Survey of London: Volume 37, Northern Kensington. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1973.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
CHAPTER VII - The Holland Estate
The Holland estate (fig. 15), which consisted of over two hundred acres surrounding Holland House, was purchased in 1768 by Henry Fox, first Baron Holland, from William Edwardes, who was later created Baron Kensington. (fn. 1) Previously the area had formed part of an even larger estate attached to Holland House, consisting of nearly five hundred acres and extending southwards almost to the Fulham Road.
This vast holding had been created by Sir Walter Cope, for whom Holland House had been built, and later came into the possession of the Rich family, the Earls of Warwick and Holland, through the marriage of Sir Henry Rich, first Earl of Holland, to Cope's daughter. When Edward Henry Rich, seventh Earl of Warwick and fourth Earl of Holland, died in 1721, the title to the estate passed to his aunt, Lady Elizabeth Edwardes (nèe Rich), the sister of the sixth Earl. She had married Francis Edwardes of Pembrokeshire and on her death in 1725 the reversion was inherited by their son, Edward Henry Edwardes. (fn. 2) He died in 1738 and by his will left the estate to his brother William, although encumbered by a lengthy entail. (fn. 34)
There is no evidence that any member of the Edwardes family lived at Holland House. In 1746 Henry Fox, then embarked on a successful political career, took up residence at the mansion, (fn. 35) and three years later he was granted a lease by William Edwardes of the house and sixty-four acres of land for ninety-nine years or three lives. (fn. 36) By the 1760's he had acquired most of that part of the Edwardes estate which lay north of the Hammersmith road (now Kensington High Street) on lease and was anxious to purchase the land outright, no doubt partly out of the profits made from holding the lucrative office of Paymaster General during the Seven Years' War. William Edwardes's estates were subject to heavy mortgages and he was probably not averse to selling in any case, but other factors may have made him accede to Fox's request. Several years later the second Lord Kensington claimed that Fox had secured a commission for a member of the Edwardes family and had thereby placed William Edwardes under an obligation to him. (fn. 37) (fn. 3) Whatever the circumstances, an agreement was concluded in March 1767 in which Fox, who had recently been created Baron Holland, agreed to pay £17,000 for all of William Edwardes's property north of the Hammersmith road. The conveyance, which was confirmed by Act of Parliament in order to set aside the entail imposed by the will of Edward Henry Edwardes, was completed in 1768. (fn. 39)
Lord Holland's accounts for 1767 and 1768 indicate that he paid a further £2,500 as well as the stipulated £17,000. (fn. 40) The extra amount was almost certainly a payment to Rowland Edwardes and John Owen Edwardes, who were successors-in-title to the estate under the will of Edward Henry Edwardes, in order to secure their consent to the sale. (fn. 37) Besides the land immediately attached to Holland House, the sale included the lordship of the manor of Abbots Kensington and some land on the south side of the highway to Acton and Uxbridge (now Holland Park Avenue) which was held on lease by Sir Edward Lloyd (see page 87). The whole property had yielded a yearly revenue of £470 19s. 11d. to William Edwardes.
A survey undertaken in 1770 (fn. 41) shows that the extent of the Holland estate was 237 acres, including one nine-acre field on the Hammersmith side of the parish boundary. Apart from Holland House itself there were few buildings of note. Little Holland House, an irregular house of some size, approximately on the site of the present No. 14 Melbury Road, was in the hands of a tenant who had taken it on a long repairing lease from William Edwardes in 1758, (fn. 42) but the freehold reversion was included in Lord Holland's purchase. Another house, which is referred to in the survey as 'Mr. Machines Mote house', stood near a group of ponds known as The Moats. According to Faulkner this was the ancient manor house of West Town. He claims that it was largely demolished in 1801 although part of it was left standing and converted into a gardener's cottage. (fn. 4) During a large part of the seventeenth century the house had been the home of Thomas Henshaw, the scientific writer and diplomatist (fn. 44). A tavern on the Hammersmith road, which was known successively as the Horse and Groom, the White Horse, and, later, the Holland Arms, and a farmhouse called Weston Farm near Little Holland House were the only other buildings of any significance on the estate.
From 1823 to 1849
The first speculative building on the estate took place during the lifetime of the third Lord Holland. He also held land in Lambeth on lease from the Archbishop of Canterbury and began building there in 1820. (fn. 5) Although anxious to develop part of his Kensington property in a similar manner, he had to await the outcome of a protracted law suit with Lord Kensington. William Edwardes, second Baron Kensington, was the son of the William Edwardes who had sold the estate to the first Lord Holland. He was born in 1777, after the sale had taken place, and, inter alia, he disputed whether the entail, under which he would have inherited the land, had been effectually set aside. The matter was finally settled out of court in 1823, when Lord Holland agreed to pay £4,000 for confirmation of his title to the estate. (fn. 45) He was now free to deal with the land as he wished and considered that the price he had paid was 'with a view to immediate improvement by building, in concert with my neighbour L[or]d K[ensington], not more than it is worth'. (fn. 46)
An account of the income and expenditure of all the family estates in 1822 shows that the yearly household expenses exceeded the revenue received from rents, (fn. 47) and there are indications that Lord Holland thought that letting land for building would bring about a short-term improvement in his income. He referred to the marking out of Addison Road as 'the important profitable but melancholy occupation', (fn. 48) and in 1824 he alluded to the 'tremendous and I hope. . . profitable works' (fn. 49) taking place on his estate. In 1827, when difficulties had beset the building operations, Lady Holland referred to 'our improvident reliance on them as sources of income' (fn. 50). She had always been more pessimistic about their immediate expectations. When Addison Road was being built, but before any houses had been begun, she wrote in a letter to her son, Henry Edward, the future fourth Lord Holland, that 'remote posterity may benefit because for some generations it must be tightly mortgaged', but that she suspected 'none now alive will be much bettered by the undertaking'. (fn. 51) Lord Holland and his successors relied heavily on mortgages and the building operations probably facilitated the raising of money by this means. The estate continued to be mortgaged until well into the twentieth century.
The individuals who figured most prominently in the initial stages of development were Benjamin Currey, Henry Harrison and William Woods. Currey, who was the father of Henry Currey, the architect, was the family solicitor, but he acted in effect as the steward of the estate. He handled virtually the whole of its financial affairs including the collection of rents. No doubt as a solicitor he had access to further supplies of capital for builders and developers, and by 1844 he was himself the lessee of several plots although none of these appear to have been leased to him initially. (fn. 52)
Henry Harrison was the estate surveyor when building began. The son of a builder and surveyor, he was an architect whose London buildings included Bath House, Piccadilly, and the Guards' Club in Pall Mall, both now demolished, the Lying-In Hospital in York Road, Lambeth, and Richmond Terrace, Whitehall. (fn. 53) (fn. 6) In 1856, when he was about seventy years old, he applied unsuccessfully for the post of Superintending Architect of the Metropolitan Board of Works. (fn. 54) Besides practising as an architect, he also engaged in speculative building (including on the Holland estate). In this he did not meet with a uniform degree of success for he was declared bankrupt in 1840, (fn. 55) although his bankruptcy does not seem to have greatly affected his architectural practice. From the start his activities on the Holland estate appear to have been less than energetic. He was slow in completing plans for building and at one point Currey remarked sarcastically, 'Harrison has been with me all morning, and is now quite alive'. (fn. 56) There is no evidence that he designed individual houses, except perhaps in St. Mary Abbots Terrace, where he was more directly involved (see below).
