Posts Tagged ‘South Kensington’

Around Chelsea

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
Michelin Building,  Fulham Rd, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-46-positive_2400
Michelin Building, Lucan Place, Fulham Rd, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-46

It was too hard to resist the Michelin Building any time I walked past, though I felt it had already been photographed to death – and most of my pictures were in colour, including closer views of its decorative panels.

Opened in 1911 as the first UK headquarters and tyre depot for the Michelin Tyre Company Ltd, and designed by Michelin employee and engineer François Espinasse it was more an architectural advertising hoarding featuring the Michelin Man ‘Bibendum’, his name derived from “Nunc Est Bibendum“, “Now is the time to drink”. A precursor of art-deco, it is grade II listed. It was also a fairly early use of ferro-concrete, using the Hennebique system, which gave its interior wide spaces for a tyre bay and made it relatively fire-proof. This picture was made three years after Michelin moved out, when the building was redeveloped by publisher Paul Hamlyn and restaurateur/retailer Sir Terence Conran as offices, shop and restaurant. (mainly from Wikipedia.)

Fulham Road, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-54-positive_2400
Trees, Fulham Road, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-54

This house is on the west corner of Pelham Crescent, and the three trees that attracted my attention are still there, remarkably little changed 33 years later, though of course each spring they get covered with leaves.

Selwood Terrace, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-61-positive_2400
Selwood Terrace, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-61

The east side of this street is Neville Terrace and the west side is Selwood Terrace. This front garden with a wall covered with ivy is close to the Fulham Road and I think both wall and ivy have disappeared, possibly as a part of a basement extension to the property.

South Parade, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-62-positive_2400
South Parade, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-62

I think this tall building probably dates from around 1892 and is part of long terrace including a former fire station with that date on the north side of Chelsea Square. It was the Nurses Home for the Royal Brompton Hospital and is still a part of the hospital. Chelsea square was named Trafalgar Square when it was laid out in 1810 but that was later used for a rather larger square in Westminster. The square later became a tennis club before much of the area was rebuilt in neo-Georgian style in the 1930s.

The Crown, pub, Dovehouse St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-63-positive_2400
The Crown, Dovehouse St, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-63

The Crown pub is on the corner of Dovehouse St and Dudmaston Mews, just a few yards south of the Fulham Rd and more or less surrounded by hospitals. No longer a Whitbread pub it has lost the crown sign, replaced by a dreary sign with a neon crown, and other largely flowery embellishments have ruined the simplicity of the frontage. The Princess Of Wales at the left of the row of buildings closed as a pub around 2000 and is now a French restaurant, with considerably more expensive food than The Crown.

Kings Road, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-11-positive_2400
Kings Road, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-11

I took fewer pictures of the Kings Road than I should have done. This shop window display seemed more erotic than most.

Kings Road, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-16-positive_2400
Kings Road, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-16

These rather disparate buildings are still there on the Kings Road, on the south side just east of Radnor Walk, though now occupied by different shops and rather less trendy.

Jubilee Place, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-15-positive_2400
Jubilee Place, Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, 1988 88-5a-15

And immediately opposite the previous picture is Jubilee place, leading north with this house and wrought ironwork at No 9 over double gates leading down to a basement garage.

Click on any of the images to go to larger versions in my album 1988 London Photos were you can browse through these and other pictures.


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.


Blacklands, Blowup, Flats, Baby Doll & more: 1988

Saturday, August 14th, 2021

Blacklands Terrace, Earl Jellicoe, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988   88-4r-23-positive_2400
Blacklands Terrace, Earl Jellicoe, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-23

A GLC plaque records that Admiral of the Fleet Earl Jellicoe (1859-1935) lived in this house.

Blacklands Lane ran from the Kings Road to Fulham Road; most was renamed Marlborough Road in the 1820s and later became Draycott Avenue. The name Blacklands possibly came from the dark earth of Chelsea Common and was a small hamlet and a large house dating at least from the 1680s which at the start of the 18th century was a French boarding school for young ladies and became an asylum for the insane in the 19th century and Samuel Wesley spent some time as a patient there in 1808. Blacklands Terrace was developed at the end of the 19th century taking its name from the house a short distance to the west and was on a part of its extensive estate There was also a house nearby called Whitelands, which became a paper factory. The short street is now best known for a restaurant (an earlier version was a location in Blowup) and a independent bookshop opened by John Sandoe in 1957.

