The development known as Belgravia was laid out in the 1820s by Thomas Cubitt and Thomas Cundy. Cubitt saw the possibilities of developing the land to the west of Buckingham Palace as a fashionable residential area and leased the land from the Grosvenor Estate. Many of the streets surrounding Cubitt’s development are of an even earlier date, from the late 18th century.
Mitton: A lot of material for the streets of Belgravia, especially the building dates of the streets are taken from a very old publication: Mayfair, Belgravia, and Bayswater – The Fascination of London by Geraldine Edith Mitton, published in 1903. Mrs Mitton is wonderfully obsessed with the residential history of the aristocracy and dismissive of the working and ‘middling’ classes – Pimlico for instance is largely “uninteresting” but we have bundled that area here, since she includes the area in her book for simplicity’s sake.
Grosvenor: The Grosvenor Estate produced a walking guide for Belgravia and some street histories come from this.
Westminster: The City of Westminster covered Belgravia’s conservation area and the streets of the City of Westminster page on this blog links to this.
- Allingham Street
- Aylesford Street
- Belgrave Place
- Belgrave Road
- Belgrave Square
- Berwick Street
- Bloomfield Place
- Brewer Street
- Buckingham Palace Gardens
- Buckingham Palace Road
- Caroline Street
- Chapel Street
- Chesham Place
- Chester Place
- Chester Square
- Chester Street
- Chester Terrace
- Church Street
- Clarendon Street
- Claverton Street
- Clieveden Place
- Commercial Road
- Eaton Square
- Eaton Terrace
- Ebury Bridge
- Ebury Square
- Eccleston Square
- Eccleston Street
- Elizabeth Street
- Gerald Road
- Gillingham Street
- Glasgow Terrace
- Graham Street
- Grosvenor Crescent
- Grosvenor Gardens
- Grosvenor Place
- Grosvenor Road
- Grosvenor Row
- Halkin Street
- Hindon Street
- Hobart Place
- Kinnerton Street
- Lower Belgrave Street
- Lower Grosvenor Place
- Lowndes Place
- Lupus Street
- Lyall Street
- Motcomb Street
- Palace Place
- Palace Street
- Passmore Street
- Pimlico Road
- Pulford Street
- Princes Row
- Ranelagh Grove
- Skinner Street
- South Eaton Place
- St George’s Row
- St George’s Square
- St Leonard’s Street
- Stanley Street
- Union Street
- Vauxhall Bridge Road
- Victoria Square
- Victoria Street
- Warwick Square
- Warwick Street
- Westbourne Street
- Westmoreland Street
- Whittaker Street
- Wilton Place
- Wilton Road
- Wilton Street
Mayfair, Belgravia, and Bayswater – The Fascination of London
by Geraldine Edith Mitton
The Eia estate
The larger portion of the district is included in the ancient estate of Eia, 890 acres in extent, reaching from the Bayswater Road to the Thames, which was given by William the Conqueror to Geoffrey de Mandeville, who at his death bequeathed it to the Abbey of Westminster. In Domesday Book it is divided into three manors of Hyde, Ebury, and Neyte. Of these the first occupies the site of Hyde Park; Ebury, from Knightsbridge to Buckingham Palace Road; Neyte, nearer the river, was the favourite residence of the Abbots. Here John of Gaunt lived, and here, in 1448, John, son of Richard, Duke of York, was born. The monks remained in possession until dispossessed by Henry VIII. in 1536. Hyde then became a royal hunting-ground. Neyte, or Neat, and Ebury remained as farms, which in 1676 came into the possession of the Grosvenor family by the marriage of Mary, daughter and heiress of Alexander Davies of Ebury, with Sir Thomas Grosvenor, Bart. With her came also the Grosvenor Square property, extending from Oxford Street to Berkeley Square and Dorchester House, and from Park Lane to South Molton Lane and Avery Row. Other large landholders in the district are the Crown—Hyde Park, and Buckingham Palace; Lord Fitzhardinge, the Berkeley estate; the City of London, New Bond Street and parts of Conduit Street and Brook Street; Earl Howe, Curzon Street; Sir Richard Sutton, Piccadilly; the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, Knightsbridge; and the Lowndes family, Lowndes Street and Chesham Place.
Park Lane, up to 1769 called Tyburn Lane, was in the reign of Queen Anne a desolate by-road, but is now a favourite place of residence for the fashionable persons in the Metropolis. It is open to Hyde Park as far as Hamilton Place, whence it reaches Piccadilly by a narrow street. At its junction with the former stands an ornamental fountain by Thorneycroft, erected in 1875 at a cost of L5,000, the property of a lady who died intestate and without heirs. At the base are the muses of Tragedy, Comedy, and History in bronze, above Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton in marble, the whole being surmounted by a bronze statue of Fame. The principal mansions in Park Lane are: Brook House, at the north corner of Upper Brook Street, designed by T. H. Wyatt, and the residence of the Earl of Tweedmouth, and next to it Dudley House. Dorchester House (Captain Holford) was built by Vulliamy in 1852 on the site of the town house of the Damers, Earls of Dorchester. The building, which stands in its own grounds, is rectangular, and constructed of Portland stone in Italian Renaissance style. On the narrow front is a carriage portico. The reception rooms and marble staircase have few rivals in London; they contain two libraries and a collection of pictures by old and modern masters. Here died in 1842 the Marquis of Hertford. Londonderry House, No. 18 (Marquis of Londonderry), was built in 1850 by S. and J. Wyatt on the site of the residence of the D’Arcys, Earls of Holdernesse. It contains a fine gallery of pictures and sculpture. Other inhabitants: the Duke of Somerset, in a house adjoining Camelford House, No. 35; Sir Moses Montefiore, d. 1885; Park Lane Chambers, Earl Sondes, Lord Monkbretton.
Upper Grosvenor Street
At the corner of Upper Grosvenor Street (then No. 1, Grosvenor Gate) Benjamin Disraeli lived 1839-73. No. 24, Lord Brassey. No. 21, for many years the Marquis of Breadalbane, and afterwards Lady Palmerston, when left a widow in 1850; Earl of Scarborough. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton at a house then numbered 1. In 23, Richard Sharp, 1822-24; Mrs. Fitzherbert, 1785; Warren Hastings, 1790-97; Marquis Wellesley, 1796.
Upper Grosvenor Street contains Grosvenor House, the residence of the Duke of Westminster, a handsome building standing in a courtyard, with a garden at the back, skirting Park Lane as far as Mount Street. On its purchase in 1761 by the Duke of Gloucester, brother of George III., it was known as Gloucester House. The present screen and metal gates by Cundy were erected in 1842. The house contains a very fine collection of pictures.
Grosvenor Square and the surrounding streets have always been the centre of the aristocratic world; the Square, which includes about six acres, was built in 1695. The garden was laid out by Kent, and in the centre stood formerly an equestrian statue of George I., by Van Nost, placed there in 1726. On the site, in 1642, was erected a fort named Oliver’s Mount, which stood as one of the defences against the Royalists until 1647. Owing to the prejudices of the inhabitants, Grosvenor Square was not lit by gas until 1842.
