Posts Tagged ‘Armenian Church’

South Kensington & Little Chelsea, 1988

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

St Yeghiche, Armenian, Church, Cranley Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-16-positive_2400
St Yeghiche Armenian Church, Cranley Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-16

I’m unsure why St Yeghiche Armenian Church should be Grade II* listed, as it appears to me to be a fairly typical Victorian Decorated Church, built as S Peter’s in 1866-7 by C J Freake for the Smith’s Charity Estate, with later alterations and additions by W.D Caröe and others in 1907-9, but it is perhaps the internal features including stained glass mentioned at some length in the listing which I’ve not seen that qualify it for that extra *.

Like me you may be ignorant of St Yeghiche, born in Alexandria around 435CE, but who is “is known for his many achievements that have enriched the cultural treasury of the Armenian Nation“. Working at a time when the Armenian alphabet was invented and the first translations of the Bible into Armenian were being made he wrote many commentaries on the Bible and other religious works. He was a personal scribe to the Armenian General in the involved in the “famous battle of Avarair” in 451CE and wrote the famous phrase “Death, unanticipated, is death; death, anticipated, is immortality”, which apparently became a motto for many Armenian soldiers.

Priory Walk, Drayton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-22-positive_2400
Priory Walk, Drayton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-22

This area is or was apparently known as ‘Little Chelsea in Kensington‘. If the architect of 86 Drayton Gardens had intended a heavy and ponderous effect then he was remarkably successful. This plot on the Gunter Estate was apparently developed by the builder Edward Deacon, who also built a couple of other houses along the street, but I think the architect is unknown. But the Victoria County History names its first occupier in 1888 as Sir Evan MacGregor, who was Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty for 23 years from 1884, a time when the navy underwent dramatic changes.

Drayton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-23-positive_2400
Drayton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-23

This very solid looking canopy and railings are in front of a large block of flats at 53 Drayton Gardens, built in the 1890s, architect J Norton. Not quite a porte-cochère and I think the only such structure on this street. The block is set a little further back from the road than most of the houses, many of which have rather solid front porches.

Drayton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-24a-positive_2400
Drayton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-24

A two storey house on Drayton Gardens which looks rather domestic and out of place and stands directly on the pavement, this is said to date from the earlier period of building in the area, around 1826. My black and white picture doesn’t do justice to the painting above the doorway, which shows the same house standing on its own (including those shutters) surrounded by fields – but without the painting.

Drayton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-25-positive_2400
Drayton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-25

More flats at 49 Drayton Gardens. Architect again J Norton and again dating from 1894-8, these were too close to the road to need a canopy but have an impressive portico supported by five columns. It looks lopsided, as if it was designed to have two doorways, only the left one of which was actually built.

Priory Walk, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-32-positive_2400
Priory Walk, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-32

Although I made this picture on Priory Walk, the front door of the house is to the right at 24 Gilston Rd, one of a pair of large detached Italianate properties with pyramid roofed towers built between 1850 and 1852 to designs by George Goodwin. I’m told, but can’t confirm it, that Peter and Alison Smithson, two of Britain’s best-known modern architects of Brutalist masterpieces such as Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar moved in here in 1971.

The house was redesigned around 2012 by Shalini Misra with a 4,500 square foot new basement including a swimming pool, gym, media room and three bedrooms which almost doubled the floor area while leaving its exterior unchanged and can now be rented for £260,000 a month. Yes, a month.

Gilston Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-34-positive_2400
Gilston Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-34

Security cameras like this were rare back in 1988, and I don’t know why this building required one, but I smiled for the camera when I took this picture. There is a short section of road around here oddly absent from Google Streetview which I think is where this was located. I wondered if it was the home of one of a very nervous Russian oligarch.

The Boltons, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 198888-4o-42-positive_2400
The Boltons, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4o-42

The Boltons is undoubtedly the best known of the streets in the area, but one I found less interesting than some others. The area had been bought by James Gunter in 1807 who used much of it for market gardening. The whole ellipse was planned by the architect and editor of ‘The Builder’ George Godwin and built, mainly as large three-storey semi-detached pairs in 1849-59.

All of them are I think Grade II listed. They have Doric porches and their brick is faced with stucco. No 21 in my picture is a typical example, photographed where part of the wall had been removed which enabled a clearer view, and taken at an angle which hides some of what I felt was fussier detail.

