Conceived in the late 1950s, but not built until 1967–70,
Sir Basil Spence's barracks for the Household Cavalry is
architecturally the most remarkable post-war development
in Knightsbridge. With its high tower, the principal landmark of the district and a conspicuous presence on the
Hyde Park skyline, it is also the most controversial.
Spence's buildings are the third generation of cavalry
barracks on the site. The construction of the first, started
in 1792–3, coincided with the beginning of a systematic
barrack-building programme throughout England. The
original structures, obsolete as well as dilapidated, were
replaced in the late 1870s by palatial buildings appropriate
both to the prestige of the Household Cavalry and the
importance of the site. By the 1950s not only had the imperial splendour they reflected become dim, but they in turn
were felt to have reached the end of their useful existence.