Blacklands Terrace, Bray Place, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-4r-25-positive_2400
Blacklands Terrace, Bray Place, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-25-positive_2400

Both the outside of Andrea’s Restaurant and the interior feature in the film ‘Blowup’ made in 1966 and its exterior had changed little 22 years later. After than it became El Blason Restaurant & Tapas Bar and then in 2013 went considerably upmarket as The Five Fields with a Michelin star and prices to match.

Lucan Place, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-4r-31-positive_2400
Lucan Place, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-31

This huge block of flats in Brompton is the rear of Chelsea Cloisters, ten storeys with over 800 small flats as well as shops etc along its Sloane Avenue frontage, built in the 1930s, demolishing the earlier houses on the site. The block was controversially bought in 1968 by the Freshwater Corporation. The conversion of part of the property into a hotel was extremely controversial, and many tenants lost their homes. Plans by the GLC and Kensington & Chelsea council to buy the block for public housing fell through and in 1984 the 747 flats, garage, petrol-filling station, restaurant, and coffee shop were sold. It was then extensively refurbished. (British History Online.)

Bury Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-34-positive_2400
Bury Walk, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-34

The entrance into a small private courtyard in front of 53 Bury Walk still has this pair of lions proudly guarding a rather plain and basic gate. The street perhaps gets its name (previously Bury Street) as it led to St Lukes Burial Ground. It was developed on Chelsea Common in the nineteenth century.

Flats, Kinbolton Row, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-43-positive_2400
Flats, Kinbolton Row, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-43

These flats are I think Thurloe Court which consists of two linked blocks, that at right with a frontage on the Fulham Road, or possibly a neighbouring 1930s block of flats, and I walked down the narrow Kinbolton Way to take this picture bwtween the blocks. An estate agent describes it as a “charming, period, redbrick portered mansion block ideally situated between South Kensington, Knightsbridge and Sloane Square” and flats there are valued at £1.5-£2m.

Shop, Fulham Rd, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-44-positive_2400
Shop, Fulham Rd, Brompton, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-44

The Baby Doll poster is for the 1956 American dramatic black comedy film directed by Elia Kazan. I think the shop is probably in Crescent Mansions at 113 Fulham Road. Steps led down to a basement where men’s clothes were for sale.

Pelham Crescent, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-45-positive_2400
Pelham Crescent, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-45

Pelham Crescent was named after Henry Thomas Pelham, third Earl of Chichester, one of the trustees of the Smith’s Charity which acquired the land from nurserymen Samuel Harrison and William Bristow who went bankrupt in 1832. George Basevi junior provided the drawings for the house frontages which were contracted to builder James Bonnin who was required to build houses worth at least £800 and complete the job in seven years. (British History Online.) They now sell for over £10m.

Click on any of the images to see a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos and to browse the images there.


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.


South Kensington and Chelsea 1988

Friday, August 13th, 2021

Redherring, Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-52-positive_2400
Redherring, Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-52

Red Herring had a shop for some years at 6 Old Brompton Road, more or less opposite South Kensington Station, which has now for some years been an opticians. They sold trendy casual clothes for women including shoes and bags. The poster at left in Arabic I think reflects the Iranian presence in the area.

Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-53a-positive_2400
Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-53

The Brompton Hotel is still there at 30 Old Brompton Road, getting rather mixed review which perhaps reflect its 3* status and rather cheap rates for London. You can no longer go in and swear an oath at Lawrence Bloomfield, though the curious short pillar is still there. The Punch wine bar has last its superstructure, though the low wall at the bottom remains and there is still a popular bar area, but now steps lead down to a steak restaurant.

