Posts Tagged ‘Kensington’

Architectural Icing

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

Brunswick Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-35-positive_2400

I suppose my photography is always a catalogue of obsessions, but at times and in particular places this shows more strongly.

Palace Garden Terrace,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-43-positive_2400

Most of these pictures were taken in Kensington, with just a couple in Primrose Hill.

Brunswick Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-32-positive_2400

Photographically there is a certain interest in rendering these essentially white surfaces – as some photographers have found with subjects like white eggs on a white plate.

Inverness Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-26-positive_2400

But I suppose that there might be more Freudian interpretations of at least some of these pictures.

Inverness Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-24-positive_2400

London developed hugely in the nineteenth century with stock brick for the workers and stucco for the middle classes, and I still feel something of an outsider in these wealthy areas, although some had become pretty down-at-heel by the 70s and 80s when I was making these pictures.

Inverness Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-22-positive_2400

Since then, most of them have been tidied up and refurbished, and more divided into flats now often worth rather my than my own outer suburban house.

St Mark's Square, Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987 87-10c-53-positive_2400

There are times I find myself rather despising what appears to be overdone icing on the architectural cake, and looking for something with a little more depth and variation.

Park Village East, Regent's Park Camden, 1987 87-10c-31-positive_2400


Kensington Church St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10c-15-positive_2400

There is something of the fairly tale about these houses and the pictures, and although I had committed myself to photographing all of London I felt a longing to get away from Kensington and back to the real world.



Clicking on any of the pictures above will take you to my Flickr Album 1987 London Photos where you can view larger versions.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

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.



Victoria & Kensington

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020
Victoria Palace, theatre, Victoria St, Victoria, Westminster, 1987 87-9g-25-positive_2400

The car in the foreground seemed appropriate for ‘High Society’ at the Victoria Palace, but I would have preferred it without the foreground post. But this wasn’t a planned photoshoot, just a car that happened to stop at the traffic lights while I was looking at the threatre, and it moved off before I could change my position.

Morpeth Terrace, Victoria, Westminster, 1987 87-9g-31-positive_2400

Morpeth Terrace runs along the west side of Westminster Cathedral, and its mansion flats have over the years housed some notable residents. A few doors down the street a black plaque records that Winston and Clementine Churchill lived here from 1930-39.

They had apparently bought the flat on the fifth and sixth floor from Lloyd George, who reportedly had housed his mistress there. It was in the study of the flat that Churchill held a meeting with other MPs and wrote a letter to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain urging him to send Hitler an ultimatum the day before war was declared in 1919.

Later the same flat is said to have been home to Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva. But if so, her stay there was probably brief as she defected while on a trip to India, going to the US embassy in New Delhi and became a US citizen, though later moved for a short while to Cambridge before returning to Russia and then back to the USA.

I photographed this end of building rather than the part of the block with the Churchill plaque as it seemed more interesting. You can also see it was in rather poor external condition at the time – it has since been refurbished.

Baxendale & Sadler, Hatherley St, Victoria, Westminster, 1987 87-9g-52-positive_2400

It looked as if Baxendale & Sadler, Electrical Engineers and Contractors might still have been in business, though their shop front was rather the worse for wear. I think it had once said they were established in 1956.

The shop, a few yards from Vauxhall Bridge Road, is now residential.

Empire Hospital, for Paying Patients, Vane St, Westminster, 1987 87-9g-54-positive_2400

The Empire Hospital for Paying Patients in Vane St, Westminster obviously rather predated the National Health Service, and according to the Lost Hospitals of London web site was “opened in December 1913, intended to receive paying patients, primarily visitors from overseas” and was a nursing home with no doctors or surgical staff. Taken over as a military hospital it became the “Empire Hospital for Officers (for Injuries to the Nervous System)” and closed in 1919.

Later it became the Grange Rochester Hotel and is now the the Rochester Hotel by Blue Orchid, and looks rather more welcoming, with the text above the door covered by a hotel sign.

Palace Garden Terrace, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-56-positive_2400

Wyndham Lewis (1882-57) disliked the name ‘Percy’ and dropped it, but others continued to use it and it appears on the GLC plaque in Palace Garden Terrace, Kensington which does not record when he lived here.

Born on a yacht, Lewis went to Rugby School and the Slade before studying in Paris before settling in London. A founder member of the ‘Camden Town Group’ he became one of Britains leading painters, best known for what Ezra Pound named as ‘vorticism’. After serving as an officer in the Great War he was made a war artist. In the late 1920s he turned mainly to writing and had produced over 40 books before his death.

Between the houses you can see Courtlands, described as a former coach house, though it looks rather more grand than that. The terrace seemed overpowering with long and largely unbroken stretches of largely white stucco, and these brick houses with a vista of a white villa attracted me.

Mall Chambers, Kensington Mall,  Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-55-positive_2400

The Grade II listing for Mall Chambers on Kensington Mall is unusually concise, at least at its start: “Improved industrial dwellings. 1865-8. J Murray. Yellow brick, stone dressings. Five storeys. Corner site, with corner entrance.” Towards the end it quotes Building News from 1868 “”intended for a class somewhat above ordinary mechanics and labourers”.

That is of course even more true now. A three bed flat here sold for £741,000 in 2014.

Kensington Church St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 87-10d-52-positive_2400

Joseph Yates Timber Merchants were suprisingly still in business here until fairly recently and its timber yard now houses a luxurious four bedroom town house. Yates’ shop on the left of its carriage entrance is now The Kensington Cigar Shop.

The planning permission granted in 2004 required the retention of the lettering on the front of the building.

You can click on any of the images to see the larger version on Flickr and to browse more of the album 1987 London Photos.