Posts Tagged ‘Earls Court’

South Ken, Earls Court and further west

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

The final selection of images from my black and white photographs of London in 1987, taken in December.

Collingham Gardens,South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-62-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens,South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

A couple of doorways from the area largely built in the 1880s to the varied designs of George and Peto, with motifs borrowed from a range of cities across Europe.

Collingham Gardens,South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12f-63-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens,South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

You can read more about the architects in my previous post on the area.

Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-44-positive_2400
Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

A LCC blue plaque records that Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904) lived and died at 31 Bolton Gardens. He spent five years in India as a college principal and return in 1861 to work as a journalist on the Daily Telegraph, later becoming its editor, and he, together with the New York Herald sent explorer H M Stanley, who had three years earlier discovered David Livingstone, to explore the course of the Congo River.

But he was best known in the Victorian era for his book of eight poems, The Light of Asia, an Indian epic about Prince Gautama of India, the founder of Buddhism, along with other poetic works on India and the far east. Mahatma Gandhi admired his poetic English translation of the Bhagavad Gita, The Song Celestial and invited him to be vice-president of the UK Vegetarian Society. Widely decorated at the time, Arnold and his work are now largely and probably deservedly forgotten.

Barkston Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-32-positive_2400
Barkston Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Barkston Gardens a short walk from Earls Court station was built from 1886 as a part of the Gunter estate, with houses by several developers. These flats have shops on the Earls Court Rd on their west side and on the east the long still private communal garden around which Barkston Gardens was developed. Previously this had been the site of Earl’s Court House.

Hogarth Rd, Earl's Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-64-positive_2400
6 Hogarth Place, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Hogarth Place is directly opposite the Earls Court Road exit from Earls Court Station, and seems to integrate seamlessly with Hogarth Road for its first section. Although there are still shops along here, the cacophony of signage is now considerably muted, though the New Asia is still there.

Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12f-13-positive_2400
Hotels, Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Cromwell Road is the busy A4, and perhaps not the quietest place for a hotel, but there are still many along it. I think this is now the Crown Plaza near Gloucester Rd station.

Sales Office, Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-22-positive_2400
Sales Office, Point West, Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Until the end of 1973 passengers for British European Airways (BEA) flights from Heathrow could check in at the West London Air Terminal on Cromwell Road, from where coaches would take them along the A4 to the airport. The terminal was built where a short disused section of railway line called the Cromwell Curve had connected the District Line close to Gloucester Road station to allow trains to go to High Street Kensington avoiding a section of Metropolitan Line track. The building, by Sir John Burnet, Tait and Partners was opened in 1963 replacing a temporary facility and had six floors of BEA offices above the concourse. After the closure part of the building became a Sainsbury’s Superstore and the rest was converted into flats, including many now used for short-term rentals by tourists.

Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12f-12-positive_2400
Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Christmas was coming and the Lorenzaccio Club was offering Christmas Parties ‘Lorenzo’s Way’ with a fine winged lion and a curious crescent moon sign supporting a rather sad-looking hanging basket. I didn’t go in to enquire.

Latimer Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12e-61-positive_2400
Latimer Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The view from the west end of the platform at Latimer Rd Station as I waited for a train to Hammersmith.

Wellesley Rd, Gunnersbury, Hounslow, 198787-12e-62-positive_2400
Wellesley Rd, Gunnersbury, Hounslow, 1987

You can still see this row of houses with unusual facades topped by a faux balustrade reminding me of icing on a cake on Wellesley Rd though I think one of those shown here has since lost its topping.

There are a few more photographs I haven’t featured here on page 8 of my 1987 London Photos.

Earls Court & South Ken: 1987

Saturday, March 27th, 2021
Melbury Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12d-63-positive_2400
Melbury Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Another of those artists houses in Melbury Rd, just a short walk north from Earls Court. The house, now Grade II* listed, was commissioned by painter and illustrator Marcus Stone from achitect Richard Norman Shaw and completed in 1875. Stone’s best work was probably his illustrations for books by Charles Dickens, Antony Trollope and others, and his paintings, particularly his later works, though technically superb have been described as “a particular type of dainty sentiment, treated with much charm, refinement and executive skill” or more bluntly, “chocolate box.” The many windows of the studio were probably more to light his work for clients than for painting, as the larger group shown here are east-facing.

Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-31-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Collingham Gardens is one of a number of streets on the edge of Earls Court and South Kensington which together have a wide range of late Victorian architecture, sometimes rather overdone.

Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-26-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Many of the houses in this area were built by Peto Brothers to the plans of Ernest George (1839-1922) and the younger Harold Ainsworth Peto (1854–1933). These architectural partners also designed houses for the Cadogan Estate before Peto decided to leave London in 1891. Many of the leading architects of the early 20th century trained in George’s London office, includint (according to Wikipedia) “Herbert Baker, Guy Dawber, John Bradshaw Gass, Edwin Lutyens and Ethel Charles”, who was the first woman to be admitted to the RIBA.

Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987   87-12e-46-positive_2400
Collingham Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

George and Peto added a remarkable range of vernacular elements derived from across Northern Europe to the basically Queen Anne design of the hourses in the area, particularly in Harrington Gardnes and Collingham Gardens, based on the sketches they had made of houses in Holland, Germany and elsewhere. It was an eclecticism that was not always admired, either at the time or now.

Harrington Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-35-positive_2400
Harrington Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

These houses are large and many have been converted into flats. Some are listed but many are not. The overall effect of wandering these streets is overpowering and best taken in small doses. A 2-bed flat in the area may cost you a million, and houses perhaps £15m.

Kenway Rd, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-41-positive_2400
Kenway Rd, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Coming out of Earls Court Station I often crossed Earls Court Road and made my way down Hogarth Road and then along the narrow Hogarth Place past shops onto Kenway Road as a short cut to a friend’s studio not far away. Or rather than wait for the crossing I might walk a few yards north and then cross directly to Kenway Road, where this shop was at No 9 on the north side of the street, with Arabic script on the window and its illuminated sign, together with an animal I was never sure was a sheep, cow or goat.

Kenway Rd, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12e-42-positive_2400
Kenway Rd, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I think Kashmir Stores was more or less opposite, where a short alley leads off to a rear yard. The owner saw me taking photographs and was very keen not to be left out.

There are a few more pictures of the area in my 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.


Holland Park, Earls Court & West Kensington: 1987

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-13-positive_2400
Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Grade II listed 18 Melbury Road is now distinguished by two blue plaques, neither of which appear in my picture. Like many houses in this street in Holland Park it was home to a noted artist, in this case William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. The house was built in 1877, but Hunt only moved here in 1903 and it was here that he died. His widow was still living here when the plaque to him was added to the front of the house in 1923.

Cetshwayo (c.1832-1884) King of the Zulus enjoyed a rather shorter stay, arriving in August 1882 after his defeat and capture in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, an entirely uncalled for attack on Zululand by British forces, who at first suffered an ignominious defeat at Isandhlwana before finally winning the war and taking Cetshwayo prisoner. He was brought to London together with his chiefs, where he was welcomed by inquisitive crowds and met with both the Prime Minister and Queen Victoria, and they agreed to re-instate him as King of Zululand, to where he was secretly returned the following January.

His reinstatement did not go well and he returned to a bloody civil war and had to seek refuge in a British reserve. He died, officially of a heart attack, but possibly poisoned in February 1884 and two months later his heir became king. The English Heritage blue plaque commemorating his stay, just above that of Hunt’s was only unveiled in 2006, long after I took this picture.

Tower House, Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-15-positive_2400
Tower House, Melbury Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

In 1875 noted architect William Burges began the building and furnishing of the Tower House in a French Gothic Revival style as his home, but died as it was more or less completed in 1881 and was inherited by his brother-in-law, who later sold it. After several owners and tenants, and Grade I listing in 1949 John Betjeman inherited the remaining lease in 1962, but found the property needed expensive repairs and moved out without extending the lease. He claimed that after this it was deliberately left empty and left it to rot and be vandalised, hoping to be allowed to demolish it and develop the site.

Lady Jane Turnbull bought the house in the mid-60s to save it and began its restoration, selling it to actor Richard Harris for £75,000 in 1969 who continued the work. Three years later he sold it to Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (who outbid David Bowie for the property) for £350,000 and Page still owns it and has in recent years carried out a long legal battle with his neighbour Robbie Williams over his plans for underground excavations to develop his property that might threaten the structure of Tower House.

Earls Court Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-35-positive_2400
Earls Court Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Christmas was coming as I took these pictures in December as the multi-lingual messages on The Canning School suggest.

Moscow Mansions, Cromwell Rd,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-44-positive_2400
Moscow Mansions, Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Pineapples, brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus soon became a symbol of wealth and status – and were apparently available for hire to be displayed (but now consumed) at posh dinner parties in the 18th century. Only the incredibly rich could afford to eat them at around the equivalent of £5,000 a fruit. And although they are now commonplace in supermarkets and market stalls, back in my working-class youth they only came in tins as rings or chunks. They can be seen on many buildings across London from St Paul’s Cathedral down – and here on the gateposts of Moscow Mansions.

Hoarding, car, West Cromwell Rd,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-54-positive_2400
Hoarding, car, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The queues of traffic dawdling into London on the A4 were greeted by a car in an unusual parking place on this hoardiing.

87-12c-55-positive_2400
Railway, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Looking over a wall or fence you can still see these railway lines, at left is now the London Overground going down to West Brompton Station, but in 1987 this line was only in use for goods trains, with passenger services only being resumed in 1994 and the Network Rail platforms at West Brompton only coming into use in 1999. At lower level is the District Line of the London Underground, coming from Olympia behind me and West Kensington at right. Behind that is the Lillie Bridge Railway and Engineering Depot; missing now from the right of centre is the large bulk of Earls Court Exbition Centre, but the Metropolitan Police tower at right is still present.

