Posts Tagged ‘Kensington Gardens’

Kensington 1987

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Kensington Square,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10f-65-positive_2400
Kensington Square, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Kensington often seemed to me to be more a film set than a real place.

HyperHyper, Kensington High St,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10f-55-positive_2400
HyperHyper, Kensington High St, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

And it was certainly in places ‘HyperHyper’; this designer collective was launched in 1982 at 26-40 Kensington High St with stalls selling the latest and often looniest fashions from young designers. The caryatids were a hangover from the store’s previous incarnation as the Antiques Hypermarket. They are now long gone, and the site is now a rather down-market clothing store.

Viscount Hotel, Victoria Rd, Kensington,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10f-02-positive_2400
Viscount Hotel, Victoria Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

This building is still there, though under a different name and has lost its urns. Victoria Road is one of a number of streets that have at least once been named as the most expensive streets in the United Kingdom, though the hotel seems rather reasonably priced for the area.

Kensington Gardens,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10e-56-positive_2400
Kensington Gardens, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Mainly I went to Kensington Gardens to sit and eat my sandwich lunch when I was in the area, but I did take the odd picture.

Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10e-01-positive_2400
Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

And another, of the sunken garden, set out in 1908. In 2017 it was named the Princess Diana Memorial Garden, but this picture was taken around ten years before she was killed.

Man with model yacht, Round Pond, Kensington Gardens,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10e-42-positive_2400
Man with model yacht, Round Pond, Kensington Gardens, Westminster, 1987

Parts of the gardens, including the Round Pond, are in the London Borough of Westminster. The Round Pond is not remotely round, closer to an oval, but more a rectangle with very rounded corners.

Kensington Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10e-23-positive_2400
Kensington Rd, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

This building with its magnificent winged lions is still there, and still a hotel, but with a different name, and a different entrance and railings.

De Vere Mews, Canning Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10e-14-positive_2400
De Vere Cottages, Canning Place, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

As the out of focus area at right indicates, I took this picture of a private courtyard through a gate from the street. It was originally built as Laconia Mews in 1877-8, with rooms for coaches at ground level, a steeply curved ramp leading to stables on the first floor with living accomodation for the carriage drivers and grooms on the second floor. It was converted into cottages shortly after the First World War and most has been considerably rebuilt since then, and a ‘cottage’ here now sells for £2-3 million.

Kensington Church St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-10d-62-positive_2400
Kensington Church St, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

This row of shops remains, although all the names are different. Then they were mainly antique dealers and galleries, now slightly more varied.


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.


May and Mayfair 1987

Monday, August 24th, 2020
The Fountains, Hyde Park, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-41-positive_2400

I’ve tried on several occasions to photograph the Italian Fountains in Kensington Gardens, an ornamental garden said to have been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria in around 1860, designed by James Pennethorne and incorporating ideas from their holiday home at Osborne House on The Isle of Wight. There are five main designs on the urns there, including the ram’s heads you see a few times in this picture, a swan’s breast, woman’s head, dolphin and oval. Taken in May when I think the trees in the background are at their best, some in leaf and others still showing their structure. The garden has been renovated since I made this picture.

Connaught Place, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-61-positive_2400

There seems to be a gate to the pavement of Connaught Place in Bayswater, probably to keep out the riff-raff like you and me, and I clearly chose to photograph through it as a frame to the formal architecture of the line of grand porches beyond. Although there are extremely expensive properties in a prestigious address, I find them rather dull, these heavy porches uneasy add-ons to the bland five-storey plain brick behind – which I chose not to include in my picture. But despite the porches, these are really the back doors of these building.

Bayswater Rd, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-5g-63-positive_2400

The houses may have their doors in Connaught Place but the clearly face to Hyde Park, where the row has these magnificent balconies. I also photographed them in landscape format, but need to replace that image on Flickr as I find the negative moved at left to give a double image when I was making the digital camera ‘scan’, probably because the negative holder was not fully closed.

87-5h-24-positive_2400

Shepherd Market in Mayfair describes itself as “a charming small square and piazza with a variety of boutique shops, restaurants and impressive Victorian pubs” and ” A hidden gem known for its wonderful relaxed village-like atmosphere.” It gets its name from Edward Shepherd who developed the area in 1735-46 on open ground where the annual May Fair had been held. Wikipedia comments “It was associated with upmarket prostitutes from its building up until at least the 1980s” and they were still in business when I made these pictures in the area. In 1987 it still retained something of the shabby charm from its really run-down times when it was popular with artists and writers 60 years earlier. The area is something of a maze of streets and alleys and I no longer recall exactly where this picture was taken.

Shepherd Market, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5i-35-positive_2400

You can still find Da Corradi’s Italian Restaurant and Ye Grapes in Shepherd Market though I think both have changed somewhat are there are now more tables in the narrow street.

Hertford St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5h-64-positive_2400

Hertford St runs from Park Lane to Shepherd Market and then takes a turn north to Curzon St. This building is still there on the corner with Shepherd St and I think is a part of an expensive and exclusive private member’s club outside which I’ve recently photographed protests calling for kitchen staff to get a living wage and better conditions of service. The club is on five floors and includes a nightclub, four restaurants, four bars, a private dining room, cigar shop, a courtyard and a roof terrace and has a dress code which prohibits ‘sportswear of any kind’, t-shirts, shorts, sandals and dirty trainers. Personally having watched the kind of people who go into it I’m pleased not to be a member.

Hertford St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5h-35-positive_2400

Towering above the western end of Hertford St is the ugly bulk of the London Hilton in Park Lane, the first Hilton to open in the UK in 1963. 331 Feet tall it overlooks Mayfair, Hyde Park and, more controversially at the time of building, Buckingham Palace and its gardens. The hotel is on 28 floors and has 453 rooms and according to Wikipedia is now the 84th equal tallest building in London, though around twenty still under construction will soon edge it out of the top 100, though I think it will remain one of the tallest in the West End – only Centre Point and the Millbank Tower are taller.