Survey of London: Volume 41, Brompton. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1983.
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CHAPTER XI - Little Chelsea in Kensington
This chapter is chiefly concerned with the Fulham Road (on its north side) between Thistle Grove and Redcliffe Gardens. Something is also said of the history of the ownership of the areas extending back from this frontage, but the buildings behind the Fulham Road are discussed only where the history of their development is related to that of the buildings fronting on that road.
This part of Fulham Road traverses what was formerly an old settlement called Little Chelsea, which lay also on the south side of the road in the parish of Chelsea proper. Why a settlement grew up at this particular part of the road is not known, or at what date. The first known references are in the early seventeenth century. In 1618 the parish register of Kensington records the burial of the child of a resident at 'lytle Cheley [sic] in this parish', (fn. 1) and in 1625 an alehouse at Little Chelsea was giving trouble to the magistrates. (fn. 2) (This alehouse, run by a Thomas Freeman, was probably near what is now the southern end of Drayton Gardens. (fn. 3)) In the hearth-tax lists of the early 1670's houses here in Kensington, some of them substantial, number perhaps about twenty-three (of which at least a few had evidently been built together in the 1650's) and in Chelsea perhaps eight. Titled names occur, with Sir John Griffin at a house near the southern end of Seymour Walk and Sir James Smith in Chelsea, but the area seems quite early to have had the mixed character it retained into the nineteenth century. For much of its history sizeable houses in private occupation by people of note were mingled with cottage terraces, lodging-houses, private mad-houses and, especially, the schools or academies that gathered here. One school at least was located near the later Nos. 252 and 254 Fulham Road in 1703, (fn. 4) and by the 1840's a traveller passing westward along the Fulham Road noted at Walnut Tree Walk (Redcliffe Gardens) the last of a sequence of schools, 'the unceasing work of education . . . appearing here for the first time to terminate'. (fn. 5) (fn. n1)
The houses on the north and south sides of the road together made a little hamlet of their own, separated by fields from the small towns of Chelsea and Kensington and the other hamlets of Brompton and Earl's Court. The road to Fulham was its high street and in 1671 was called 'Little Chelsey streete'. (fn. 6) Its isolation in 1680 is illustrated by the correspondence of John Verney (later Lord Fermanagh), who lived for a time, with his wife, in his father-in-law's house at the later Nos. 252 and 254 Fulham Road. He 'commuted' to his merchant's office in the City but had an unpleasant choice of transport: 'by land tis unsafe for Rogues, and by water tis cold besides a good walke in ye dirt and darke (if not rain) from Greate to little Chelsey'. (fn. 7) In 1712 the residents seem to have succeeded in obtaining an order from the magistrates in petty sessions for a watch or policing service at Little Chelsea independent of the watch provided by the two parishes, 'which is on both sides remote'. (fn. 8)
Little Chelsea in Kensington exemplified how the mixed social character of a group of houses strung along one of the highways out of London did not necessarily presage rapid decline. Salway's limpid and precise drawing of 1811 (Plate 72) delineates weather-boarded cottages, shops, builders' premises and schools in this part of Fulham Road, but also houses occupied by wealthy retired tradesmen, rentiers and office-holders, with poplars blowing in their front gardens and the orchards and nursery-grounds of south-west Brompton behind them. People of some standing still lived here in the 1870's.
'Little Chelsea' continued as a description of this area into the 1850's, (fn. 9) but went out of use when it became joined to the streets behind that were being laid out, mostly under the ownership of James or Robert Gunter, in the 1850's and 1860's.
The most substantial houses in the late seventeenth century were the one already mentioned near Seymour Walk, another near the south-west end of Redcliffe Road (approximately at Nos. 202–210 even Fulham Road) and an irregular row westward from what is now Hollywood Road to the Servite priory at No. 264 Fulham Road. Most of this row survived, if heavily reconstructed, into the 1870's. Some late seventeenth- or mid-eighteenth-century features remain, in the priory house at No. 264, and at the adjacent No. 262a. Much hereabouts is now an open, low-built no-man's-land occupied as dairy depot, primary school and postal and telecommunications premises. At the south-west corner of Hollywood Road five houses survive from the 1790's and 1800's (Plate 75e), and this is also the earliest date of surviving buildings further east, where the seventeenth-century developments were in any case less substantial. Here the chief features are Seymour Walk (Plate 74), a nearly complete survival of the 1790's-to1820's, and Drayton Gardens and Thistle Grove, where a few houses date from the time of first laying-out (Plate 66b). This was in the second decade of the nineteenth century— a comparatively active building-period in this little neighbourhood.
Nothing of a distinctive identity can now be discerned in the 'Little Chelsea' area, and it was, in fact, from an early date fragmented in its ownership and development as well as in its social character. In Kensington it consisted of properties that, probably grouped in two or three units of ownership by the mid seventeenth century, were further divided before the second phase of gradual development from the 1790's onward. These later units of buildingownership were, when acquired for development, still mainly agricultural or horticultural, and extended longitudinally to the fields behind. The pre-building use was often intensive, in gardens and orchards, and the holdings seem to have had no extensive fronts to this part of the Fulham Road.
The history of ownership in the seventeenth century is not certain or complete. The allegiance to the manor of Earl's Court, which survived in the fields to the north as copyhold tenure into the nineteenth century, was here in rapid process of extinction. The alehouse near the eastern end of the area excited the attention of the manorial authorities by its illicit ninepins in the 1670's, (fn. 10) but otherwise the owners of property in Little Chelsea at that period figure only (and for the last time) as defaulters from their manorial obligations.
To deal first with the ownership at the eastern end of Little Chelsea, here a property-holding fronted on the Fulham Road between what are now Thistle Grove and Holmes Place (F on fig. 48), but also had a frontage to Fulham Road further west, at what is now the eastern corner of Hollywood Road (B on fig. 48). This property of some eighteen and a half acres was part of the land in Kensington and Chelsea bought in 1599 from Sir Robert Cecil by the second Earl of Lincoln and sold in 1651 by his grand-daughter and her husband, Sir Arthur Gorges, to Sir Michael Warton of Beverley in Yorkshire. The residential heart of the property had been in Chelsea, where Gorges and the Earl of Lincoln had both had big houses. In 1651 the Kensington part was described as ten acres of arable called Windmill Hill, another four acres of arable adjacent, and four acres in (a field called) Coleherne. (fn. 11) Warton's property passed to his grandson, also Sir Michael, who on his death in 1725 left it, with very extensive lands elsewhere, to his three married daughters. (fn. 12) In 1774 the representatives of these three joint interests agreed to a partition, confirmed by an Act of Parliament in the following year. (fn. 13) By this the eighteen and a half acres in Kensington, then worth about £100 per annum, came, with other land in Chelsea and Fulham, to Sir James Pennyman, sixth baronet, of Ormesby Hall, Yorkshire, M.P. for Beverley and the grandson of one of Sir Michael's sons-in-law. He sold the property in 1781. A small area, now mostly covered by the western part of the ABC cinema site (c on fig. 48), was bought by a coachmaker. (fn. 14) The purchaser of much the greater part (F and B less c on fig. 48) was the builder, Henry Holland, (fn. 15) but he seems not to have developed it significantly, and after his death his sons Richard and Henry (the architect) sold it in 1786.
Most of the area northward of the Thistle GroveHolmes Place frontage (Fb, d and e on fig. 48) was sold to a purchaser living on the Chelsea side of the road, John Groves, gentleman, (fn. 16) although the Holmes Place area itself (a on fig. 48) (less the actual passageway at the southern end of what is now Gilston Road) was sold to the Jeffery Holmes who gives it its name. (fn. 17) Further west, next to the present Hollywood Road (B on fig. 48), the purchaser was a coal merchant. (fn. 18) Some buildings had stood on most of these frontages in the seventeenth century and although they were of no great consequence these sales did not presage immediate and significant rebuilding. Holmes put up three new but humble houses and Groves probably half a dozen—soon to be pulled down themselves. The first deliberate piece of redevelopment of any quality was in 1811, when Groves's son, possibly encouraged by the building of Seymour Walk, laid out the southern two-thirds of Drayton Gardens (then called Thistle Grove, d on fig. 48), selling the frontages, however, in freehold plots to give a much more diversified effect than in Seymour Walk. Perhaps Groves hoped to carry the road through to the Old Brompton Road, on another man's property, but this did not happen until the 1840's.
In 1812–13 Groves sold the western part of his land in two lots (e and b on fig. 48), the smaller portion, fronting Fulham Road between the present Nos. 152 and 176 (b on fig. 48), to an auctioneer. Here, soon after Drayton Gardens was laid out, humble late-eighteenth-century leasehold properties were extended, equally humbly, only to be replaced by more solid but unaspiring buildings (which partly survive) after further divisions of the freehold in 1846. The Hollywood Road corner-site remained garden ground with an 1820 villa at its southern end: the latter became a hospital in the 1850's and the whole was absorbed into the street-developments on the Gunter estate in the 1860's (see pages 179, 239).
West of the property sold to Groves and Holmes in 1786, it is likely that the ownership of a three-andthree-quarter-acre rectangle of land (E on fig. 48) in the seventeenth century followed that of a more westerly piece of property (A on fig. 48) from a Thomas Maundy to the Middleton family (see below). Here that family retained it until it passed to a Gloucestershire family in 1807. They sold it, not radically redeveloped, in 1859. The purchaser, the architect George Godwin (here acting as initial landowner), then subjected it to the spread of housebuilding which was transforming the hinterland to the north under the guidance of his own hand as estate surveyor to other owners.
The area between what are now Nos. 212 and 226 Fulham Road (D on fig. 48) seems to have belonged to Sir James Smith, of the 'Chelsea' portion of Little Chelsea, at some time before 1682, and was bought from him by a Covent Garden grocer, Charles Morgan, who died in that year. One big house stood at the southern end of garden ground at least sometimes in commercial cultivation, and here it was a sale to a local builder in 1790 that initiated house-building on the street frontage and then the building of Seymour Walk northward, latterly under another owner, in the first two decades of the nineteenth century (see page 176).
West of what is now Hollywood Road there took place an important early development (A on fig. 48). This seems to have included the sites of Nos. 240–264 (even) Fulham Road, but may also have affected a detached piece to the east at E. This property in the 1640's was mostly in the hands of the Reverend William Hobson, Rector of St. George's, Southwark, until his sequestration, while a smaller portion was in the hands of his younger brother, Robert Hobson, who took his degree of doctor of medicine in 1659 and died, aged forty-two, in the same year. (fn. 19) They were sons of Lancelot Hobson, a successful glazier and prominent parishioner in Southwark, who was for many years wholesale agent for Sir Robert Mansell, the glassmaking monopolist. Hobson sent his sons to Cambridge and in 1639 had the satisfaction of seeing William's return to Southwark as rector and his marriage to a distant relation of Lord Keeper Coventry. Lancelot Hobson died a few months later. (fn. 20) He was possessed of substantial property in Kensington, or, if dispossessed, only in favour of his children. Unfortunately, its location and extent are not precisely known. In his will, dated in December 1639, (fn. 21) he speaks of a messuage and lands lately purchased by him which he had made over so that they would come to his sons William (the greater part) and Robert (the lesser) on his death. Presumably this was distinct from another property in Kensington which two months earlier he and William had settled on a son of Lord Coventry and a gentleman of Leatherhead, Thomas Rogers, in consideration of the impending marriage between William and Rogers's sister Margaret. (fn. 22) Her interest, however, only became effective, for her own life, if she outlived William (which she did not), subsequently to revert to William's heirs. This property consisted of a 'lane or drove' which can be identified with Walnut Tree Walk (later Redcliffe Gardens), leading north from the Fulham Road to twelve acres of arable and pasture called Little Coleherne (G on fig. 58 on page 196); another half acre of arable and pasture; and two houses. One was a 'Great mansion house' with its appurtenances, inhabited by a Charles Thynne, esquire, (who perhaps died in 1652 (fn. 23)) and the other a house with garden and court and 'greate hall which formerly went with the next adjoining house' occupied by a merchant, Edward Somner. The 'Little Coleherne' property was west of Walnut Tree Walk near its northern end, but the other Hobson property was probably further south, as some of the land sold by Gorges to Warton in 1651 mentioned above was said to abut southward and westward on land of Mr. Hobson. (fn. 24) The part of Lancelot Hobson's property that came to the younger son Robert certainly included a house on the site later marked by Nos. 240–248 (even) Fulham Road, where Robert was perhaps living in 1655. (fn. 25) That the southern boundary of the Hobson family's land lay along this part of Fulham Road also appears from subsequent events. In 1661 William Hobson became D.D. and was presented by St. George's Chapel, Windsor, to the vicarage of Twickenham, but in his will made in 1665 (a confused and confusing document) he spoke of his estate as 'contracted lately through God's providence' and of the lessening of it by a son's 'miscarriage'. (fn. 26) (fn. n2) Perhaps for that reason he broke an entail on his property (fn. 26) and in 1664 (according to a recital in a deed of 1671) sold a big house here, later numbered 252 and 254 Fulham Road. Other property of unknown extent was included in this sale. The purchaser was the son of one of his Twickenham parishioners, in trust for another, Henry Middleton. Joined with Hobson as a party in the sale was a Thomas Maundy and his wife. (fn. 28)
Maundy had already appeared on the scene a few doors to the west in or before 1659, when he mortgaged another big house, at what is now the Servite priory at No. 264 Fulham Road, to a gentleman of the Middle Temple. Maundy then described it as the westernmost of his 'New Buildings', recently erected. The identity of this Thomas Maundy will be reverted to later, with the evidence of a likely connexion with Henry Middleton, the beneficial purchaser in 1664. It is sufficient to note here that documents relating to the period around 1666–74 associate Henry Middleton, or a sister (or sister-in-law) of his, with each of the five houses at the sites later numbered 240–264 (even) Fulham Road; and that further east, probably at a house on the site later Nos. 202–210 (even, E on fig. 48) Maundy's name occurs as hearthtaxpayer in 1662–71 and Middleton's family as the freeholders so late as the 1800's (see page 174). Probably, therefore, this (discontinuous) frontage was all part of the original Hobson family's property, in which Maundy had a building-interest and which then passed to Middleton.
By 1669 some other part of the Hobson property, perhaps lying back from the road and regarded as a freehold tenure of the manor of Earl's Court, had been sold to Doctor John Whitaker. (fn. 29) In 1675 Henry Middleton owned thirteen acres of freehold in Kensington. (fn. 30) This may well have included former Hobson land. Middleton and trustees for him sold one big house (that later numbered 252–254 Fulham Road) in 1671 (see page 184) and evidently his family retained only the most easterly house at the later Nos. 202–210 (even) Fulham Road long in its ownership.
The 'New Buildings' for which Maundy was responsible, seemingly in the 1650's, are of uncertain extent eastward from No. 264. In the 1660's four big houses stood to the east of the latter. The easternmost of these, however, (at the site later numbered 240–248 even) was subsequently said to have been built by Henry Middleton where Robert Hobson's house had stood, (fn. 31) so it is doubtful whether Maundy's work extended there: nor is it known whether he developed only unbuilt land. The mansion of Charles Thynne and the evidently oldish house of Edward Somner in 1638 may well have stood on or near this Fulham Road frontage of the Hobson property.
