Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1913.
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LXI.—BELLE VUE LODGE (or COTTAGE), No. 91, CHEYNE WALK.
Ground landlord and leaseholder.
General description and date of structure.
This house is called Belle Vue Lodge on Thompson's map of 1836, and in the list of subscribers to Faulkner's History of Chelsea (2nd Edition), it is so given as the address of Luke Thomas Flood, Esq. On the other hand, Faulkner himself, in the text of his work, refers to it as Belle Vue Cottage. From the appearance of the brickwork the house would seem to be of earlier date than its neighbour Belle Vue House, which was built in 1771. This may, however, be due to the use of the smoother facing bricks, and red brick quoins and arch heads, which were characteristic of the first half of the 18th century.
The principal front faces east, upon Beaufort Street, and is remarkable for the central windows on each of the three storeys. That on the ground floor is of three lights, separated by pilasters; the side lights, which are smaller than the centre one, being square-headed and surmounted by an entablature that rests on the pilasters and half pilasters against the sides of the opening. The centre light is spanned by a semi-circular moulded arch with key-block, and the whole window is also arched, the broad space between the two arches being filled with plaster, enriched with foliage springing from two vases, modelled in relief. (fn. 1) On the first floor is a larger window of similar design, the pilasters being here replaced by columns and the plaster filling being plain. On the second floor the entire window is semi-circular, divided vertically into one large and two small side lights.
There may originally have been a window on all floors, each side of these central windows. The southern ones are now all blocked, that on the second floor by a plaster panel, and those on the first and ground floors by brickwork. The northern one of the second floor is still glazed, but those on the first and ground floors have been replaced by doors leading into a large two-storeyed porch of wood and glass. This porch, which is treated with columns, overhangs on the first floor and is surmounted by a pediment. An early 18th-century wing has been added to the north.
The south front is pierced by three plain sash windows on each floor, but those on the first floor are now concealed behind a large roofed balcony, with seven openings glazed in the manner sometimes called Chippendale Gothic. The angles are canted and each division is separated by fluted columns, those at the angles being coupled. This balcony and the porch make the house a valuable example of a type associated with the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. There is an attic storey in the roof furnished with dormer windows.
The interior contains some good late 18th-century panelling and chimney pieces. There is a curious segmental arch on the first floor, supported on columns and engaged pilasters, with capitals of acanthus foliage, which are reminiscent of the work of the brothers Adam.
Condition of repair.
With reference to the first named we may note that Faulkner gives among "gentry formerly resident" in Chelsea:—Thomas Parlebeine, Esq., under date 1775. When the second edition of his history of Chelsea was published (1829) the house was occupied by Luke Thomas Flood, who was a great benefactor to the parish. He was evidently a friend of the historian, for he addressed some lines to him, which conclude with the halting line "Sweet Chelsea shall ever live in thee." Flood Street was named after him, and his benefactions are celebrated at the parish church by a service on January 13th,—"Flood's Day." He left £3,000 to the parish when he died in 1860. Beaver (fn. 2) says that J. T. Crossley, Q.C., was a later tenant. The house was formerly occupied as a "Naval and Military College, Classical and Mathematical School," as appears from a lithograph of it, by W. L. Walton, in the Chelsea Public Library. It was latterly the home of Charles Conder, the artist, who lived here from 1901 until his death in 1909. (fn. c1)
In the Council's ms. collection are:—
(fn. 3) View from S.E. (photograph).
View of south front (photograph).
Another view from S.E. (photograph).
East front (photograph).
Garden (north) front (photograph).
(fn. 3) Window on ground floor (photograph).
Another view of the same (photograph).
(fn. 3) Interior, showing arch (photograph).
(fn. 3) Plan of ground floor (measured drawing).