The Boltons

Article, West Brompton

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Article · West Brompton · SW10 · Contributed by Scott Hatton

In 1807, William Boulton sold the land between the Old Brompton Road and the Fulham Road to the confec­tioner James Gunter, who as a result of this and other acquis­itions became the dominant landowner in this part of Kensington, which then consisted mostly of market gardens and nurseries.

In 1819 and his son Robert Gunter inherited the estate and began to lease parcels of land for house­building. After Robert Gunter’s death in 1852 his sons Robert and James continued the process.

By the end of the 1840s several minor mansions stood along the local section of the Old Brompton Road (but set so far back from that road that sizeable houses could later be built in their front gardens), including the extant Osborn House, and to its east Bladen (or Bladon) Lodge and the neo-​​Greek Sidmouth Lodge – which was named, it is thought, after its first occupant’s home town.

South of those lodges George Godwin junior, architect and editor of The Builder magazine, laid out the vesica piscis (pointed oval) of the Boltons in 1849 and soon afterwards built the central church of St Mary, West Brompton (now St Mary, The Boltons) and then the houses on the east side.

The unusually aisleless, cruciform St Mary’s was consecrated on 22 October 1850 and its spire was added in 1854. The interior was rearranged in 1872 and again in 1952. A two-​​storey church hall was attached in 1965–6. The gardens north and south of the church are only accessible to residents of the Boltons. However, the Boltons Gardens Enclosure, which immediately surrounds the church, is open to everyone.

Godwin built the houses on the west side in 1857–60, after which devel­opment rapidly spread westward, beginning with the Little Boltons and ultimately extending to the edge of Brompton cemetery.

The Boltons’ stuccoed Italianate mansions verge on the palatial, are rich in ornamental detail and are all now grade II listed. It has been suggested that the difficult economic circum­stances of the time prompted the decision to build such luxurious residences, because the very wealthy were less likely to have been adversely affected by the downturn.

Sidmouth Lodge was demolished in 1937 to make way for the Frobisher (later Earls Court) telephone exchange. This has since been replaced by three 21st-​​century houses on Boltons Place (which was originally the northern section of Gilston Road). These were designed in a style that harmonises impressively with the neigh­bouring properties and one has since been sold for over £50m.

The highly regarded Bousfield primary school opened in 1956. It was built mainly on the site of Bladen Lodge, which had been bombed in the war. The school’s grade II listed buildings were designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon – the partnership best known for its work on the Barbican.

Some of the locality’s houses were converted to flats while others were adapted for commercial or insti­tu­tional use. For much of the 20th century, numbers 20 and 21 The Boltons served as Our Lady’s convent, which was run by the Franciscan missionaries of Mary, together with a girls’ hostel next door. However, many properties have retained, or been returned to, their original purpose – that of single family houses – more than have buildings of similar size in most other parts of London.

Past residents of the Boltons include the lyricist WS Gilbert, the ‘Swedish Nightingale’ Jenny Lind and the film star Douglas Fairbanks Jr, who once had the Queen and Prince Philip over for dinner. The children’s writer Beatrix Potter lived with her parents at 2 Bolton Gardens from her birth until her marriage in 1913, when she moved to the Lake District.

Source: Hidden London

The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
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The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
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The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
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The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
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The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.


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The Boltons

Owen Close, UB4
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Owen Close, UB4

Owen Close is a road in the UB4 postcode area

Brompton:   Brompton is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Gloucester Road:   Gloucester Road: Where Rumpole of the Bailey hung his hat.
West Brompton:   West Brompton is a Network Rail West London Line and London Overground and Underground (District Line) station in west London.

Ashburn Gardens, SW7 · Ashburn Place, SW7 · Astwood Mews, SW7 · Barkston Gardens, SW5 · Billing Road, SW10 · Billing Street, SW10 · Bina Gardens, SW5 · Bolton Gardens, SW5 · Bramham Gardens, SW5 · Brechin Place, SW7 · Cavaye Place, SW10 · Clareville Grove, SW7 · Clareville Street, SW7 · Coleherne Road, SW10 · Collingham Gardens, SW5 · Collingham Place, SW5 · Collingham Road, SW5 · Courtfield Gardens, SW5 · Courtfield Road, SW7 · Cranley Mews, SW7 · Cresswell Place, SW10 · Cromwell Road, SW5 · Drayton Gardens, SW10 · Elm Park Gardens, SW10 · Esher House, SW10 · Fawcett Street, SW10 · Finborough Road, SW10 · Fulham Road, SW10 · Gertrude Street, SW10 · Gilston Road, SW10 · Gloucester Road, SW7 · Harley Gardens, SW10 · Harrington Gardens, SW7 · Hesper Mews, SW5 · Hollywood Road, SW10 · Ifield Road, SW10 · Knaresborough Place, SW5 · London House, SW10 · Munro Terrace, SW10 · Nightingale Place, SW10 · Old Brompton Road, SW5 · Owen Close, UB4 · Pennant Mews, W8 · Redcliffe Gardens, SW10 · Redcliffe Place, SW10 · Redcliffe Square, SW10 · Redcliffe Street, SW10 · Redfield Lane, SW5 · Roland Gardens, SW7 · Roland Way, SW7 · Rosary Gardens, SW7 · South Bolton Gardens, SW5 · St Lukes Church Hall, SW10 · Stanhope Gardens, SW7 · Stanhope Mews West, SW7 · The Boltons, SW10 · Tregunter Road, SW10 · Wetherby Gardens, SW5 · Wetherby Place, SW7 · Whistler Walk, SW10 ·



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