As an early developer here Maundy's identity challenges conjecture, which is best made by reference to the likely identity of the Henry Middleton to whom at least some of the property passed. Middleton was a parishioner of Twickenham, where he had a brother-in-law, Edward Birkhead, who died in 1662. Edward's son William was Middleton's trustee in the purchase of 1664, and Edward's widow Ellen lived in one of the Little Chelsea houses about 1666–74, giving Middleton lodgings with her. (fn. 32) It seems very probable, therefore, that Henry Middleton and Edward Birkhead were the men of those names who had been colleagues as Serjeants at Arms under Charles I and the Commonwealth and who (for example) bore their maces at the proclamations in London and Westminster of Cromwell as Lord Protector in 1653. (fn. 33) That Henry Middleton was in fact a Serjeant at Arms is made more probable by the bequest of plate by one of his neighbours at Little Chelsea, who was also party to the purchase of a house there from him in 1671, to a friend he calls 'Serjeant Middleton'. (fn. 34) Thomas Maundy, therefore, would seem likely to be the goldsmith of that name who provided the Serjeants at Arms Birkhead and Middleton with their maces, in the supply of which he was given a monopoly by Parliament in 1649. This goldsmith was, in fact, the maker of the 'bauble' derided by Cromwell. Additionally, many corporations had their maces made by him. (fn. 35) The goldsmith's success in his trade might well have given him resources for investment: he is, indeed, found buying church property at Plymouth in 1650. (fn. 36) Whether there was a personal association between Hobson and Maundy is not known. The inclusion of Maundy's and Hobson's wives as parties to the sale of 1664 hints that there may have been. (fn. 28)
Another Twickenham-and-Southwark family, called Potkins, seems to have taken one of the Little Chelsea houses, perhaps at No. 264 Fulham Road, by 1666. (fn. 37)
Henry Middleton, himself son of a goldsmith, Sir Hugh Middleton, became the founder of a family widely propertied in America and Barbados (as well as, later, in Suffolk). It was especially prominent in South Carolina, where Henry's son became a member of the Council and his grandson Governor. (fn. 38)
To the west a small strip of ground (z on fig. 48) was probably part of the Walnut Tree Walk property of the Hobsons, with rather indeterminate limits bordering that drove-way. Its history was something of an epitome of Little Chelsea — humble late-seventeenth-century development ancillary to garden grounds, late-eighteenthcentury genteel occupation, enhancement in Regency times, schoolmistressly occupation in the early Victorian period, and then absorption into the operations of a mid-Victorian building firm.
Southern Drayton Gardens and Thistle Grove Area
Drayton Gardens southward of Nos. 39 and 56 has a much more varied appearance than that part owned by the Day family to the north (see page 156), essentially because this southern portion was sold off by its owner in the early nineteenth century for development by numerous individual freeholders. The area described here also comprises, south of the line indicated, the west side of Thistle Grove and the east side of Cresswell Place, and also Fulham Road between Thistle Grove and Cavaye Place.
This long but comparatively narrow piece of ground (d on fig. 48) was part of the twelve acres of land, extending northward from a frontage between Thistle Grove and Holmes Place and formerly belonging to Sir Michael Warton, that was sold in 1786 by Richard and Henry Holland (see page 163). The new owner, who was associated in the purchase with a bricklayer, Thomas Moseley of Woolwich, was John Groves, gentleman, of Chelsea Park—a large house with grounds, south of the Fulham Road on the site of Elm Park Gardens. (fn. 16) Some four or five small houses had stood here in the seventeenth century, probably including one of Little Chelsea's first alehouses (see above). Groves evidently rebuilt them as half a dozen small houses, called Groves' Rents, but these were pulled down in 1810 by his son George Groves, (fn. 9) and it was the latter, then of Bristol, esquire, who laid out the southern two thirds of Drayton Gardens and short cross-streets in 1811–12. (fn. 39)
In his Description of Chelsea published in 1810 Thomas Faulkner noted 'a new street in building' at Little Chelsea, 'which, when finished, will open a direct communication with Earl's Court; an improvement much wanted'. (fn. 40) It is not clear whether this already refers to Groves's new road, or to Seymour Walk. In any event Groves's road continued to end abruptly against the undeveloped land of the Day family until an extension to Old Brompton Road known as Drayton Grove was made on that estate in the 1840's.
Groves's road was immediately known as Thistle Grove. (fn. 9) In 1865 that name was extended northward, replacing Drayton Grove, and in 1884 the whole street was renamed Drayton Gardens. In 1907 its former name Thistle Grove was, confusingly, given to the old footpath extending behind its east side, formerly distinguished as Thistle Grove Lane.
At its southern end Groves's property was narrower than throughout most of its length by reason of Sir James Pennyman's sale in 1781 of what is now the western part of the ABC cinema site. (fn. 14) In 1812 and 1813 Groves disposed of the western part of his inheritance to James Gunter (the Milborne Grove, Harley Gardens and Gilston Road area (fn. 41)) and Charles Harwood (the Cavaye Place area (fn. 42)). This left an area reckoned as about six and a quarter acres for the 'Drayton Gardens' development.
Here Groves departed from the method usual in central London, that is, granting building leases, and instead sold off the property fronting his road in lots. His layout plan envisaged some sixty of these, but the sales were actually made in larger units numbering thirty-five in all. They were effected in the years 1811–15. (fn. 43)
Only four significant sale prices are known. (fn. 44) This very slight evidence suggests they may have been calculated, for the greater part of the road's length, at rates between about £1 13s. and £2 4s. per foot of frontage, according to the depth of plot. If so, Groves's sales perhaps yielded him something of the order of £3,800.
The purchasers numbered twenty-five, of whom eleven were building tradesmen. (fn. n3) The fourteen others included six 'gentlemen' or 'esquires', a baker, a cordwainer (with whom a cheesemonger was associated in the purchase), a farrier, a harness-maker, a soda-water-manufacturer, a stable-keeper, an upholsterer and a victualler.
At least two building leases were granted by purchasers to Thomas Ivey of Little Chelsea, plumber—one in 1817 by the landed confectioner James Gunter (fn. 45) and one in 1821 by the representatives of the builder Engleheart, who was then deceased. (fn. 46)
Three houses appear in the ratebooks in 1814, and by 1820 the development was more or less complete (except, perhaps, for three houses on the site of No. 49 added about 1825 (fn. 9)). In Drayton Gardens itself only two or three rather doubtful vestiges of this early phase seem to survive.
The layout originally gave two more cross-roads on the west side than at present, north of Nos. 58 and 100 respectively and opposite two openings on the east side. Groves sold their intended sites in 1815 to the adjacent landowner, James Gunter, and probably neither was ever made. (fn. 47)
Some residents were John Burke, the originator of the Peerage, in 1825–31 (at No. 88), Captain (Sir) T. L. Mitchell, the Australian explorer, in 1826 (No. 83), Douglas Jerrold, the writer, in 1834–6 (near Nos. 80 and 82), the watercolourist William Cowen in 1843–60 (near Nos. 60–68 even) and the literary divine, the Reverend W. H. Brookfield, in 1858–60 (No. 63). (fn. 48)
The first building period showed a varied type of development, with big or biggish detached houses in gardens, semi-detached houses of medium and small size, and a few short runs of terraces. On the west side most houses stood forward on or near the street frontage but sometimes presented only a back-front to the street, facing westward over their garden. (fn. 49) On the east side some stood back where their plots abutted on Thistle Grove (Lane). In 1829 Faulkner called it all 'pleasantly situated'. (fn. 50)
It is possible that the author of the layout was the architect and surveyor William Inwood (c. 1771–1843), who in 1835 gave evidence about rights of way with reference to the private cross-roads originally intended and said he had 'been for some time the surveyor to the said estate'. (fn. 51)
Towards the south-east end of Drayton Gardens the 'back-frontages' now numbered 9a-f Thistle Grove seem to retain some early if altered work. (Nearby, at the southern junction of Thistle Grove with Roland Gardens, are two fluted cast-iron bollards with, on one of them, the parish mark and date KP 1844.)
Further south, behind Nos. 91–97 (odd) Drayton Gardens, a row of small terrace houses, grouped four, three and two, actually fronts eastward as Nos. 1–9 (consec.) Thistle Grove, and here the original buildings survive largely unchanged in their pleasantly modest outward appearance (Plate 66b).
Of these, the central group, Nos. 5–7, was built on a plot of land granted by Groves in 1812 to the plumber John Holroyd in association with the glazier Richard Cobbett (both of Great Scotland Yard), (fn. 52) and the southern group, Nos. 1–4, on a plot granted by Groves to Holroyd in 1814 as a trustee for Joseph Stutely the younger, a bricklayer with an address near his and Cobbett's. (fn. 53) It is doubtful, however, whether Holroyd, Cobbett and Stutely were the builders, as work on these seven house-sites did not proceed immediately, and in 1816 the sites of Nos. 5–7 were sold by Holroyd and Cobbett to a cornchandler in Chelsea, William Johnson. (fn. 54) He subsequently put a surviving tablet at the northern end of No. 7 to record his ownership and dated it 1816, but his three houses do not appear in ratebooks until 1820: for many years they were called Johnson's Place. (fn. 9) The sites of Nos. 1–4 had similarly been sold by Stutely and Holroyd, in 1818, to a Thomas Thwaites of St. Pancras, but a solicitor living in Queen Anne's Gate, John Robinson, was a party to the sale and a few weeks later witnessed a 999-year lease of the site to William Blake of Little Chelsea, bricklayer. (Blake had already acquired the site of No. 65 Drayton Gardens for building.) (fn. 55) By 1819 Blake had bought Nos. 3 and 4 Thistle Grove, (fn. 56) and in 1820, when Nos. 1 and 2 also appear in the ratebooks, assigned his long lease to Robinson. (fn. 57) The latter's name was for some years given to these four houses (fn. 9) and is commemorated by the tablet lettered ROBINSONs PLACE 1820 surviving on No. 1. Blake may well have been the builder of Nos. 1–4 as well as of Johnson's Nos. 5–7: in 1820 he began to build extensively on the Lee estate in the Clareville Grove area of Old Brompton, where he evidently had a connexion with Johnson as some houses built by him about 1830–2 there were called Johnson's Cottages, seemingly after William Johnson or his son Thomas. (fn. 58) That Blake was sponsored in Thistle Grove by Johnson and Robinson together is perhaps hinted at by Johnson's taking the newly built No. 3, one of Robinson's houses, evidently for a relation. (fn. 59) In their simple way the houses in the Clareville Grove area and here resemble each other.
The site of Nos. 8 and 9 Thistle Grove was sold by Groves to Robert Todd, a bricklayer of St. Marylebone, with whom a carpenter, George Warren, was associated in the transaction. (fn. 60) This was in 1811, but the two houses facing Thistle Grove do not appear in occupation until 1828. (fn. 9)
At the back of Nos. 5–7 Thistle Grove, abutting on Drayton Gardens, Johnson built a warehouse, coachhouse and stables. On his death he left this portion, unlike the three dwelling houses, to his son Thomas, also a cornchandler, who in 1840 had the present semidetached pair of westward-facing houses, Nos. 93 and 95 Drayton Gardens, built on the site (fig. 49). He set out this fact and his ownership on two surviving stone tablets, one at each gate. (fn. 61) (His neighbouring owner at No. 91, G. H. Rodman, had also fixed two small stone tablets, which similarly survive, dated 1817 and 1816, at his north and south boundaries.)
The only likely remains of the first building period in Drayton Gardens itself are at Nos. 58, 61 and 102, which perhaps retain some original fabric of 1819, 1826 and 1817 respectively. (fn. 9) At No. 63 what may be a rebuilding of about 1854 (fn. 9) survives with its outer bays strangely visible behind a later block of flats.
Otherwise the present appearance of Drayton Gardens dates from c. 1878 onwards. At Nos. 71–77 (odd) (W. Toten, builder) and 60–68 (even) (C. Hunt, builder) short rows of uniform, medium-sized terrace-houses date from 1878–9 and 1882 respectively. (fn. 62) The former development included Holly Mews at the back.
A more attractive and ambitious group, on a piece of ground owned by Robert Gunter, was built in 1885–9 at Nos. 76–86 (even) Drayton Gardens, with stable buildings (now converted) at Nos. 18 and 21–22 Cresswell Place behind them (Plate 69a, 69b, fig. 50). Although terrace houses they are quite large and picturesquely designed. Nos. 76–78 and 84–86 Drayton Gardens and the converted stables in Cresswell Place are similar in their tile-hung Surrey style, and were leased in 1885–6 to William Knight, builder, of Sussex Place, except for No. 86 Drayton Gardens, where the lessee was the builder, Edward Deacon, senior, of Milborne Grove. Deacon was in 1889 the lessee of the intervening Nos. 80–82, which are of slightly different style. (fn. 63) The architect of Knight's buildings in Cresswell Place was H. Phelps Drew, whose work here was publicized by The Building News. For one year at that time, in 1886, he shared Knight's address in Sussex Place (now part of Old Brompton Road), and it may therefore be surmised that the connexion extended to his designing at least Knight's Drayton Gardens houses also. But if so The Building News does not mention the fact. (fn. 64) The possibility that Robert Gunter's surveyors, George and Henry Godwin (the former of whom died in 1888), had a hand in these houses, cannot be wholly ruled out, but it would be a surprising extension of the styles sponsored by them on his property further west in the previous decades.