William Woods was a builder who had taken leases from Lord Holland in Lambeth (fn. 57) and had evidently impressed sufficiently to be given virtually the position of clerk of works at Kensington. He built the main sewers along the Hammersmith road and Addison Road which were a necessary preliminary to development and probably supervised the making of Addison Road as well. (fn. 58) Several of the first houses to go up on the estate were built by him, many under direct lease from Lord Holland, and even where other builders were the principal parties his name often figures in transactions. Most of the early applications to lay drains from individual houses into the main sewers were made by him, and in one (from another builder) he was referred to as 'Agent for Lord Holland'. (fn. 59)
The terms of the settlement of the suit with Lord Kensington were agreed in April 1823 and by May Lord Holland was supervising the marking out of the site of Addison Road, named after Joseph Addison, who had married the widowed Countess of Warwick and Holland in 1716. Little was done during 1823, however, partly owing to Harrison's dilatoriness, but also, according to Lady Holland, through 'the want of means'. (fn. 60) By Feburary 1824 she was writing that 'the enterprize is begun. . . already 50 or 60 men are employed in making the road which is to join the Uxbridge and Hammersmith great roads'. (fn. 51) The course chosen for Addison Road, with a curve where the church of St. Barnabas now Stands, was not a concession to the picturesque, but was almost certainly dictated by the presence there of the extensive ponds known as The Moats. The layout plan submitted by Harrison to the Westminister Commission of Sewers, which is dated May 1824, (fn. 61) shows a series of roads avoiding the ponds completely, but no doubt in the course of construction it was considered preferable to fill in part of the ponds at this point and make one continuous road with a gentle curve. Permission to construct two main sewers along Addison Road and the Hammersmith road was granted in May (fn. 62) and the work proceeded on these throughout the year. Lord Holland took a considerable personal interest in the progress of what he called his 'Cloaca Maxima' (fn. 63) and Lady Holland commented typically that, 'The Sewer certainly breaks my rest. It swallows up thousands'. (fn. 64) An indication of the method of financing these operations is contained in a note in Lord Holland's handwriting on a statement of income and expenditure for his estates in 1826, in which he wrote, 'Woods procured or advanced money for road and sewer and I have indemnified him therefrom by abating part of his rent and by mortgaging to him or to those who advanced money with him after the same purpose, part of the rent payable to me from others'. (fn. 65)
The first leases, dated 1 March 1824, were of sites on the east side of Addison Road and were granted to John Adolphus Snee of Holborn, a coal merchant, and Nicholas Phillips Rothery of Exeter. (fn. 66) (fn. 7) As the construction of the road had only just begun, it is likely that Rothery and Snec were providing financial backing for the development. The format of these leases was adopted with only minor variations for all the leases granted during the first stage of the estate's development. They were for eighty years from 24 June 1824, a standard term for all leases granted in the 1820's, and stipulated that no house inferior to the third rate was to be erected, 'or any messuage the external walls of which shall not be at the least two bricks in thickness from the foundations to the surface of the parlour floor and one brick and a half in thickness from thence to the roof'. Later leases also required houses to be built 'to a plan previously submitted to and approved by... Lord Holland his heirs or assigns'.
Snee's lease (marked 'No. 1' on the counterpart) was of five adjacent sites, clearly designed for a terrace of five houses, about four hundred feet north of the junction with the Hammersmith road. He sub-let his five plots in May 1824 to William Woods, (fn. 68) who proceeded to build a conventional late-Georgian terrace of four-storey houses in stock brick with stuccoed ground storeys. These houses, originally called St. Barnabas Terrace and later Nos. 27–31 (consec.) Addison Road, were among the first to be completed on the estate. (fn. 69) They were demolished in 1961.
Rothery's lease was for ten pieces of ground on the east side of Addison Road at its northern end near the junction with the Uxbridge road. These plots, each with a seventy-foot frontage and two hundred feet in depth, were not adjacent but were separated by other plots, also seventy feet in width. This unusual arrangement was perhaps designed to ensure that detached villas of a substantial size would be built. Rothery, who was to pay an annual ground rent of £5 for each plot, also sub-let his plots to Woods in May 1824 at a rent of £45 per annum each. (fn. 70) In 1825 Lord Holland leased the intervening pieces of ground, together with some land at the rear of the first seven plots for gardens of greater depth, directly to Woods. (fn. 71) The plan on this lease shows the outline of detached houses on the first seven plots and the lease states that these enlarged pieces of ground were already enclosed by brick walls. In the event seven detached houses, No. 1–7 (consec.) Addison Road, were built, but the last was not completed until 1838. (fn. 69) Although Woods was probably the builder of all seven, the application to lay drains from the last two (Nos.6 and 7) was made by Edward Bishop of St. Pancras, who was designated 'Clerk of the Works'. (fn. 72)
In 1826 Woods assigned his leases and subleases to Randall Gossip of Thorp Arch Hall, Yorkshire, (fn. 8) but by 1844 the leases of Nos. 2–7 Addison Road (the freehold of No. 1 had been sold) were vested in Benjamin Currey. (fn. 74)
These seven brick-faced villas, although large, were not outstanding architecturally. No.1, by far the largest, was taken by Charles Richard Fox, who was the eldest son of Lord and Lady Holland, but as he had been born out of wedlock he could not succeed to the title. He had married Lady Mary Fitzclarence, daughter of the Duke of Clarence (later William IV) and Mrs. Jordan, and pursued a successful military career, rising to the rank of general. He was also a Member of Parliament and at the time of his death was Receiver-General of the Duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 75) Fox was probably persuaded to take the house in the hope that other persons of social importance would be attracted to the neighbouring villas and make the speculation a success. (fn. 76) The house was ready by April 1827, and it was at first intended to call it 'Spectator House' to maintain the association with Joseph Addison, but it was generally called, most confusingly, 'Little Holland House'. (fn. 77) Fox secured the freehold from his father, and large parcels of land to the north, east and west of the house were also granted to him by Lord Holland at various dates up to 1842. (fn. 78) In that year the north end of Addison Road was diverted slightly westward at Fox's insistence in order to protect his now extensive grounds from the nuisance of a brickfield which had recently been established on nearby land to the west. (fn. 79) (fn. 9) After Fox's death in 1873, the grounds were laid out for building and the house largely demolished, but a small part has survived as the club-house of the Holland Park Tennis Club. The original course of Addison Road was again made into a road and named Holland Park Gardens. Nos. 2–7 Addison Road were demolished in 1966–70 to make way for the Woodsford Square development.
The remaining three plots in Rothery's original lease, together with the intervening pieces of land leased to Woods, were broken up in a series of complex transactions involving Woods, Gossip and several other individuals, some of them mortgagees. (fn. 81) Eventually ten houses, Nos. 8–17 (consec.) Addison Road, were built, mostly in the form of semi-detached pairs. They were completed by 1839, except for No.10, which was not occupied until 1850. (fn. 69) Besides William Woods, other builders involved in the construction of these houses were Edward Aslat of Hammersmith and William Wade of Islington. (fn. 82) Nos. 8, 9 and 10 were demolished in 1905 to make way for the present No. 8 (see page 135).
No. 11 was originally a double-fronted house, faced with stucco, of two storeys with a basement and attic, but a bay window and other alterations have changed its appearance considerably. Nos. 12 and 13 are large semi-detached houses of three storeys over basements, again faced with stucco, the façades enlivened by elegant porches and canopied balconies at ground-floor level. Nos. 14 and 15 were originally a symmetrically composed pair of semi-detached dwellings of two storeys over basements, but additions have destroyed the balanced design. They have a continuous stucco entablature enriched with rosettes, overhanging eaves carried on brackets, and graceful canopies with trellis work. Nos. 16 and 17 are of basically similar design to Nos. 12 and 13, although without the porches and canopies.
Only six more houses were built in Addison Road during the early years of estate development. Four were erected on the east side to the south of St. Barnabas Terrace. Originally given names like 'Cato Cottage' and 'Homer Villa', they gave rise to the forecast by William Cobbett, who disliked the new building developments taking place in Kensington, that Lord Holland would pay dearly for his taste in the classics. (fn. 83) These four houses, later Nos. 32–35 (consec.) Addison Road, were demolished in the 1950's. On the west side of the road, Richard Stanham, a carpenter, took a lease of a piece of ground in 1829 and built two houses, later Nos. 62–63 Addison Road. (fn. 84) For several years these were the only buildings on that side of the road. No. 62 was rebuilt in 1852–3. (fn. 69)
Apart from Addison Road with its mixture of large and small villas, St. Barnabas' Church (see page 130) and one short terrace, the first stage of estate development consisted primarily of terraces along the turnpike roads. On the south side of the Uxbridge road two terraces were built between Addison Road and the boundary of the parish. The westernmost, called Hope Terrace, consisted originally of seven houses and was built under the usual eighty-year lease granted in July 1825 to William Woods. (fn. 85) It appears to have been largely completed by 1829, but was not fully occupied until 1834, when the second house from the east was taken as a charity school. (fn. 69) The easternmost house was a public house named the Duke of Clarence, no doubt after Charles Richard Fox's father-in-law. The other terrace on the Uxbridge road, Addison Terrace, which consisted of eleven houses, was not completed until about 1843. At least three builders were involved, William Woods, Richard Preston of Earl's Court Lane, a bricklayer, and Edmund Gurney of Kentish Town, a carpenter. (fn. 86) Both terraces have been demolished, although the rebuilt Duke of Clarence stands on the same site as the original public house of that name.
