Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1913.
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LXXV.–LXXIX.—PARK CHAPEL, AND PARK ROW, Nos. 5, 7, 9 and 11, PARK WALK. (Formerly Chapel Row).
General Description and Historical Notes.
Lord Wharton's park of 40 acres was bounded on the north by the Fulham Road, on the east by Church Lane, on the south by the King's Road, and on the west by Park Walk, called in Dr. King's MS. Lover's Walk. There were no houses built here when Lord Wharton's nephew, the Earl of Abingdon, conveyed the Danvers House property to William Sloane in 1717. From a deed, dated 31st May, 1724, preserved at the Chelsea Public Library we find that Chelsea Park was leased by William Sloane to Sir Richard Manningham, the famous accoucheur, by whom it was gradually leased out for building, as appears by various deeds entered at the Middlesex Registry. (fn. 1) A clause in the document makes the tenure subject to a lease of the large house built "for nursing silkworms," held by William Lilly, William Pett, and Robert Slater, who had a royal patent for silk manufacture.
Before this, however, Sir Richard Manningham seems to have obtained permission to erect Park Chapel within the precincts of the park, and Faulkner (fn. 2) tells us it was begun in 1718. The chapel is extra-parochial, and was held on lease from the owners by the successive clergymen who ministered to it, until in 1855 it was purchased by the congregation, who appointed trustees.
The chapel was repaired and enlarged in 1810, but has just (1913) been pulled down for rebuilding. In the vestry were water colour drawings of the chapel before and after alteration, and an oil painting showing the gallery that formerly filled the east end. The following clergymen, according to Faulkner, served the chapel from 1730 to 1800.
Nos. 5, 7, 9, and 11, Park Walk, are four Georgian houses dating from soon after 1725, standing at the north end of the street on the east side. No. 5 retains its stair and panelled hall, and is the best preserved of the group. The others have been largely modernised inside, but they all retain the upper parts of their brick fronts with moulded brick cornices. The ground floors have been converted into shops.
Faulkner (fn. 3) gives among "gentry formerly resident" Mr. John Hutchins, who lately had £5,000 in the Lottery. A stone in the middle aisle of the old church is inscribed to the memory of John Hutchins and his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1762, in February and December respectively.
Beaver (fn. 4) tells us that "Christopher Le Blon, an engraver of Flemish birth, came to Chelsea between 1732–4, and set up a factory in the Mulberry Ground, Chelsea [Park] for the purpose of weaving tapestries, after Raphael's seven cartoons." Walpole praised his efforts, but he was not successful, and was forced to give up the enterprise. He was the inventor of the modern system of chromo lithography. (fn. 5)