In Park Street, formerly called Hyde Park Street, lived Miss Nelly O’Brien, 1768; 7, Sir William Stirling Maxwell, M.P.; 26, Sir Humphry Davy, 1825, till his death; 113, Miss Lydia White, d. 1827; 123, Richard Ford, author of “The Handbook for Spain.” In North Audley Street, opposite Green Street, is St. Mark’s Church, built from designs by J. P. Deering in 1825-28, and reconstructed in Romanesque style in 1878. Adjoining is the Vicarage, built in 1887, and at the back the St. Mark’s Institute, containing a church-room, mission-room, gymnasium, and a working men’s club. Attached to the institute are the parish schools, built soon after 1830, and enlarged and repaired in 1894.
South Audley Street
South Audley Street takes its name from Hugh Audley (d. 1662), the owner of some land in the neighbourhood. It has several interesting houses. No. 8, Alington House (Lord Alington), was, in 1826, Cambridge House, the residence of the Duke of York, and afterwards, until 1876, belonged to the Curzons, Earls Howe. In 73, Bute House, lived, in 1769, the great Earl of Bute, and near him his friend Home, author of “Douglas.” Chesterfield House, a large mansion standing in a courtyard at the corner of Curzon Street, was built by Ware in 1749 for the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, d. 1773, who wrote the “Letters” in the library. The portico and marble staircase, with bronze balustrade, were brought from Canons, the seat of the Duke of Chandos. In 1869 the house was sold to Mr. Magniac for L175,000, and he built over the gardens. It is now the town house of Lord Burton.
In Norfolk Street lived Lord William Russell, murdered by his valet in 1840; at 27 the Earl of Dunraven, 1895. In Upper Brook Street lived Lord George Gordon, b. 1750, and George Grenville; 3, Sir Lucas Pepys and the Countess of Rothes; 18, Hon. Mrs. Damer, sculptor, d. 1828; 27, “Single Speech” Hamilton, d. 1796; 18, Sir William Farrer, F.R.G.S.; 32, Marquis of Ormonde.
Davies Street is very narrow at its northern end, where it forms a prolongation of South Molton Lane, an old street known in 1708 as Shug Lane. It takes its name either from Miss Mary Davies, who is said to have lived in an old house still standing at the corner of Bourdon Street, or from Sir Thomas Davies, to whom Hugh Audley left his property. Here is the new church of St Anselm, built in Byzantine style, from designs by Balfour and Turner, at a cost of L20,000, and opened in February, 1896, to replace Hanover Chapel, Regent Street. At No. 8 are the Westminster Public Baths and Washhouses.
Brook Street was first called Little Brook Street, and afterwards Lower Brook Street. It takes its name from the Tyburn, which flowed down the course of South Molton Lane and Avery Row, by Bruton Mews to the bottom of Hay Hill, and through the gardens of Lansdowne House to Shepherd’s Market. It then crossed Piccadilly at Engine Street, and flowed through the Green Park to Buckingham Palace.
In Brook Street is Claridge’s (formerly Mivart’s) Hotel. Here lived: No. 25 (now 72), Edmund Burke; Sir Henry Holland, 1820-73; 63, Sir William Jenner; 74, Sir William Gull; 57 (now 25), Handel, the composer; Lord Lake, d. 1808; Welbore Ellis, Lord Mendip, d. 1802; Mrs. Delany; 20, Gerald Vandergucht, engraver, and his son Benjamin Vandergucht, painter; Thomas Barker, painter; 25, Rev. Sydney Smith; 30, Sir Charles Bell, d. 1832; 34, Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1809; 63, Sir John Williams, physician; 66, Sir B. Savory, Bart.; 74, Lord Balcarres; 84, Sir William Broadbent, physician; 86, Lord Davey, P.C., F.R.S.
South Molton Street
In South Molton Street, on the wall of No. 36, is an inscription: “This is South Molton Street, 1721.” At No. 17 lived William Blake, poet and painter, in 1807. The St. George’s Schools, at No. 53, were removed in 1889 to Gilbert Street, and the building sold for L2,500.
Running out of Woodstock Street is Sedley Place, so named in 1873 instead of Hanover Place.
Blenheim Street, up to 1760 called Pedley Street.
East of New Bond Street, Hanover Square, four acres in extent, was built as a fashionable place of residence in 1716-20. It was to have been called Oxford Square, but the name was changed in honour of the house of Hanover. A few of the old houses still remain, notably Nos. 17 and 23, but most of them have been rebuilt at various times, and are not in any way remarkable. The centre is enclosed and planted with trees, and at the southern end stands a bronze statue of Pitt by Chantrey, erected in 1831 at the cost of L7,000. The principal houses are: No. 3, the offices of the Zoological Society, established in 1826, and removed here in 1846; those of the Anthropological Society; 4, a large handsome building erected in 1774 by Sir George Gallini, and opened by him as the Hanover Square Concert and Ball Rooms. Here J. C. Bach, son of Sebastian Bach, gave concerts from 1785-93. The concerts of Ancient Music and those of the Philharmonic Society also took place here. In 1862 the rooms were redecorated and styled the Queen’s Concert Rooms, but were in 1875 disposed of to the Hanover Square Club, established in that year.
The streets round Hanover Square are mainly broad, well built, and lined with shops. Hanover Street and Princes Street were built about 1736.
Swallow Place and Passage recall Swallow Street, which was cleared away to make Regent Street in 1820.
Harewood Place was closed at its northern end by gates until 1893, when all gates and private bars were removed throughout the district.
In Tenterden Street, Nos. 5 and 6, is now occupied by the Royal Academy of music, founded in 1822 by the Earl of Westmoreland.
At the end of Tenterden Street is Dering Street, so called in 1886 instead of Union Street.
At the southern end of Hanover Square George Street was built about 1719, and at first named Great George Street, in honour of George I. It is wide at the Square end, but grows narrower till Maddox Street is reached. Its chief feature is the Parish Church of St. George, designed by John James, begun in 1713 and consecrated in 1724, one of Queen Anne’s fifty churches. The style is Classical, the body plain, but having a Corinthian portico of good proportions, and a clock-tower 100 feet high. The interior contains a good Jesse window put in in 1841. In 1895 the building was redecorated, repaired, and reseated, and the old organ by Snitzler, put up in 1761, was replaced by a Hope Jones electric instrument.
Maddox Street was built by the Earl of Burlington in 1721, and named after Sir Benjamin Maddox, the ground landlord (d. 1670). It contains a museum of building appliances established in 1866 in connection with the Institute of British Architects. Mill Street is so called from a mill which stood near the corner of Hanover Square; near it is Pollen Street; both are unimportant. Conduit Street, completed about 1713, is so called from the city conduit which carried water from the Tyburn to Cheapside. It was built for private residences, which have now been transformed into shops. On the south side, where is now a tailor’s, stood, until 1877, Trinity Chapel, a plain, red-brick building built by Archbishop Tenison, in 1716, to replace the old wooden chapel which James II. had originally set up on Hounslow Heath, but which was brought to, and left at the top of, Old Bond Street about 1691. Four-fifths of the income derived from the three houses on this site are devoted to the maintenance of the district churches in the parish, the remainder going to the parish of St. Martin’s. The share of St. George’s parish now amounts to a capital sum of L5,075, and an income of L1,600.
New Bond Street
Old and New Bond Street form a continuous thoroughfare, in which are situated some of the most fashionable shops in London. Though somewhat narrow, and architecturally uninteresting, it has always been a favourite society promenade, and when first built was “inhabited by the nobility and gentry” (Hatton). New Bond Street dates from about 1716, and occupies part of the site of Conduit Mead (twenty-seven acres), the property of the City of London.