When Henry Harrison submitted his building plans for the estate, he agreed to take the frontage along the Hammersmith road from Lee's Nursery (fn. 10) in the west to Holland Lane in the east as a speculation. (fn. 88) A part from two houses at the western end of this frontage, which were built on a piece of ground leased by Lord Holland in 1825 to William Goddard of St. James's, a wheelwright (fn. 89) (the site is now occupied by the Royal Kensington Hotel), the development for which Harrison was nominally responsible was confined to that part of the Hammersmith road between Addison Road and Holland Lane.
The White Horse, at the corner of Holland Lane, was rebuilt in 1824 (fn. 90) and named the Holland Arms, and next to it a commonplace terrace of nine houses called Holland Place was erected under lease granted either to Thomas Moore of Long Acre, plumber, or to Thomas Lindscy Holland of St. Marylebone, esquire, who provided much of the necessary capital. (fn. 91)
St. Mary Abbots Terrace, which occupied the rest of the frontage westward to Addison Road, was an altogether more ambitious undertaking, and was originally intended to be a symmetrical composition of eight linked pairs of houses. The first leases, for the two westernmost houses, were granted to William Woods in July 1825. The remainder were granted in August 1825 to various persons connected with the building trades and to Henry Harrison, who took leases of three houses. (fn. 11) The house-sites were not of uniform width and varied from approximately thirty feet for the central two, to about twenty-six feet. The annual rents were calculated precisely at the rate of ten shillings per foot frontage, irrespective of depth. Peppercorn terms were not granted, but although the leases were of the standard term of eighty years from 24 June 1824, the first quarterly payment of rent was not to become due until September 1826. In the leases of those strips which backed on to St. Mary Abbots Mews (now Holland Park Road) the lessees were allowed to erect buildings of not more than twenty feet in height facing that 'back road'. (fn. 92)
The terrace consisted of pairs of four-storey houses, brick-build with stuccoed ground storeys and stucco dressings, linked by one-or two-storey connecting wings, except in the centre where the link was carried to full four-storey height. Here a pediment was inscribed 'St. Mary Abbots Terrace', and at ground-floor level there was an Ionic portico in antis similar to that of Harrison's Lying-In Hospital, Lambeth. It is reasonable to assume that Henry Harrison was responsible for the overall design, but it may be significant that William W]oods was granted leases before any other builder and that his houses were the first to be finished, by 1826. (fn. 69) Woods also made the application to lay drains into the main sewer from all sixteen houses (fn. 93) and he may have been acting as clerk of works for Harrison. The surviving graphic evidence, (fn. 94) however, shows variations between individual houses, even in such crucial matters as overall height and the size of the window openings, and indicates that close supervision was not maintained over the several years during which the terrace was built. Almost from the start the balance of the composition was upset, for leases of two more houses at the cast end were granted in September 1825 to Anthony Unthank of St. Marylebone, gentleman. (fn. 95) Finally two more houses were squeezed in between Unthank's and the last house in Holland Place under a lease granted to Thomas Moore in 1837. (fn. 96) Apart from these last two houses, the terrace appears to have been finished by about 1830 and each house occupied by 1832. (fn. 69)
Holland Place and St. Mary Abbots Terrace, then numbered as 284–342 (even) Kensington High Street, were demolished in about 1960 to make way for the new St. Mary Abbots Terrace and Kenbrook House development.
The Layout plan which Harrison submitted to the Commissioners of Sewers in 1824 shows a series of squares and roads to the west of Addison Road, (fn. 62) and a contemporary account refers to proposals for building eight hundred houses. (fn. 97) What development did take place—along Addison Road and the turnpike roads—was slow in execution. The main problem was that Lord Holland had chosen a very unfortunate time to begin his adventures in building and caught the full force of the economic recession of 1825, which affected the building trades particularly severely. (fn. 98) The letters of both Lord and Lady Holland to their son, Henry, the future fourth Lord Holland, were full of tales of financial woe. In December 1825 Lady Holland wrote, 'I wish I were able to say anything agreeable as to finances, but ours are very bad indeed, the failures in England affect the building speculations in that we are at present living upon borrowed money'. (fn. 99) This last reference was to a loan of £6,000 which Lord Holland had arranged from Coutts' Bank and which was made available to Currey, (fn. 100) presumably to support the now sagging speculations. Early in 1826 she wrote, 'the buildings . . . are stopped in consequence of all the failures and panicks, people have no money to spend on villas and keep closely what they have in the bank—It has been unlucky that we have cut up the land for building, as it might otherwise have been productive as pasture grounds'. (fn. 101) She continually referred to the possibility that they might have to sell land outright, and justified these thoughts to her son, who would eventually inherit the estate, by the sentiment that, 'in these times one must live from day to day and not like our ancestors think of an unknown posterity'. (fn. 102) In December 1826 she remarked, somewhat prematurely, 'the building speculation has failed', (fn. 103) and as late as 1833 she still considered that it might be necessary for them to sell land. (fn. 104) Lord Holland was somewhat less gloomy, for in October 1826 he was writing that In my building speculations I am as well as any of my neighbours and better than most—but that is all that can be said'. (fn. 105) Several of his letters, however, refer to the shortage of credit and in the middle of 1827 he did allow himself a cri de coeur— 'we are all dreadfully poor this year'. (fn. 106)
By the mid 1830's very little building was taking place and a lull followed for several years. It was at this time that plans were announced for building a railway to link the Kensington Canal with the London and Birmingham Railway. The course originally proposed for the new line would have carried it across the Holland estate slightly to the west of Addison Road, (fn. 107) and Lord Holland's attitude was hostile. He considered that the railway was merely a speculation to revive the moribund fortunes of the canal and remarked, prophetically, that it was likely to prove as signal a failure. 'It will destroy the comfort of all who have recently built on [the Holland] estate and will discourage all further buildings which would otherwise in the natural course of things proceed. The railway is to be raised on arches 23 feet high. It will interrupt the view of the new houses and villas in or near to Addison Road and it is to be apprehended that the noise and smoke and other annoyances will drive the tenants of these houses from their habitations and deter all other persons from building others. There appears to be no real publick object in occasioning all this mischief', he wrote. (fn. 108) In the event a compromise was reached whereby the line was to be carried in a cutting at the western edge of the estate near to or along the course of Counter's Creek, which formed the estate boundary. Lord Holland agreed to sell four and a quarter acres of land for the railway at a price of £5,000, while the railway company had to agree to purchase any land that lay between the line and the western boundary of the estate at a rate of £750 per acre. (fn. 109) Evidently all parties were reasonably reconciled, for when the enabling Act was passed in June 1836, the proprietors of the railway included Charles Richard Fox and Caroline Fox. (fn. 110) (fn. 12)
The railway company did not, however, enjoy Lord Holland's blessings for long. In 1839 he referred in a letter to his eldest son to 'your accursed Railway' (fn. 111) and early in 1840 he began an action in Chancery to secure payment of the outstanding part of the purchase money which was still owing to him. (fn. 109) At this time, however, the company had no money and had in fact suspended building operations on the line. A further Act had to be passed enabling the company to raise more capital, and the opportunity was taken to change the name from the original Birmingham, Bristol and Thames Junction Railway to the more manageable West London Railway. Eventually the purchase money was paid in full and the land was formally conveyed to the company in July 1844, when, in fact, the railway was already open to the public. A further portion of land along the Hammersmith road was also acquired for a small station. The railway proved initially to be a dismal failure, and the lack of passengers made it the butt of such savage satire from Punch that it was known as 'Mr. Punch's railway'. In November 1844, within six months of opening, it suspended passenger operations. (fn. 112)
In one respect the estate derived considerable advantage from the railway. Counter's Creek was one of the principal watercourses for the drainage of west London, and the line chosen for the railway involved the diversion of the stream. As a result of pressure from Lord Holland, a new covered sewer was built across his estate in place of the old open ditch. The railway company had to pay most of the cost, but the Westminister Commissioners of Sewers granted £1,500. Currey, on behalf of Lord Holland, agreed to reserve the land over the sewer for roads and to pay five shillings a foot frontage to the Commissioners for the right to use it whenever building should take place. The contract for building the sewer, which also passed through parts of Lord Kensington's estate in the south and the Norland estate in the north, was given to Stephen Bird and the work was finished by the end of 1839 at a cost of £9,547. (fn. 113) The Holland estate, of course, benefited immensely from the building of a major covered sewer through the middle of land on which building was planned, as the railway's directors remined Lord Holland when they were trying to secure more time for the payment of the purchase money due to him. (fn. 114) The course taken by the sewer through the estate was, from south to north, along the line of the present Holland Road to Holland Villas Road and then along the line of that road; the last few yards of ground over the sewer, between the end of Holland Villas Road and Holland Park Avenue, were never, in fact, appropriated for a roadway.
