Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1913.
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CXV.—CXIX.—Nos. 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16, UPPER CHEYNE ROW.
Ground landlord, leaseholders, etc.
General description and date of structure.
These five houses seem to have been erected about 1716. Nos. 4 and 6 are later in date, and as these two houses do not appear in the ratebooks until the end of the 18th century, we must conclude that the Row did not originally extend as far as Cheyne House, which was a detached building. No. 8 has a three storey brick front with parapet, and red brick moulded string course and cornice. No. 10 has been cemented over in the last century and its interior has been modernised. Nos. 12 and 14 are the only houses which have retained their early character at all completely; the north wall of the latter has been rebuilt. No. 16 was originally double its present size, and when altered it seems to have been rebuilt, and to have lost all features save its wooden cornice.
Nos. 12 and 14 are very good examples of their date. They are three storeys in height with rooms above in the roof. There is only one window to the south on each floor, in which the old sashes have been replaced by casements. At the eaves there is a good blocked cornice of wood.
The detail of the two front doors is particularly good (Plate 76). The entrance to No. 12 is a charming treatment of the Doric order with pilasters, while that to No. 14 has a hood on good carved brackets. No. 12 has a fanlight of interesting design, and both doors are flanked by consoles of fine wrought-iron scrollwork, resting on the returned ends of the railings.
Inside, the houses are beautifully panelled and are furnished with staircases having spiral balusters and a stepped string. They retain their original fireplaces, and the arrangement of panels over them. An interesting chimney-piece, in the manner of Adam, is in the front room of No. 12 (ground floor), the woodwork being now painted black; and there is a curious example of 18th-century design in the room above on the first floor, executed in green and white marble.
Condition of repair.
No. 10. Leigh Hunt lived in Upper Cheyne Row from 1833 to 1840. At that time the house in which he resided was known as No. 4, Upper Cheyne Row, but in 1877, the number was altered to 10. Hunt had as a neighbour, Carlyle, who lived close at hand in Great Cheyne Row, and the latter has described the ménage at No. 10, Upper Cheyne Row, which apparently did not accord with the highest ideals of domestic economy. "His house excels all you have ever read of—a poetical Tinkerdom, without parallel even in literature. In his family room … you will find half a dozen old rickety chairs gathered from half a dozen different hucksters, and all seemingly engaged, and just pausing, in a violent hornpipe. On these and around them and over the dusty table and ragged carpet lie all kinds of litter—books, papers, egg-shells, scissors, and last night when I was there the torn heart of a half-quartern loaf. His own room above stairs, into which alone I strive to enter, he keeps cleaner. It has only two chairs, a bookcase, and a writing table; yet the noble Hunt receives you in his Tinkerdom in the spirit of a king, apologizes for nothing, places you in the best seat, takes a window-sill himself if there is no other, and then folding closer his loose-flowing ' muslin cloud' of a printed night-gown in which he always writes, commences the liveliest dialogue on philosophy and the prospects of man (who is to be beyond measure 'happy' yet); which again he will courteously terminate the moment you are bound to go." (fn. 1)
Of Hunt's work during his residence at No. 10, Upper Cheyne Row he says himself: " In this house we remained seven years; in the course of which, besides contributing some articles to the Edinburgh and Westminster Reviews, and producing a good deal of the book since called The Town, I set up (in 1834) the London Journal, endeavoured to continue the Monthly Repository, and wrote the poem entitled Captain Sword and Captain Pen, the Legend of Florence and three other plays." (fn. 2)
In 1840 he removed to No. 32, Edwardes Square, Kensington. The London County Council, in 1905, affixed to No. 10, Upper Cheyne Row, a tablet commemorative of Leigh Hunt's residence. (fn. 3)
No. 14. " In 1774, a German named Ruhl, or Ruelle (who was succeeded by his son-in-law, C. F. Hempel) established a pottery in Little Cheyne Row, which produced the best-reputed crucibles in the country … On the expiration of the lease, prior to 1790, Hempel's widow, Johanna, removed the works to King's Road." (Beaver).
In the Council's ms. collection are:—
(fn. 4) No. 10 (photograph).
Nos. 8 to 16 (photograph).
(fn. 4) Nos. 12, 14 and 16, from the west (photograph).
(fn. 4) No. 12. Doorway (photograph).
(fn. 4) No. 12. Staircase (photograph).
(fn. 4) No. 12. Staircase, another view (photograph).
(fn. 4) No. 14. Doorway (photograph).
No. 14. Doorway, another view (photograph).
No. 16. Part of front. (photograph).
(fn. 4) Nos. 12 and 14. Doorways and details (measured drawing).
(fn. 4) Nos. 12 and 14. Chimney-pieces at No. 12, and plan and sections of No. 14 (measured drawing).