Old Bond Street
Old Bond Street, and the adjoining Stafford Street, Albemarle and Dover Streets, occupy the site of old Clarendon House, the grounds of which covered nearly 30 acres, granted to Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, by Charles II. The house, described by Evelyn as a noble pile, was erected in 1664, and after being leased, in 1670, to the Duke of Ormonde, was sold in 1675 to the second Duke of Albemarle, who parted with it to Sir Thomas Bond for L20,000. The latter, in 1686, built Bond Street, the west side of which was first called Albemarle Buildings.
Halfway down on the west side is the Royal Arcade, a short passage leading to Albemarle Street, containing shops, with a handsome entrance at each end. It was opened in 1883.
In 1820, on the east side, stood another arcade, communicating with the Burlington Arcade, and named the Western Exchange. It failed, and was closed.
In Stafford Street a stone let into the wall of a public-house had the inscription: “This is Stafford Street, 1686.” At the corner of Albemarle Street, in 1852, was the Stafford Street Club, formed by Roman Catholics.
Grafton Street was named after the Duke of Grafton, who, with Lord Grantham, bought the site in 1735. It was first called Ducking Pond Row, and in 1767 Evans Row.
Dover Street, built in 1686, was called after Henry Jermyn, Earl of Dover, who died here 1708.
At the top of Hay Hill was Ashburnham House (Earl of Ashburnham), a plain square building in a courtyard. It was occupied by the Russian Embassy in 1851. Now Nos. 28 and 29 are the premises of the Sesame Club for ladies.
The steep descent of Hay Hill was so called from a farm in the neighbourhood, which, perhaps, took its name from Tyburn (the “Ayburn,” the “Eia Burn”), which flowed at the foot. Here in 1554 Sir Thomas Wyatt’s head was exposed, and three of his companions hung in chains. In 1617 Hay Hill was granted to Hector Johnstone for services to the Elector Palatine. By Queen Anne it was granted to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who sold it for L200 and gave the proceeds to the poor. It afterwards came into the hands of the Pomfret family, and was sold prior to 1759 for L20,300.
Berkeley Square was built about 1698 on the site of the gardens of Berkeley House, the residence of Sir John Berkeley, afterwards Lord Berkeley, of Stratton, to whose descendant, Earl Fitzhardinge, the property still belongs. It slopes somewhat steeply to the south, and has a well-wooded garden in the centre, planted about the end of the eighteenth century. The equestrian statue of George III., by Beaupre and Wilton, erected by Princess Amelia in 1766, was removed in 1827, and the pedestal is vacant, but a drinking-fountain, the gift of the Marquis of Lansdowne, stands at the south end. In 1805 the north side was occupied by small tradesmen’s shops, which have been replaced; but some of the other houses are old, and still have the iron link extinguishers before the door, which may be seen at many houses in this district. No. 25 is Thomas’s Hotel, which dates from 1809. Charles James Fox lived here in 1803. No. 40 is noteworthy for the style of its architecture, but the finest house in the Square is Lansdowne House (Marquis of Lansdowne), standing in its own garden on the south side. It was built by Robert Adam for the Earl of Bute in 1765, and sold while still unfinished to the Earl of Shelburne, afterwards Marquis of Lansdowne, for L22,500. It contains a sculpture gallery commenced in 1778, with a collection of statuary by Gavin Hamilton. The pictures were collected by the third Marquis (1807-50), and comprise specimens by Raphael, Murillo, Velasquez, Hogarth, Reynolds, Landseer, and others. The library was added in 1790. Priestley was librarian when, in 1774, he discovered oxygen.
Berkeley Street was built on the grounds of Berkeley House in 1684 by Lady Berkeley, under the direction of John Evelyn. It skirts the garden wall of Devonshire House, and is now chiefly occupied by stabling.
Here lived: Richard Cosway, R.A., 1770-80; No. 4, Shackleton, painter; 9, Pope’s Martha Blount, 1731-63; General Bulkeley, d. 1815; Mrs. Howard, mistress of Louis Napoleon.
Bruton Street, built circa 1727, was named after Lord Berkeley’s Dorsetshire estate. It contains large private houses, the most noticeable being No. 17, now Lord Stratheden and Campbell. At No. 22 (now Earl Bathurst) was the Pioneer Club for ladies.
In Hill Street (1743) lived: Lord Lyttelton, 1755-73; Admiral Byng, 1756; Smollett’s Lady Vane, d. 1788; Mrs. Montagu, 1795; Lord Chief Justice Camden, d. 1794; Earl of Carlisle, b. 1802; Sir J. F. Leicester, 1829; No. 5, Mr. Henry Brougham (Lord Brougham), 1824, Lord Londesborough, 1835; 6 (a new house), Marquis of Tweeddale, 1895; 9, Admiral Sir Philip Durham, 1841; 8, The Mackintosh of Mackintosh; 20, Lord Barrymore; 21, William Grant, Earl of Malmesbury, d. 1820, Countess Darnley; 26, Lord Revelstoke; 27, Countess of Roden, 1895; 30, Lord Westbury; 33, Lord Hindlip; 34, Sir Charles G. Earle-Welby, Bart.; 41, Sir Evelyn Ruggles-Brise, Bart.
In Farm Street (circa 1750), named from a neighbouring farm, and now a mews, is the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, a handsome and lofty Gothic structure in Decorated style, designed by Scoles, and built in 1849. The front is a miniature reproduction of the cathedral at Beauvais. The high altar, designed by Pugin, was a gift by Miss Tempest, and cost L1,000. The church is lit by a clerestory.
In South Street (circa 1737), up to 1845, stood a Roman Catholic chapel, attached to the Portuguese Embassy. Here is a school endowed by General Stewart in 1726, and carried on in conjunction with the Hanover Branch Schools.
Aldford Street (circa 1734) was named Chapel Street (from Grosvenor Chapel) until 1886. Part of the north side has been lately pulled down, and with it No. 13, where Beau Brummell lived in 1816 and Sir Thomas Rivers Wilson in 1841.
Other inhabitants: No. 23, Shelley, 1813; 5, Earl of Kilmorey.
Deanery Street was built circa 1737, and was first called Dean and Chapel Street, from the Chapter of Westminster, the ground landlords. In Tilney Street (circa 1750) lived Soame Jenyns, d. 1787; No. 2, Viscount Esher; 5, Lord Brampton; 6, Mrs. Fitzherbert, wife of George IV.
Great Stanhope Street
Great Stanhope Street, built circa 1750 by Lord Chesterfield, is broad, and contained fifteen spacious houses, of which No. 7 was demolished to build a mansion in Park Lane for a millionaire.
Waverton Street was renamed in 1886, instead of Union Street, built circa 1750.
Charles Street is so called after Charles, Earl of Falmouth, brother of Lord Berkeley. At the corner of Hayes Street a public-house bears the sign of a running footman in the dress of the last century, with the inscription, “I am the only running footman.”
In John Street (circa 1730) is Berkeley Chapel, the property of Lord Fitzhardinge, which dates from about 1750. It is a plain building both within and without. The interior was redecorated in 1874, and the east end and chancel in 1895, when a window was put up to the memory of the late Duke of Clarence. Sydney Smith and Rev. H. F. Cary (1812) are the best known among the incumbents.
