Bayard’s Watering Place, recorded in 1380, was where the stream later called the Bayswater rivulet or Westbourne passed under the Uxbridge road. The name presumably denoted a place where horses were refreshed, either from the stream itself or from a spring such as the one in Conduit field which from 1439 supplied the City with water. There were several variations of the name, Bayswatering being common in the 18th century, although the form Bayswater occurred as early as 1659.
Seventeenth-century Bayswater was a small hamlet. Robert Hilliard had a dwelling house at Bayard’s Watering by 1646, together with 6 acres in the common fields of Westbourne. In 1710 Robert Pollard held two houses called Bayard’s Watering Place, with outbuildings and 6 a. in Westbourne common fields, once occupied by Alexander Bond; he also held the new brick house called the Bell, formerly the King’s Head and once occupied by Edward Hilliard, with its stable which had been converted into a little house near the road. Nearby in 1730 there was at least one other inn, the Saracen’s Head, perhaps at other times called the Swan. To the west were the buildings of Upton farm, well back from the highway at the end of a tree-lined lane, which were bought in 1733 by Lord Craven. In 1746 there were only two buildings near the road east of the Bayswater rivulet and three on the west side. The lane still led through fields, to Lord Craven’s pest house, east of which were two more buildings, presumably barns, beside the rivulet. The location in 1742 was ‘intended to be called Craven Hill’.
To the west the Oxford Arms stood alone by 1729 at the east corner of the lane leading from the Uxbridge road to Westbourne Green. A gravel pit bordered the lane north of the inn, which was called the Black Lion by 1751 and was then considered to be at Bayswater, as was the Crown farther east.
Still farther west, a large settlement on both sides of the Uxbridge road was known from the 17th until the 19th century as Kensington Gravel Pits. It may have preceded the discovery of gravel and lay mostly in Kensington, along the stretch of road which came to be known as Netting Hill Gate. Part lay in Paddington, however, including a new brick house held by Peter Warren, a London carpenter, in 1709. Some half a dozen buildings in Paddington stood close to the boundary in 1746, by the Uxbridge road and at the entrance to a lane which cut north-eastward to meet Westbourne Green (later Black Lion) Lane. Between Westbourne Green Lane and Kensington Gravel Pits, Shaftesbury House stood alone by the main road.
Bayswater was one of four new rating divisions of the parish in 1773, when, however, most of its 56 properties were probably at Westbourne green. Speculative building along the Uxbridge road was started by John Elkins, a bricklayer or brickmaker of South Street, St. George’s, Hanover Square, to whom Benjamin Crompton in 1776 granted 91-year leases of 5 acres and of the adjoining Black Lion. Elkins, who also acquired land near Paddington green, from 1779 subleased several parcels of Black Lion field with road frontages of 18 ft., for ‘double brick’ houses which came to be known as Elkins’s Row. It was only a short row in 1790, when a Bayswater coffee house also existed. There were apparently no other new buildings between Bayard’s Watering Place and Kensington Gravel Pits. Undeveloped plots were conveyed by Elkins’s executors to William Philpot in 1792. Bayswater was only a ‘small hamlet’ in 1807, when it was noted for its tea gardens and water supply, and for the lying-in hospital (soon known as Queen Charlotte’s) farther east.
The development of Bayswater as a fashionable residential area commenced in 1827 when the surveyor to the Bishop of London laid out the area between Praed Street, Edgware Road and Bayswater Road and development extended westwards as the century progressed.
The scheme was carried out in a grand manner in the form of an inter-related pattern of wide streets, crescents and squares planned on either side of the two main boulevards, Westbourne Terrace and Sussex Gardens.
In 1840 Bayswater had still not been joined to neighbouring districts. There was open land south of Craven Hill, including the parish’s Bread and Cheese lands and land which Joseph Neeld held from the chapter of Westminster, partly in Westbourne common field and partly bordering the Uxbridge Road.