Click on any image above to display a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Back to Kensington – 1987

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Iverna Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-11e-32-positive_2400
Iverna Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I returned to Kensington and took a few more pictures in November 1987. In my project on London I liked to go back to walk around areas a second time, often walking along the same streets in the opposite direction or on the opposite side of the streets to perhaps see things I had not noticed on my walk. There were some areas too that I found of more interest that I’d return to every few years, and others that I visited regularly for reasons other than photography, perhaps to visit friends or go to particular shops etc.

Scarsdale Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-11e-34-positive_2400
Scarsdale Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I can’t at this remove remember what took me back to Kensington only a short time after I’d previously walked there. It may have been that there were some pictures I’d taken that I wasn’t entirely happy with, though there were probably plenty I thought that about. Perhaps I had some business not far away, or an exhibition I went to see, and it’s an area not far from where a friend had a studio. But what impresses me now is the variety of the architecture I found there.

Cheniston Lodge, Cheniston Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-11e-35-positive_2400
Cheniston Lodge, Cheniston Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Cheniston Gardens was given its name by its developers and derives from the spelling of Kensington in the Domesday Book when ‘Chenesitone’ had18 villagers, 7 slaves and one priest. Chenistone Lodge, the single red brick and terracotta Queen Anne building in a sea of stucco was the last building to be completed on the street in 1885. It was on the site of Abingdon House, where in 1874 Archbishop Manning set up a Catholic University College run by Thomas Capel, which was a failure as wealthy Catholics preferred to continue to get special dispensation to send their sons to Oxbridge, and because of Capel’s poor finanacial management, which led to his bankruptcy in 1878. More problems were to follow for him, and the following year Monsignor Capel was found guilty of having sex with three women (one a servant of one of the others); on his appeal to Rome there was no verdict on his guilt or innocence but he was sentenced to continue his career in the Catholic Church in the United States. Abingdon House was sold to the developers in 1879.

Cheniston Lodge was let to a number of tenants in the years up to the First World War and later had two longer term residents, probably as private owners. In October 1940 Kensington Council purchased the freehold for £2000 to use it as an air raid materials store, and after the war it became Kensington Registry Office. It was Grade II listed shortly before they sold it to a developer in 1981 for £250,000 to be converted into offices. In around 2012 it was converted back into a single residence.

St. Sarkis, Armenian Church, Iverna Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-11e-46-positive_2400
St. Sarkis, Armenian Church, Iverna Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Not far from Cheniston Lodge is the Grade II* listed St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Iverna Gardens which is the only church in the country in the traditional Armenian style, inspired by a 13th century monastery which looks remarkably similar but rather squatter, but it was designed by English architect Arthur Joseph Davis. The building was a gift of the oil baron Calouste Gulbenkian in 1922–23, and conveniently his father had been named after the Armenian St Sarkis the Warrior and it was built as a memorial for his parents, and apparently contains sculptures of his family members inside. Like Cheniston Lodge it was also listed in 1981, possibly as a part of the comprehensive review after developers Trafalgar House demolished the art deco Firestone Tyres building on the Great West Road during the August Bank Holiday in 1980 to prempt its listing the following day.

Baptist Church, Kensington Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-11e-61-positive_2400
Baptist Church, Kensington Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Rather plainer than St Sarkis is Bethesda Baptist Chapel in Kensington Place, suitably austere for ‘strict bapists’.

It was The Chapels Society ‘Chapel of the Month in May 2017, where Dr Jennifer Freeman writes:

The Church in Kensington Place was built in 1866 for baptised believers who subscribe to ‘Restricted Communion’ ( i.e. with communion being exclusively available to professing, baptised Christians), to ‘Particular Redemption’ and to the teachings of the Authorised Version of the Bible, under the oversight of a Pastor.

Apparently the facade is now illuminated: “in the evening delicate floodlighting pinpoints the building“, though when I photographed it there was only a broken light fitting over the door – and I think it had once been for a gas lamp. Inside Dr Freeman describes it as “dignified modest and reverent, in spirit with Baptist thinking.”

Kensington Church St area, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-11e-63-positive_2400
Kensington Church St area, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Although at first sight these long Victorian stucco terraces look the same, closer inspection shows significant differences, enough for me to decide that this is not any of the Kensington streets I’ve looked at. But it is number 15 on a street in Kensington – and if you can be sure which street please click on the image to go into it in my Flikr album and write a comment to let me know.

HyperHyper, Kensington High St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-11e-66-positive_2400
HyperHyper, Kensington High St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I don’t think I had any real reason to revisit Hyper Hyper and photography these leftover caryatids from its previous incarnation as an antiques supermarket as my previous image was I think satisfactory. But when you are in the area and walk past something like this it isn’t easy or even necessary not to indulge in another photograph.

These images are all from page 8 of my Flickr album 1987 London Photos.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.