In Queen Street (circa 1753) lived: No. 13, Dr. Merriman, 1796-1810; 20, Thomas Duncombe, M.P., 1824; 22, Sir Robert Adair, d. 1855; 21, Duke of Hamilton, d. 1895; 25, R. Brinsley Sheridan, 1810.
Some fine houses with an outlet by steps to Pitt’s Head Mews form Seamore Place (circa 1761).
Curzon Street was named after Curzon, Earl Howe, d. 1758, to whose family the property still belongs. It was known before that time as Mayfair Row.
On the south side is Curzon or Mayfair Chapel, an ugly building, first erected in 1730, but since rebuilt. The Rev. Alex Keith was the first incumbent. Here he performed marriages without banns or license until his excommunication in 1742. He then established a chapel close by, where clandestine marriages were continued until the Marriage Act put an end to them in 1754.
Opposite the chapel is Wharncliffe House, a plain building with courtyard and garden. Here lived in 1708 Edward Shepherd, the builder of Shepherd’s Market.
At the end of Curzon Street is Bolton Row (1728), until 1786 called Blicks Row.
A passage leads between the gardens of Lansdowne and Downshire Houses to Berkeley Street. The bars at each entrance were set up after the escape of a highwayman, who galloped through.
Bolton Street was built in 1699, and was then the western limit of London.
The Young Pretender is said to have lodged here secretly when in London.
Clarges Street was built 1716-18 on the site of Clarges House, the residence of Sir Walter Clarges, nephew of Anne Clarges, wife of Monk, Duke of Albemarle. Hatton in 1708 described it as a stately new building, inhabited by the Venetian Ambassador.
In 1876 the Turf Club, established 1866, moved here from Grafton Street. Formerly the Arlington Club, it is now a great whist centre, and one of the most select clubs in London.
Half Moon Street
Half-Moon Street, so called from a public-house at the corner of Piccadilly, was built in 1730.
East Chapel Street
West Chapel Street
On either side of Mayfair Chapel are East and West Chapel Streets, built circa 1785. In the latter, at No. 7, lived Chantrey in 1804. They lead to Shepherd’s Market, a congeries of small streets, which occupy the site of Brook Field, so called from Tyburn, which flowed through it. Here was held the May Fair, from which the district derives its name. First held in 1688, it lasted with many vicissitudes till the reign of George III., when the Earl of Coventry, d. 1809, procured its abolition. The ground in 1722 was an irregular open space, but in 1735 Shepherd’s Market was built by Edward Shepherd, the lower story consisting of butchers’ shops, and the upper containing a theatre where plays were given during the fair time. The block was built in 1860, and now consists of small provision shops.
Whitehorse Street, built about 1738, is so called from a public-house. In Carrington Street (1738) was the residence of Kitty Fisher and of Samuel Carte, the antiquary. Here also was the Dog and Duck tavern, behind which was a pond 200 feet square, where the sport of duck-hunting was pursued in the eighteenth century. The site is now marked by Ducking Pond Mews. In Carrington Mews are the Curzon Schools in connection with Christ Church, Down Street; they were built about 1826, and provide tuition for 85 boys, 90 girls, and 110 infants. In Derby Street, No. 5 is the parish mission-house, used also for parochial meetings.
Little Stanhope Street
Little Stanhope Street was built about 1761.
Hertford Street (1764), now chiefly inhabited by doctors.
In this street also the Duke of Cumberland, brother of George III., married Miss Horton, the actress. On the site of Down Street (1730) stood Mr. Deane’s school, where Pope was educated. The north end was called Carrington Place (1774) until 1867. On the west side is Christ Church, a building of great beauty erected in 1863, with a one-sided transept. The east window was presented by the Hope family. The street has been lately rebuilt with red-brick flats and chambers.
Brick Street at its southern end was until 1878 called Engine Street, from a water-wheel by the Tyburn, which here crossed Piccadilly.
Piccadilly enters our district at the end of Bond Street, and forms its boundary as far as Hyde Park Corner. The origin of the name is obscure; the street is first so called in Gerard’s “Herbal,” 1633, but as early as 1623 (and up to 1685) a gaming-house named Piccadilly Hall stood near Coventry Street. In 1617, and for some years afterwards, the name “Piccadill” was given to a fashionable collar, according to Gifford, derived from picca, a spearhead, owing to the spiky nature of the folds. Hence it may have been applied as a nickname to the hall and street, but there are numerous other conjectural derivations. The name was originally given to the part extending from the Haymarket to Sackville Street. From that point to Brick Street was styled Portugal Row, from Catharine of Braganza, wife of Charles II. The stone bridge over Tyburn gave its name to the short distance between Brick Street and Down Street; west of that was Hyde Park Road. As the houses were built the name Piccadilly spread westwards, until, soon after 1770, the whole street was so called. From the Park to Berkeley Street was also popularly known as Hyde Park Corner, now confined to the actual vicinity of the Park. In the sixteenth century Piccadilly was a lonely country road known as the “Way to Redinge.” In 1700 the western portion was occupied by statuary yards, which soon after 1757 gave way to houses. The remainder contains many large private houses, and in recent years has been further changed by the erection of numerous handsome club-houses. In 1844 it was widened between Bolton Street and Park Lane by taking in a strip of the Green Park with a row of trees, near the entrance to Constitution Hill, and throwing it into the roadway; and again in 1902 by cutting off a part of the Park. The following are the principal buildings:
At the corner of Albemarle Street the Albemarle Hotel. Hatchett’s restaurant, formerly called the New White Horse Cellar. After the resuscitation of stage-coaching in 1886, Hatchett’s was a favourite starting-place, but is now little patronized. The new White Horse Cellar was named after the White Horse Cellar (No. 55) on the south side, so called from the crest of the House of Hanover, which existed in 1720, and was widely renowned as a coaching centre. It is now closed.
Adjoining Hatchett’s is the Hotel Avondale, named after the Duke of Clarence and Avondale. The house was opened as a dining club, the “Cercle de Luxe,” in 1892, after the failure of which it was reopened as an hotel in 1895.
No. 75 is the site of the Three Kings’ Inn, where stood up to 1864 two pillars taken from Clarendon House.
At the corner of Berkeley Street is the Berkeley Hotel and Restaurant, formerly the St. James’s Hotel, which stands on the site of the Gloucester coffee-house.
Opposite, at the corner of the Green Park, is Walsingham House, an enormous block built by Lord Walsingham in 1887, and on which he is said to have spent L300,000. It has been used as an hotel, and is shortly to be pulled down and rebuilt. Part of it was occupied by the Isthmian Club, established in 1882 for gentlemen interested in cricket, rowing, and other sports, which removed here from Grafton Street in 1887.
Opposite Berkeley Street stood the toll-gate, removed to Hyde Park Corner in 1725. No. 78, adjoining it, is Devonshire House, the residence of the Dukes of Devonshire, which stands in a courtyard concealed from the street by a high brick wall, in which are handsome iron gates. It is an unpretending brick building built by Kent in 1735, with a large garden at the back. The interior is handsome, and contains a gallery of pictures by old masters, a large collection of prints, and the famous Devonshire collection of gems. On this site stood Berkeley House, built about 1655 by Sir John Berkeley on a property called Hay Hill Farm, the grounds then covering the present Lansdowne House and Berkeley Square, as well as Berkeley and Stratton Street. It came into the possession of the Cavendish family before 1697, but was destroyed by fire in 1733. Queen Anne, when Princess of Denmark, lived here from 1692 to 1695.