Artistic and literary figures were attracted to a district which was still semi-rural. In 1834 the poet Sarah Flower Adams (1805-48) moved with her husband to no. 5 Craven Hill, where they were soon followed by the author and politician William Johnson Fox (1786-1864) and his housekeeper the composer Eliza Flower (1803-46), Sarah’s sister. There, in her ‘snug, out-of-the-world corner’, Eliza entertained Thomas Carlyle and others in a literary circle familiar to the young Robert Browning. The composer Vincent Novello (1781-1861) lived at no. 4, where from 1835 until 1856 the household included his son-in-law and daughter, Charles (1787-1877) and Mary Cowden Clarke (1809-98), the authors. At the Loudons’ house in Porchester Terrace, Mary Cowden Clarke met the painters Charles (1799- 1879) and Edward Landseer (1802-73), and John Martin (1789-1854), and the sculptor Joseph Bonomi (1796-1878). At the corner of Black Lion Lane, Ivy Cottage was the home of the engraver Samuel Reynolds (1773-1835) and later of Augustus Egg (1816-63); Egg’s guests included the fellow painter William Mulready (1786-1863), who claimed to have been a lifelong Bayswater resident, and Charles Dickens. Farther west Sir Rowland Hill (1795-1879), inventor of the penny post, lived at no. 1 Orme Square from 1839 until 1842 and the artist Frederic (later Lord) Leighton at no. 2 from 1860 to 1866. St. Petersburgh House, no. 8 Bayswater Hill, was the home of the conveyancer Lewis Duval (1774-1844) and then of his niece’s husband the Vice-Chancellor Sir Charles Hall (1814-83).
Bark Place is named for builder John Bark.
There are, here and there in the area, isolated pockets of semi-detached houses; Bark Place, Craven Hill, Chepstow Place, the south end of Portchester Terrace North and Portchester Terrace. Most of these can be classified as villas, and they vary in scale and pretense.
The working stables of Bathurst Mews make a particularly important contribution to the historic character of the area. Most of the mews areas are largely in residential use; however, Bathurst Mews is for the most part in commercial use.
By 1828, the main road (then known as Uxbridge Road) facing Kensington Gardens, had been built up between St Petersburg Place and Porchester Terrace. Along the west side of Black Lion Lane there were houses as far as the corner of Moscow Road and more spacious villas, at first called Westbourne Terrace, farther north almost reaching Pickering Place at the southern end of Westbourne Green. The east side of Black Lion Lane was still open, apart from a few large houses at the Uxbridge Road end, and villas lined Porchester Terrace only as far as the corner of Craven Hill, which itself had cottages only on the north side. Fields survived along the Uxbridge Road from St. Agnes Villas to Bayard’s Watering Place, whence Elm Lane led northward, with some houses between it and the stream, along the line of the later Craven Terrace to the east end of Craven Hill.
By 1830, the area around Black Lion Lane was known as Bayswater.
Building covered the whole of Bayswater by 1865, when the only sites for infilling were south of Moscow Road, chiefly along the east side of Victoria Grove. In 1862 a ‘great and aristocratic town’ had grown up, faster than all other suburbs, during the past ten years. Although the description embraced far flung Westbournia, the most desirable part stretched south from Bishop’s Road and Westbourne Grove to the Uxbridge road, henceforth called Bayswater Road. Houses were said to be better built and sited than before and, being near Kensington Gardens, to have a decided edge over “the solemn and obnubilated grandeur of the ill drained Belgravian flats”.
Wealthy residents, who were quick to arrive, in 1862 ranged from East India merchants to people who had moved from formerly more fashionable quarters. In Westbourne Terrace the first occupants included the statesman Richard Cobden (1804-65), at no. 103 from 1848 to 1856, and Sir Richard Bethell (1800-73), later Lord Chancellor as Lord Westbury, at no. 70; other occupants included Admiral Sir Baldwin Wake Walker, Bt. (1802-76), Sir Charles Trevelyan (1807-86), governor of Madras, and Charles Manby (1804-84), the civil engineer. Upper Hyde Park Gardens (Lancaster Gate) housed Lord Westbury, Lord Rollo, and two MPs in 1863. Socially Tyburnia had spread westward, providing a ‘carriage trade’ which William Whiteley was soon to exploit.
On Sunday mornings, over 150 artists display their original works of art on the edge of Hyde Park close to the Italian Gardens.
