place, Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-3i-66

All pictures (and more) in my album 1988 London Photos – and you can see a larger version of the images and browse through the album by clicking on any of them.