Imperial Hotel, Queen's Gate, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-4q-62-positive_2400
Imperial Hotel, Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-62

I couldn’t resist another picture of the Imperial Hotel on the corner of Queen’s Gate and Harrington Rd, demolished in 1992 and since then a cleared site used as a car park. In an earlier post I mentioned that planning permission had been granted in 1975 for the erection behind this facade of a cultural centre for the Islamic Republic of Iran and twenty self-contained flats, and later by Kensington and Chelsea for the use of the cleared site as a car park pending the building of this.

Shop,  Harrington Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-4q-63-positive_2400
Shop, Harrington Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-63

There was a crude simplicity about this mosaic of a bottle advertising the off-licence to its left that attracted my attention.

Instutut Francais, Queensberry Place, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-64-positive_2400
Instutut Francais, Queensberry Place, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-64

The Institut français du Royaume-Uni was begun in 1910 by Marie d’Orliac to introduce Londoners to well-known French writers, thinkers and artists. This building in Queensbury Place by architect Patrice Bonnet (1979-1964) in an art deco style was opened in 1939. Along the top of the facade are an olive branch, a cockerel, an asp and an owl, symbolising peace, courage, knowledge and wisdom. The Grade II listing text attributes the building to A J Thomas, a former assistant of Edwin L Lutyens and the architect of St Pancras Town Hall.

Bray Place, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-4r-13-positive_2400
Bray Place, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-13

Bray Place is a short street a little to the north and parallel to the King’s Road in Chelsea presumably named for Sir Reginald Bray who owned the manor at the time of Henry VII. This house with its two round windows is on the corner with Draycott Ave.

Bray Place, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-14-positive_2400
Bray Place, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-14

Mr Brunello is no longer here, and the shop is now a hairdresser, on the corner opposite the previous image at 3 Bray Place. The view is looking down Draycott Ave to the houses on Coulson St, and above them the tall block of flats, Whitelands House, a 10 storey block of flats dating from 1935-7 above the shops in the Kings Road by Frank Verity & Sam Beverley.

Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-15-positive_2400
Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4r-15

I can tell you nothing about this small half-timbered house on Draycott Avenue, which I suspect is considerably more modern than it looks. At a glance the tiles and windows look remarkably ancient, and the beams have something of the character found in genuinely old buildings. Perhaps someone reading this will know more and comment.

Click on any of the above images to go to a larger version in the album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse through other pictures that I made in that year in London.


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.


South Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021
Roland Gardens,  South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-65-positive_2400
Roland Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-65

More pictures from my wandering walks around South Kensington.

Another of the houses in Roland Gardens, No 46, was built in 1883-5 for Peter Le Page Renouf, a former professor of ancient history and Oriental languages, an Inspector of schools who in 1886 became the Keeper of Oriental Antiquities in the British Museum, and was occupied after his death in 1897 by his wife and daughter. Since the late 1930s the house together with No40, 42 and 44, is now St Teresa’s Home, a care home run by Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. According to the Survey of London, the architect of this Tudor Gothic house, which is “reminiscent of a Victorian country vicarage, and has a prominent corner tower capped by a small spire” was most probably T Chatfeild Clarke who designed the rather similar Parmiter’s School in Bethnal Green.

Poster, Queensgate, SOuth Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-03-positive_2400
Poster, Queensgate, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-03

The Iranian Embassy in London is in Princes Gate overlooking Hyde Park and there is also a Consular section in Kensington Court in South Kensington, as well as a vacant site on the corner of Harrington Rd and Queens Gate, so it was perhaps not surprising to find this poster calling on Ayatollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of Iran, to stop killing children and end his terrorism and mad war, though it was a called destined to fall on deaf ears.

Shop, Fulham Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-12a-positive_2400
Shop, Fulham Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-12

I think my bus to South Kensington went along the Fulham Road, and I decided to alight here and take a few pictures. I’m not sure who would want to buy any of the things on display here or what they would do with them, other than the fireplaces which are around the edges, but I am sure they would all be very expensive.