87-12c-56-positive_2400
Ashfield House, London Underground, West Cromwell Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Out of the previous picture to the right is Ashfield House in West Kensington, a block of offices for London Underground, which now includes a mock Underground Station, West Ashfield, used for training purposes. The building was purpose-built for London Underground and opened in 1983. It is likely to be demolished as a part of the redevelopment plan for the area.

Clicking on any of the pictures above will take you to a larger version on my Flickr album 1987 London Photos from where you can browse through over 750 black and white pictures I made that year – these are all on Page 8.


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.


Earls Court & Brompton – 1987

Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Old Brompton Rd, West Brompton, Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-01-positive_2400
Old Brompton Rd, West Brompton, Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

As a sign indicated, the Fulham Training Workshops on the Old Brompton Road seem to lie on the very boundary of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham – and if so I was probably standing in Kensington and Chelsea to take this picture from outside West Brompton staion. Hidden behind the building at the time were the two builsings of the huge Earls Court exhibition centre – a site which when I last visited was a large empty expanse with dust clouds blowing around awaiting redevelopment.

Nevern Place, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-12-positive_2400
Nevern Place, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

A whole block along the south side of Nevern Place, between Earls Court Road and Templeton Place has around 15 doorways each framed by a pair of these spiral columns. As my picture shows, the twists on each side of the door are in opposing directions.

Twisted columns were brought to Rome, probably from Greece in the 4th century by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great for the first St Peter’s Basilica. Legend grew that they came from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, though they were probably made several centuries after that was destroyed, but their use in Byzantine architecture may possibly have been based on the oak tree used for the Ark of the Covenant. ‘Barley sugar’ columns became popular in Baroque architecture thanks to Bernini and were known as Solomonic columns. I’m not sure whether this is the correct term for these, which are made of a series of spiral elements around a central core.

Nevern Place, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-14-positive_2400
Nevern Square, Earls Court, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Nevern Place leads into Nevern Square where I photographed this impressive pair of doors.

Richard Tauber, grave, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-22-positive_2400
Richard Tauber’s grave, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Brompton Cemetery was one of seven large private cemeteries set up around 1840 when London’s churchyards and existing cemeteries were full to overflowing. This Grade I listed cemetery is now owned by the Crown and managed by the Royal Parks. Among the over 200,000 buried there (and there is space for more) are a number of well-known people – Wikipedia has a long list, though most of them I’ve never heard of.

Back in 1987 people were clearly coming to the grave of Austrian tenor and film actor Richard Tauber (1891-1948) and most of them had probably attended his concerts or had his voice on gramophone records.

Emmeline Pankhurst, memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-24-positive_2400
Emmeline Pankhurst memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928) is remembered by a rather fine memorial by Julian Phelps Allan, a woman sculptor born Eva Dorothy Allan, who changed her name to a more masculine version probably because it was hard for women sculptors to get work and continued to use the title ‘Miss’ and feminine pronouns.

Benjamin Webster, memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-31-positive_2400
Benjamin Webster memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

I knew nothing about Benjamin Webster when I took several pictures of his gravestone, although it tells me he was an actor. I find that there have been two well-known actors called . This one was an actor-mnaager and dramatist and was born in Bath so I don’t know why he had Nottingham in his name though it doesn’t appear on the gravestone. It can be a little of a shock to see him still staring out at you with one eye.

Benjamin Webster, memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-32-positive_2400
Benjamin Webster memorial, Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Benjamin Nottingham Webster named his son William Shakespeare Webster, and his son was Benjamin Nottingham Webster III who also became an actor, though more normally known as Ben Webster. There is also another actor Ben Webster, still so far as I know living, but for me Ben Webster is a guy with a tenor sax who I spent an unsuccesful afternoon trying to entertain in Manchester many years ago trying to keep him sober enough to play. He got through a bottle of whisky and seemed more or less incapable, but then got up on stage and played so beautifully I cried.

Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-45-positive_2400
Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The Colonade around the Great Circle, designed by the cemetery’s architect, Benjamin Baud and based on the piazza in front of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. It was made for people to walk around – and a stroll around the cemetery was popular among well-off Victorians who would hold family picnics in the grounds.

Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-52-positive_2400
Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Nowadays it remains a popular place to go, particularly for film crews and photographers – and you may have to wait some time if you want to avoid others in your pictures. According to Wikipedia, “The cemetery has a reputation for being a popular cruising ground for gay men”.

Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12b-65-positive_2400
Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Clicking on any of the pictures above will take you to a larger version in my Flickr album 1987 London Photos from where you can browse forwards or back through the pictures.