Caroline Place was built by John Bark in 1821. Bark was described at first as a Marylebone coal merchant in 1818. That same year, Bark took a 98-year building lease of the Paddington Estate’s Six-Acre field, “lately in part dug out for making bricks”. This field lay between the Uxbridge road and Moscow Road. By 1821 he lived in Bayswater Hill – new houses facing the Uxbridge road west of Shaftesbury House. In that year he was granted leases on small houses in Caroline Place and Poplar Place.
The Paddington Estate’s cottages around Caroline Place, one of the oldest parts of Bayswater, which “might be part of a country town”, were closed in 1937, although “they had good tenants and did not constitute a slum”.
Cleveland Square with a pretty private communal garden is a prestigeous address. The keys to this garden are jealously guarded — the locks are changed every couple of years and tenants with leases of less than 12 months are excluded.
Houses on the other sides were leased between 1852 and 1854 to Henry de Bruno Austin, a speculator active in Paddington and later in outer suburbs.
A significant built form is the terrace designed with so-called double frontages. This innovation appears first in Connaught Place, where, to take advantage of Hyde Park, the main rooms were made to face south and treated in such a way as to make them seem principal elevations. The main entrances, monumental porches, were placed to the north, or rear, in Connaught Place itself. As a result, the terrace as a whole can be said to have neither a primary nor a rear elevation but rather two primary ones.
Beside Hyde Park there are several expensive hotels in Connaught Place.
Tyburnia, the Church Commissioners’ Hyde Park Estate, began development in 1807 with the formation of Connaught Square and its related service streets very much on a traditional Georgian model. There followed the series of crescents and squares and boulevards, culminating in Sussex Gardens to the north. Connaught Square was developed by S. P. Cockerell. It is a very late example of Georgian estate development, with high quality facing brick to the upper floors and render below.
The original local street layout has survived largely intact, but the heart of the historic development has gradually been removed. First, between the wars as leases fell due, two and three-storey terraced houses, mostly in brick and having a Georgian character were constructed. In the late 1950s a more radical replanning to the designs of Anthony Minoprio began with luxury flats between Edgware Road and Sussex Gardens and the offices along Eastbourne Terrace. The surviving historic townscape north of Sussex Gardens is laid out on rather less generous proportions than the first historic phase of development centring on Connaught Square.
Connaught Street has a group of original shopfronts distinctive mixed-use townscape in striking contrast to the quieter residential quarters nearby in places like Connaught Square or Sussex Gardens.
The overall form of Bayswater was built up by several different speculators according to different plans, can be traced back earlier field boundaries as well as several footpaths and tracks. The ‘Austin’ developments is the most substantial. This takes the form of a triangle with its apex corresponding to Cleveland Gardens and culminates in the massive mansion flats in Lancaster Gate. The scheme is interrupted only by the small villa quarter in Craven Hill, which predates the scheme, and the more modest service street of Craven Terrace.
An area on either side of Craven Hill was built over from the 1850s with grand town houses, many enjoying communal gardens.
There were tradesmen in Conduit Street from the outset. The street was renamed Craven Road in 1868 when many of its shops were rebuilt.
All across the area there are to be found many mews, with their more modest buildings. These are absolutely essential to the character of the overall development. They offer a contrast of scale and style and at the same time are quiet havens from the bustle of the surrounding busy roads. Most are at a significantly lower level, the original ground level. The mews are for the most part linear, following the blocks of terraced development on the main roads: Eastbourne Mews, Gloucester Mews and Leinster Mews are good examples.
Eastbourne Terrace, which was on the edge of the Bayswater district, saw Paddington station railway travellers responsible for the street’s conversion into a row of apartments and hotels by 1902.
Gloucester Terrace curves gently to the west in response to the Great Western I Railway cutting. The uniformity of the architecture in certain streets produces excellent views, in Gloucester Terrace, for example, with its striking sequence of bow fronted houses and turrets.
The Bayswater rivulet which ran southeast into the Serpentine follows the line of Gloucester Terrace and so may have generated the patterns of the roads parallel to it. The area was crossed by several footpaths, some of which relate to existing streets.
The LCC began the Barrie estate on a bombed site at the south-west end of Gloucester Terrace, where the last block was under construction in 1957. Most of its tenants became owner-occupiers, forming the Lancaster Gate Housing Association, in the early 1970s.