Stratton Street, a cul-de-sac, was built about 1693 by Lady Stratton. At No. 1 lived Mrs. Coutts (Miss Mellon), afterwards Duchess of St. Albans, d. 1837. It now belongs to her heir, the Baroness Burdett-Coutts.
Hamilton Place is a short but broad street, lined on the west with large and fashionable houses. The ground, then part of Hyde Park, was granted to Hamilton, Ranger of Hyde Park, 1660-84, who built a street of small houses, named Hamilton Street, a cul-de-sac. This was replaced in 1809 by a street built by the Adams. In 1871, to relieve the congestion of the traffic, the roadway was carried through the Park Lane.
The space between Hamilton Place and Apsley House is now occupied by six large houses.
It was up to the middle of last century a row of mean buildings, many of them public-houses. Next to Apsley House stood, up to 1797, a noted inn, the Pillars of Hercules. In 1787 M. de Calonne built a mansion on the site now occupied by Nos. 146 and 147.
Apsley House was built in 1778 by Lord Chancellor Apsley, Earl Bathurst, to whom the site was granted by George III. The ground was formerly occupied by the old Ranger’s Lodge, and adjoining it was a tenement granted by George II. to Allen, a veteran of Dettingen, for a permanent apple-stall. In 1808 the house came into the possession of the Marquis Wellesley, and in 1816 into that of his brother, the Duke of Wellington, and it is now held by the fourth Duke.
It was faced with stone, and enlarged by the Wyatts in 1828, and in 1830 the Crown sold its interest in the building for L9,530. Further alterations were made in 1853. In the west gallery was held annually the Waterloo Banquet during the great Duke’s life, and his study is still preserved intact. The house contains a good collection of pictures and many relics of the Napoleonic era.
Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park Corner was the entrance to London until 1825, when the turnpike was removed. Cottages existed here in 1655. It is now an open triangular space, much enlarged when a portion of Green Park was thrown into the roadway in 1888. In the centre, about 1828, was erected a triumphal arch, an imitation of the arch of Titus at Rome. This, in 1846, was surmounted by a colossal equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington by Matthew Wyatt, which, in 1888, was removed to Aldershot, and the arch shifted to the top of Constitution Hill. The vacant space is now occupied by an equestrian statue of Wellington by Boehm.
In 1642 one of the forts for the defence of London against the Royalists was erected on the ground opposite the present Apsley House.
The prolongation of Piccadilly to the westward is known generally as Knightsbridge, as far as the stone bridge which spanned the Westbourne at the present Albert Gate. Edward the Confessor granted the land to the Abbey of Westminster, and it was disafforested in 1218. After the Reformation Knightsbridge was preserved to the Abbey, and still belongs to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. In 1725 the name was applied to the fields as far south as the King’s Road (Eaton Square), but after the building of Belgravia it was restricted to the street fronting Hyde Park. Facing Hyde Park Corner is St. George’s Hospital, established in 1733; the residence of the Earls of Lanesborough previously occupied the site. The present building was erected from designs by William Wilkins, R.A., in 1828, and enlarged in 1831, 1859, and 1868. In the latter year the south-west wing was added. The question of the removal of the hospital is exciting much attention at present.
West of the chapel on the site of the hospital stood the Cannon Brewery, erected in 1804, and demolished in 1841 to make Albert Gate. The French Embassy, east of the gate, was built by Cubitt in 1852 for Hudson, the Railway King, and has lately been enlarged. The stone bridge was removed, and the stream arched over in 1841.
In 1765 George II. attempted to buy the fields adjoining Buckingham Palace to the west, but as Granville refused to sanction the expenditure of L20,000 for the purpose, the property was bought by Lord Grosvenor for L30,000, and Grosvenor Place was built in 1767-70, overlooking the Palace gardens. It has always been a fashionable place of residence. The houses below St. George’s Hospital were formerly small and plain. The best-known inhabitants were: No. 1, Dr. Lewes’ School of Anatomy and Medicine; 4, Lord Egremont (the third); north corner of Halkin Street, the Earl of Carlisle, Byron’s guardian.
These houses were replaced in 1873-76 by five palatial stone houses built for the Duke of Grafton, Duke of Northumberland, Sir Anthony Rothschild, and Earl Stanhope.
St George’s Place
Facing Hyde Park a row of well-built private houses now forms St. George’s Place (1839), which, until lately, consisted of low brick buildings. One of these is now being pulled down to make way for the station of the new Piccadilly and Brompton Electric Railway. Close by is the Alexandra Hotel, built soon after the marriage of the present Queen, after whom it was named. Behind is Old Barrack Yard, which adjoined the old Guards Barracks, established about 1758. After being discontinued for troops, it was used as a depot until 1836, when the lease was sold and the building let out as tenements. The site is now occupied by St. Paul’s Schools in Wilton Place. The houses beyond Wilton Place are being rebuilt further back to widen the roadway, which has hitherto been very narrow, and which during the afternoon in the season is often blocked by the traffic.
Park Side, the north side of Knightsbridge, is freehold of the Dean and Chapter, and rented by the descendants of Mr. Gamble of Trinity Chapel. Shops were erected here about 1810. At the east end stood the stocks in 1805, and in 1835, close by, a watch-house and pound. The Queen’s Head, an old inn dating from 1576, was pulled down in 1843. Trinity Chapel belonged to an ancient lazar-house or hospital, held by the family of Glassington under the Abbey of Westminster in 1595. The chapel was rebuilt in 1629 and 1699, and repaired in 1789. It was entirely restored and remodelled in 1861 at a cost of L3,300. A charity school, instituted about 1785, adjoined it until 1844, when it was removed and attached to St. Paul’s. In Knightsbridge Chapel marriages were performed without banns or license in a manner similar to those at Mayfair Chapel. The most celebrated of these are: Sir Robert Walpole to Katherine Shorter, 1700; Henry Graham to the Countess of Derwentwater, daughter of Charles II., 1705.
At the south corner of Chapel Street stood the Lock Hospital, established in 1747, attached to which was a chapel, built 1764, and an asylum for penitent females, founded by the Rev. Thomas Scott in 1787. The chapel was celebrated for its preachers, which included Martin Madan, Thomas Scott, C. E. de Coeetlogon, Dr. Dodd, Rowland Hill, etc. The buildings, of red brick, and very plain, were pulled down in 1846, and the institution removed to Harrow Road. On the site were built Grosvenor Place Houses, renamed 18, 19, 20, Grosvenor Place in 1875. At No. 20 now lives Earl Stanhope.
In Grosvenor Row, at the south end of Grosvenor Place, stood a court named Osnaburgh Row (1769), after the Duke of York, who was also Bishop of Osnaburgh. It was cleared away about 1843. Near it stood the Duke’s Hospital for Invalid Guards, closed in 1846 and removed 1851. Adjoining it was an old inn, the Feathers.
The district bounded by Knightsbridge and Grosvenor Place, as far as Sloane Street and Ebury Street, is known as Belgravia, after Belgrave Square, which occupies the centre. Up to 1825 it was named the Five Fields, and was bare, swampy ground on which were a few market gardens. Only one road, the King’s Road (Eaton Square), crossed it, though there were numerous footpaths, rendered insecure by the highwaymen and footpads who infested them. It was also a favourite duelling-ground. In 1826 a special Act of Parliament empowered the owner, Lord Grosvenor, to drain the site, raise the level, etc., and in the course of the next few years Messrs. Cubitt and Seth Smith built the streets and squares which now rank as a fashionable centre with the neighbourhood of Grosvenor Square. The houses are mainly uniform in type—square, substantial, plaster-fronted structures, which give an aspect of monotony to the whole district.