The first occupant of No. 86 Drayton Gardens, in 1888, was Sir Evan MacGregor, the Admiralty administrator, and of No. 82, in 1891, the scientist, the eighth and last Earl of Berkeley. (fn. 65)
Thenceforward the story is chiefly of blocks of flats, which characterize this part of Drayton Gardens more than surrounding areas. The existence of single housesites here of a size large enough to accommodate a worthwhile development doubtless encouraged this tendency. The first block of flats was at No. 57, built, to a modest height, in 1886, followed by the taller No. 55 of c. 1887. These were erected on sites recently bought by an architect, John Halley, with the backing of a stockbroker in Glasgow, R. H. Fraser, the two being 'joint adventurers' in the undertaking, for which Halley was probably, therefore, the architect. (fn. 66) Thereafter the blocks of flats were bigger. Nos. 49–51, 53 and 59 (J. Norton, architect, Plate 68c, d) (fn. 67) and No. 63 (front building) and Priory Mansions (C. J. C. Pawley, architect, Plate 68b) date from 1894–8, (fn. 68) and Drayton Court (also Pawley) and Grove Court (probably A. Blackford, architect) from 1901–2. (fn. 69) There seems to have been some interest on the part of architects in sites here merely as investments. Nos. 55 and 57 were bought in 1893 by the architect Arthur Cawston, (fn. 70) and at Drayton Court the owner with whom Pawley agreed in 1901 to take from her a ninety-nine-year building lease at £230 per annum was the wife of the architect W. H. Collbran. She had bought the site, occupied by a large house in its garden, in 1897 for £5,800, whereas in 1844 it had sold for £1,600. (fn. 71) The pleasant rebuilding in 1901–2 of No. 89— set back from the street front and in 1980 largely concealed by the building of No. 87 — was carried out for its owner and occupant, the architect F. E. Williams, who remained here until his death in 1929. (fn. 72) Whether or not he designed this rebuilding he did design (as of Williams and Cox) the projecting central bay added in 1922. (fn. 73) The same firm designed the three plain neo-Queen Anne houses at Nos. 70–74 (even), built in 1925–6. (fn. 74) (These occupied a site that had stood vacant since the demolition in the 1880's of Grove Lodge, a long low house with rooms ranged all to face westward over its garden, where a large vinery was built, probably in 1863–4. (fn. 75)) At the same period (1926–7) a single house was built at No. 100 (E. Schaufelberg, architect), (fn. 76) but more blocks of flats followed, all in 1933–5—No. 88 and Warner House, Priory Walk (Austin Blomfield, architect), (fn. 77) Onslow Court (J. Stanley Beard and Clare, later Beard and Bennett), (fn. 78) and Donovan Court (Ward, Hoare and Wheeler). (fn. 79)
In recent years some small houses have been built on street-frontages where the existing houses lay back from the street, for example at No. 97c (1958, Anthony Mauduit, architect), No. 97 (1970, Lincoln and Miller, architects, project architect R. N. D. Kidd (fn. 80)), and No. 87 (1980–1, C. J. G. Guest, architect (fn. 81)). At No. 25 Cresswell Place the garage-and-studio-flat dates from 1970 (Douglas Norwood and Associates, architects). (fn. 82)
The commercial garage at Nos. 67 and 69 Drayton Gardens was established, at No. 69, in 1910 and rebuilt in 1963 (T. W. Saunders, architect). It includes the former site of a chapel erected at No. 67 by J. Williamson, builder, in 1881 for a congregation of Baptists, which remained there until c. 1940. (fn. 83) The Paris Pullman Cinema was established at No. 65, as the Radium Picture Playhouse, in 1910–11 by the conversion of a 'gymnasium or school of arms', previously (from 1890) a dancing school. (fn. 84)
The unsightly Nos. 134–140a (even) Fulham Road were built as Elm Park Parade in 1888, on a site occupied since 1828 as a doctor's surgery and residence (one of the numerous houses in Brompton that took 'Grove' into its name). The freeholder was Arnold Gabriel of Bayswater, evidently a property speculator, and the building lessee William Mitchell of Kilburn, a civil engineer: (fn. 85) the architect is not known. The ABC cinema (Plate 73a) was built partly on the site of Nos. 106–110 (even) Drayton Gardens and extends in its western half as far as Cavaye Place over the site of a development older than Drayton Gardens called Schofield Place; that is, westward of the main area described above. It was built and opened in 1930 as the Forum cinema. The architects for H. A. Yapp, the owner of this and other Forum-cinema sites, were J. Stanley Beard and Clare. (fn. 86)
The western part of the ABC cinema site (c on fig. 48) obliterated a small area that had probably not been radically reconstructed since an early date. In 1781 it belonged to Sir James Pennyman, who in that year sold it to Robert Sc(h)ofield, a coachmaker. A row of three houses, later called Schofield Place, stood well back from the road, and there was also a carpenter's and wheeler's shop on the ground. (fn. 87) Buildings in this area had been occupied since the late seventeenth century. (fn. 88) Salway's view of 1811 (Plate 72) shows the houses with what looks like a canopied entrance to the premises of William Toby, a broker. (fn. 89) In 1830 Schofield's son sold the property to a flock manufacturer: the site then included a mill and mill-houses. (fn. 90) There had been a flock factory here, probably at the rear of the site, since at least 1811, and it was succeeded by a dye works in 1848 until c. 1916. (fn. 91)
Cavaye Place and Nos. 152–176 (even) Fulham Road
The name Cavaye Place has since 1937 denoted both a right-angled street leading northward from the Fulham Road and a larger rectangular area into which that street opens at the end of its western arm, and which also communicates at the south-west corner with Fulham Road through an archway (fig. 51). Before 1937, however, the area of Cavaye Place and the properties fronting Fulham Road immediately to its south had formed two distinct parts with separate building histories since their first development in the 1780's and 1790's. The eastern included the present Nos. 1–3 and 24–28 (consec.) Cavaye Place and Nos. 152–156 (even) Fulham Road; and the right-angled street, then called Clifton Place, was a cul-de-sac closed at the western boundary of Nos. 3 and 24 by the backs of buildings in the western part, then called Chelsea Grove. When the two parts were united in 1937–8 they were given their present name to commemorate a former Mayor of Kensington, MajorGeneral W. F. Cavaye. (fn. 92)
Despite this separate development the whole area discussed here was in a single freehold ownership during its early building phase and until 1846, when sales made by the then owner inaugurated in both parts a new phase of building or rebuilding, some of which survives.
Until 1784 the whole area shared the history of the land to the east — that is, ownership by Sir James Pennyman, sixth baronet, as successor to the heirs of Sir Michael Warton (d. 1725), and sale in 1781 to the Fulham builder, Henry Holland. (fn. 93) It was at that time largely undeveloped in building except for one or two houses and an alehouse in Fulham Road described as 'new' in 1768 (fn. 94) and formed part of an area of a little over six acres, probably (as later) nursery ground, in the occupation of a James Russell. In 1784, however, Holland leased the one acre now under discussion for sixty-one years to James Naunton, a Chelsea victualler probably at the Goat in Boots on the opposite side of the Fulham Road. (Naunton also owned property a little further west.) (fn. 95)
The history of the freehold is that two years later, in 1786, after Holland's death, his sons sold it, together with larger areas to the north and east, to John Groves of Chelsea Park, and that Groves's son George, at the time he was beginning to develop Drayton Gardens, sold it in 1813 to an auctioneer of Grosvenor Row, Charles Harwood, whose representatives retained it until 1846. (fn. 96)
When Naunton had received his lease in 1784 the site contained a wheeler's or wheelwright's shop, which stood near the east end, probably at the approximate site of No. 154 or 156 Fulham Road. The other features were 'three small gardens', a bowling green and a skittle ground. (fn. 97) These last were in the western part, and the open area which still partly survives commemorates them. So too, perhaps, does the lower ground level here than in the right-angled roadway to the east. In view of Naunton's trade, the bowling green and skittle ground were perhaps associated with a public house, and then with the 'new room' built about 1791, which seems soon to have become known as a 'ball room'. (fn. 42) The latter was probably on the site of the present No. 4 Gilston Road.
In 1793 Naunton sub-leased this little suburban Cockaigne for £150 to the owners of the Stag brewery at Pimlico, John Elliot and Sir John Call, who promptly leased back to him a strip fronting Fulham Road, where Naunton built in 1793–5 a terrace of eight small weatherboarded cottages called Bowling Green Row. (fn. 98) He himself now had premises there. (fn. 99) The row is shown, on the present sites of Nos. 158–170 (even) Fulham Road, in Salway's view of 1811 (Plate 72). (fn. 89) By then, however, more changes were commencing in this western part of the area. In 1810 the then owners of the Stag brewery sub-leased the bowling green and its surroundings to Christopher Fryer of Little Chelsea, builder. (fn. 100) In 1810–11 Fryer built some twenty-five small, brick, tile-roofed terrace cottages chiefly on the north and south sides of the bowling green, called Fryer's Grove. (fn. 101) It was also presumably he who in c. 1810–11 built the stuccoed brick houses at what are now Nos. 174 and 176 Fulham Road, which are shown brand-new in Salway's view, together with No. 178 to the west on an adjacent freehold property, which was evidently built at the same time (see below). (fn. 102) Then in 1812–13 Naunton's son-in-law, John Eaton of Hammersmith, painter and glazier, rebuilt half of Bowling Green Row in brick. (fn. 103) If this was 'improvement' it was not very decisively so, as in 1813 what was probably the old 'ball room' nearby was leased to soap-boilers. (fn. 104)
To continue with the history of this part, in 1846 James Savage of North Cheam, Surrey, gentleman, as executor of Charles Harwood's will, sold it (as he did also the smaller eastern part). The sites of Nos. 174 and 176 Fulham Road were bought by Edward Gingell of Barretts Court, St. Marylebone, (fn. 105) an appraiser who was at that time building further west in the Fulham Road. He pulled down Fryer's houses and built the two present houses in 1847. (fn. 106) The rest of this western part was bought by another active Kensington builder, Stephen Bird. (fn. 107) He promptly, in 1846–7, rebuilt Bowling Green Row as Clifton Terrace, (fn. 108) and of these houses Nos. 170 and 172 Fulham Road survive. The architect was John Blore (Plate 73c). (fn. 109)
Bird also did at least a little building or rebuilding in the former Fryer's Grove behind, by then renamed Chelsea Grove. (fn. 110) Here an infants' school for the new church of St. Mary, The Boltons, was built in 1848–9 on a central island site. It was probably unelaborate but was designed by that church's architect, George Godwin. (fn. 111) The school and adjacent master's house survived, latterly in other use, until the 1960's. In 1878 the school, as St. Mary's National Girls', Infant and Sunday School, was transferred, until 1939, to a new and larger building at a site, bought from Bird for £1,300, on the west side of Chelsea Grove with a frontage also to Gilston Road. The builder, at a tender of £2,447, was B. E. Nightingale of Lambeth and the architect Joseph Peacock. (fn. 112) This survives as No. 4 Gilston Road. It is a symmetrical building in a residually Gothic style which, despite unsympathetic alteration, repays attention as a good example of Peacock's vigorous and not unsophisticated architecture (Plate 95). To the front there is a buttressed centrepiece which rises to a sharp gable breaking into a high hipped roof; at the back, too, is a prominent central gable, here projecting and serving the staircase, as ranks of ascending lights reveal. All round the school, the upper-floor windows cut curiously into the cornice. The roof is now pantiled, the stonework all painted, and there are some regrettable additions at the rear.
By the end of the century Chelsea Grove was the part of south-western Kensington to be most decidedly identifiable as an abode of poverty on Charles Booth's map of London's poor and rich. (fn. 113) In 1935 the borough of Kensington declared it a Clearance Area, and in 1936 made a Closing Order for the demolition of the houses. The north side was rebuilt in c. 1938 as garages and studios (H. J. F. Urquhart, architect). (fn. 114) These have recently been demolished, and the area is now dominated by the large block built with a recessed street frontage at Nos. 158–168 (even) Fulham Road in 1972–4 (architects, Turner Lansdown Holt and Partners). (fn. 115)
To revert to the smaller eastern part of Cavaye Place, the wheelwright's shop of 1784 was still in the same use in 1807, (fn. 116) and it is probably the southern end of this long wooden building that is shown by Salway in 1811 immediately east of Bowling Green Row. (fn. 89) Eastward again was a straight cul-de-sac (later called Farmer's Place) leading to six small cottages on its west side built in the 1790's. (fn. 9) By 1846 the southern end of the wheelwright's shop was a public house, the Builders' Arms, and the small irregular timber buildings shown by Salway in 1811 east of the entrance to Farmer's Place were a cooperage and a baker's shop. (fn. 117)
In 1846 this little rectangle of land was bought from James Savage, as Harwood's executor, by a poulterer in Knightsbridge, William Aley or Ayley, (fn. 117) who completely changed the layout. A new street, soon called Clifton Place, was made along the eastern boundary, turning west to butt against the back of Chelsea Grove. Nos. 152–156 (even) Fulham Road were built in 1849–50, No. 152 as a public house, the Clifton Arms, which it remained until 1971. The builders were E. Underhill and his successors, Seal and Jackson, of King's Road, Chelsea. (fn. 118) In 1853 Nos. 1–3 (consec.) Cavaye Place were erected by Edmund Mesher, builder, of Chelsea. (fn. 119) The architect of these old-fashioned-looking buildings was again John Blore. (fn. 109) It was as late as 1863–4 that Nos. 24–28 (consec.) Cavaye Place were erected by George Symons of Brompton, builder, in the simplest (and even more outdated) of styles: this was under eighty-year leases from F. W. Aley and A. C. C. Beer or Bere of Thurloe Place, gentlemen: (fn. 120) the architect is not known. The Metropolitan Board of Works limited their height to the width of the roadway, that is twenty-two feet, and rejected Symons's request to build Nos. 27 and 28 higher 'having regard to the close proximity of the surrounding Houses, and to the Street being without a second entrance.' (fn. 121) As a result, these little houses are now dominated by the unpleasingly bare and high brick wall of the ABC Cinema, which extends along the whole of the north-south roadway on its east side. All these buildings in Cavaye Place and Fulham Road survive, Nos. 24–28 Cavaye Place with 'jalousies' added in 1938 (Plate 73b). (fn. 122)
Nos. 178–188a (even) Fulham Road, Holmes Place and Nos. 3, 3a, 5 and 5a Gilston Road
This small area is of mixed and rather undistinguished character, reflecting a fragmented historical development that is complicated out of proportion to the interest of the buildings upon it (fig. 52). Originally the area was part of the Warton family property and in 1781, like the land to the north and east, was sold by Sir James Pennyman to the builder Henry Holland (fn. 15) (see above). Four brick houses already stood on or near the Fulham Road frontage (approximately on the sites of the later Nos. 182–188 even Fulham Road) and may have dated from or been enhanced in c. 1776–7. (fn. 9) Richardson's map of Chelsea in 1769 and ratebooks suggest there were buildings here before then. These four houses can be seen on Salway's view of 1811, together with a fifth, corner, house at the east end, which may have been reconstructed in 1781–2 (fn. 9) and occupied a site, later numbered 180 Fulham Road, now mostly taken into Gilston Road (Plate 72). The fact that the westernmost pair of the group (later Nos. 186 and 188) had previously been one house, as a deed of 1786 states, is discernible. (fn. 89) (The same may, apparently, be true of the easternmost pair.) Also conspicuous is the adjacent gateway to the east, where the southern end of Gilston Road now opens from the Fulham Road and which led to the nurseries owned at the time of Salway's view by William Pamplin and earlier, in the 1780's, by James Russell. (fn. 123)
The greater part of this piece of property, extending north to include the later sites of Nos. 3 and 5 Gilston Road, was taken out of the larger area held by the Holland family in 1786, when Richard and Henry Holland (the elder Henry's sons) disposed of it by sale. The purchaser was a Jeffery Holmes of Kensington, later described as a 'gentleman'. (fn. 124) Holmes's acquisition included, on the east side of the passageway northward, the site of No. 178 Fulham Road (F on fig. 52), which was then a garden and was built upon in 1810–11, probably by the builder Christopher Fryer (see above). This house may survive in the present building after alteration in 1848. (fn. 102) Holmes did not, however, acquire an east-facing house or cottage on the western side of the passageway, approximately on the northern part of the present corner site, the passageway itself, or a small plot on its east, now numbered 2 Gilston Road. This part (D on fig. 52) continued to be held by the owner of the nursery to the north. (fn. 17) The nurseryman Pamplin's name on the overthrow of the gateway as shown in Salway's view proclaims this ownership.