Lord Holland died in 1840. By his will (fn. 115) he left Holland House and the Kensington estate to the use of his wife for her lifetime, to revert to his son, Henry Edward, the fourth Lord Holland, on her death. The Dowager Lady Holland gave a succession of elaborate dinner parties (usually at her town house in Mayfair) to maintain her position at the social centre of Whig London, and the fourth Lord Holland, who was British Minister Plenipotentiary in Florence at the time of his father's death, became increasingly concerned over his mother's activities. (fn. 116) He was afraid that she cared little for Holland House and its amenities and was anxious to let the grounds on building leases to help pay off debts and maintain her high level of expenditure. There is little doubt from his letters that such plans had been formulated, (fn. 13) but he made it quite clear to Currey that he would not consider any proposals that would lead to the destruction of Holland House or its grounds, 'The preservation of that House being . . . my most anxious wish in life'. (fn. 118) Although a great deal of land west of Addison Road was still unbuilt upon, the Dowager Lady Holland's advisers no doubt considered that land closer to the mansion would bring in a quicker and surer return, and at one point Lord Holland, when writing of various plans, referred to 'the awful one you have so often spoken of respecting the frontage to the Hammersmith road'. (fn. 119) By 1845, however, even he thought that 'dear old H. H. must be sacrificed or at least sadly beset by buildings' but consoled himself with the reflection that it might become 'a fine town house'. (fn. 120)
The building that took place during the 1840's was chiefly a continuation of earlier schemes. In 1843 a lease of part of the remaining frontage along the Hammersmith road which had been taken under agreement by Harrison was granted to Charles Bowland Cotton of Kent, who was one of Harrison's creditors, for sixty-two years from Midsummer 1842 (a period equivalent to the eighty-year term of previous leases). The lease was of a terrace of eleven houses, five of which were already built or were in process of construction, between Addison Road and Holland Road, and of two pieces of land at the rear of this terrace. Cotton immediately sub-let the property to a builder, James Mugford Macey of Drury Lane, who had apparently entered into a building agreement with Harrison as long ago as 1830. This part of Addison Terrace, as it was called, was completed by 1846. (fn. 121)
The continuation of Addison Terrace to the west of Holland Road was also built by Macey under a direct lease from Lord Holland for eighty years from 29 September 1844, (fn. 14) and was completed by 1847. (fn. 122) Of the original houses in Addison Terrace only one, at the Addison Road end, survives as No. 344 Kensington High Street. Four houses on the west side of Holland Road (of which only two, Nos. 5 and 7, remain) were also built under this lease and were finished by 1850. (fn. 69)
The only other building activity during these years was in Addison Road. On the west side Nos. 36–39 (consec.) were built by Macey on land at the rear of Addison Terrace which had been included in his sub-lease from Cotton in 1843. Originally called Vassall Cottages, these houses were completed by 1845 (fig. 16). (fn. 69) They are linked pairs of stock-brick houses, consisting of two storeys over basements, with pediments over each pair enriched with stucco cornices. To the north of these a terrace of eight 'Gothic' houses, originally called Warwick Villas and now Nos. 40–47 (consec.) Addison Road (fig. 16), was erected under two building leases granted to Thomas Moore, the builder of Holland Place. The first lease, granted in 1849 when building was already well under way, was of seven houses and was for eighty years from 1841. These were completed by 1850, and in that year the lease of another house (No. 47) was granted. Moore raised the capital needed to build these houses by selling several which he had built earlier on the estate. (fn. 123)
The architect of Nos. 40–47 is not known, although the designs could have originated from one of the architectural publications of the period. (fn. 15) The style did not, however, meet with universal approbation, for it must have been to this terrace that The Building News was referring in 1857 when it drew attention to houses on the west side of Addison Road near to 'the ugly pseudo-Gothic church of St. Barnabas'. The houses, it remarked, 'are in the debased Gothic style of the most wretched description, and such has been the badness of the quality of the cement employed in them, that several of the terminations of their gables have already dropped from their giddy eminences'. (fn. 125)
The terrace consists of three linked pairs of identical houses in the centre (Nos. 41–46) flanked by two double-fronted houses of somewhat different design (Nos. 40 and 47). Among the attractive features of Nos. 41–46 are the bay windows with angle buttresses and quatrefoil panels crowned by battlements; the similar panels and battlements in the linking wings; and the high gables pierced by lancets and surmounted by octagonal finials, many of which have indeed 'dropped' from their places. Nos. 45 and 46 have a strange niche of the Batty Langley school of Gothic set between them. The porch of No. 47, the doublefronted house at the north end of the terrace, has a festive Regency Gothic flavour.
By 1848 one more house, No. 18, had been built on the east side of Addison Road. This house (now demolished) was leased to John Henry Browne for ninety-nine years at a rent of one shilling per annum. (fn. 126) Browne was an architect who had been articled to Rhodes and Chawner and was elected an associate of the (Royal) Institute of British Architects in 1839. He had worked for some time in Pennethorne's office, and in 1847 he was engaged to make extensive alterations to Holland House. (fn. 127) This work led to his appointment as estate surveyor, and his house in Addison Road, the first of several on the estate in which he lived, was no doubt intended to serve as both his residence and as the estate office. He may have been responsible for the design of this house, but in general his activity as estate surveyor was confined to drawing up layout plans and approving the house designs submitted by builders or architects; there is no evidence that, except in one or two isolated cases, he was responsible for such designs himself. In 1860 he was granted an annuity of £300 'in consideration of the long and faithful services . . . rendered by the said John Henry Browne as the Steward of the Kensington Estate . . . and of the pecuniary and other advantages derived . . . from such Stewardship and from the skill and ability with which the said John Henry Browne has planned and laid out for Building purposes part of the said Estate and has superintended the erection of Buildings thereon'. (fn. 128) For over twenty-five years, until the estate changed hands in 1874, Browne was its most important officer and wielded much the same in fluence as Benjamin Currey had exerted under the third Lord Holland.
The returns for the census of 1851 provide useful information about the social structure of the estate after a quarter of a century of development. Most residents were middle class, employing on average two servants per household, but a colony of small tradesmen, artisans and estate workers lived in Holland Lane and at the east end of St. Mary Abbots Mews. Many of the houses here, which were among the smallest on the estate (Plate 51a), were occupied by more than one family, and multi-occupancy also occurred in several houses in Holland Place and Hope Terrace. The vast majority of houses in the middle-class parts of the estate, however, were occupied by single families. Of 155 households of all classes from which returns were received, fortythree householders described their occupations in terms like 'annuitant', 'fundholder' or 'proprietor of houses', often in combination; of these forty-three, fourteen were widows. The other occupations listed were diverse, the most common being merchants of various kinds, of which there were eight instances, and the professions of solicitor or barrister, of which there were seven. Two houses on the Hammersmith road frontage appear to have been used as lodging-houses and there were five schools of various sizes on the estate; the largest boarding-school was at No. 2 Addison Road, where twenty-five pupils between the ages of eleven and eighteen and two governesses were in residence. Of the artisans living in the area, several were employed in the building trades. Shopping facilities were somewhat limited; a grocer and a baker could be found in Holland Place and another baker and a butcher in Hope Terrace, while dairy produce could probably be obtained directly from Holland Farm. A shoemaker, a jeweller, and a carver and gilder with one apprentice provided more specialized services. Over half the heads of families on the estate were born outside London, eight having come from Scotland.
