Lots Road, SW10

Lots Road, older than the surrounding streets, was once Pooles Lane which was a track leading to Chelsea Farm.

From Anglo-Saxon times, the land on the northern banks of the Thames was divided into individually owned ‘lots’, and open to common pasturage after the annual harvest. In 1825 the ‘Lammas’ rights of common grazing were abolished on the ‘Lots’.

When the Cremorne Gardens closed in the 1860s, the landowner Mrs Simpson, let the land as building plots for the construction of workers’ housing. The variety and range of materials and architectural detailing amongst the workers cottages suggests that a number of different builders constructed the housing.

Historic maps indicate that much of the land was developed within a short period of time between 1868 and 1896. Tadema Road (Tadema Street), which has Dutch and classical elements, was almost certainly named after Lawrence Alma-Tadema, a Dutch artist who moved to London in 1870 and enjoyed great frame during the mid to late 1870s, when those houses were constructed.

Running in parallel with the construction of workers cottages was the development along the river banks of the Thames. Flour Mills and a Horticultural Works already occupied
land adjacent to Chelsea Creek to the west of Pooles Lane (later to become Lots Road). From the late 1870s a large number of wharfs were constructed for commercial uses.

The rest of Chelsea is overwhelmingly residential and so the Lots Road community - a working area of industry, commercial riverside uses, small factories, breweries and workshops within a working class community housed in artisan terraced housing - was unusual.

The road contained the landmark Lots Road Power Station, which had an influential historic role in powering the London Underground and is architecturally significant as a symbol of innovative design, structure and engineering.

The terraces which housed local workers are well preserved despite numerous threats from bombs during World War II. The York stone streets are lined with traditional lamp posts and
small trees; and the proximity to the River Thames in particular, makes this an unusual and characterful part of the Royal Borough.

In the post war years, the Lots Road area was earmarked for a potential route for a new motorway crossing the river known as the West Cross Route.

The prohibitive cost and the unpopularity of proposed major road works eventually led to much of the West Cross route being abandoned in 1973. However, the consequences for the
Lots Road area was one of general neglect and degeneration until twentieth century developments made the area extremely desirable.

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