In 1789 Holmes made an agreement with a carpenter, Henry Hicks of Marshall Street, Carnaby Market, by which Hicks was to construct three houses standing back behind the Fulham Road frontage, on the north side of what became known as Holmes Place. They were built by 1790 and leased to Hicks in that year, together with the two rather older houses (formerly one) on the sites of Nos. 186 and 188 Fulham Road (then called Nos. 1 and 2 Holmes Row) (A and B on fig. 52). A witness to these transactions was the surveyor and architect, George Cloake, of St. Martin('s) Street, Leicester Fields, and another was John Field, carpenter, of King Street, Seven Dials. (fn. n4) (fn. 126)
In 1812 the house or cottage on the west side of the passageway, the passageway itself, and the small plot on its east (D on fig. 52) were bought, as part of the larger area of nursery ground to the north, from George Groves (see page 167) by James Gunter. (fn. 41) In 1851 his son Robert Gunter had a house called Bolton (or, briefly, Gilston) Lodge erected by the Islington builder John Glenn on the site of the cottage and another smaller building put up on the small plot on the opposite side of the passageway. A plan submitted by Glenn to the Metropolitan Commissioners of Sewers suggests that these buildings, joined by quadrant walls to a perhaps improved or regularized version of the old gateway, may have been intended as a somewhat formal 'entrance' to Robert Gunter's newly building Gilston Road and The Boltons beyond. (fn. 127) In the event the gateway seems to have disappeared. (fn. 128) Bolton Lodge, however, (on a site now obliterated by a widening of Gilston Road) was occupied from 1860 to 1871 by Robert Gunter's land agent, James Knowles, esquire, who also, or perhaps primarily, operated from Gunter's house, Wetherby Grange, in Yorkshire. (fn. 129)
In 1821 Holmes's heirs sold off, to Luke Flood of Chelsea, esquire, the two houses on the corners of the opening northward (the sites of No. 178 and the former No. 180 Fulham Road, E and F on fig. 52); (fn. 130) and in 1865 the sites of Nos. 182 and 184 Fulham Road and their northern hinterland (C on fig. 52) were sold to Robert Gunter's son Robert. (fn. 131) On this hinterland, north-west of Bolton Lodge, he had a pair of east-facing semi-detached houses, Nos. 3 and 5 Gilston Road, erected in 1871 by the builders Benjamin and Thomas Bradley. (fn. 132) (The Bradleys, who had taken building leases from him ten years before, in Harley Gardens and Milborne Grove, had their own premises close by, at No. 180 Fulham Road, from 1860 to 1893. (fn. 133)) Nothing is known of the authorship of this pair of houses, belatedly completing the development of Gilston Road, unless they are supposed to be an uncharacteristic work of Robert Gunter's surveyors, George and Henry Godwin. In 1974 demolition of these houses was begun, but after the intervention of the Borough they were rebuilt in 1980 behind the existing elevations as four 'town houses' numbered 3, 3a, 5 and 5a Gilston Road. (fn. 134)
In Fulham Road the five houses at Nos. 180–188 each contained a shop where the tenants from 1861 to 1888 were very stable. For twenty-eight years the quintet of happy families — Mr. Bradley's the builder, Mr. Floyd's the grocer, Mr. Wayt's the fishmonger, Mr. Chapman's the bootmaker and Mr. Padbury's the fruiterer — remained unchanging. (fn. 133)
Robert Gunter acquired in 1881 Holmes Place itself and its three houses (A on fig. 52). (fn. 135) These were rebuilt in 1902 by Frederick Humpherson, sanitary engineers, for their own premises, and survive as No. 188a Fulham Road. This shows no sign of the influence of Walter Cave, who about that time became Gunter's surveyor. (fn. 136) (fn. c1) Nos. 186 and 188 Fulham Road (Plate 73d) are of uncertain date and may represent a late-nineteenth-century heightening and refacing of an older building. Robert Gunter extended his Fulham Road frontage when he bought the lease of No. 178 and the former No. 180 in 1887, subsequently acquiring the freeholds. (fn. 137) At the corner of Gilston Road the present Nos. 182 and 184 Fulham Road were rebuilt to designs by Gale, Heath and Sneath, architects, for W. H. Cullen, grocers, in 1936–7, when most of the site of No. 180 Fulham Road was taken for widening the southern end of Gilston Road and setting back the building line at this corner. (fn. 138)
Nos. 190–210 (even) Fulham Road, and Redcliffe Road and Bolton Studios
The buildings and layout of this area of some three and three quarter acres, which extends northward from Fulham Road the length of Redcliffe Road, date entirely from 1860 onwards (E on fig. 48). There were houses on and near the frontage to Fulham Road, however, in the seventeenth century, and although the history of the area before the 1770's is obscure at least one of the early houses was well-inhabited and substantial. It is shown in Salway's view of 1811 (Plate 72) situated west of what is now Redcliffe Road behind a garden of ornamental trees and shrubs, with a flat front towards Fulham Road seemingly of late-seventeenth or early-eighteenth-century date. (fn. 89) A list of fixtures in 1776 tells us it then had four rooms on each of its two main floors over a basement, six garrets in the roof, and two staircases. The best staircase was of wood, and was decorated with 'History Painting' and 'Architraves painted to imitate Purple Marble'. All the rooms were panelled, some with 'small' or 'square' work, but in two rooms the panels were by then papered over. Some rooms had chimneypieces of various marbles — Dove, Plymouth, purple or white-and-veined — and some chimneypieces had 'tabernacle frames over them'. At the 'Top of the House' was 'an Alarm Bell with a Rope to the Bottom'. (fn. 139) In the previous year, 1775, it had been briefly occupied by the head of the Anglo-American family which had earlier owned a larger area hereabouts. This occupant was William Middleton (1710–75), a native of South Carolina, whose father had been Governor of the province and whose family was extensively landed both in North America and in the county of Suffolk. William died in the same year 1775, and his younger son Thomas, to whom he left the Little Chelsea property, disposed of the house on lease in 1776, being then resident at Charleston. (A month or two later his cousin Arthur was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence.) (fn. 140) The Middletons' ownership of this piece of property probably went back to the 1660's (see page 165), but the big house was generally occupied by others, although John Harwood, doubtless the Middletons' wealthy relation by marriage, was there from 1710 to 1724 or later. (fn. 88) In 1765–6 it was the residence of Admiral Richard Tyrrell, (fn. 88) and earlier occupants included the fourth Baron Berkeley of Stratton in the period c. 1732, 1736–7, (fn. 141) Edward Fowler, Bishop of Gloucester, in 1707–10, and Admiral the Marquess of Carmarthen (later second Duke of Leeds) in 1704–7. (fn. 88) In 1698-c. 1704 the occupant was a Mr. Chauvil or Chauvin — possibly related to the Mrs. Chauvin who in 1707 kept a ladies' boarding school of good standing at Chelsea. (fn. 142) In 1695–7 the resident was Sir Edward Ward, Chief Baron of the Exchequer. (fn. 88) In 1693–4 it was Henry Webb, esquire, (fn. 143) and before that a Mr. or Mrs. Webb were assessed here back to 1673. (fn. 144) In c. 1662–71 the occupant (fn. 145) can be identified with the Thomas Maundy who a little earlier had had a range of brick houses built further west and joined in the sale of property in that area in 1664 to William Middleton's great-grandfather, Henry (see page 165).
After the Middletons' disposal of the house in 1776 the ratepayers for many years were women. Possibly it was occupied as a school from that date, and probably was so from 1793. In that year Sarah Cannon, who certainly conducted a ladies' boarding school here in the early nineteenth century, entered into occupation until the year 1826. (fn. 146)
In 1807 the representatives of Thomas Middleton's heirs sold the large house and the whole area to Samuel Batchellor of Hamswell House, Gloucestershire, gentleman. (fn. 147) East of the house smaller dwellings had stood on the property since the late seventeenth century. (fn. 88) Salway's view of 1811 (fn. 89) shows that by then, as well as the low 'school-house' added to the side of the old residence, some shops had been built out in front of two (united) houses on what is now the Fulham Road east of Redcliffe Road. Eastward again, next to Holmes Place, stood the gable-ended precursor of the present King's Arms, a public house under that name since at least 1760. (fn. 148) Northward lay a nursery garden previously of Daniel Grimwood and then of Henry Shailer. (fn. 149) By 1835 building and subdivision had placed more shops on the front curtilage of the former two houses, (fn. 150) but no major rebuilding had been accomplished when the Batchellors sold the whole area in March 1859. (fn. 151)
The purchaser, however, was the younger George Godwin, architect, editor of The Builder, resident in Alexander Square, and surveyor to Robert Gunter. The latter's estate had recently been developed to the east and north of the property here discussed and on Godwin's ground development proceeded without delay, in buildings which still stand on the site. It had, indeed, already started at the time of the sale to him, with the making of foundations at the south-east end of the plot. (fn. 151) Early in 1860 Godwin obtained sanction from the Metropolitan Board of Works for the road he had laid out northwards from Fulham Road through the centre of his ground and was allowed to name it Redcliffe Road. (fn. 152) This was doubtless in reference to the church of St. Mary Redcliffe at Bristol, which he had restored, and was a name thereafter taken up for wide use hereabouts. At its northern end the road was blocked until Cathcart Road was made here a few years later.
The first buildings to be completed were on a plot at the southern end of the east side of the new road, where Godwin granted ninety-nine-year building leases in May and November 1861 to Edwin Curtis, senior, of Bayswater, builder, who erected the two houses at Nos. 1a and 2a Redcliffe Road, houses over shops at Nos. 192200 (even) Fulham Road and the King's Arms public house at No. 190 Fulham Road: (fn. 153) all these survive (Plate 73d). (The King's Arms perhaps had its present ground-floor front added in 1890, when work was done under one of the most prolific of public-house architects, H. I. Newton, to a tendered price of £2,030. (fn. 154))
Despite Godwin's connexion with these buildings they show no architectural ambition or individuality. Godwin soon disposed of the rest of his property on both sides of the intended road. Nevertheless, what was then built on that property — houses lining Redcliffe Road and five others over commercial premises extending westward along the Fulham Road—show such architectural similarities to houses of the 1860's nearby, where Godwin's authorship as architect can be postulated, that his hand must be detected here. The absence of his stylistic fingerprints from the buildings mentioned above that were directly leased by him is an unexplained curiosity.
In February 1860 Godwin sold the land on the west side of the intended road and the large old house, which since 1832 or earlier had been an asylum for destitute females and known as the Manor House, (fn. 155) to the Reverend G. F. Ballard, a Father of the Oratory. (fn. 156) Ballard wished to transfer to the house St. Philip's Orphanage for boys, which he had established late in 1857 in Chelsea. (fn. 157) Just as the Oratorians' architect, J. J. Scoles, and Godwin had both been concerned in the Oratorians' purchase of their site at Brompton in 1853, so Scoles was the intermediary in Father Ballard's purchase here and was a party to the sale by Godwin. The remainder of the east side of the intended street Godwin sold in May 1861 to S. R. Lewin, (fn. 158) who was partner with others of his family in Lewin and Company, solicitors, of Southampton Street.
It is likely that Lewins were involved in the whole development, presumably as a source, direct or indirect, of finance. One of their clerks witnessed Godwin's leases to Curtis. They promptly became Father Ballard's mortgagees (in the person of S. R. Lewin's father, Robert) on the west side of the road—ultimately for £4,200 or more: (fn. 159) it is perhaps significant that in 1851 S. R. Lewin had acted as solicitor for a more famous Oratorian, Newman, in the Achilli trial. (fn. 160) And the builders who in turn bought the sites on which the Redcliffe Road houses were built in 1861–6 were probably already their clients.
These were William Corbett and Alexander McClymont, both in 1861–2 living at addresses in Winchester Street, Pimlico, the former as an accountant, the latter as a builder and estate agent. (fn. 161) The link thus made between Godwin as architect and surveyor, Corbett and McClymont as builders and Lewin and Company as their lawyers was to be important in the creation of the south-west part of Kensington in the years 1861–78.
In the course of 1861–3 McClymont bought the sites of Nos. 1–12 Redcliffe Road and Corbett those of Nos. 13–32 on the east side from S. R. Lewin, and McClymont the sites of Nos. 34–57 on the west side from Father Ballard and Robert Lewin. (fn. 162) Each then cross-leased sites to the other, (fn. 163) and the resultant terraces of houses, newly built in these years, are virtually uniform (Plate 87a). One differentiation, however, is that on the east side the houses have paired porches and on the west side splay-sided bay windows at basement and ground level. The details resemble those on houses being built in 1862–3 by other builders at Nos. 9–14 Harley Gardens on Robert Gunter's estate, where Godwin was surveyor (Plate 84c). Elongated and heterodox console-brackets are conspicuous features of the stucco dressings which dominate the grey-brick fronts, and are very characteristic of Godwin hereabouts.
On the west side of Redcliffe Road Father Ballard retained the area south of No. 57 for his St. Philip's Orphanage, conducted independently but with the consent of the Oratorian Congregation, until 1865. (fn. 155) In 1861 it housed seventy-two boys. (fn. 164) For its last two years at least it was run as an 'Industrial School' (fn. 165) and in 1863 a school wing was added to the front of the Orphanage, probably by James Matthews, builder. (fn. 166) Ballard left the Oratorian Congregation in 1864–5 (fn. 167) and in 1865 moved the Orphanage to Kingsbury. (fn. 168) In 1865–6 he and Robert Lewin sold the site, already being redeveloped as the surviving Nos. 58–66 (consec.) Redcliffe Road and Nos. 202–210 (even) Fulham Road, to Corbett or McClymont, who again cross-leased plots in their accustomed way. (fn. 169) The five houses over a bank and shops in Fulham Road were at first named Spencer Terrace, presumably after Spencer Robert Lewin. (fn. 170) Four of them, Nos. 204–210, are virtually identical in elevational treatment with the houses over shops built in 1865–6 at Nos. 270–296 Fulham Road by Corbett and McClymont on an estate (R. J. Pettiward's) which seems to have been under Godwin's architectural influence.
Most of the sites in Redcliffe Road were soon conveyed back by Corbett and McClymont, doubtless by way of mortgage, and subject to their leases to one another, to G. F. Ballard or E. H. Ballard (also a sometime Oratorian Father) or to a Lewin (Henry, S. R., or T. E.). (fn. 171)
Corbett's later testimony, speaking of Nos. 1–14 Redcliffe Road, was that Corbett and McClymont were here (as was not invariably the case with their undertakings) the actual builders. (fn. 172)
Corbett was himself the first occupant of No. 14 Redcliffe Road from 1863 to 1869, latterly under the designation of builder. (fn. 173) McClymont occupied No. 22 in 1865–6 and then the large house at the northernmost end of the same east side, called Cathcart House, from 1867 to 1878. (fn. 155) (This last house was denuded of its trimmings in 1947–8 after war-damage. (fn. 174) For its site, which had a separate history from that of the rest of the road, see page 212.)
The leasehold and freehold properties owned by Corbett and McClymont in the road were held by them individually, and probably in part for that reason their ownerships survived the bankruptcy that overtook them in 1878. In the following year Corbett retained enough interest in the value of property there to wish to sell to sitting tenants rather than investors and to have houses painted uniformly. (fn. 175)
Redcliffe Road had originally been quite rapidly occupied, virtually all its houses being taken by 1866 (or, at the south-west end, 1868). (fn. 155) Its social composition was, however, very mixed, and in 1871 no fewer than twentyone of the houses were in multi-occupation, six being in the hands of lodging-house keepers. (fn. 176) In 1881–93 a resident at No. 20 was Alan Cole, a senior officer of the Science and Art Department and son of Sir Henry Cole, who commented in 1881 on the 'Quaker like decoration' of his son's house. (fn. 177) Herbert Gribble, architect of the Oratory, lived at No. 64 from at least 1883, dying there in 1894. (fn. 178) In 1892, however, the Post Office Directory had begun to notice the 'apartments' in the road and by 1895 listed nine of these. (fn. 133) In the later 1920's and 1930's the west side in particular was largely devoted to 'apartments' and to houses divided as 'studios'. The artist Edward Bawden was one of the occupants of Holbein Studios at No. 52 in 1929–33 and Eric Ravilious of another there in 1930–1. (fn. 133)
Comparatively little radical change has been made in the outward aspect of the houses, although the numerous alterations made incident to repair and conversion show how little their architecture has been admired. Post-war rebuildings include Nos. 33 and 34 (with No. 1 Cathcart Road, Richard Pollock, architect) and No. 37 (Kenneth R. Smith, architect)—both in 1951–2, after war-damage. (fn. 179) (For Redcliffe Road see also pages 239–40.)