Belgrave Square, 10 acres in extent, is 684 feet long by 637 feet wide, and was designed by Basevi and built by Cubitt in 1825-28. The detached houses in the corners are by Philip Hardwick, R.A., and H. E. Kendall (west side). An enclosed garden occupies the centre.
The principal approach to Belgrave Square is by Grosvenor Crescent, a broad and handsome street commenced in 1837, but not completed until about 1860. Where is now the south-west wing of St. George’s Hospital stood Tattersall’s famous auction mart for horses, etc., and betting-rooms. The establishment was started by Richard Tattersall, trainer to the last Duke of Kingston, about 1774, and was long popularly known as “the Corner.” It was pulled down in 1866, and removed to Knightsbridge Green.
In the adjoining Kinnerton Street (1826), so called from one of the Grosvenor estates, stood the dissecting school and anatomical museum of St. George’s Hospital, removed to the new wing in 1868. At No. 75 is an institute for providing and promoting humane treatment of animals, founded by Lady Frances Trevanion circa 1890. It is supported by voluntary contributions.
Motcomb Street was built in 1828, and named after the property of the Dowager Marchioness of Westminster in Dorset.
On the north side is the Pantechnicon, built circa 1834 as a bazaar for the sale of carriages, furniture, etc.; it had also a wine and toy department. It was burnt down in 1874, but has been rebuilt, and is now used for storing furniture, etc.
West Halkin Street and Halkin Place on the west side, and Halkin Street on the east side of the Square, are named after Halkin Castle, the Duke of Westminster’s seat in Flintshire. The first contains a chapel of singular shape, the northern end being wider than the southern. It was built by Seth Smith as an Episcopal church, but is now Presbyterian.
Halkin Street was commenced about 1807, but until 1826 it, as well as the other streets leading out of Grosvenor Place, terminated in a mud-bank, on the other side of which were the Five Fields. On the north side is Mortimer House, a plain brick building standing in a courtyard. It was the residence of the late Earl Fitzwilliam, but is now Lord Penrhyn’s. Next to it is Belgrave Chapel (St. John’s), a proprietary church in Grecian style, built in 1812, with accommodation for 800. The remaining houses are small and unpretending, as are those in Chapel Street, built 1775-1811, and so called from the Lock Hospital Chapel, which stood at the corner of Grosvenor Place.
On the other side of Belgrave Square, Chesham Place (1831) leads to a triangular space, with a small garden in the centre.
The feature of Lyall Street (1841) is Chesham House, at the corner, in which is the Russian Embassy, noted under Chesham Place.
On the other side of Lyall Street is Lowndes Place, built about 1835.
Belgrave Place, so named in 1879 instead of Upper Eccleston Street; and Upper Belgrave Street, built circa 1827, have the same general characteristics.
In Chester Street, commenced 1805, lived: No. 5, Right Hon. Sir Frederick Shaw, d. 1876; 7, Dr. Pettigrew, d. 1860; 12, Sir Douglas Galton, d. 1899; 13, Dr. Broughton, d. 1837; 27, Colonel Sibthorpe, d. 1855.
Wilton Street was begun in 1817. Here lived Mr. Spencer Perceval, son of the Minister.
Grosvenor Place, Lower Grosvenor Place, Hobart Place, Eaton Square, and Clieveden Place occupy the site of the King’s private road, which had existed before as a footpath, but was made a coach-road by Charles II as a short-cut to Hampton Court. It ran along the north garden of Eaton Square, and crossed the Westbourne at Bloody Bridge, a name which dates as far back as 1590. On the north side, where is now Eaton Terrace, was a coppice which provided wood for the Abbey. Houses were first built on it about 1785, and in 1725 a turnpike existed at its junction with Grosvenor Place. Admission to the road was by ticket, but in 1830 it was thrown open to the public under the name of the King’s Road.
Lower Grosvenor Place
Part of Lower Grosvenor was named Arabella Row in 1789, but became known by its present name in 1789. Here in a shabby house lived Lord Erskine after resigning the Lord Chancellorship in 1806.
Hobart Place was first so called in 1836, but part of it was called Grosvenor Street West until 1869. It leads to Eaton Square.
Eaton Square, built by Cubitt in 1827-53.
This is 1,637 feet long by 371 feet wide, 15 acres in extent, and contains six enclosed gardens. The houses are of the usual type. At the west end is St. Peter’s Church, built in 1826 in Ionic style from designs by Hakewell at a cost of L21,515. An altar-piece by Hilton, R.A., was presented by the British Institution in 1828, but was removed in 1877, and is now in the South Kensington Museum. After being nearly burnt down in 1837, it was rebuilt by Gerrard, and in 1872 a chancel and transepts in Byzantine style, by Sir A. Blomfield, were added. The nave was remodelled in 1874, and further alterations have been made in the last ten years at a cost of L5,000. Here are buried Admiral Sir E. Codrington, d. 1851, and General Lord Robert Somerset, G.C.B. The Right Rev. G. H. Wilkinson, Bishop of St. Andrew’s, was vicar from 1870-83.
Clieveden Place, first built over in 1826, was so named in 1890 from the Duke of Westminster’s late estate near Cookham, instead of its original name, Westbourne Place. Between Clieveden Place and Pimlico Road the streets are narrow and unimportant.
In Westbourne Street (1826), so called from the neighbouring Westbourne River, stood the York Hospital for invalid soldiers, removed to Chatham in 1819. On the east side is a Baptist chapel, a plain building, erected in 1825.
Skinner Street, Whittaker Street. Passmore Street, Union Street
Skinner Street (1842) and Whittaker Street (1836) lead to Holbein Place, built over the Westbourne, and called in 1877 “the Ditch.” Leading from Whittaker Street are Passmore Street (1837) and Union Street, containing industrial dwellings.
The houses in Chester Square and the neighbourhood are not so pretentious as those in Belgravia, but it is still a fashionable place of residence.
South Eaton Place
In South Eaton Place, near the south end, stood the Star and Garter Tavern, well known about 1760. The end of this street was called Burton Street (1826) until 1877.
In Elizabeth Street, first called Eliza Street in 1820, and until 1866 divided into Upper Elizabeth Street, Elizabeth Street, and Elizabeth Street South, stood the Dwarf Tavern, noted about 1760. At the south end, near St. Philip’s Parochial Hall and Parsonage, is St. Michael’s Mission House, built in 1893.
Gerald Road, 1834 until 1885 named Cottage Road, contains the station of the R Division of Police.
Eccleston Street, with which in 1866 was incorporated Eccleston Street South, was so called from Ecclestone in Cheshire, where the Duke of Westminster has property. A house on the west side inhabited by Sir Frances Chantrey was pulled down during the construction of the underground railway. On the same side is the Royal Pimlico Dispensary, established in 1831. Part of the east side has been rebuilt.
Lower Belgrave Street
In Lower Belgrave Street (1810), the lower end of which was till 1867 named Belgrave Street South, are St. Peter’s National Schools, a large red-brick building with a playground, in connection with St. Peter’s, Eaton Square.