From 1849 to 1874
The second stage of the development of the Holland estate began in 1849 when George Henry Goddard of John Street, Adelphi, who described himself as an architect and surveyor, entered into a building agreement covering all of the area, consisting of about seventy acres of land, between Addison Road and the railway which had not yet been laid out for building. He undertook to build 863 houses and promised to spend various sums on each house, from £800 for those facing Addison Road to £350 at the western edge of the estate. The layout plan accompanying the agreement shows basically the road pattern which was eventually carried out, but more squares and gardens were planned than eventually appeared, including some communal gardens with access from the private gardens of houses, similar to those in slightly earlier layout plans for the Ladbroke estate. The plan also shows that most houses were intended to be terraced or semi-detached, and there were to be very few detached villas. The first twenty houses were to be completed by 1851 and the remainder by 1864. Lord Holland covenanted to grant leases of houses as soon as they were completed in carcase to Goddard or his nominees for ninety-nine years from 1849. The yearly ground rent for each house was to be between £8 maximum and one shilling minimum, and Lord Holland was to receive an ultimate annual ground rent of £1,400 after six years (equivalent to approximately £ 20 per acre). Lord Holland agreed to construct the new roads and sewers, but the money he spent on doing this was to be repaid by Goddard at 5 per cent interest. As security Goddard was required to build a house facing the Uxbridge road between Addison Road and Addison Terrace on which he would spend at least £1,500. An extensive schedule of the materials which Goddard was to use in building his houses accompanied the agreement. (fn. 129)
In June 1849 Lord Holland mortgaged Holland House and its grounds, (fn. 130) the first of a series of such transactions during the next few years, and this may have been partly to obtain the money necessary to construct the roads and sewers which he had undertaken to provide. Also in June, Goddard began building in Addison Gardens and at the north end of Addison Road and Holland Villas Road. (fn. 131) (fn. 16) He was able to lay the foundations of twelve houses and carry one of them up to second-storey level before he encountered financial difficulties. Eventually he found it expedient to remove himself and his family to the Continent, and his creditors were reluctant to press for a declaration of bankruptcy because there was apparently not even enough money left to pay for the fiat. (fn. 132)
The completion of the grand scheme begun by Goddard took over twenty-five years, and the projected street pattern was varied slightly as other builders took over. Lord Holland undertook the expense of building the sewers, (fn. 133) and hoped to recoup the cost in subsequent building contracts. Several agreements were drawn up, few of which were completely carried out and some not at all, and the estate was beset with constant problems caused by the financial mismanagement which seems to have been endemic among nineteenthcentury builders.
The house facing the Uxbridge road which Goddard had been required to build as security was completed as a semi-detached pair and named Addison Villas; the builder was Walter Longhurst of Knightsbridge. A villa at the corner of Addison Road and Holland Villas Road, which was the only house on which Goddard had made substantial progress, was completed by John and Charles I'Anson of St. Marylebone under a ninety-nine-year lease granted to John Henry Browne. The same builders also took a lease themselves of a plot of ground south of the corner house and built another substantial house there in 1851. (fn. 134) All four houses have been demolished.
On the east side of Addison Road eight houses were built to fill the gap between No. 18 and the church, including St. Barnabas' vicarage. The largest of these houses (No. 25, later known as Oak Lodge) was built by William Brinkley of St. George's, Hanover Square, for William Reed of Hanworth, to whom a ninety-nine-year lease was granted in 1855. Reed was also the lessee of the house to the north (No. 24), which he assigned to Sir George Barrow, a prominent figure in the Colonial Office. Reed, who figures in many transactions on the estate, was clearly a man of substance and in 1856 he purchased the freehold of No. 25, where he had taken up residence in 1855. (fn. 135)
The only one of these eight houses which has not been demolished is No. 23 (the vicarage of St. Barnabas). (fn. 17) It was built in 1855 by Charles Richard Stanham and, despite extensive alterations including the addition of an extra wing in 1882 to the designs of the architect Arthur Baker, is a picturesque composition in brick and stone with ornate bargeboarding (Plate 10a). (fn. 136)
On the west side of Addison Road ten houses were built between 1852 and 1855 by John Parkinson, junior, of Hammersmith, immediately to the north of Napier Road (originally called Warwick Road), which was laid out about this time. These houses, originally called Abbotsford Villas and now Nos. 50–59 (consec.) Addison Road (Plate 51c), are principally in the form of linked pairs, but there is a gap between Nos. 53 and 54, and it may originally have been intended to build only eight houses in two groups of linked pairs. They are brick built, of two storeys over basements, and are enriched by stucco dressings, including pilasters at the corners of each pair of houses and large brackets at the top of the pilasters supporting the overhanging eaves. The first-floor windows have semi-circular heads, while those on the ground floor have segmental heads. Most of the leases were granted directly to Parkinson for ninety-nine years from 1851, although No. 54 was leased for a similar term to Carl Engel, who was its first occupant, and the lessee of Nos. 58 and 59 was William Reed, who was probably providing Parkinson with capital. (fn. 137) Nos. 48–49 and 60–61 Addison Road, which were built in 1856–7, were also leased to Reed. (fn. 18) These are, however, detached houses in a different style from Parkinson's; the builders were Nicholson and Son of Wandsworth. (fn. 139)
Most of the remaining houses on the west side of Addison Road were erected by James Hall, a builder who had been operating since 1846 in the Pembridge Villas area (see page 261). It is uncertain whether Hall took substantial portions of the estate under agreement from the beginning, but in July 1855, when he had already secured building leases of nine houses in Addison Road, some of which were finished and the rest presumably under construction, he entered into an agreement with Lord Holland to build another 95 houses on the estate. This was followed by two further agreements in 1857 and 1859 to build 129 more. (fn. 140) In the event Hall built approximately 120 houses in Addison Road, Addison Crescent, Addison Gardens, Upper Addison Gardens and Holland Villas Road, which were generally laid out to the plan accompanying the agreement of 1849 with Goddard.
Hall was responsible for building Nos. 64–88 (consec.) Addison Road (Nos. 69, 70 and 88 demolished), although Nos. 79 and 80 were leased to John Watts Elliot of Kensington, builder, probably an associate of Hall in what must have been very extensive building operations, and No. 72 was leased to William Henry Collins and Alfred Horatio Stansbury of Birmingham, wholesale ironmongers, perhaps suppliers of building materials. (fn. 141)
The first lease, granted in August 1853, was for No. 65, which was ready for occupation by 1854, (fn. 142) and by 1860 all twenty-five houses were occupied. At first Hall's leases of houses in Addison Road were for ninety-nine years from 1852 at annual rents of £10 to £15, usually with a peppercorn term, but after the agreement of 1855 they were generally for ninety-six years from 1855 at £25 per annum, without benefit of a peppercorn term. These were conventional building leases and the covenants were the usual ones requiring the lessees to maintain their houses in good repair and decoration and insured against fire. The houses could not be altered without permission and were not to be used for any trade or business. Built on plots with sixty-foot frontages, they are generally detached, doublefronted, two-storeyed, stuccoed villas with cornices carried on brackets and with crowning balustrades (Plate 50a, fig. 17), and are similar to Hall's earlier houses in Chepstow Villas and Pembridge Place. Some variations in design were introduced, however, particularly in the corner houses with Addison Crescent, of which only No. 64 servives, and in four houses at the north end of Addison Road. The survivors of this latter group, Nos. 85–87, are basically larger houses with more space between them and are faced with brick rather than stucco. All of the houses had substantial gardens, which were originally intended to be supplemented by a communal enclosure at the rear, but by 1858 this idea had been abandoned and the private gardens were lengthened instead. (fn. 143)
The value to the estate of this flurry of building activity in the 1850's, chiefly in Addison Road, can be calculated from the schedules of ground rents which were attached to a series of mortgage transactions entered into by Lord Holland. In 1849 the total yearly value of ground rents was approximately £750, but by 1858 this had increased to £1,700 (including £88 for a small part of the estate in Hammersmith on which building had begun (fn. 19) ). (fn. 144) Lord Holland died in December 1859, but his death had no immediate effect on estate development. He had no children and left all his property to his widow. (fn. 145)
While Hall was still finishing houses in Addison Road he also began building in Addison Crescent, Addison Gardens and Holland Villas Road. Between 1857 and 1859 he was granted leases of Nos. 1–13 (consec.) Addison Crescent, (fn. 20) Nos. 1–38 (consec.) Holland Villas Road, Nos. 2–13 and 30–43 (consec.) Upper Addison Gardens and Nos. 2–18 (even) and 1–13 (odd) Addison Gardens. (fn. 147) No. 1 Upper Addison Gardens was leased to John Scott of Addison Road, builder, also associated with Hall in his large-scale enterprise. (fn. 148) The leases for houses in Addison Crescent and Holland Villas Road were for ninety-six years from 1855 and so were brought in line with those in Addison Road. Those for houses in Addison Gardens were for ninety-seven years from 1858. Most of the annual ground rents were at the low figure of five shillings, although a few were at higher rates, up to £25, no doubt calculated to provide a yearly sum of ground rents previously agreed with Lord Holland. Very few of these houses were finished by 1860 (fn. 69) and none were included in the schedule of ground rents in 1858 referred to above.