Behind the east side of Redcliffe Road a strip of land extending along all its length and adjacent on the east to the back of the properties in Gilston Road was separately granted in 1863 by S. R. Lewin to Corbett (the southern two thirds) and McClymont (the northern third): McClymont and Corbett were respectively second parties to the conveyances. Right of access south of No. 1 Redcliffe Road was also granted. (fn. 180) In 1883 the long line of Bolton Studios was begun here. The district surveyor named the 'builder' (here evidently signifying the sponsor of the enterprise) as C. Bacon of Bognor. This was doubtless the sculptor Charles Bacon, who in 1884–6 had an address at the adjacent No. 5 (now 17) Gilston Road, whence access was also provided to the studios by what is now the main (but inconspicuous) entrance at No. 17a Gilston Road. Bacon's tenure was by virtue of a lease granted him in 1884 by a Henry Pritty, gentleman, of No. 7 Redcliffe Road. After a pause, work was recommenced in 1887, when the 'builder' was named as C. Irvine Bacon, who appears at the same address, No. 17 Gilston Road and in Bolton Studios in the late 1880's. (fn. 181) These strangely hidden-away studios came into use in the years 1885–90. An early occupant, in 1889–91 at No. 14, was Alfred Sassoon, sculptor, probably the father of Siegfried. (fn. 133)
Seymour Walk and Nos. 212–226 (even) Fulham Road
The long cul-de-sac of Seymour Walk is one of the few late-Georgian survivals on the north side of the Fulham Road in Kensington, and the earliest part of it dates from the last years of the eighteenth century. Before then its site was an enclosure of walled ground extending northward for some three acres, with a substantial house upon it near the Fulham Road. This house probably existed so early as c. 1664, in the tenure of a Doctor John Whitaker until c. 1666–70, when he moved to another house nearby. In the years c. 1670–73 the house was rated to 'Sir John Griffin' and in 1674 was in the occupation of Sir John Rolles, Knight of the Bath. By 1681, to 1685, the occupant was John Lister, esquire, and in 1686–9 John Creed, esquire. (fn. 182)
Some time before 1682 this property seems to have been purchased from the Sir James Smith who lived on the other side of the road in Chelsea by a grocer in Covent Garden, Charles Morgan, who was also acquiring land to the north about the same time. He died in that year and in 1691 the future Seymour Walk property was in the hands of his two brothers, John and Thomas Morgan, later described as of Marlborough in Wiltshire. In 1698 a lease was held by Peter Lavigne, grocer or perfumier, who had been servant to Charles Morgan, inherited his shop in Covent Garden and been servant also to one of the surviving Morgan brothers. He proceeded to treat with them for the purchase of this property on behalf of a sub-tenant, Gibbons Bagnall, who was using it for 'planting of Greens', and of their more extensive property to the north on his own behalf. He bought the whole in 1699 for £1600 and found this Little Chelsea part of it sufficiently attractive to ignore the arrangement to resell the house and three acres for £400 to Bagnall. Lavigne and Bagnall were men of substance enough to be able to make their meeting-places 'at Tunbridge Wells upon ye Walkes' and for Bagnall subsequently to bring a Chancery suit against Lavigne. The latter was evidently successful as he continued to occupy the house from 1700 to 1711. (fn. 183) From 1712 it was, as a 'mansion house', in the occupation of a Peter Latouche, gentleman. In 1730 James Latouche bought the freehold for £735 from William Blackmore of Covent Garden, gentleman, and his wife Elizabeth, Blackmore's tenure in succession to Lavigne perhaps having a similar origin to Sir Richard Blackmore's at Coleherne House (see page 200). The family of Latouche (or de Latouche) lived here until 1789. (fn. 184) Then in January 1790 they sold this small estate to a local man, Francis Mayoss, (fn. 185) and it was he, variously described as brickmaker, builder and gentleman, who began to develop the southern end of this land in building which partly survives today.
Mayoss promptly made a mortgage of all the property to a Hugh Jones of St. Pancras, gentleman. (It was subsequently transferred to a well-known doctor, Samuel Foart Simmons.) (fn. 186) By November 1790 Mayoss had built a small two-storeyed house or shop at what is now No. 212 Fulham Road. This he leased to a glazier, David Williams of Chelsea. (fn. 187) (The present No. 212 Fulham Road is a rebuilding of 1889–90. (fn. 188)) By 1792 Mayoss had put up a building also at what is now No. 214 Fulham Road on the opposite corner of the off-centre streetopening northward and had named the latter Seymour Place. (fn. 189) By 1794, if not before, the building at No. 214 was a public house called the Somerset Arms, (fn. 190) a name obviously suggested by the Somerset dukedom of the noble family of Seymour. Salway's view of 1811 (Plate 72) shows a rather striking building with three large roundheaded windows closely grouped on the first floor, and amply glazed 'shop windows' on the ground floor. (fn. 89) The Somerset Arms (now The Somerset) was rebuilt in a plainish manner in 1881 by W. E. Williams, architect, and Robert Mair, builder—both specialists in public houses. (fn. 191)
By 1793 six more small houses or shops had been built westward (in modern terms Nos. 216–226 even Fulham Road), of which one probably survives vestigially at No. 226 and the rest were rebuilt in 1962 (G. D. Fairfoot, architect). Salway shows Nos. 216–220 with different elevations (of the simplest kind) from those of Nos. 222– 226, and perhaps intended from the beginning to have shop fronts. For the first few years these houses in Fulham Road were known as Mayoss's Buildings or Mayoss's Rents, although Mayoss had sold-off the sites of Nos. 224 and 226 in 1792. This had been to John Terry of Wimbledon, described as a gentleman but in fact a bricklayer, who by 1797 had died bankrupt: his trustee and co-partner in the purchase was a 'surveyor', James Johnson or Johnstone of St. Marylebone. (fn. 192) Another building tradesman was Philip Seymour, also a bricklayer, who was the first occupant of No. 222 in 1794. (fn. 193)
There is no evidence that this Seymour played such an important part in the development as to have given Seymour Walk its name. A possible alternative derivation is from the William Seymour, gentleman, of Margaret Street, St. Marylebone, who witnessed the deed of sale of Mayoss's dwelling-house in 1795 and was therefore perhaps a source of money. (fn. 194)
In the parish ratebooks the houses in Fulham Road are called Seymour Row from 1826 to 1866. Seymour Walk is called Seymour Place from 1819 to 1834, when all the west side and the east side northward to No. 34 was renamed Somerset Place and the east side northward of No. 34, where the houses were slightly higher rated, Seymour Terrace. (fn. 9) All was officially renamed Seymour Place in 1866 and Seymour Walk in 1938.
At the same time as his development in Fulham Road Mayoss built dwelling houses of greater consequence behind that frontage: first (in modern terms) No. 1 Seymour Walk, which he himself occupied in 1793, and No. 3 attached to it, whither he removed in the following year; and then a house on the opposite side of Seymour Walk at the site of No. 4, which was first occupied in about 1803. (fn. 195) In c. 1794–7 the occupant of No. 1 was Hugh Lloyd and his wife Mary, née Moser, the Royal Academician and flower painter. (fn. 196) From 1801 to 1805 the ratepayers at No. 3 were successively the Honourable Arabella and the Honourable Catherine Fermor. (fn. 9) Both Nos. 1 and 3 survive, although altered—the former probably most materially in 1864–6. (fn. 9) No. 3 has a good wrought-iron gate of eighteenth-century date on its north side, hung between modern piers (fig. 53).
Further from Fulham Road Mayoss built two houses at the sites of the later Nos. 7 and 9 in about 1805, selling them a little later to Thomas Whitford, a plasterer, of Titchfield Street. (fn. 197) In the meantime Mayoss and his mortgagees, among whom was the adjacent landowner, James Gunter of Berkeley Square, had been selling off the properties Mayoss had developed, and by 1807, when he was described as of North End, Fulham, had disposed of all south of the present Nos. 11 and 14. (fn. 198) More importantly, in 1806 he and Gunter also sold all the land northward. (fn. 199) This was undeveloped except for two houses on the approximate sites of Nos. 16–18a, but the purchaser was a man of property, Thomas Chandless of York Place, Portman Square, and the construction of a street of houses northward was continued, to end in a cul-de-sac, by him. The 'jink' in the layout, to give access to the Fulham Road eastward of the main line of the street, had already been established by Mayoss.
Between 1807 and 1811 Chandless granted leases, generally for some ninety-nine years, to a number of building tradesmen. Apart from Mayoss himself at one site, (fn. 200) lessees were William Allen and William Brace of Chelsea, bricklayers, (fn. 201) John Beedle of Sloane Street, Chelsea, painter, (fn. 202) John James of Kensington, painter and glazier, (fn. 203) Thomas Johnson of St. Marylebone, builder, (fn. 204) Thomas Nutt of Buckingham Place, Fitzroy Square, stonemason, (fn. 205) John Souter, bricklayer, and Samuel Symons of Chelsea, carpenter. (fn. 206) An assignee of Mayoss's site in 1809 was John Vale of Shepherd's Market, builder. Nutt, who built at least nine houses, was bankrupt by 1811. (fn. 207) It seems clear that by these leases the houses were carried north as Nos. 22–58 (even) on the east side to the full extent of the property and as Nos. 11–27 (odd) (only) on the west. (fn. 208) The slight setting back of the building line to accommodate areas in front of the basement windows and the introduction of first-floor iron balconies, which characterize the houses northward of Nos. 25 and 34 do not betoken any break in the chronology of development (Plate 74).
A comment by Thomas Faulkner in 1810 on a 'new street in building' at Little Chelsea, which he expected would be carried north to Earl's Court, has already been noticed (see page 166). If he meant Seymour Walk, and not the incipient Drayton Gardens, he was overlooking the obstacles presented by the various freehold ownerships subsisting in 1810 northward of Seymour Walk, which has remained emphatically a cul-de-sac.
In 1824 the property passed to Chandless's son, Henry Gore Chandless, (fn. 209) a young man with experience of property dealings in northern Kensington. (fn. 210) In c. 1829– 30 two minor in-fillings were made with small houses at Nos. 14 and 20. (fn. 9)
South of Chandless's property the present No. 5 was built in its spacious curtilage about the same time for first occupation in 1829. (fn. 9)
Seymour Walk, particularly in its more northern part, was very slow to attract residents and cannot have been accounted a success in its early days. In 1827 almost all of the houses north of No. 13 and eight of those north of No. 36 seem to have been empty. Only in the 1830's did it gradually fill up with ratepaying occupants. (fn. 9)
In 1843 the owner of the house on the site of No. 4 sold it to its occupant, William Long, a builder (who a few years earlier had erected Nos. 20–30 even Clareville Grove, Kensington (fn. 211)). It was therefore probably Long who built the present Nos. 10 and 12 at the northern end of the garden of No. 4 in c. 1845. (fn. 212) At the same time a house was built at No. 2 which is also probably that surviving. (fn. 9) A wrought-iron gate of the eighteenth century now gives admission to the front garden (fig. 53). Long built two houses at Nos. 6 and 8 in 1855. (fn. 213)
In 1869–70 Chandless replaced the two houses at Nos. 16 and 18 by four new ones (Nos. 16, 16a, 18, 18a), (fn. 9) but it was 1889–90 before he extended the western range northward with ten new houses, Nos. 29–47 (odd) (Plate 74b). The builder was Thomas William Haylock of Ebury Street, who was associated at Nos. 29 and 31 with William Henry Newson of Pimlico Road, timber merchant. Two of Haylock's mortgagees (each for two houses) were a Charles Saunders, esquire, of Shepherd's Bush (conceivably the surveyor of that name who had an office in Gloucester Road) and the Fourth Grosvenor Mutual Benefit Building Society. (fn. 214) Unlike the earlier houses they are of only two main storeys but are raised above higher-rising basements and set back behind wider areas. Nos. 29–35 (odd) have only a little Victorian detailing but Nos. 37–47 have more to show of their period, particularly in their shaped gables. The architect is not known.
In 1904 the builders William Willett erected No. 3a as 'St. Dunstan's Studio' on a vacant site, to designs by the architect C. H. B. Quennell. The owners and first occupants were the metal-workers Omar Ramsden and Alwyn Carr: (fn. 215) the former made the cross and candlesticks for the altar of St. Mary, The Boltons.
At the northern end of the west side Nos. 49–53 (odd) were built in 1964–5 (architects, Cotton, Ballard and Blow). (fn. 216)
The social character of Seymour Walk was very mixed. An 'academy' or school was established at one of the bigger houses, No. 1, from 1821 until c. 1939, and in the 1820's and 1830's the smaller houses had a sprinkling of 'poor', 'very poor' and 'run' noted against them in the parish books by the rate collectors. Douglas Jerrold lived at No. 46 in 1832–4. (fn. 155) The Reverend Elias Huelin (whose son was latterly headmaster of the Western Grammar School in North Terrace) occupied No. 24 in 1838–68: he owned adjacent houses also, and when he died aged eighty-four in 1870, murdered by an employee at a house he owned in Chelsea, was described as a 'French protestant clergyman, assistant chaplain at the Brompton Cemetery . . ., the owner of considerable house property'. (fn. 217)
In 1848 there was a jeweller at No. 36, a ladies' school at No. 26, and a builder at No. 4 (which was later occupied for many years by chimney-sweeps). There was also an 'architect' (George Howard) at No. 27 in 1846– 58. Other architects were J. W. Maye at No. 40 in 1852– 6, John Butler at No. 38 in 1858–69 (before moving to Redcliffe Gardens) and W. H. Lamborn at No. 15 in 1870–84. In 1913–14 there were builders or building tradesmen at Nos. 8, 21, 49 and 56, artists at Nos. 3a, 5 and 9, and a lady doctor at No. 2. (fn. 155)
Nos. 228–234 (even) Fulham Road
Four houses and shops comprising the present Nos. 228–232 Fulham Road and a demolished building numbered 234 were built in 1865–6. The application to the Metropolitan Board of Works was made by A. B. Smith, a builder of hot-houses who had premises east of Thistle Grove. (fn. 218) Since about 1833 the site, which extended backward for some 390 feet to comprise about an acre, had been occupied successively by William Foy and his son Henry Francis Foy, the owners of a school at No. 1 Seymour Walk, which in its rear premises abutted on this plot. Smith's application was on behalf of H. F. Foy, who in 1866 acquired the freehold. (fn. 219) Latterly there had been a house on the Fulham Road frontage, converted from a coach-house and stables built here in about 1810 by the occupant of No. 266 Fulham Road, who held the acre plot from 1808 to 1824. In 1805 and 1806 it had been held successively by the ladies who ran a girls' school at No. 264 Fulham Road. It is first recognizable in the ratebooks, as walled-in garden ground, in 1795, when it was owned by a Robert Robinson. (fn. 220)
At the northern end of the site a 'warehouse' was built in 1880 to the design of Owen Lewis, architect, and first occupied by the Salutaris Water Company. (fn. 221) British Telecommunication's Chelsea Telephone Service Centre was built, as the present No. 234 Fulham Road, at the rear of Nos. 228–232, in 1970–5 (architects, C. Frank Timothy Associates) and opened in 1976. (fn. 222)
Nos. 236a-d Fulham Road and Brompton Cottages at No. 1c Hollywood Road
In 1971–2 dwellings over shops were built at the east corner of Fulham Road and Hollywood Road (architects, Ian Fraser and Associates, renamed Turner Lansdown Holt and Partners) and numbered as above. Brompton Cottages, at first-floor level, are approached by steps from Hollywood Road. The ground floor was converted for use as a branch of Barclays Bank in 1976–7 (architects, Paton Orr and Partner). (fn. 223)
Previously, the site had been occupied by three houses over shops, numbered 236, 238 and 238a Fulham Road. They were built in 1869 under ninety-nine-year leases granted by James Gunter to William Corbett or Alexander McClymont which ran from Christmas 1863, (fn. 224) like the leases of the adjacent houses in the newly built Hollywood Road laid out by Corbett and McClymont on the line of Hollywood Grove. They marked the only place where James or Robert Gunter's building campaigns in Kensington reached the Fulham Road.