Fulham Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-22-positive_2400
Fulham Rd, Chelsea, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-22

I suspect it will have been this shopfront which made me get off the bus, and take a few pictures on the corner of Sydney St on my way home from South Kensington. The shop window has the name of New Zealand born interior designer Anouska Hempel (Lady Weinberg) whose “vision of a utopian world encompasses luxury design from landscapes, gardens, hotels and residential to retail, yachts and couture” according to her website.

This location is now occupied by a Thai restaurant which a rather plain frontage, and the pub opposite, the Cranley, which can be glimpsed in a reflection in the window in one of the pictures closed bin 1990.

Onslow Square, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-33-positive_2400
Onslow Square, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-33

Onslow Square is between Fulham Road and South Kensington station and is on land purchased by the trustees of the Henry Smith Charity in the 1620s from the Earl of Onslow. Henry Smith had made his fortune as a moneylender in the City. When the chrity trustees leased land to Charles Freake to build the square they insisted they were built to the specifications of their architect George Basevi. The first houses were completed in 1847 two years after Basevi’s death and the square was only completed in 1865, with later houses diverging from his designs with exposed stock bricks. The Smith Charity estate was sold to the Wellcome Trust in the late 1970’s.

French school, Queensberry Way, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-41-positive_2400
French school, Queensberry Way, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-41

The Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle has a distinctly French look to its building along Harrington Road and Queensbury Way, known as Victor Hugo, which was built in the 1980s. The concrete structures at the entrance from Queensbury Way, (this was one of a pair) have been replaced.

Small Ads, Harrington Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-42-positive_2400
Small Ads, Harrington Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-42

I was amused by the range of small adds, offering dance lessons, corrective training, Caribbean Beauty, health therapy, French massage, electrical repairs, a Morris Oxford, a flat for students and more.

Vacani, School of Dance, Harrington Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-4q-43-positive_2400
Vacani School of Dance, Harrington Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4q-43

The Vacani School of Dance was founded in 1915 by Marguerite Vacani and later taken over by her niece Betty Vacani, and the pair of them later gave private lessons to the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Lady Diana Spencer later spent three months as an apprentice teacher at the school. Founded in Knightsbridge it moved to South Kensington under Elfrida Eden and Mary Stassinopoulos in the early 1980s. There are now Vacani schools in Clapham and Woking.

The doorway is still there on Harrington Rd, but now longer a school of dancing, but at the side of the South Kensington Club at 38-42.


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.


Sculptors, Homes, Graffiti and Blaises, 1988

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

Dora House, Sculptors, sculpture, Old Brompton Rd,  South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-36-positive_2400
Dora House, Sculptors, sculpture, Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-36

Dora House at 108-10 Old Brompton Road was originally built in 1820 by builder William Blake as 7 & 8 Gloucester Terrace, but they were considerably adapted and the frontage here and in the next picture dates from 1885-86, when the house became the studios of portrait photographers Elliot and Fry of Baker St. The firm employed a number of photographers and as well as Baker St (which they left in 1919) had several other studios and a printing works in Barnet. Many of their early negatives were destroyed by bombing in the second World War, and the rest are now held by the National Portrait Gallery. They photographed many of the leading personalities of the Victorian era.

Dora House, Sculptors, sculpture, Old Brompton Rd,  South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-36-positive_2400
Dora House, Sculptors, sculpture, Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-36

Stonework on the new frontage was carved by John McCulloch, wrought iron by Alfred A. Newman and the architect was William Flockhart. The building is Grade II listed. The house was leased and later bought by sculptor Cecil Walter Thomas in 1919 and later he set up the Dora Charitable Trust, named after his late wife, to make the house available to the Royal British Society of Sculptors after his death. They have occupied it as a studio museum since 1979, opening it to the public with family activities and temporary exhibitions.

Clareville St, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-22a-positive_2400
Clareville St, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-22

Clareville St, off the Gloucester Rd and the Old Brompton Road, was developed after 1820 when the landowner, Catherine Lee let the ground to William Blake of Pear Tree Lodge, Little Chelsea, a builder and bricklayer, on a 99 year lease to build houses that at least met the London Building Act of 1774 for ‘fourth-rate’ houses.