The 17 acre site was originally laid out with brick and stucco terraces and villas in the mid-19th century. The Estate was built between 1951-59 by the architectural practice Drake and Lasdun. It comprises fifteen individual blocks and a primary school, built on land that was partially cleared by war damage. The Estate was designed as a deliberate contrast to the architectural fabric of nineteenth century Bayswater. It was intended as a radical model for the Borough of Paddington’s post-war rehousing programme. It was one of the first post-war Estates to include comprehensive communal amenities such as a primary school, shops and laundry (the latter used currently as the housing management Office).
The site averages 3 metres below Bishopsbridge Road and Gloucester Terrace, and has accommodated landscaping originally by J.C.Loudon which includes chestnut, sycamore, mountain ash and mullberry trees, and also magnolias and catalpas.
The quality of the Estate lies in the richly detailed architectural treatment of the elevations which is unusual and interesting for its period in the use of contrasting textures and the atypical design of its curved sloping balcony balustrades. Described by historians as ‘Beaux-Arts Modernism’, it is characteristic of its period, with references to Le Corbusier’s idealistic design principles of the 1930’s, which subordinate the individual unit to the whole, sometimes at the cost of the user’s convenience.
The ten and six storey blocks contain 656 flats and are laid out on a grid at 45 degrees to the surrounding roads within an informal setting of lawns and trees.
Hyde Park Gardens
In 1830 John Crake developed the model first shown in Connaught Place, in Hyde Park Gardens, treating the area to the south of this grand terrace as a single common rear garden which in urban design terms has the form of a conventional square. This treatment became common in Bayswater, and one finds it repeated in Cleveland Gardens, Portchester Square, Kensington Square and Leinster Square.
Hyde Park Mews
Original floorscapes of granite sets survive in most of these, as well as many of the original structures. Rebuilt in places, new development respects the intimate scale. The most striking mews arrangement is that to the rear, or north, of the monumental terrace in Hyde Park Gardens. The rear elevations face very characterful two-storey terraces; behind these ‘service’ houses is the mews proper, Hyde Park Gardens Mews.
Inverness Terrace, a very dramatic street, has a high concentration of hotels at its south end on both sides, and on its west side north of Inverness Place.
Inverness Terrace was begun about 1841. The stretch north of Porchester Gardens was called Inverness Road until 1876 and which was built up between 1844 and 1856, largely by Richard Yeo. John Scantlebury was building at the south end of Inverness Terrace in 1857.
Nearly all the area from Westbourne Terrace to Inverness Terrace was wealthy by 1890. Leinster Place and Terrace and Craven Terrace were merely ‘well-to-do’, as were Eastbourne Terrace to the east and Queen’s Road to the west.
Kensington Garden Square
The original railings were removed during WWII as part of the war effort, with the intention of being melted down for use in weapons manufacture. They have since been replaced with replica wrought-iron.
The gardens of the square were created in 1876 for the private use of residents.
In 1853 Joseph Neeld and the Chapter of Westminster leased their land south of Craven Hill, which soon formed part of the site of an ambitious scheme around the new Christ Church, itself begun in 1854. Terraces were built on the scale of Hyde Park Gardens and were similarly, although less generously, set back from the main road. They were known as Upper Hyde Park Gardens until 1865 and thereafter as Lancaster Gate, a name previously reserved for the square around the church. The terraced houses were said to be the most handsome in London in 1868.
Lancaster Mews is one of the finest mews in the Bayswater conservation area, and has the character almost of a separate development by virtue of its layout and size.
Leamington Road Villas
Leamington Road Villas contains some elaborate pairs of semidetached villas with Corinthian porches and rusticated quoins to first floor windows. There are some notable groups of terraces, including Nos. 21 – 35, having interesting stuccoed window valances on ground and first floors with pairs of linked Tuscan porches.
The Gothic-style former vicarage to the now demolished St Luke’s Church is prominent in the street scene on the west side of the road at the junction with Tavistock Road.