Prior to 1725 a piece of property of some three and a half acres, extending northward from this narrow Fulham Road frontage to a boundary between the present Cathcart and Tregunter Roads, was owned, like a larger area further east, by Sir Michael Warton and ultimately was sold by Sir James Pennyman to the builder Henry Holland in 1781 (see page 163). At that time the property was occupied by Henry de Latouche, the owner of the Seymour Walk area. (fn. 15) Like the other parts of the former Warton property, it was sold by Holland's sons in 1786, here with a house on the site. The purchaser was William Virtue of Chelsea, coal merchant. (fn. 18) For a year or two it was held under Virtue by a gardener prominent hereabouts, James Shailer, and then from 1790 by a Chelsea gardener, William Knapp, under a thirty-one-year lease from Virtue (by then designated gentleman). (fn. 225) This required Knapp to build a house on the land, which he did, but the property, unlike the former Latouche property to the east, was not developed as a building site. From about 1797 Knapp was succeeded by another gardener, John Gre(a)sley, and he by another, William Warner, in about 1807–8. Occupiers called Lyons succeeded him, c. 1809–18, and then a long occupation followed by another prominent market-gardening concern under members of the Poupart family, from about 1820 into the 1860's. (fn. 9)
Meanwhile the freehold had been sold in 1806 by Virtue to Philip Gilbert of Cockspur Street, goldsmith, (fn. 226) by whose family it was retained until 1864.
It was probably in c. 1820 that the southern part of the area was appropriated for a detached house standing back from the Fulham Road in its garden, and called Hollywood Lodge or House. (fn. 227) This was seemingly in private occupation until 1852, when it was taken on lease by the recently founded Free Cancer Hospital (now the Royal Marsden Hospital), and opened in November for in-patients. It needed keen search in various towns before the committee of the Cancer Hospital could 'ferret out' the previous tenant, who had been 'sold up' owing back-rent, but in other respects the house was satisfactory, 'solid and square built', with seventeen rooms, of which all except the topmost had gas laid on. The proximity to the Brompton Hospital for consumption was thought advantageous. Some fifteen or sixteen patients were accommodated here. The committee hoped to extend the hospital for sixty patients, to plans made by one of its members, the architect David Mocatta, and was only deterred by doubts about the title of the landlord, the Reverend Edward Gilbert, who sought his health away from his Northamptonshire parish at various towns in France. Thence he wrote in 1856 that his lawyer had 'left England for America under very unpleasant circumstances' and with one moiety of Mr. Gilbert's title technically in question. By 1857 the committee had decided to buy instead a freehold site in Chelsea opposite the Brompton Hospital and in 1862 a new hospital was opened there to replace Hollywood Lodge. (fn. 228) In 1866–8 the latter was the 'Redcliffe Estate Office' in the occupation of the builders Corbett and McClymont. (fn. 155)
This was a consequence of the sale of the freehold of Hollywood Lodge and its site and of the Pouparts' land to the north in 1864 by the representatives of the Gilbert family to James Gunter of Earl's Court, whereby the area on the the east side of Hollywood Grove was brought into the building schemes going forward on the latter's property and that of his brother Robert. (A small 'peninsula' on the north-east side of the land discussed here, now the eastern end of Cathcart Road, was excluded from this sale, see page 212). (fn. 229) As elsewhere on the Gunters' property it was Corbett and McClymont who laid out the road (Hollywood Road) in 1864 (fn. 230) and took many of the building leases from 1865 onwards. By 1869 the road was completed (at its south-eastern end by other builders) and Corbett and McClymont replaced the former Hollywood Lodge by the former Nos. 236, 238 and 238A Fulham Road.
Nos. 240–248 (even) Fulham Road and the west side of Hollywood Road south of Fawcett Street
Nos. 240–244 (even) Fulham Road and the adjacent Nos. 246 and 248 are groups of three and two plain houses over shops built in c. 1790–1 and c. 1801–2 respectively (Plate 75e). The whole rectangle bounded on the west by the Servite school, on the north by the block of flats at the corner of Fawcett Street and Hollywood Road and on the east by Hollywood Road has, however, a longer history of occupation, although none of it is hinted at by the appearance of the present buildings northward of the old houses in Fulham Road. These are mainly the latenineteenth- and twentieth-century structures put up for the purposes successively of a riding school and livery stables established in 1883 and a depot of United Dairies (now Unigate) which replaced them in the 1920's.
It was evidently in the 1660's that a sizeable brick house was built here, standing well back from the Fulham Road, by the Henry Middleton who in 1664 bought the adjacent house westward. (fn. 31) The house may be that occupied by a Katherine Henry in c. 1662–4. (fn. 231) It is said, however, to have been built where a house occupied by Robert Hobson, a physician (who died in 1659), had formerly stood. (fn. 31) This was probably the house where Hobson was living, in the Kensington part of Little Chelsea, in 1655. (fn. 232) He was, like his brother William Hobson, a freeholder in this neighbourhood in succession to their father Lancelot, who probably had not acquired the land before the 1630's (see page 165). The age of Robert Hobson's house is not known: conceivably it was one of the two houses that already stood on the property in 1639 in the occupation of Charles Thynne and Edward Somner and was of an age to invite rebuilding by Middleton.
Subsequently occupants of Middleton's house (fn. 233) included Sir Robert Williams (?second baronet, of Penrhyn, Carnarvonshire, died 1680), (fn. 31) Captain Wild (1681–2), and Colonel (?John, later Lieutenant-General) Titcomb (1683–4). (fn. 234) In 1685–93 the ratepayer was Sir John Ernle, knight, who was James II's Chancellor of the Exchequer during the early years of his occupation of the house. He was succeeded by John Lefevre (1694–1707), and Captain Richard Newton, perhaps of the East India Company (1707–35). (fn. 234)
In 1744 the house was sold by Newton's executors to Michael Duffield of St. George the Martyr, Holborn, (fn. 31) who thereafter used it for one of the two private lunatic asylums he maintained in Little Chelsea on each side of the Fulham Road. Said to have been a Yorkshireman and to have recruited many of his staff from Leeds, Duffield and (from 1761) his son or grandson continued here until c. 1768. (For a few weeks in 1754 he accommodated Alexander Cruden, compiler of the Biblical concordance, in one of his houses, which resulted in some publicity unfavourable to Duffield.) (fn. 235)
In about 1768 the younger Duffield contracted to sell all this site to Thomas Main, gentleman, who lived at the house later numbered 260 Fulham Road. (fn. 236) It was 1779, after Main's death, before this is known to have resulted in a sale, by Duffield to Main's daughter, (fn. 237) but in November 1768 Main had sufficient lien on the property to agree to make a sixty-one-year lease of it to a building tradesman, Joseph Perkins, a painter who was also of St. George the Martyr, Holborn — a lease that was evidently executed. (fn. 238) It may be, therefore, that an advertisement Main had published in February 1768 refers to this site although it speaks of his tenure as freehold. (fn. 239) The land on offer was certainly in approximately this part of the Fulham Road. Main described it as 'A Freehold Piece of Ground, whereon is proposed to be built a certain Number of Houses, at a Village called Little Chelsea, in the Parish of Kensington, in the Road leading to Fulham, two miles from Hyde Park Corner, where the road is new making, and will be watered and lighted, being a very pleasant Situation, and in a good Neighbourhood'. If this was the site discussed here it is noteworthy that Main does not mention any big old house still standing on it. Instead he catalogues a mass of building material lying on the site. That this was not the debris of the old house is presumably shown by his description of it as 'almost new'. It consisted of 'good grey Stock Brick Work and plain Tiling, Lead Gutters, Pipes, Hips to Roofing, Lead Flats, Cisterns and Sinks; good Fir Roofing; Girders and Joysts; Dove, Sienna and white and veined marble Chimney Pieces, and slabs, and carved Ornaments; Purbeck and Portland Paving, Stone Coping, Necks, Balls, Plinth and Window Stools; clean Deal and second best dowled Floors; Dado Base and Imposts and oval flat Pannel, and square Work Wainscotting; two Inch Deal Ovola six pannelled, and other Doors and Door Cases, with very good Town-made Locks, Keys and Bolts, very good Window Frames, Sashes and Crown Glass.' All this was 'near sufficient to compleat the intended Buildings' according to 'a Plan' kept by a lawyer in Staple Inn. The nature of the proposed development is indicated by his hint to prospective lessees: 'Middle sized Houses are much wanted on the Spot'.
Despite Main's lease to Perkins it is doubtful whether much new building was done here. Perhaps two houses, sometimes occupied as three, were built on the east side in about 1771, backing (not fronting) on what is now Hollywood Road. (fn. 240) Probably, however, the big house remained, the chief use of the site from 1770 being not for 'middle sized' housing but for the accommodation of a private military academy mainly in one large building.
The owner was Lewis Lochée, a Brabanter and native of Brussels, and the author of books on military science and education published between 1773 and 1780, wherein he describes himself as 'Master of the Military Academy at Little Chelsea'. (fn. 241) By 1776 he had had a building added on the east or 'Hollywood Road' side of the main house — probably a riding house. In that year he took a fourteenyear sub-lease of the site at £85 per annum. (fn. 242) Two years later he bought the assignment of Perkins's long lease, (fn. 243) and in 1781, the year after his naturalization as a British subject, (fn. 244) the freehold from Main's heirs. (fn. 245) Lochée's acquaintance extended to James Boswell, who brought General Paoli to see the academy in 1778. (fn. 246) His writings were respectfully noted in the Gentleman's Magazine, (fn. 247) which in 1780 said that 'for the encouragement of his institution, an annual pension for life has been settled upon him by his Majesty's order'. (fn. 248)
In 1780–1 Lochée could afford to buy neighbouring 'investment' property to the west and north. Additionally he acquired important properties on the south side of the Fulham Road in Chelsea, including Stanley House. Perhaps because of his status as an alien or newly naturalized subject an intermediary and trustee for him was John Payne, Chief Accountant at the Bank of England, publisher, and friend of Johnson. (fn. 249)
According to Thomas Faulkner in the 1829 edition of his history of Chelsea the grounds of the academy 'were laid out as a regular fortification and were open to view'. (fn. 250) In 1784 Blanchard and Sheldon made use of the grounds for a balloon ascent watched by 'persons of the first fashion' and many others, to the detriment of the surrounding fields, where 'a general devastation took place in the gardens, the produce being either trampled down or torn up. The turnip-grounds were totally despoiled by the multitude.' (fn. 251) An engraved illustration of the ascent gives incidentally one of the two known views of the academy (Plate 75 a, d). The other, a watercolour in Kensington Public Library, is on paper watermarked 1831, when the academy had long ceased to exist, but is endorsed with an indecipherable reference to the year 1782, and if not a fanciful reconstruction might derive from an original of that year. (fn. 252) In neither view is the building easy to date, but in each a late-seventeenth-century origin looks possible. They agree in showing a plainish three-storeyed building nine bays wide, with a central entrance and above it a round-headed, statue-filled niche replacing the central first-floor window. The 1784 view shows the building as a double-pile, with the front hipped roof rising above the parapet. This roof is not, however, visible in the '1782' view. That, for what it is worth, shows a straight unelaborated finish to the façade, whereas the 1784 view shows a pediment over the central three bays. This pediment could, indeed, be of the 1780's, and put up at the same time as the riding house was rebuilt and the rateable value raised just at that period, about 1784. (fn. 9) (fn. n5)
In 1789–90 Lochée involved himself in the nationalist revolt in his native Brabant against the Austrian government, and raised a 'Belgic Legion' to fight under his command, with some British names among its officers. He was active also in the internecine enmities of the insurrectionists, but died in 1791 in unknown circumstances at Lille, whither many Belgians of his way of thinking had withdrawn after the suppression of the rising. His death, as one who had 'formerly kept the Royal Military Academy at (Little) Chelsea', was noted in English periodicals. (fn. 254) (fn. n6)
The academy had probably come to an end about 1788 or 1789. From the latter year, when Mrs. Lochée was the ratepayer, until c. 1800 the property is difficult to identify in rate-or tax-books, although it is mentioned as the 'late military academy' in 1795. (fn. 9) In the period 1796–99 a Mrs. Hatfield or a Mrs. La Croix may have been ratepayers, (fn. 258) possibly on behalf of the 'committee of the infant asylum' that was said to occupy the former academy in 1800. (fn. 259)
Perhaps to supply the place of the academy as a source of income, in c. 1790–1 the Lochées had three houses built for occupation by tradesmen at the south-east corner of the site, as the surviving Nos. 240–244 (even) Fulham Road (Plate 75e). Early occupants were the plumber, Thomas Ivey, at No. 240 (1802–12), a baker at No. 242 (1793–1801) and a chemist at No. 244 (1810–11). (fn. 260) At about the same time three other houses to the north, backing on a passageway called Verney Row that became the southern end of Hollywood Road, had probably been built (unless they were rebuildings of houses built c. 1771). (fn. 9) In 1797 and 1798, however, Lewis Lochée's widow and son, while retaining most of the investment property nearby, which remained in the family until 1836, sold off the military academy and all the site discussed here, in three parts. One was Nos. 240–244 Fulham Road (fig. 54), (fn. 261) and another (C on fig. 54) was the most important of the house-properties backing onto Verney Row. This house (a on fig. 54) was later called Grove House or No. 1 Hollywood Grove (see below). (fn. 262)
The third and largest part (A on fig. 54) was the site of the former military academy itself with its frontage to Fulham Road and also the other two properties in Verney Row. This (with other ground northward, B on fig. 54) was sold to J. S. Wells, a grocer in the City, and G. H. Kirton, gentleman, of Whitechapel. (fn. 263) They, in 1800, sold the former academy to Samuel Butler of Little Chelsea and William Butler of Moorfields, both builders. (fn. 264) In 1802 the Butlers also bought from Kirton and Francis Mayoss of Little Chelsea, builder, the two Verney Row properties. (fn. 265) Mayoss had from 1790 onwards been developing the southern end of Seymour Walk nearby, and his mortgagee there, Doctor Simmons, is said to have had, at an unspecified time, a lease also of the site discussed here. (fn. 263) Probably Mayoss and Simmons had had a tentative interest in making a similar development northward from the Fulham Road, but there is no evidence whether it was Mayoss who had built Nos. 240–244 Fulham Road or the 'Verney Row' houses in 1789–91. Samuel Butler had witnessed the Lochées' sale of the former houses in 1797, and therefore may have been concerned in their building. (fn. 261) It was doubtless Butler who proceeded to build the surviving Nos. 246 and 248 Fulham Road on part of the southern frontage of his property in 1801–2 (Plate 75e). (fn. 9) He was probably the first occupant of No. 248. The building line of Nos. 246 and 248 is set back from that of the slightly earlier Nos. 240–244, permitting a small window to look west from the flank wall of No. 244. Later occupants of No. 246 were H. G. Rowley, c. 1843–60, and Victor Barthe, c. 1868–70, both teachers of music, and J. B. Comley, sculptor, in 1884–93. (fn. 133)
Samuel Butler evidently also occupied the major, rearward, part of his site as a builder's yard and premises, where he was succeeded by Frederick Butler, also a builder, and probably his younger brother, until 1817. (fn. 266) Salway's view in 1811 (fn. 89) (Plate 72) shows Nos. 240–248 Fulham Road and the entrance to the builder's yard immediately to the west, but throws no light on what lay behind or whether the old academy building still survived. The date of its disappearance is uncertain but it may already have been demolished, as the two (lesser) Verney Row houses probably had been by 1802. (fn. 9)
In 1817–18 a brewhouse replaced the builder's premises (fn. 9) and henceforward this greater part of the site was in the hands of brewers, being known, at least so early as 1823, (fn. 267) as the Hollywood Brewery. From 1847 the owner of the brewery here was John Bowden until he or a successor of the same name removed it to the King's Road, Chelsea, in 1880–1. (fn. 268) In 1882 J.W. Butler and his brother, F. Hedges Butler, wine merchants, of No. 155 Regent Street, sold off the entire site, excluding Nos. 240–244 Fulham Road, which had been separately owned since their sale by the Lochées in 1798, but including the whole property northward in Hollywood Road, (fn. 269) part of which (C on fig. 54) had been brought back into the Butler's ownership since its sale in 1797 (see below). The enhancement of the value of the site since the 1790's appears in the advance of the total selling price from some £985 in 1797–8 to £7,150 in 1882. In the following year the purchaser, Charles Bickers, gentleman, of No. 256 Fulham Road, sold an eighty-year lease at £400 per annum for £1,000 to J. A. Preece, a jobmaster in Paddington, who was obliged to spend at least £2,000 in new buildings and promptly had a riding school erected on the north-west part of the site. (fn. 270) In 1890 a forbidding range of buildings, labelled Grove House, in Hollywood Road opposite Nos. 13–27, was put up for him as a 'carriage warehouse and factory' (between a and d on fig. 54): (fn. 271) the architect is not known.