In Addison Crescent and Holland Villas Road Hall built substantial detached Villas, some of two and some of three storeys, similar in design to those he had erected in Addison Road, except that here they are of stock brick, with stucco bays, and the roofs overhang the eaves instead of being set back behind balustrades (Plate 50b, fig. 17). The boundary walls at the fronts of the houses consist of stock-brick plinths and piers, with panels of semi-circular stucco tiles set on top of each other to form screens, or, in some cases, with pierced cast-iron panels. As in Addison Road each plot generally has a sixty-foot frontage and the houses stand in large gardens. No. 1 Addison Crescent and Nos. 7, 19, 20 and 38 Holland Villas Road have been demolished. The first occupant of No. 8 Holland Villas Road was the art collector Constantine Alexander Ionides. (fn. 21)
In Addison Gardens and Upper Addison Gardens Hall erected terraced housing of a more conventional type, of yellow bricks with stucco dressings and an elaborate modillioned cornice. Each house has a twenty-five-foot frontage and contains three storeys over a semi-basement.
Such extensive undertakings required a large amount of capital, and Hall's general method of securing this was to mortgage each house shortly after he had received the lease from Lord Holland, sometimes even on the same day. Some of these mortgages were for small amounts of money—£200 to £400—but several involved sums of £1,000 or more, and one was for £1,500. Such mortgagees were often executed as collateral for money or credit which had been obtained some time previously on the security of promissory notes and bills of exchange, not all of which were subsequently covered by mortgages. His mortgagees were many and varied. Besides the usual solicitors, there were clergymen, several 'gentlemen' from the provinces, (fn. 22) a spinster living in Paris and individual tradesmen including a baker and a cowkeeper. (fn. 150) In 1858 several mortgages were executed to Samuel and Charles Fields Boydell of Bloomsbury, solicitors. Samuel Boydell, who was at one time Hall's solicitor, advanced money himself and secured further mortgagees in his professional capacity. At the end of 1859 Hall agreed that the leases of nine houses in Addison Gardens and Holland Villas Road should be held by Boydell as security, and that he would finish the houses within two months. This he failed to do, and in 1860 Boydell took a formal mortgage of these houses and a second mortgage of others as security for over £8,000 which was owing to him. (fn. 151) At the end of 1859 Hall also mortgaged thirty houses, several of which were already subject to first mortgages, to John Beattie, manager of the Temple Bar branch of the Union Bank of London, for £10,000. (fn. 152)
By 1860 Hall had over-reached himself and was in severe financial difficulties, several judgments being recorded against him for recovery of debt. Lady Holland was becoming dissatisfied with his rate of progress and commenced actions for ejectment on account of arrears of rent and nonobservance of the time clauses for finishing houses. Hall's creditors, concerned that they would lose their securities, urged her to stop the proceedings. This she did, 'having no desire to take any undue advantage of the difficulties or defaults of the said James Hall which defaults if any appeared to have arisen from the too great extent of his undertakings'. The mortgagees paid the arrears of ground rent, and in 1861 Hall assigned his interests in houses for which he held leases to Henry George Robinson, a solicitor, upon trust to apply the rents and profits to settle outstanding liabilities. (fn. 23) Thereafter any money remaining was to be used to make and complete roads or any works necessary to further the development. More complicated financial transactions ensued, however, and one creditor claimed to have advanced 'various sums of money to a large amount' for completing several houses. Finally in 1864 Hall was declared bankrupt, and some of his houses had to be finished by other builders. (fn. 154)
During the bankruptcy proceedings, Hall's total liabilities were stated to be £340,000, of which over £100,000 consisted of unsecured debts. (fn. 155) He had considerable assets tied up in buildings, but his financial affairs were so tangled that several actions were brought in Chancery to determine the precedence of the claims of his many creditors. (fn. 156) In one such case the Master of the Rolls decreed that several houses should be sold and the proceeds allocated to the various creditors according to a schedule of priorities which he ordered to be drawn up, a veritable task of Solomon. (fn. 157) (fn. 24)
While Hall was building in Addison Road and the area immediately to the west of it with a greater or lesser degree of success, smaller-scale developments were taking place at the north and south ends of Holland Road. W. Walsham of Bethnal Green gave notice of his intention to build thirty-four houses at both ends of the street in 1853 and 1854, but whether he completed any of them is doubtful, for all except one were returned by the district surveyor as having been 'suspended' towards the end of 1854. Walsham's operations were taken over by John Lines of Hammersmith. (fn. 131) Eight houses were built at the north end of the street on the west side under ninety-nine-year leases granted in 1854 to Frederick Robert Beeston, surveyor, or Gilbert Stephens, gentleman, both of Northumberland Street, Strand. (fn. 159) These houses, which were on the Hammersmith side of the parish boundary, have been demolished.
At the south end of Holland Road Lines built two terraces, one on each side of the road, under an agreement concluded in 1851 with William Scott of Hammersmith, a brickmaker. Originally called Holland and Cambridge Terraces, they are now known as Nos. 4–34 (even) and 9–41 (odd) Holland Road. Holland Terrace, on the east side, was the first to be built under ninety-fouryear leases granted to Scott in 1856. The annual ground rent for each house was £8 except for the public house at the corner of Napier Road, originally called The Napoleon the Third, (fn. 25) but now known as The Crown and Sceptre, for which the ground rent was £30. The leases for Cambridge Terrace were granted to Scott for a similar term in 1858 at an annual ground rent of five shillings for each house. By 1860 only two houses remained unoccupied in the two terraces. (fn. 160) Scott was also granted similar leases of Nos. 1–20 (consec.) Napier Place at a total annual ground rent of £40. Originally called Holland Mews, these were built as stables and coach-houses by John Lines and were used partly by himself and James Hall and partly by the residents of Addison Road and Holland Road. (fn. 161)
The two short terraces of houses and shops in Napier Road, Nos. 1–6 (consec.) on the south side and Nos. 7–13 (consec.) on the north, were also built under leases granted in 1858 and 1859 to William Scott for ninety-four years from 1856. The leases of those on the north side of the street were granted with the consent of John Parkinson, who may have originally taken the land under agreement when he built Nos. 50–59 Addison Road. The houses in Napier Road, each (with the exception of No. 6) with a seventeen-foot frontage, were among the smallest to be built on the estate. The builders were probably James Randell Thursby of Poplar for the south side and John Palmer of Pimlico for the north. (fn. 162) No. 14 was added in 1875. (fn. 131)
In 1861 Lady Holland sold some land to the London and North Western Railway Company for £7,860 to provide a new station and more track for the West London Railway. (fn. 163) Since its suspension of passenger operations in 1844 the West London Railway had been operated on lease by the London and Birmingham (later vested in the London and North Western) and the Great Western companies for carrying freight. The construction of the West London Extension Railway along the course of the Kensington Canal and the opening of the Hammersmith and City Railway, however, gave the West London renewed importance as a passenger line. In 1864 the new station was opened on the west side of Russell Road (although it was called Addison Road station). Its name has now been changed to Kensington (Olympia) and most of the station buildings have been demolished. As a condition of the sale, the railway company was required to construct Russell Road and maintain it until houses were built on the east side, when the costs of maintenance would be borne jointly with the lessees of those houses. The company was also required to build a sewer along the road. In the first, disastrous, phase of its history the West London Railway could hardly have stimulated building developments in the vicinity of the line. After 1864, however, it was a much more important artery of communication and several inter-suburban services passed through Addison Road station. (fn. 164)
The area between Addison Road and the railway was virtually completely built up by 1875. By that time houses had been erected on the vacant plots in Holland Road, Upper Addison Gardens and Addison Gardens, and several new streets of terraced housing and stables had appeared, viz Elsham Road, Hansard Mews, Holland Gardens, Lorne Gardens, Russell Gardens, Russell Gardens Mews and Russell Road. This prodigious spate of building activity, involving the erection of over three hundred houses, was undertaken by two pairs of developers, their respective spheres of operation being divided by a line drawn down the middle of Holland Road. The land to the west was taken by Charles Chambers of St. Marylebone, a publican turned builder, and Henry John Bartley of St. Marylebone, a solicitor, who was his financial backer. The area between Holland Road and Addison Road not yet built up, including the east side of Holland Road, was taken by John Beattie, the manager of the Temple Bar branch of the Union Bank of London, (fn. 165) and Harry Dowding of Leicester Square. An agreement was concluded with Chambers in 1862 and he began building in 1863, (fn. 166) but Beattie and Dowding's development did not begin until 1870, probably because of the litigation following James Hall's bankruptcy. (fn. 26)
The estate policy towards these developments showed a marked change from earlier building ventures in that the developers were given an option to purchase the freeholds of houses once built. The price of each freehold, as expressed in the agreement with Chambers, was to be thirty years' purchase of the ground rent, amounting to a total of £30,000 for all of the houses built under this agreement. (fn. 27) Generally Lady Holland granted leases of individual houses to the builders in the usual manner and conveyed the freeholds to the developers or their nominees later. This method gave the estate a good deal of control over the type of buildings erected, and John Henry Browne was still responsible for supervising the general layout and plot ratio of the houses. The conveyances contained restrictive covenants which were to apply during the term of the original leases—a useful device to ensure that the general character of the neighbourhood would be maintained. These covenants required the purchasers to paint the outside of the houses every four years; not to allow any trade or business without licence from the Holland estate; not to interfere with the plans, elevations or architectural decorations without licence; and not to erect any new buildings on the site except for re-instatement in case of fire. (fn. 168) When it was clear that the speculations were progressing satisfactorily this estate policy was relaxed somewhat and some blocks of land were sold before houses had been built on them, or, therefore, leases granted. In later conveyances the restrictive covenants were not always spelt out in full and purchasers were sometimes simply required to make future lessees enter into covenants similar to those 'usually inserted in Leases granted by the said Vendor [i.e. Lady Holland] of houses . . . built upon her Kensington Estate'. (fn. 169) Lady Holland had no children, and her constant need of money to maintain a social life in which she seemed to be trying to outvie even her illustrious mother-in-law (fn. 170) was probably the principal reason why she sold so much of the estate after Lord Holland's death.