At the end of Grosvenor Place great improvements were made in 1868 by the building of Grosvenor Gardens, when Grosvenor Street West, and Upper and Lower Eaton Street were swept away.
At No. 27, Upper Eaton Street, lived George Frederick Cooke, 1870; 25, Thomas Campbell, 1803; 19, Lower Eaton Street, Mrs. Abington, actress, 1807, Mr. Pinkerton, 1802. The present houses are very large and handsome.
On the west side, at the corner of Buckingham Palace Road, are Belgrave Mansions, built from designs by Cundy in 1868, a large block in French Renaissance style, with a frontage of nearly 300 feet. The ground-floor is occupied by shops, and above are five floors of flats. The centre of the open space is occupied by two triangular enclosed gardens, and is crossed by Ebury Street, once an open lane leading over the fields to Chelsea. Houses were built on it after 1750, and in 1779 the north-eastern end was named Upper Ranelagh Street and Ranelagh Street. The south-western end was Upper Ebury Street, but the whole was renamed Ebury Street in 1867. It is an uninteresting street of unpretending houses and shops.
Facing Grosvenor Gardens is the Grosvenor Hotel, opened in 1862 in connection with Victoria Station. The building, designed by Knowles, is 272 feet long, 75 feet deep, and 150 feet high, and cost L100,000.
At the north-east end of Ebury Street is Victoria Square, a small square of plain houses built about 1837, out of which Albert Street leads to Grosvenor Place. In the square lived, at No. 8, Thomas Campbell, 1841-43; 5, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.
At the other end, near Ebury Bridge, is Ebury Square, built about 1820 on the site of Ebury Farm. This ancient property, which derives its name from the Saxon ey, water, and burgh, a fortified place, is mentioned in 1307, when permission was granted by Edward I. to John de Benstede to fortify it. In Queen Elizabeth’s time it consisted of a farm of 430 acres, let on lease for L21 per annum. In 1676 it came into the possession of the Grosvenor family, and in 1725 embraced a long narrow area, reaching from Buckingham House to the Thames between the Westbourne and the present Westmoreland Street.
The square was partially destroyed in 1868, but the old houses remain on the north-west and south sides. In the centre is a garden, and the ground between it and Buckingham Palace Road is occupied by St. Michael’s National Schools, opened in 1870, a spacious building, accommodating about a thousand scholars; there is a large playground. The site had been previously occupied by the Pimlico Literary Institution, built in 1830 from designs by J. P. Deering.
On the remaining side a handsome block of industrial dwellings (Ebury Buildings) was built in 1872, when the old Flask Lane (1785) was swept away. The approaches on the north-west are Semley Place (1785), late Flask Row, and Little Ebury Street (1823). At the end of Avery Farm Row (probably a corruption of Ebury), opposite Ebury Bridge, is a drinking-fountain, erected in memory of the second Marquis of Westminster, d. 1869, by his widow.
Buckingham Palace Road
Buckingham Palace Road, now a broad street with large houses and shops, was in 1725 an open country road, known as the coach-road to Chelsea. The houses in it are rated under the name of Pimlico as late as 1786, but rows of houses under various names had been built earlier—Stafford Row in 1752, Queen’s Row in 1766. These, with Victoria Road (1838), Stockbridge Terrace (1836), King’s Road, Lower and Upper Belgrave Place and Belgrave Terrace (1826), were united under the name of Buckingham Palace Road in 1867, and in 1894 Union Place, Holden Terrace, and South Place were incorporated with it. The portion facing the Palace is named Buckingham Gate, and consists of seven large private houses. On this site, facing the Park, stood Tart Hall, the residence of Viscount Stafford.
Buckingham Palace Gardens
Buckingham Palace Gardens, also on the north side, is a row of large, ornamental, red-brick houses, newly erected, adjoining the Free Library built by Bolton and opened in 1894. On the first floor is a natural history collection presented by a parishioner. St. Philip’s Church, built 1887-90, is a plain but spacious red-brick building, in Early English style by Brierley and Demaine, with seats (free) for 850. Adjoining is the Grosvenor Club and Grosvenor Hall, used for social entertainments, etc. Nearly the whole of the south side of the road has recently been demolished in view of the extension of Victoria Station.
From the end of Buckingham Palace Road Chelsea was reached by the present Pimlico Road, so called in 1871, when the old names of Jews’ Row, Grosvenor Row (1785), and Queen Street (1774) were abolished. The origin of the name Pimlico is uncertain. There was one also at Hoxton, where a certain Ben Pimlico kept a noted hostelry in Queen Elizabeth’s time. It is now officially used to denote the whole district south of Knightsbridge, but is popularly confined to the part between Chester Square and the Thames. It began to be sparsely inhabited in 1680, after which date it is mentioned occasionally in the rate-books, and regularly after 1739.
On the north side, near the east end, are two narrow streets—Clifford’s Row (1785), and King Street (1785). At the corner of Ebury Street stood an old inn, the Goat and Compasses, now replaced by the Three Compasses public-house. Further on is the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, built about 1850 as a chapel of ease to St. Barnabas. Adjoining is the site of the Chelsea Bun House, in its best days kept by Richard Hand, “who has the honour to serve the Royal Family.” It was celebrated by Swift in 1711, and was taken down in 1839. Opposite stood Strombelo or Stromboli House, a minor place of amusement, at its height in 1788. Near here Nell Gwynne is said to have lived, and her name is kept up by the Nell Gwynne Tavern and a passage called Nell Gwynne Cottages.
In Bloomfield Place stood St. John’s School for girls, established in 1859 under the auspices of the Sisterhood of St. John; adjoining, under the same management, St. Barnabas’ Mission House and St. Barnabas’ Orphanage, established in 1860.
In Church Street (1846) stands the college of St. Barnabas, founded by Rev. W. J. Bennett. The buildings are of Kentish ragstone, were designed by Cundy, and contain a church, clergy house, and school-house with teacher’s residence. The church, originally built as a chapel of ease to St. Paul’s, Knightsbridge, is in Early Pointed style, and has a tower and spire of Caen stone 170 feet high, with ten bells. The edifice cost L15,000, and was at the opening signalized by ritualistic disturbances. The schools built on the site of the Orange Tavern and tea-gardens in the Pimlico Road were designed for 200 boys, 200 girls, and 200 infants, but a separate boys’ school has been since built in Ebury Street.
Ranelagh Grove occupies the site of The Avenue, which led from Ebury Bridge to old Ranelagh House, but now ends in the blank wall of Chelsea Barracks.
Commercial Road (1842) is occupied by works and industrial dwellings (Gatcliff Buildings, 1867, and Wellington Buildings). On the west side is the wall of Chelsea Barracks.
It leads by the Chelsea Bridge Road to the embankment at Victoria Bridge, a light and graceful suspension bridge designed by Page and opened in 1858. The structure, which cost L88,000, is built of iron, and rests on piers of English elm and concrete enclosed in iron casings. The piers are each nearly 90 feet in length by 20 feet in width, with curved cutwaters. The whole bridge is 915 feet long, 715 feet between abutments, the centre span 347 feet, side-spans each 185 feet, and there is a clear water-way of 21 feet above high-water mark. The roadway is made by two wrought-iron longitudinal girders extending the whole length of the bridge, suspended by rods from the chains. Toll-houses stand at each end, but it was purchased in 1879 for L75,000 as a free bridge.