In 1924–5 the riding school and livery stables of J. A. Preece and Sons, who latterly included Motor Carriage Company in their title, werer converted for use as a milkdistributing depot by United Dairies Limited, who bought the site (A and C on fig. 54), but again not Nos. 240–244 Fulham Road, for £8,300 in 1930. (fn. 272)
When the range labelled Grove House was built in Hollywood Road in 1890 the house sometime called Grove House or No. 1 Hollywood Grove immediately to its south (a on fig.54), which had been built (or possibly rebuilt) about 1790 (see above), was again rebuilt or radically recast in the same style as the range to the north. Originally it had perhaps been in brief use as a boarding school run by a Mrs. Heath in 1790. (fn. 9) Having been sold by the Lochées in 1797. (fn. 262) it was bought back into the main Butler property by James Butler, wine merchant, in 1859. (fn. 273) It was sometimes occupied in connexion with the brewery, and then in c. 1853 to 1868 by the Reverend F.C. Goodhart, minister of Park Chapel in Chelsea. (fn. 274) In 1908–12 it was used by the Territorial Army. (fn. 133)
The 1890 range covers the site of two short-lived houses, Nos. 2 and 3 Hollywood Grove (b and c on fig. 54), which were built in 1849 on the northern curtilage of No. 1 when that house was in the ownership of Edward Gingell, an appraiser active in building development in this neighbourhood. (fn. 275) They were probably demolished about 1878. No. 3 was occupied by G. V. McLellan, architect and surveyor, in 1877–8. (fn. 133)
These former houses in the southern part of what is now Hollywood Road were from 1838 until 1866 regarded by the rate collector as being in Hollywood Grove, (fn. 9) a name which continued in use in the Post Office Directory until 1881. (fn. 133) Earlier, from about 1797 to about 1818, this passageway from Fulham Road northward into the fields was named in the ratebooks Verney Row. (fn. 9) The passageway existed as a lane since at least 1746, (fn. 276) and must in fact have been known as Verney Row soon after that date as it took its name from some five and a half acres of garden and orchard to which it led, lying around what is now the junction of Oakfield Street and Cathcart Road, and which from 1746 to 1759 were owned by the Earls Verney (see below). The origin of the name Hollywood (applied by Salway to Nos. 240–244 Fulham Road in 1811) is not certainly known. It is said, however, that the Butler family which owned the freehold of most of this area from 1800 had a house of that name in Norwood or Sydenham. (fn. 277) Here, in and about the Fulham Road, it had a perplexingly wide application. On this Kensington side of the road it extended, until 1866, to include all of the five houses now known as Nos. 240–248 (even) Fulham Road, (fn. 133) but it was also applied in directories from 1845 or earlier until 1862–3 to a range of houses on the opposite side of the road in Chelsea and (as Hollywood Place) to another range further west on that side of the road. The name Hollywood House was also applied confusingly. In 1852 and 1866 it was given to the house on the east corner of Hollywood Grove and Fulham Road, which was sometimes also called Hollywood Lodge. (fn. 278) On Greenwood's map of Chelsea in 1830 and in directories of c. 1845–62 it is given to a house (No. 383) on the south side of the Fulham Road at a site now taken into that of St. Stephen's Hospital. And in Kensington it was applied to a house on the west side of Hollywood Grove or Road, immediately north of the area discussed above, and now replaced by flats called Hollywood Court, Cecil Court and Fawcett Court.
This last-mentioned site (B on fig. 54), which comprises also a frontage to Fawcett Street, has an obscure history before the 1790's. It was evidently part of the property that passed into the tenure of the owner of the military academy, Lewis Lochée, between 1770 and 1781, and by 1797 'the remaining part of the Riding house of the said late Military academy', most of which extended southward, stood upon it. (fn. 262) Evidently in 1798 the ground was, like that of the academy itself, sold to a City grocer, J. S. Wells, and is first identifiable in the ratebooks in that year, in the occupation of a gardener, John Gresley, (fn. 9) as a yearly tenant. In 1803 it was called The Grove, had fruit trees on it, and a 'cart house' which, from its position, can probably be identified with the riding-house remnant (d on fig. 54). A later occupant is said to have found 'the entire skeleton of a horse' somewhere on this site. (fn. 279) Wells and others sold it in 1803 to Robert Sproule of Queen's Elm, Chelsea, (fn. 280) and it was he who had the substantial house later called Hollywood or No. 4 Hollywood Grove built here in about 1810 (Plate 75b,75e on fig. 54) (fn. 155) In 1823 Sproule's son and others sold the house (then evidently called Grove Cottage) to Giles Newton, gentleman, for £1,005. (fn. 281) From 1825 the ratepayer was a Captain Nisbet and this family remained here, latterly in the person of a master mariner, Captain Edward Parry Nisbet, until 1899 (General Charles Grant also appears here in directories 1888–99). (fn. 282) In 1866 (by which time additions had been made to the house since 1823 (fn. 128)) Fawcett Street was laid out on its north side. Alterations were also made to the house by the architect C. Fitzroy Doll in 1872. (fn. 283) (Fitzroy Doll, as it happens, was later, from 1893 until his death in 1929, possessed of ownership rights in the adjacent properties to south and west, as one of the nephews of Charles Bickers of No. 256 Fulham Road. (fn. 284)) In 1902–5 the flats called Cecil Court (now Hollywood, Cecil and Fawcett Courts) were built on the site, with their long frontage to Fawcett Street. The architect was C. J. C. Pawley. The rents ranged from £80 to £140 per annum for three-to-five-room flats: each flat additionally contained a servants' bedroom and water closet. (fn. 285)
Nos. 252–264 (even) Fulham Road
Westward of the Unigate site so far as St. Mary's Priory at No. 264 Fulham Road is another area where the first pattern of development has been made difficult to recognize. In the 1650's or 1660's, four substantial houses were built here, set back from the road in approximate alignment with the first house on the Unigate site: the present No. 262a and the rearward priory house at No. 264 still occupy part of this line. It seems they were erected at the instigation of Thomas Maundy (later described as of Little Chelsea, gentleman, but see page 166), as his 'New Buildings', probably in the 1650's. From east to west one of these four houses stood, detached, on the site of the later Nos. 252 and 254, with its curtilage extending over the future site of No. 256; the second occupied the site of the sometime No. 258, the third that of the sometime Nos. 260 and 262, and the fourth that of St. Mary's Priory at No. 264 (fig. 55).
The former Nos. 252–256 (even) Fulham Road
A large single house, later divided into Nos. 252 and 254 Fulham Road, was sold by the Thomas Maundy mentioned above to Henry Middleton, and to others in trust for him, in 1664. (fn. 28) The purchaser had a lien on other properties nearby and further east his family retained its ownership for many years (see pages 166, 174). In 1666 the house was occupied by a Mr. De Visscher, merchant — doubtless the William De Visscher, of Dutch extraction, who died in 1669 and was the father-in-law of James Boevey, an owner of property nearby. (fn. 286) Middleton himself occurs as occupant in c. 1670–1, (fn. 287) but in 1671 he sold the property, for £350, to Ralph Palmer of Kensington, gentleman. (fn. 28) In 1666 and 1670 Palmer had occupied the house next door, at what was later No. 258, and subsequently he owned both freeholds, together with a five-and-a-half-acre piece of orchard and garden to the north (see page 198 and L on fig. 58). Henceforward Palmer and his descendants or their representatives occupied this house (the later Nos. 252–254) and let or sub-let the other (No. 258).
Ralph Palmer (1636–1716), the eldest son of a gentleman of property at Royden in Essex, lived here contentedly until his death, (fn. 288) undisturbed by the proximity of a school and an inn. (fn. 289) In 1679 he urged upon his future son-in-law the attraction of suburban owneroccupancy 'in any airy place, for its a fine thing to sett [sic] rent free'. (fn. 290) His fifteen-year-old daughter Elizabeth (worth upward of £3,000 in dowry) was in that year courted by John Verney, eldest son of Sir Ralph Verney of Claydon House, Buckinghamshire, and himself a merchant in the City. Later that year John wrote to his father: 'Mr Palmer I take to be an open Ingenious person of a mechanick humour, being a neate contriver, and keeps his house and Gardens very well. . . . The first time I was there Mr P. shewd me his Garden and other out parts of his house: yesterday he carryd me about within which is all very gentile and neate.' (fn. 291) The following year John and Elizabeth married. (fn. 292) Elizabeth died in 1686 but the subsequent correspondence between Ralph Palmer and John and Sir Ralph Verney testified to a continuing friendship. (fn. 293) In 1712 Ralph Palmer's son, also Ralph, reported to a younger Verney 'We are very fine at Chelsea, ye front of our house is new pointed and rubd all with red brick, and ye remayns of ye old dead Phillarea taken quite away . . .'. (fn. 294) On the elder Ralph Palmer's death in 1716 the property passed to this younger Ralph (1668–1755), who continued in the house. (fn. 295) (In 1700 he had married Catherine, the daughter of Sir John Ernle, who had lived next door to the east in 1685–93. (fn. 296)) The flourishing state of his garden is suggested by a gift in 1720 to his nephew at Claydon, Ralph Verney, second Viscount Fermanagh, to whom he sent '3 of my best Layers of ye Burgundy grape, which upon a South wall I dare say will produce as delicious black grapes as ever you'l eat'. (fn. 297) (Lord Fermanagh had been born in his grandparent Palmer's house here and was about taking a house across the road in Chelsea. (fn. 298)) Ralph Palmer, a barrister and littérateur, retained the house until 1746, when he sold it and the later No. 258, together with the five and a half acres of orchard ground to the north, to this same nephew — by then created Earl Verney. (fn. 276) Evidently Lord Verney lived in the house until his death there in 1752, when it passed to his son Ralph, second Earl Verney — initially, however, in trust for the second Earl's sister, wife of Bennet Sherard, third Earl of Harborough. (fn. 299) Lord Harborough occupied, or had lately occupied, the house in 1759. In that year, however, (Lady Harborough being dead) the second Earl, as empowered by his father's will on a younger sister's consent, sold the two houses and orchard land. The buyer was a spinster, Diana Robson, of St. George's, Queen Square, Holborn — the same parish, it so happens, as that of Michael Duffield, the asylum-keeper next door to the east. (fn. 300) She occupied the house later Nos. 252 and 254 until 1775. (fn. 9) In June 1781 (being then of Belmont, Hillingdon) she sold the properties to John Payne, chief accountant at the Bank of England, doubtless in trust for Lewis Lochée, the flourishing proprietor of the military academy next door, to whom Payne transferred them a month later. (fn. 301) Lochee proceeded in 1781–2 to divide the big old Palmer-Verney house into two, subsequently numbered 252 and 254. (fn. 9)
Little is known of the later history of the fabric of these houses, or how much, if any, of their original structure survived into this century. Salway's view of 1811 (Plate 72) shows the old house, of indeterminate age, in its divided occupation, the easternmost bay of No. 252 looking like an addition and the westernmost bay of No. 254 hidden behind a poplar tree. The main gate, hung between substantial piers, is shown serving No. 254 and supplemented by a less assuming gate to No. 252. (fn. 89) This main gate survives (see below).
At No. 252 Fulham Road the occupant in 1801–7 had been James Windsor, 'notary and agent to army hospitals', (fn. 302) and in 1809–10 Philip Gilbert, goldsmith and freeholder nearby. At the time of the Salway view the house was in the hands of a school proprietor, Ann Rishforth — the low building on the east being perhaps a schoolroom. (fn. 303) It is likely this use, so characteristic of Little Chelsea at that time, continued in 1812–31 under Ann Anderson, as it did in 1832–53 under Elizabeth Read. (fn. 155) In 1836 the representatives of the Lochée family sold what was then the two semi-detached houses, Nos. 252 and 254, to William Rogers of Islington, gentleman (and the five and a half acres of orchard ground to Robert Gunter), and in 1853 Rogers sold them off separately. No. 252 (called Tavistock House from about 1858) was bought by Messrs. Jackson, furniture dealers at the site of what are now Nos. 304a–306b (even) Fulham Road, for £1,100. (fn. 304) From 1864 to 1870 the occupants were Maull and Polyblank, latterly Henry Maull and Company, photographers. (fn. 133) In 1871 Frederick Jackson sold the house at the greatly enhanced price of £3,500 to Charles Bickers, gentleman, of No. 256 Fulham Road: (fn. 305) Bickers, with wealth evidently arising from the family's grocery business in Berkeley Square, also acquired over the years adjacent properties to this one. (fn. 306) Dillon Croker noted the house's degraded state in 1872, with a 'sand for sale' notice outside, (fn. 307) but the social switchback of the houses hereabouts then seems to have gone up and in 1879 Bickers let No. 252 at £150 per annum, with its stables, coach-house, conservatories and greenhouses, to H. A. Coventry, a cousin of the ninth Earl of Coventry. (He was also a rather distant relation of one of the Servite Fathers a few doors along the road.) The landlord's fixtures included a speaking-tube from the first-floor landing to the kitchen 'with mouth pieces and whistles complete', and 'about 750 red edging tiles for borders' in the garden. (fn. 308) Coventry stayed here until 1887. (fn. 133) The next occupant was Jonathan, or Ion, Pace, (fn. 308) the stained-glass artist responsible for most of the windows in the Servite church, who carried on his trade here and built a two-storeyed 'studio' in the front garden, numbered 252a, in 1888. (fn. 309) He remained here until 1901, when he was succeeded in 1902–4 by William Morris and Company, also stainedglass artists. (fn. 133) (They were unconnected with the firm founded by the poet and socialist.) By 1906 the old greenhouses in the garden were dilapidated and from about that time the premises were mostly in divided occupation by tradesmen until 1927. (fn. 310) Bickers's heirs then sold them at a further enhanced price of £7,500 to a bootmaker, plumber and watchmaker as trustees of the Eleusis Club. (fn. 311) This, formerly a political club founded by the Chelsea section of the Reform League in 1868, had for most of its former existence been in the King's Road, and removed here until 1936, when it returned to Chelsea. (fn. 312) The rearward, eastern, part of No. 252 (perhaps in origin a school-room addition) was converted into a clubroom, and in 1931 a free-standing concert-hall was built by the club in the back garden (E. Meredith, architect). In c. 1935 the club sold the premises to the Servite Fathers at No. 264. (fn. 313) They returned them to their old school use. The former studio (latterly a shop) in front at No. 252a was demolished and the rearward, eastern, part converted in 1936 to an infant schoolroom for the opening of the Servites' school there in 1937 (architect, E. A. Remnant). (fn. 314) The demolition of the main house at No. 252, to give open access to an intended new school at the rear, was delayed by difficulty over the party wall with No. 254, but was carried out between 1939 and 1950. (fn. 315) The new school buildings were constructed at the rear in c. 1960 to the designs of E. A. Remnant on a site extending also over the former rearward curtilage of Nos. 254–260 (even). They incorporate in their eastern wing at No. 252 the former concert-hall of 1931 and the former club-room converted in 1936. (fn. 316)
On the street front the iron gates hung between brick piers have been moved here from a position a little westward, where they originally gave access to the old Palmer-Verney house and later to the western part of the divided house at No. 254. If Salway's view of 1811 can be trusted, the stone balls were added between that date and 1845. (fn. 317)
No. 254 Fulham Road was the western half of the old Palmer-Verney house after its division into two by Lewis Lochée in 1781–2 (fig. 55 and see above). It survived until c. 1962 and a photograph of the exterior in its last days, featureless as the nineteenth-century stucco was, would not be inconsistent with an early, perhaps seventeenth-century, origin for the basic fabric. (fn. 318) In 1791–3 it was occupied by Lochée's widow. (fn. 9) Like No. 252 it was bought from the Lochées by William Rogers in 1836, at which time it was conducted as a boys' boarding school by David Hooke, who occupied it from 1823 to 1842. (fn. 319) This use continued in 1843–51 under Mrs. Elizabeth Corder, perhaps the wife of Covent Garden's former and rather questionable vestry clerk, James Corder. (fn. 320) In 1853, again like No. 252, the house was sold by Rogers, the purchaser at £1,180 being Charles Bickers, gentleman, of Sloane Street (see above). (fn. 321) The house continued as a school under C. J. Sayer (1852–5) and James Watkins (1856). (fn. 133) By 1846 it was known as Bolton House. (fn. 322) From 1858 or 1859 to 1872 the occupant was Samuel Cundey, a clothier, (fn. 323) during which period, in 1862, the western part of the grounds of this house was utilized to build an entirely new, semidetached, house, No. 256 (see below). In 1881 Bickers let No. 254 for fourteen years at £100 per annum as a private residence to the titular Maharajah of Lahore, Duleep Singh, who specifically undertook not to use it as a school, lunatic asylum or lodging house. (fn. 324) Being in financial difficulties, partly caused by architectural extravagance at Elveden Hall in Suffolk, the Maharajah moved from Claridge's, 'withdrawing himself from society in order to live within his means'. But this was to No. 53 Holland Park, and it is not clear what use he made of No. 254, which from 1883 is listed in the Post Office Directory in other hands. (fn. 325) In 1889–90 the occupant was a surgeon, and in 1891–1902 a dentist. (fn. 133) In 1899 Bickers's heir sold the freehold, including No. 256, for the sum, greatly advanced upon that paid by Bickers in 1853, of £8,925. (fn. 326) The purchaser was the Postmaster General, who had a branch Post Office established at No. 256. Subsequently for many years to 1934 No. 254 was occupied by Madam Violet Violette, cakemaker. (fn. 133) In 1940 the semi-derelict house and site, together with the back part of the site of No. 256, was sold by the Postmaster General to the Servite Fathers, who required it to facilitate the demolition of No. 252 for their intended school site. (fn. 327) It was, however, the early 1960's before No. 254 was itself demolished and its site, less a strip on the west side returned to the Post Office in 1962, (fn. 328) incorporated into that of the school.