The results of the speculations of Chambers and Bartley on the one hand and Beattie and Dowding on the other are not architecturally very distinguished. Most of the houses for which they were responsible reflect a number of ingenious permutations of the Italianate idiom but very little originality in design. The majority are threestorey terraced houses with semi-basements and are built of stocks or gault bricks with stucco dressings, except in Russell Gardens, which was begun in 1866, where red facing bricks are used above ground-floor shops. The frontages are generally twenty to twenty-five feet and each house is usually two bays wide. Virtually all have a porch and ground-floor bay window.
Of the builders employed by Chambers and Bartley, Charles Frederick Phelps appears to have had a more considerable influence than most and was probably of great assistance to the inexperienced Chambers. Nos. 1–15 (consec.) Russell Road, which were among the first houses to be built under Chambers's agreement, are of basically the same design as houses in Essex Villas on the Phillimore estate which Phelps had built a few years earlier, although there they are in pairs rather than terraced as in Russell Road. One of Phelps's favourite motifs, an elaborate triple window at first-floor level surmounted by a cornice with a segmental pediment over the wide centre light supported on consoles, reappears several times, even in houses for which he was not nominally responsible. (fn. 28)
An interesting feature of the layout plan adopted by Chambers is that Nos. 1–43 (consec.) Elsham Road back on to Holland Road, with the result that the only gardens of these houses are in the front and that more care than usual has been taken with the rear elevations. This unusual arrangement was necessary if Elsham Road was to be fitted in between Holland Road and the railway land.
The development by Beattie and Dowding shows greater variety than that by Chambers and Bartley, and two groups of houses built as part of their speculation provide a relief from the dominant classical style of house-building on the Holland estate. Nos. 40–94 (even) Holland Road (Plate 50c), together with No. 16 Addison Crescent, mark the somewhat belated introduction of Ruskinian motifs to the area, although expressed in a formal, symmetrical terrace of stock brick, with red brick relieving arches and bands, and stucco decoration. Three pairs of houses, two near the ends and one at the centre, are accentuated, with high gables and façades which project beyond the face of the remainder of the terrace. The result is that the terrace is classical in its proportions, while being Gothic in its ornamentation. No. 16 Addison Crescent, which is attached to No. 94 Holland Road, has attractive ironwork on the roof ridges. The first houses, in the centre of the terrace, were erected by Thomas Snowdon of St. Marylebone, builder, in 1870, but later other builders were involved, namely Walter Lethbridge and John Henry Adams, both of Paddington. (fn. 172)
Nos. 170–176 (even) Holland Road, south of the church of St. John the Baptist, have an ecclesiastical flavour with naturalistic carvings enriching the mouldings. No. 176 was built in 1872 as St. John's vicarage, although through lack of money it was not acquired for this purpose until after 1900; the architect was T. Lawrie, and the builder John Henry Adams. (fn. 173)
Beattie and Dowding were also the promoters of a different type of development in Lorne Gardens (fig. 18), where thirty-one small 'cottages' without gardens were built between 1870 and 1874 on a plot of ground originally intended for a mews, between the backs of houses in Upper Addison Gardens, Holland Park Avenue and Holland Road. The size of the houses in Lorne Gardens—smaller than most of the stables and coach-houses that were built in the vicinity contrasts remarkably with the surrounding terraces, but they are of interest in design. An effective use was made of limited interior space by placing the staircases at the back, where in most cases they were originally top-lit because the rear elevations facing the gardens of the larger houses did not have windows. The treatment of the front elevations is also unusual, particularly the positions of the window-openings. The original building leases were granted to William Henry Kingham of Hammersmith, who built most of the houses, but he appears to have encountered difficulties in 1872 and other builders took over. (fn. 29) The freeholds were sold to Beattie and Dowding by Lady Holland in 1871 for a total of £500. In 1954 the Kensington Housing Trust embarked on a programme of modernizing the houses, many of which were then still without bathrooms or electricity, and alterations have been made in the internal arrangement of rooms. (fn. 175)
At the same time as these rather humdrum developments were taking shape to the west of Addison Road, a development which produced houses of much greater distinction was being undertaken further to the east, where Nos. 1–89 (consec.) Holland Park and Nos. 1–67 (consec.) Holland Park Mews were being built (Plate 51d, figs. 19–22). In August 1859, shortly before Lord Holland's death, the brothers William and Francis Radford, who had been engaged in building operations in Pembridge Gardens and Pembridge Square for several years (see page 261), entered into an agreement to build on part of the back park of Holland House next to the Uxbridge road. This agreement was for the erection of seventy-seven detached villas and a terrace of fiftyone houses facing the Uxbridge road. It was modified in December 1859 to exclude the terrace and bring the total number of villas up to eighty. In the event Nos. 1–78 Holland Park were built under this agreement and Nos. 79–89 under a subsequent agreement of February 1864. The decision not to build a terrace on the Uxbridge road has resulted in a long stretch of this major road—now named Holland Park Avenue—being faced by the back elevations and gardens of Nos. 58–78 Holland Park.
The Radfords were to build 'good proper and substantial' private dwelling houses to designs previously submitted to and approved by Lord Holland or his agent, and undertook to spend at least £1,200 on each house (by 1864 this had been increased to £2,000). They also covenanted to build the necessary roads and sewers, and it was expressly agreed that all large trees not on the sites of houses or injurious to them were to be preserved. Leases for ninety-nine years from 1858 were to be granted when the carcases of houses were completed at ground rents which were to be individually not more than one-sixth of the estimated rack rental or less than five shillings, and were to provide a total annual sum of £1,500 after three years. The number of houses to be completed in each year was laid down, and the development was to be finished by 1872. The Radfords also agreed to build seventy coach-houses and stables at a cost of at least £200 each. As was usual in Holland estate agreements, they were to be allowed to build a lesser number of houses and coach-houses, provided the total amount of money which they had agreed to spend remained the same. None of the houses were to be used for trade or business without licence.