Along the two main roads, Blake built rather larger houses – including what is now Dora House, but in the two back streets there were smaller houses to varied designs, including detached villas and terraces. As the Survey of London says, these “gave the estate a distinctly intimate character which it still retains, despite much subsequent rebuilding and infilling.”

Clareville St, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-23-positive_2400
Clareville St, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-23

When built the streets here were named Gloucester Grove, Gloucester Grove East and Gloucester Grove West, but were later renamed Clareville Grove and Clareville Street after Clareville Cottage which was a short distance further west outside this estate.

Imperial Hotel, Queens Gate, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-24-positive_2400
Imperial Hotel, Queens Gate, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-24

If you go to see the Imperial Hotel on the corner of Harrington Road now all you will find is an empty plot surrounded by fences and used as a car park. The demolition of the hotel was completed in 1992 after the borough of Kensington & Chelsea had granted planing permission for this use “pending redevelopment.” Permission for the redevelopmentof this listed building, I think a part of the Harrington estate and dating from the 1860s, had been granted by the GLC in 1975 for the provision of a new cultural centre for the Islamic Republic of Iran and twenty self-contained flats but with the development to be behind the existing facade. I don’t know whether later planning permission allowed full demolition or whether this was carried out illegally.

No development has taken place on this very expensive piece of land since, and I wonder if it is still owned by Iran but sanctions against that country have prevented any building. The hotel was better known in earlier years for its basement club Blaises, a music venue where among others The Byrds, John Lee Hooker, Ike & Tina Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Pink Floyd, Bo Diddley, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Captain Beefhear and The Pretty Things played.

St Augustine's Church, Queens Gate, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-26-positive_2400
St Augustine’s Church, Queens Gate, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-26

The demolition of the Imperial Hotel next door to St Augustine’s Church means we can now see the north side of the church; when I made this picture only its frontage was visible from Queen’s Gate. This II* listed building is said to be the second-best surviving church by William Butterfield; it opened for worship in 1871, but was only completed in 1876. The listing text is brief, probably because it was listed in 1949, but mentions its yellow brick with red and black bricks and stone as well as the Gothic western bellcote with flanking pinnacles.

The building replaced an earlier temporary iron church built in the garden of its priest in Gloucester Road in 1865, where services were said to be “Popery itself under the thinnest guise of the Protestant name” (Wikipedia.) Plans to build a larger replacement were blocked for some years by the Bishop of London, probably because of this extreme Anglo-Catholicism, but also because there were already plenty of churches in the area already, and the building could only begin after he moved away to become Archibishop of Canterbury. The listing text and some other sources wrongly give the date of the church as 1865.

Roland Gardens,  South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-53-positive_2400
Roland Gardens, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-53

In the 1890s this house at 43 Roland Gardents was the home of Mrs Ada Freeman Gell, (aka Mrs Newman Gell, Miss Ada Evershed) (1849-1929) a solicitor’s daughter from Brighton who became an artist who apparently exhibited both sculpture and paintings from around 1888-1898. Several of her sculptures are in the Brighton Art Gallery though I think not on public display.

The development of the site was diverted in the 1970s by the craze for roller-skating and an open-air rink was opened on a large site here in 1876 and soon covered over to enable all-weather skating. In 1889 the site was sold to the firm of Aldin and Plater who had developed other houses in the road. They obtained a licence from the London County Council to build “private Studios for Painters” and sold the site on to a local builder who completed Nos 43 and 45 in 1891-2.

Graffiti, art, Cranley Mews, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-62a-positive_2400
Graffiti, art, Cranley Mews, South Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-4p-62

This graffiti was on a large and rather dirty stone-faced wall, on Cranley Mews, on the section of the street leading down from Cranley Gardens to the main mews street behind the houses. The wall on the side of 54 Cranley Gardens was repainted in 2014 and the cracks no longer show, but there was no trace of the graffiti remaining before that. The rather utilitarian light fitting was replace some years earlier by a more ornate lantern on a fancy iron bracket. But no, I didn’t think it was art, though I have seen some even sillier things that were accepted as such.

Click on any of the images to go to the album where you can see large images and browse others on-line in 1988 London Photos.

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.


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.