Leinster Gardens forms a clear boundary of various developments. East of this the Capps and Yeo development laid out the street pattern as a grid owes and owed much to earlier land divisions and field patterns. The Wyatt development, with its stunning sequence of squares, Leinster Square, Princes Square and Kensington Gardens, is a match for Cockerell and Glutch’s earlier Hyde Park Estate layout, though of more modest size. The area to the south, developed by Orme and Bark, is much more mixed, and has much more the feel of a quiet domestic suburb.
Leinster Square was begun in 1856, with Kensington Gardens Square to the east and mews alleys to the south behind Moscow Road. Both Leinster Square and Prince’s Square had private gardens and were largely the work of a speculator called George Wyatt. Leinster Square had a few residents in 1858 and was finished by 1864.
In London Street and Spring Street in particular, there were originally many mid Victorian shopfronts. Enough survives within the street to enable accurate reconstructions of the original fronts to be made.
Widespread speculative building was carried out by Edward Orme, a print seller of Bond Street. He may have made money from gravel. Orme acquired the former Bell and Bayswater Tea Gardens in 1809 – the Bell was then called Elms House. This had two houses behind it. Orme bought the lease of a house at Craven Hill in 1811. In short measure, he also owned a lot of property farther west along the Uxbridge Road.
Orme paid for Bayswater chapel in 1818, to serve houses built in Petersburgh Place (later St. Petersburg Place) leading north from the Uxbridge road to a “street or place called Moscow Cottages”. Moscow Cottages were linked to an existing route called Black Lion Lane by a road soon called Moscow Road.
The two new roads were said to commemorate Orme’s business dealings with Russia. However they may have been named to honour Tsar Alexander I’s visit to England in 1814.
The population, which by 1870 included many rich foreign born citizens, grew more cosmopolitan, with the consecration of a Greek Orthodox cathedral in Moscow Road in 1882.
Houses at the Kensington end of Moscow Road had been replaced by flats called Prince Edward Mansions and Palace Court by 1890. A little to the east the flats of Pembridge Mansions were occupied from 1897 and those of Windsor and Moscow courts, filling a gap, from 1907.
Orme Square was built between 1823 and 1826 when Edward Orme bought land east of Petersburgh Place (St Petersburg Place). Edward Orme (d. 1848) granted leases of two new houses in Moscow Road in 1826 and himself lived from c. 1829 in Fitzroy Square. It is likely that he was also responsible for building at Orme’s Green on the Harrow Road.
Carlyle remarked in 1855 that only a thin belt of houses to the north and west separated Orme Square from open country. The earliest quarter of Bayswater, however, was soon hemmed in by building to the north.
During the 1830s Victoria Grove (renamed Ossington Street in 1873) was laid out from the Uxbridge Road (Bayswater Road) on part of Gravel Pit Field. A large house at the Moscow Road end was leased in 1831 to the architect Thomas Allason, surveyor to the neighbouring Ladbroke estate.
Seven terraced houses were leased to William Ward, a builder from Marylebone, in 1836. Ward filled a space along the Uxbridge Road between Victoria Grove and the parish boundary with an inn and five shops called Wellington Terrace.
Queensway was formerly Queen’s Road and before that Black Lion Lane was an ancient right of way leading from the Uxbridge Road (Baywater Road) to Westbourne Green.
During the late 19th century Bayswater’s social character grew more mixed. In the 1840s shops lined both Queen’s Road as far as the Moscow Road junction and Moscow Road itself. Queen’s Road had grown even more commercial by 1863. Shops replaced Ivy Cottage and there were very few private residents by 1879, when Whiteley’s, expanding southward from Westbourne Grove, had already acquired premises next to the municipal baths.
Hotels, boarding or lodging houses, and apartments also multiplied, notably in Queen’s Road and Kensington Gardens Square, perhaps partly due to the influence of Whiteley, who acquired staff dormitories in Queen’s Road and dining rooms in the square.
At the west corner of Queen’s Road and Bayswater Road, a range including shops and the Coburg hotel was put up, to include the new Queen’s Road Underground station, in use from 1901. Changes had already taken place in Queen’s Road with the provision of more modern shops, the building of Paddington’s first public baths in 1874, and the opening of the forerunner of Bayswater Underground station in 1868. Beaumanor Mansions, an imposing range of flats over shops north of the corner of Moscow Road, was occupied from 1904. Urbanisation culminated in the completion of most of Whiteley’s new building, on the site of the baths, in 1911.