The agreement of 1859 did not include any option to purchase the freehold, but in 1861, when Lady Holland agreed to extend the gardens of the southernmost range of houses, a clause was included whereby the Radfords could purchase the fee simple of any of the houses they erected under the earlier agreement on payment of a sum equal to twenty-nine years' purchase of the ground rent. (fn. 176)
The first lease was granted in October 1860, and, according to the district surveyor's returns, the last house was begun in 1877 and covered in by 1879, although some of the houses do not appear to have been fitted out until several years later. (fn. 177) The first conveyances of the freeholds were executed by Lady Holland in 1861 at prices which amounted to exactly twenty-nine times the ground rent of each house, even though sometimes the sum involved was only £7 5s. (29 × 5s.). By 1868 and 1869 the sites of houses not yet begun were being sold, subject to the provision that in each case only a house 'uniform [in] position height elevation and external character' with those already erected by the Radfords should be built on the site. Each conveyance contained convenants that for the period of the original lease (or for a specified period of ninetynine years from 1858 in the case of a site for which a lease had not been granted) the purchaser would not make any alterations in the plan, elevation or architectural character of the house, erect any buildings in the garden, or permit trade or business to be carried on, without the consent of the vendor. The garden was also to be kept in good order, and a proportionate share paid for the upkeep of roads, sewers and common walls. The conveyances were made to William or Francis Radford individually, or occasionally to their nominees. The average price for the fee simple of each house was £525 and the total for all houses amounted to over £45,000. The freeholds of the coach-houses in Holland Park Mews were also sold in the same manner for prices ranging from £87 to £147, and probably brought into the estate upwards of £7,500. (fn. 178) The value to the purchasers must have been very considerable, for in 1881 the annual rent of a house in Holland Park was stated to be £340, while in 1891 No. 62 Holland Park was sold freehold for £5,100 and No. 54 Holland Park Mews for £1,050. (fn. 179)
The Radfords built two long roads parallel to Holland Park Avenue rising from south-west to north-east, with an access road at each end, the eastern one sweeping round in a curve; all the roads are named Holland Park. There are four rows of identical detached villas, apparently designed by Francis Radford himself, (fn. 180) facing the longer roads, with more of the same villas by the sides of the shorter roads. The villas, although detached, are generally set so close together that they provide an effect similar to a terrace. They are basically the same as those which the Radfords had previously built in Pembridge Square, and which are described fully on page 266. There are differences, however, in the boundary walls next to the pavements, and the balustrades flanking the entrance steps, those in Holland Park being of stucco and those in Pembridge Square of cast iron. There are many richly ornamented iron and glass entrance canopies in Holland Park, erected at a later date.
Holland Park Mews, situated between the two long roads and entered from its western end through a handsome archway, is noteworthy for the care which has been lavished on the design of its coach-houses and stables (fig. 22). These have widely proportioned windows, external stairs to the living accommodation on the first floor, and crowning cornices, above which are balustrades. The details, such as the stucco mouldings on the chimneys, and the balusters, are similar to those on the villas themselves.
When the census of 1871 was taken thirty-six houses in Holland Park were occupied. In two of them building tradesmen were acting as caretakers and in four more the head of the household was absent. The remaining thirty houses contained 381 people (an average of just under thirteen per household), of whom almost exactly half (190) were servants. Other servants (coachmen and grooms) lived in Holland Park Mews. Twelve householders were merchants or retired merchants, and of these two described themselves as 'West India Merchant', two as 'East India Merchant' and one as 'Australian Merchant'. Two other occupants were listed as Manchester warehousemen. Of the remainder, five lived on income from property or dividends, three were barristers, three 'brokers' (including one who also described himself as a merchant) and two clergymen. There was also a peer, an Italian prince, a brewer and a builder (William Radford, who lived at No. 80 with his wife and daughter and three servants). Of these thirty householders only three were born in London; five came from Scotland and five from outside the British Isles.
Among the notable early occupants of Holland Park (not all in residence by 1871) were: the fourth Marquess of Londonderry; the second Baron Bloomfield; the Maharajah of Lahore; Prince Louis, Count D'Aquila; Sir William Fairbairn, engineer; Sir William McArthur, M.P., Lord Mayor of London; Sir Michael Roberts Westropp, who served on the Indian judiciary; the Reverend William Henley Jervis, scholar of French church history; Arthur Cohen, lawyer and the first Jew to graduate from Cambridge University; John Humffreys Parry, serjeant-at-law; Benjamin Whitworth, M.P., cotton merchant. (fn. 181)
Although some of the houses in Holland Park have been altered, all but three survive. No. 80 was replaced at the beginning of the war of 1939–45 by the block of flats called Duke's Lodge, (fn. 182) and Nos. 1 and 1A have since been demolished. (fn. 30)
In 1865, while the Radfords were building their large stucco mansions in the north of the estate and Charles Chambers was erecting terraces of a standard, debased Italianate variety in the west, two houses of highly original design were being built on the north side of Holland Park Road, which had originally been laid out as a mews for St. Mary Abbots Terrace. These houses, now numbered 12 and 14 Holland Park Road (see pages 136–42) were built for two painters, Frederic, later Lord, Leighton and Val Prinsep, their respective architects being George Aitchison and Philip Webb. The principal facing material of both houses is red brick, at that time rarely used for buildings in London, and they were the first of several architecturally outstanding houses erected for artists on the Holland estate. The reasons why Leighton and Prinsep chose adjoining sites on the estate for their new houses can be traced back to a meeting between the fourth Lord Holland and the young painter and sculptor, George Frederic Watts, in Florence in 1843. An immediate rapport was established between the two men, and when one of Watt's friends, Henry Thoby Prinsep, was looking for a new home in 1850, Watts persuaded him to take a lease of Little Holland House, which had fallen vacant. Watts made his home with the Prinsep family and helped to further the artistic career of their son, Val. Leighton, who was rapidly acquiring a considerable reputation as a painter, also became friendly with Watts and was welcomed into the Holland House circle. When Lord Holland died in 1859, Leighton wrote to his mother, 'I was indeed truly sorry to hear of Lord Holland's death . . . nothing could exceed their kindness to me, and the House [presumably Holland House] is an irreparable loss to me'. When in 1864 both Val Prinsep and Leighton were looking for building plots it was, therefore, natural that they would gravitate to this part of Kensington. (fn. 184)
Despite the considerable sum, amounting to over £100,000, which she received from the sale of parts of her estate, Lady Holland was unable to settle any of the outstanding mortgages on her property or even keep pace with her expenditure. The extent to which at one time she contemplated cutting up even the grounds of Holland House for building is illustrated by a dispute with the Kensington Vestry which was eventually taken to the Court of Queen's Bench. (fn. 31) It was a part of Lady Holland's case that plans had been drawn up for building on the park in front of Holland House, and a map was produced showing virtually all the grounds of the house laid out on a grid pattern. The mansion itself was to survive, but with severely truncated grounds, and with roads passing within a few feet of it. A brief prepared for Lady Holland's counsel claimed that the agreement with the Radfords was part of a plan for building on the whole of the remaining parkland, and it was stated that in 1864 negotiations had begun with James McHenry, a prominent merchant and railway speculator, for the sale to him of the front park for development. 'The Panic which ensued put an end to these negociations which were previously progressing satisfactorily.' (fn. 185) If plans were really so far advanced, the financial crisis of 1866 certainly had one beneficial effect in preserving what is now one of London's major open spaces. It is, perhaps, strange that negotiations were not renewed when a more favourable financial climate returned, but wise friends may have dissuaded Lady Holland from a step which would have so disastrously affected the mansion in which she lived.
James McHenry purchased No. 25 Addison Road (Oak Lodge) from William Reed in 1862 for £7,250. (fn. 186) (fn. 32) He later acquired considerable land surrounding the house, some by purchase and some by lease, (fn. 33) and in 1873 he offered Lady Holland £400,000 for the whole of the Holland estate remaining in her hands. (fn. 187) By this time she was in desperate financial straits. Most of the available building land on the western part of the estate had already been sold, and the disastrous effects of living on capital rather than income were becoming increasingly apparent. Edward Cheney, her friend and financial adviser, scolded, 'you never did live on your income, but were always assisted by those windfalls which you received from the buildings at Kensington'. He was in no doubt of the cause of her problem, for in another letter he wrote that, 'When you live at Hd. He. you need not entertain all London'. (fn. 188) Perhaps unable to bring herself to sell her late husband's family home, and under pressure not to do so from her friends, Lady Holland eventually sought help from a distant relative, Henry Edward Fox-Strangways, fifth Earl of Ilchester, who was a direct descendant of Stephen Fox, first Earl of Ilchester, the elder brother of the first Lord Holland. After protracted negotiations he agreed to take the estate, subject as it was to a mortgage debt of £49,000 and a few small annuities (including that of £300 to John Henry Browne), and in return he allowed Lady Holland to live in Holland House for the rest of her life and granted her an annuity for life of £6,000. The formal conveyance took place on 17 January 1874. (fn. 189)