Orsett Terrace combined with Orsett Place to form one street in Paddington.
Housing spread in the area during the 1840s. The eastern end of Bishop’s Road was built up and at first called Westbourne Place, where the publisher George Smith was visited by Charlotte Bronte in 1848 and 1849. Farther north, residential growth was restricted by the GWR depots and sidings.
Immediately to the west, where the Paddington Estate straddled the Westbourne, roads were laid out, with bridges over the railway to link them with Harrow Road
. Orsett Terrace had been planned by 1849. Initially the road was split into two named sections: Orsett Terrace and Orsett Place.
As elsewhere on the Paddington Estate, building agreements were made with several individuals for every street. Some were speculators, including Thomas Dowbiggin of Mayfair, who took leases for 19 houses in Orsett Terrace in 1850. Some lessees were builders, including William Scantlebury, who built much of the neighbourhood around Orsett Terrace where he took leases in 1849-50.
Orsett House bears a plaque to the political thinker Alexander Herzen, who lived there from 1850 to 1863.
The area between the line of Bishop’s Bridge Road and Westbourne Grove
and the railway is still residential. Restoration of the tall Italianate houses in the eastern part, around Gloucester Terrace
and Porchester Square
, has enabled it to retain its original resemblance to Bayswater. The eastern end of Orsett Terrace (formerly Orsett Place), although much altered, contains two detached villas whose ornate features include Egyptian pillars and boldly projecting cornices; they were designed by G. L. Taylor as comparatively low buildings, in order not to hide Holy Trinity church.
After the Second World War, the LCC began in 1964 to rehabilitate the 8½ acre Porchester Square
estate, which had been sold by the Church Commissioners in 1955. Garden walls and outbuildings made way for a play area over garages in the triangle behind Gloucester and Orsett terraces and the east side of Porchester Square
, while 150 houses in those rows were converted into over 500 flats and 114 maisonettes by 1971.