Queensway nowadays, in contrast to the other north-south roads, is almost entirely commercial, although most of the premises have flats overhead. Nineteenth century buildings survive mainly in the middle portion of the east side. A shorter but taller Edwardian range, Beaumanor Mansions, lines part of the west side. The most prominent modern insertions include on the east side Consort House, finished in 1972 and designed by Owen Luder in concrete with a red-brick facing as a ten-storeyed tower and five-storeyed podium over an underground car park. Opposite are the seven-storeyed blocks of the 1930s called Queen’s Court and Princess Court, the first and perhaps both designed by W. Henry White & Sons.
Queen’s Ice and Bowl at the southern end of Queensway, under a 1930s block of flats, is the only permanent ice rink in central London.
This is a street of Queen Anne style houses – very high quality but of an entirely different character to the rest of the area.
Local building activity in the late 19th century was limited mainly to the piecemeal replacement of houses whose leases had fallen in. The oldest houses were west of Lancaster Gate, along Bayswater Road and around Moscow Road. Part of Bayswater Hill was taken for the Red House of 1871, designed by J. J. Stevenson as a precursor of the ‘Queen Anne’ style, soon to be popular in Ealing’s Bedford Park. The only new road was west of Orme Square, where Shaftesbury House disappeared and Palace Court was driven north to Moscow Road.
Some houses were built there in 1889 and flats called Palace Court Mansions were inhabited from 1890. Many Palace Court residents had aesthetic tastes similar to those in Bedford Park; they included Wilfrid Meynell and his wife Alice, the poet (1847-1922), the artist George William Joy (d. 1925), and the furniture expert Percy McQuoid (d. 1925).
Palace Gate is a broad and straight street lined with late nineteenthcentury houses in the Queen Anne Revival style. At the very top of this view is the distinctive sequence of spaces formed by Leinster, Princes and Kensington Gardens Squares.
Landowner Edward Orme in 1842 owned all the houses in Porchester Gardens. Many leases, both of older houses and of new ones, as in Lancaster Terrace, Lancaster Gate, and St Leonard’s Terrace, Blomfield Road, were later sold by Francis Orme.
At 23 Porchester Gardens the ‘first instance of effective electric lighting of a private house’ was provided in 1879 by the engineer Rookes Crompton (1845-1940), who lived there.
The earliest of the long avenues leading north from Bayswater Road is Porchester Terrace.
Porchester Terrace was constructed in 1823. Single or semi-detached villas in the new road were leased to individuals by the Paddington Estate, one of the first being to the landscape gardener John Claudius Loudon (1783-1843).
The development of Bayswater as a fashionable residential area commenced in 1827 when the surveyor to the Bishop of London laid out the area between Praed Street, Edgware Road and Bayswater Road and development extended westwards as the century progressed.
Prince’s Square was begun in 1856, with Kensington Gardens Square to the east and mews alleys to the south behind Moscow Road. Both Leinster Square and Prince’s Square had private gardens and were largely the work of a speculator called George Wyatt.
St Luke’s Road
St Luke’s Road contains a series of mid-Victorian terraces with stuccoed ground floor bays and porches and elaborate pedimented first floor windows.
St Mary’s Hospital
The original St Mary’s Hospital dates from the same period as the station, having been established 1843-1851 and today the site includes a number of buildings of interest dating from the Victorian era to the 1930s. These make a significant contribution to the local townscape and are similar stylistically and in date to the rest of the buildings within this part of Bayswater. Some later 20th century infills and accretions within the hospital complex give an incoherent appearance in places but overall it is of interest.
St Petersburg Place
This part of the Orme development was built in about 1817. At the heart of it, St Petersburg Place has both church and synagogue.
The heights of the houses in service streets such as Star Street (three stories) are lower than those which they serve – in this case Sussex Gardens with five story housing.
The street pattern of Tyburnia was influenced by the overall form of the Church Commissioners’ estate and by a few other existing features: the Grand Junction Canal, the Edgware Road, the Harrow Road and the Marylebone Road. Sussex Gardens was conceived of as its extension.
Main source: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol9/pp204-212