Near the end of the bridge stood the White House, a lonely habitation much used by anglers; opposite, on the Surrey side, was a similar building, the Red House. A short way to the east stood the Chelsea Waterworks, incorporated as a company in 1724, though waterworks seem to have existed here before that date. They extended, with the Grosvenor Canal and basin (now occupied by Victoria Station), over 89 acres, and supplied water to Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Pimlico, and part of Westminster. The company has now removed to Kingston, and the site is occupied by the western pumping-station of the main drainage system of London, built 1873-75 at a cost of L183,000.
Graham Street (1827) incorporated with which in 1894 were Graham Street West and Gregory Street (1833), contains the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, a chapel of ease to St. Paul’s, Knightsbridge, a red-brick building with a spire, built in 1872.
Caroline Street (1834) is of no interest.
Eaton Terrace (1826) was until 1884 named Coleshill Street. At the corner of Clieveden Place is an old proprietary chapel, Eaton Chapel, in Grecian style, built about 1800, with sittings for 1,200. A chapel existed here, however, before that date, known as the Five Fields Chapel.
Chester Terrace was in 1878 amalgamated with Minera Street (1830), and in 1887 with Newland Street (1836).
Chester Square is very long and narrow; it is five acres in extent, and was commenced about 1834. It has three enclosed gardens. At the west end is the handsome church of St. Michael, erected 1844-46 in the Decorated style from designs by Cundy. The tower has a lofty spire. The chancel was extended in 1874, and the building has on several occasions been enlarged and restored.
Chester Place, at the east end of the square, was incorporated with it in 1874.
Palace Street (1767), until 1881 called Charlotte Street, after Queen Charlotte, the first royal occupant of the Palace. In it is St. Peter’s Church, a plain building with seats for 200, which existed as Charlotte Chapel in 1770. Its most famous incumbent was Dr. Dodd, who was executed for forgery in 1777. Subsequently it was held by Dr. Dillon, who was suspended in 1840. It was then a proprietary chapel, but is now a chapel of ease to St. Peter’s, Eaton Square; also St. Peter and St. Edward’s Catholic Chapel.
In Palace Place (until 1881 Little Charlotte Street) is St. Peter’s Chapel School, established in 1830.
The St. George’s Union Workhouse, a large red-brick building, built in 1884, stands in Wallis’s Yard, off Princes Row (1767).
Buckingham Palace (1840), Brewer Street (1811), and Allingham Street (1826) have no interest.
The latter leads to Victoria Street, a broad thoroughfare opened in 1851, only the western end of which falls within the district. On the south side is the Victoria Station of the Metropolitan District Railway, commenced in 1863 and opened in 1868.
St George’s Row
The ground between Victoria Station and the river occupies the site of the old manor of Neyte, which belonged to the Abbey of Westminster until confiscated by Henry VIII in 1536. It was a favourite residence of the Abbots, and here also lived John of Gaunt, and here John, son of Richard, Duke of York, was born in 1448. In 1592 the manor became a farm and passed with the Ebury Estate into the possession of the Grosvenor family. The manor-house stood where is now St. George’s Row, and in Pepys’ time was a popular pleasure-garden. Between the Willow Walk (Warwick Street) and the river were the Neat House Gardens, which supplied a large part of London with vegetables. The name lingered until the present century among the houses on the river-bank, and is still commemorated by Neat House Buildings in Ranelagh Road. The whole area was low-lying and swampy, and the neighbourhood of Eccleston Square was occupied by a vast osier bed.
In 1827, Cubitt raised the level of the district by depositing the earth excavated from St. Katharine’s Docks, and the present houses and squares were gradually completed. The whole district is singularly uninteresting, the streets of good breadth, and the houses faced with plaster of the type we have seen in Belgravia. North of Belgrave Road the streets are occupied by the poorer classes, but the squares and principal streets in this neighbourhood are tenanted by the wealthy. The southern portion is dully respectable, and most of the houses are let in lodgings. The eastern end of Warwick Street and Lupus Street contain the only shops, and those of no great size or importance.
St. George’s Row was built as Monster Row circa 1785, and renamed in 1833. Here was the site of the manor-house of Neyte. The Monster public-house commemorates the old Monster tavern and garden, the name being probably a corruption of monastery.
Vauxhall Bridge Road
The Vauxhall Bridge Road, commenced after 1816, but first mentioned under that name in 1827. The following terraces were incorporated with it in 1865: Bedford Place (1826), Trellick Place (1826), York Place (1839), Pembroke Place, Gloucester Place, Windsor Terrace, Shaftesbury Crescent (1826), Howick Place and Howick Terrace (1826).
Wilton Road (1833), with which, in 1890, was incorporated Wilton Terrace, skirts the east side of Victoria Station. In it stands the Church of St. John the Evangelist, a chapel of ease to St. Peter’s, Eaton Square. It is a handsome red-brick edifice, built by Blomfield in 1875, and it accommodates about 900. Behind, in Hudson’s Place, are St. Peter’s Mission House and parish room.
Gillingham Street (1826), Hindon Street (1826), Berwick Street (1830), and St. Leonard’s Street (1830) are mean and uninteresting.
Warwick Street occupies the site of the ancient Willow Walk, a low-lying footpath between the cuts of the Chelsea Waterworks, where lived the notorious Aberfield (Slender Billy) and the highwaymen Jerry Abershaw and Maclean. It is first mentioned in the rate-books in 1723.
At the corner of Warwick Street are the Pimlico Rooms, containing a hall for entertainments, etc., and occupied by the Ebury Mission and Pimlico day-school for boys, girls, and infants. Adjoining the railway is a double row of industrial dwellings, built by the trustees of the Peabody fund under the name of Peabody’s Buildings.
Belgrave Road (1830) is a broad, well-built street, with large houses. In 1865 Eccleston Terrace, North and South Warwick Terrace, Upper Eccleston Place, and Grosvenor Terrace, were incorporated with it. Nearly opposite Eccleston Square is Eccleston Square Chapel (Congregational), in Classical style, with seats for 1,100. The railway is crossed by Eccleston Bridge.
Eccleston Square is 4 acres in extent, and is long and narrow, with an enclosed garden, built in 1835.
Warwick Square, of 3 acres, is very similar, and was built in 1843. At the end stands St. Gabriel’s Church, built by Cundy in Early English style, and consecrated in 1853.
Clarendon Street (1858) absorbed Warwick Place in 1870.
Stanley Street (1851) was renamed Alderney Street in 1879, Winchester Street 1852, Cumberland Street 1852.
Ebury Bridge is the oldest of the bridges over the railway and canal. It was known in early days as Chelsea, and afterwards as Waterworks Bridge, a wooden structure. A turnpike existed here until 1825. At the south end stood Jenny’s Whim, a celebrated tavern and pleasure-garden, perhaps named from the name of the proprietress and the fantastic way it was laid out. It was in the height of its popularity about 1750, and came to an end circa 1804. When the railway was widened in 1863 all vestiges of it were swept away.
Westmoreland Street (1852) contains the Pimlico chapel for United Free Methodists.
Lupus Street (1842) is named after Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, an ancestor of the Duke of Westminster. It contains a hospital for women and children.
St George’s Square
At the eastern end is St. George’s Square (1850), a long narrow space reaching to the river with an enclosed garden in the centre. The houses are large. At No. 9 Sir J. Barnby d. 1896.
At the north end is St. Saviour’s Church, built in 1864 from designs by Cundy in a Decorated Gothic style.