Posts Tagged ‘Baptist Church’

St John’s Wood

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

Abercorn Place, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-41-positive_2400
Abercorn Place, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-41

Long ago St John’s Wood was a real wood, part of the Forest of Middlesex, and was the property of the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem who were based in Clerkenwell. Pregiously it had belonged to the Catholic Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (better know as the Templars) who were suppressed in 1312. Henry VIII grabbed the land in 1539 when he dissolved the monasteries during the Reformation, but Charles II gave it to one of his mates in settlement of a debt of £1300, and eventually most of it was sold to a city wine merchant, Henry Samuel Eyre in 1733, and much of the area remains the Eyre Estate. Other parts belong to Harrow School.

Development on the Eyre estate began in 1809 The area was developed as an area for the growing upper middle class, with many detached and semi-detached villas with large gardens, the first garden suburb anywhere in the world. Some later were replaced by blocks of flats and terraces of housing, but the area remains one of the most expensive around London. It’s not an area where I often felt at home.

In 2011 I was able to go behind some of the high walls and photograph the ‘Secret Gardens of St John’s Wood‘ in a project initiated by Mireille Galinou of the Queens Terrace Café and shown there in November 2011, but there were still many impenetrable behind high walls, some protected by security guards with suspicious bulges in their clothing. But in 1988 I kept to the streets.

These flats are at the west end of Abercorn Place at its corner with Maida Vale at the rear of Wellesley Court, architect Frank Scarlett, built in 1938. Perhaps surprisingly the St John’s Wood Conservation Area is carefully drawn to exclude this set of expensive private flats.

Nugent Terrace, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-43-positive_2400
Nugent Terrace, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-43

There are still shops in Nugent Terrace, but I think this rather high-class cobblers is long gone. I was amused at how the figurines chosen matched the area.

Hill Rd, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-46-positive_2400
Hill Rd, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-46

This remarkable mansion block, Mortimer Court, on the corner of Hill Road and Abbey Road is certainly not typical of the area, and I have to apologise that my picture fails to record the full horror of its architecture, best appreciated from the opposite side of Abbey Road. It can be seen on the web sites of many of London’s estate agents.

Onslow Ford, memorial, sculpture, Andrea Carlo Lucchesi, Abbey Rd, Grove End Rd, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-35-positive_2400
Onslow Ford, memorial, sculpture, Andrea Carlo Lucchesi, Abbey Rd, Grove End Rd, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-35

English sculptor Edward Onslow Ford RA (1852—1901) was one of the leaders of the British New Sculpture movement of the 1880s, becoming famous for portrait busts and roundels of many leading figures including Ruskin, Millais, Thomas Huxley and Herbert Spencer. A number of his statues including that of Rowland Hill remain on public display.

He produced a long series of “bronze statuettes of adolescent girls in poses loosely derived from mythology or allegorical themes” some of which were also sold widely in smaller scale copies for Victorian homes, though they might not be appreciated now. The monument in St John’s Wood, close to his home was sculpted by his former studio assistant Andrea Carlo Lucchesi and based on one of Ford’s sculptures.

Abbey Rd Studios, Abbey Rd,  St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-21-positive_2400
Abbey Rd Studios, Abbey Rd, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-21

It is probably a punishable offence to go to Abbey Road and not take a photo of the now famous studios, though I resisted any urge to photograph the famous pedestrian crossing nearby.

Abbey Road Baptist Church,Abbey Rd,  St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988  88-7e-24-positive_2400
Abbey Road Baptist Church,Abbey Rd, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-24

The Baptist Church on Abbey Road was founded in 1863 by a Mr Stott, a preacher from Hyde Park, who engaged leading church architects Habershon & Pite to build this Grade II listed structure in a ‘Free Byzantine’ style.

In 1874 the Abbey Road and St John’s Wood Mutual Benefit Building Society was formed in what was then the Free Church. This later became Abbey Road and St John’s Wood Permanent Building Society and in 1944 joined with The National Building Society to beceome the Abbey National Building Society, which sadly demutualised in 1989 and in 2004 become wholly owned by the Spanish Santander Group.

Abbey Rd,  St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988  88-7e-25-positive_2400
Abbey Rd, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-25

This adjoining pair of gate-posts is no longer on Abbey Road, and the block of flats at No 20 have had something of a face lift since 1988. But to me they looked so much like an adult and child – and were perhaps a deliberate attempt to outdo the Joneses.

Abercorn Place, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988  88-7e-11-positive_2400
Abercorn Place, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-11

This small group of three houses on Abercorn Place at the corner of Violet Hill stood out among the fairly varied architecture of the street for the flower motifs above their first floor windows – a reminder, like the name Violet Hill, that this was the first garden suburb.

The gateposts, one of which is at right of the picture I think used to have a more obvious pattern on them, unfortunately out of focus in my image, which made them appear less crude.

My wanderings around St John’s Wood on a Saturday in July 1988 will continue in a later post. You can click on any of the pictures here to go to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos, from where you can browse the album.


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To Kilburn High Rd 1988

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

West Kilburn Baptist Church, Carlton Vale, West Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5l-33-positive_2400
West Kilburn Baptist Church, Carlton Vale, West Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5l-33

My wanderings around Kilburn Park had taken me back through the South Kilburn Estate to Carlton Vale and this fine example of a Baptist Church, built for the Rev Thomas Hall in 1865. Money was tight, but his brother who was an architect worked on the plans without payment. According to the Commemoration Booklet issued for its centenary the foundation stone was laid on ‘Several coins of the Realm bearing the portrait of her most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria – one shilling, one sixpence, one halfpenny‘ and ‘the text, “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).’ Six years later, the church still owed £380 of the £1250 it cost to build.

Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-21-positive_2400
Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-21

From Carlton Vale I continued northwest up Salusbury Road then turned right along The Avenue in Brondesbury to reach Willesden Lane opposite this house which is numbered as 66 Cavendish Rd, although this frontage is on Willesden Lane. This house struck me as having a intriguing individuality, although certainly not great architecture, incorporating several distinct variations of style and a rather oddly situated small window. Currently divided into around 13 small flats a planning application has been submitted to demolish it and use the site with its long garden along Willesden Lane to build a new 5 to 6 storey building with 21 flats.

Lawrence & Aitken, Albion Works, Kimberely Rd, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-23-positive_2400
Lawrence & Aitken, Albion Works, Kimberely Rd, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-23

Lawrence & Aitken , incorporated in 1927 but founded earlier and now dissolved, filed its last accounts in 1990. It gave the nature of its business as “Manufacture of other articles of paper and paperboard n.e.c. -” and was said to employ five people. The works date from 1904 and were built for cardboard makers Lawrence & Aitken under an agreement with the Simms Manufacturing Company Limited which is reproduced (but very hard to read) on the RAC website. The works is still there, though the building on the right has been replaced by housing called Kimberley Court.

Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-24-positive_2400
Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-24

In one of those mysteries that I’ve sometimes come across, the extension at left to J Green’s shop at 136 Willesden Lane has grown to the same height as the rest and the building is now wider, having four windows at first and second floor levels and a new floor on top while retaining the Graeco-Egyptian style of the original.

Both 134 and 136 were built for John Cramb, monumental mason supplying many monuments in the cemetery opposite, 134 in 1896 designed by George Neal and 136 by F C Dare in 1883-1884 . Both are locally listed.

Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-26-positive_2400
Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-26

These shops are still there but I think all now different businesses. So many flats and shops were for sale in 1988.

Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-12-positive_2400
Willesden Lane, Brondesbury, Brent, 1988 88-5l-12

Missing ‘O’, ‘M’, ‘B’ and ‘G’ perhaps made this frontage more interesting.

The National Club, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5l-13-positive_2400
The National Club, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Camden, 1988 88-5l-13

In 1910 after the death of its owner, The Grange, a large house with extensive grounds on Kilburn High Road was sold to Oswald Stoll, the owner of the London Coliseum, who began building a theatre here. By the time it opened in 1914 his plans had changed and it became the Grange Cinema, with over 2,000 seats.

The cinema closed in 1975 and was opened as Butty’s Club and Dance Hall by Kilburn Irish publican Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue, and later in 1976 also became the Kilburn National Club, owned by three local brothers who were builders, originally from Tipperary. The club was a major music venue, where stars including Johnny Cash and David Bowie played (there is a longer list here, along with more detailed information about the site.)

Applications to demolish the building were turned down in 1991 as English Heritage had listed it earlier in the year, as was another application in 1993. After the National Club closed in 1999 the building remained empty until it became the Victory Christian Centre in 2001 – but the church was closed in 2002 by the Charity Commission who didn’t approve of Pastor Goodman’s extravagances on expensive holidays and cars and a house in Northants. In 2003 it became a site of the worldwide Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

The Secondhand Furniture Shop, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5l-15-positive_2400
The Secondhand Furniture Shop, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5l-15

An interesting example of a window display.

Loveridge Rd, Kilburn, Brent, 198888-5l-16-positive_2400
Loveridge Rd, Kilburn, Camden, 1988 88-5l-16

A few yards east of Kilburn High Rd the Underground – here decidely overground – goes across Loveridge Rd. I liked the washing hanging over Loveridge Mews, not something often found across a London street.

Confusingly, the boundary between the London Boroughs of Camden and Brent runs down the Kilburn High Road, splitting Kilburn in two. I’m sure there are still some pictures in the album where I’ve indicated the wrong borough.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.