No. 256 Fulham Road was built on a site that until c. 1861 was part of the garden on the west side of No. 254 and was owned from 1853 by Charles Bickers as part of the curtilage of that house. He then, during the occupation of No. 254 by Samuel Cundey, had a new house built here, called Hertford House. It was attached on one side to No. 254. The first occupant in 1862–7 was Robert Lemon, archivist and senior clerk in the State Paper Office. (fn. 329) From 1868 to 1893 it was occupied by Charles Bickers himself and then by his widow until 1898. (fn. 133) In the following year it was bought (with No. 254) by the Postmaster General and a branch Post Office was established here in about 1901. (fn. 133) The house was demolished when the present office, completed in 1965, was built (planning architect for Ministry of Works, E. T. Sargeant, supervising architect, J. Russell (fn. 330)).
The former No. 258 Fulham Road
The present Nos. 258 and 258a Fulham Road and the eastern half of the entry named Barker Street occupy the southern part of the site of one of the two houses — the more westerly — owned in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by the Palmer and Verney families (fig. 55). Until 1836 that house shared the history of ownership of the more easterly house that was later divided as Nos. 252 and 254. Although thus associated with the detached house eastward, No. 258 was physically itself the easternmost of a 'terrace' of (originally) three big or biggish houses, of which the westernmost was latterly numbered 264 (see below), and all of which were probably erected in the 1650's. No. 258 can be first identified in 1666 and 1670–1 in the occupation of a Mr. Palmer, doubtless the Ralph Palmer who thereafter occupied the eastern house and who seems to have been succeeded here in c. 1671–3 by Henry Middleton. (fn. 331) Later occupants, (fn. 332) as tenants or sub-tenants of Palmer, included Charles Knipe, perhaps the poet, by 1681 until 1686, (fn. 333) a Mr. Gibbons and family in 1687, and the painter John Riley in 1688–90. (fn. 334) From 1691 to 1701 the house was occupied by Sir Bartholomew Shower, who had been Recorder of London under James II. (fn. 335) Another lawyer, a Richard Minshull, took it in 1706, but in c. 1714 assigned his lease to an alehouse-keeper nearby, who let it in lodgings. This seems to have been less regretted by the Palmers than it might have been in a later age, as their relations sometimes stayed there. (fn. 336) As owner of the house Ralph Palmer insured it in 1708, when a 'summer house' was specified among its appurtenances. (fn. 337) This was an object of pride to the younger Ralph Palmer, newly succeeded in 1716, who spoke of it to his nephew Ralph Verney as 'a Noble Room 16 foot high and as wide standing by it self in the Garden'. He was repairing the dwelling house, preparatory to letting it for private occupation, 'for no body will take it without being [sic] put in thoro repair, Its a pretty place, and I hope I shall not let it under 35£ per annum, it has 5 rooms of a floor and closets to every one, with a neat one over the porch and a pretty ground to it, both Garden and Orchard, stabling for 3 or 4 horses, a Coach house, and special Cellars'. He was thankful the outgoing alehouse-keeper had left the wainscotting and marble hearth-stones behind as landlord's fixtures. By an outlay of £100 Palmer hoped to increase his rental by £20 a year. A German, perhaps of George I's court, had been to view it. (fn. 338) A relation took the house for a year or two and was 'so good a Tenant as to wainscot 2 Rooms', but then ran away from his wife (fn. 339) and Palmer probably had to wait for the long-term tenant he wanted until 1719, when it was taken by a John Stockwell, 'first Clerk in Mr Smith (ye Teller's) office who marryd Smith the Organ maker's widow worth 4000 to him'. (fn. 340) The name of Stockwell continues here until at least 1752. (fn. 341) In the later 1750's the Spanish consul is said to have occupied the house. (fn. 300) Like Nos. 252 and 254 ownership passed to Miss Robson in 1759, (fn. 300) and to Lewis Lochée in 1781. (fn. 301)
Salway's view in 1811 (Plate 72) shows the house (recently in the occupation of a wine merchant off the Strand (fn. 342)) west of a row of poplars, and bearing signs of its basic unity having at some time been divided into two parts of two and three bays wide: nothing in its known history, however, explains this. (fn. 89) The house was then occupied by Jos. Silver, perhaps recently a jeweller in Hatton Street, Holborn. His successor, in 1812–24, was an Elizabeth Baird, whose name is doubled with others in the ratebooks and who may be the lady of that name who had owned a 'carpet warehouse' in Leicester Square in 1800. (fn. 343) After another female ratepayer in 1825–6 the house was taken in 1826 by Mrs. Mary Fleming, who ran it as a small private lunatic asylum. (In 1844, by which time it was called Warwick House, there were five female inmates, two of them suicidal.) (fn. 344) Mary Fleming bought the house from the Lochées in 1836, (fn. 345) and it was retained until her daughter sold it in 1860 to another owner-occupier, seemingly for private occupation. (fn. 346) His heirs sold the house, together with the former No. 260 on its western side, to a builder in 1876. (fn. 347) This part of the old Palmer-Verney property was then completely redeveloped in a scheme that took in also the site of No. 260.
Nos. 258, 258a, 260 and 260a Fulham Road and Barker Street
The purchaser in April 1876 of the old houses at Nos. 258 and 260 (for the latter of which see below) was Thomas Hussey of Kensington High Street, builder, (fn. 347) who had recently embarked on a greater enterprise that became Albert Hall Mansions. (fn. 348) In the course of 1877–8 he replaced the two houses in their gardens by a terrace of four houses over shops on the street frontage, now numbered Nos. 258, 258a, 260 and 260a Fulham Road, with a passageway in the centre leading to a cul-de-sac of twenty-four mews behind. (fn. 349) Initially this was called Hussey's Mews. (fn. 350) Immediately on his acquisition of the two old houses Hussey had raised mortgages on each of them, that upon No. 258 yielding him £3,000. (fn. 351) The principal mortgagee here, and perhaps Hussey's legal adviser, would seem to have been Charles Mylne Barker, a solicitor in the firm of Barker and Ellis of Bedford Row. His clerk witnessed various of Hussey's title-deeds, others of his surname took mortgages from Hussey of parts of Hussey's new buildings here in 1877, and at the end of that year the mews was renamed Barker's Mews. (fn. 352)
C. M. Barker appears not, however, to have been the sole contributor to the loan of £3,000 on the security of No. 258 Fulham Road. (fn. 353) Another party to the deed was J. R. Tweddale of Cambridge Street, Hyde Park, esquire. But named first in the deed was a famous man of letters, whose respect for C. M. Barker is evidenced in an undated testimonial to the wisdom of his advice. This was Tweddale's cousin-once-removed, John Ruskin. (fn. 354) A year or so later, when Hussey's buildings were getting under way, Ruskin exposed his own financial affairs to the members of his Guild of St. George in Letter lxxvi of Fors Clavigera. Out of respect for 'honesty through Frankness' he there set out the disposal of his fortune and the current state of his affairs. He did not mention his investment in the Fulham Road, unless it was comprised under 'Herne Hill leases and other little holdings — thirteen hundred [pounds]', but spoke of the liquidation in the previous year of old and ill-judged investments in mortgages, and this may explain his possession of funds available for a (perhaps small) investment here on C. M. Barker's advice. (fn. 355) Ruskin's responsible attitude to his properties is very marked at that time. The appearance of Hussey's four houses at Nos. 258–260a Fulham Road (first occupied in 1880), whose architect has not been uncovered, cannot have pleased him — if, indeed, he saw them. Nor can the extensive use of the mews behind — purportedly livery stables — as dwellings. Whether or not by reason of any disquiet on Ruskin's part, the mortgage to which he was a party was liquidated in 1880.
By 1881 all twenty-four units in the mews were used as dwellings, housing 173 persons. Nine of these dwellings were in occupation by more than one family. Half were occupied by tenants unconnected with the work of the mews, including a number of 'labourers' and 'gardeners'. (fn. 356) By 1885 the cul-de-sac was known as Barker Street instead of Barker's Mews (Plate 75c). (fn. 357) Some rearrangement to group pairs of stables as dwellings seems to have taken place in the late 'eighties. (fn. 358)
In 1892 the works and sanitary committee of the Kensington Vestry asked Hussey to fill-in sunken dung pits in front of the stables but in 1895 permitted him to retain some or all of them. (fn. 359) Four years later half the individual dwellings were registered as lodging-houses. (fn. 360) In 1902 Charles Booth identified Barker Street as one of the three areas of poverty in the part of Kensington described in this volume west of Thistle Grove, it being then used as tenements inhabited by artisans and labourers. (fn. 361) The following year Hussey wanted to put up a water closet on the public way at the top of the street but was prevented by the Borough. (fn. 362) A few years later one side of the street was turned from lodging-houses into small 'flats' — two on each floor of the eight threestoreyed houses on the west side. (fn. 363) Hussey seems to have retained his ownership and in 1927 he or his successor of the same name, an estate agent at Hyde Park Gate, sold some or all of the street to trustees for a private purchaser. (fn. 364) The up-dating of Charles Booth's survey in 1930 found the inhabitants of Barker Street hovering at the poverty line. (fn. 365) The next year Kensington's Medical Officer of Health made a damning report on it to the Public Health Committee, mentioning the lack of light and air, the bad design of water closets, the broken paving and the appearance of neglect: all the premises, now renumbered as sixteen, were occupied by the working classes, although seven still had their ground floors used as stables or storage-places. Partly because of pressure from the parochial authorities of St. Mary, The Boltons, the Borough made a Clearance Order on Barker Street in 1934, confirmed by the Minister of Health after an appeal by the owners. (fn. 366) The properties there were demolished by the latter part of 1937 and a Closing Order made by the Kensington magistrates in 1938. (fn. 367) After its acquisition by the Servite Fathers the northern part was taken into the site of their new school but in 1940 the southern part was sold by them to the Postmaster General (in exchange for No. 254 Fulham Road, see above), and is used by the Post Office in connexion with its sorting office at No. 256 Fulham Road. It is now barely recognizable as an entity, but the name Barker Street is still set up in the passageway between Nos. 258a and 260 Fulham Road.
The former No. 260 Fulham Road
The western half of this Barker Street development had previously been occupied by a terrace house probably built (unless merely recast) in 1711–12 (fig. 55). That would in turn have been a rebuilding (or recasting) of the eastern half of a larger house which had extended also over the site of No. 262 (now 262a). (fn. 88) Nineteenth-century plans suggest that it and No. 262 had a common origin with Nos. 258 and 264 and therefore probably in the 1650's. The large house is tentatively recognizable in taxbooks in 1666–74 in the occupation of widow Birkhead (fn. 368) — that is, of Ellen (d. 1679 or 1680), widow of Edward Birkhead and sister or sister-in-law of Henry Middleton, whose daughter Mary had in turn married her cousin, Ellen's nephew, William Birkhead of Lambeth, in 1664. (fn. 369) Alderman Robert Clarkson, evidently a propertied Bradford clothier, occupied the house in 1681 until his death in 1695–6, when he left it to his descendants. (fn. 370) Later occupants were Lady Sedley or Sidley in 1703–4, and Colonel Greenfield in 1707–11. (fn. 88) The house was then divided or rebuilt as two — the different window-spacings in the two parts as shown by Salway in 1811 rather suggesting a rebuilding. In 1712 it and No. 262 (now 262a) were both in one ownership, by Jacob Davison of Covent Garden, mercer, (fn. 371) who lived in this house, as did his heirs until the late 1750's, when it was taken by Thomas Main, gentleman, who bought it in 1765 and remained until 1772. (fn. 372) It was from this house that he advertized a freehold building site hereabouts to let or sell in 1768 (see above). (fn. 239) His library included a 'large Folio Book of Gardening' and 'two sets of fine prints unglazed'. (fn. 373) By the 1840's the house was called Amyot House, after the family occupying it from 1800 to 1845. Part of the premises was separately occupied in 1862–3 by the sculptor J. E. Boehm, and from 1869 by teachers of French, (fn. 155) until all was demolished by Hussey in 1877 (see above).
No. 262a Fulham Road (formerly 262)
This house (fig. 55), standing back behind a shop, engages the eye of the bus-passenger by a pompous cemented upper part of nineteenth-century date. Structurally, however, it is probably a house of c. 1711–12, conformably with the appearance of the brick back-front, where segmental-headed windows are set in wooden flush frames. Before 1711 it shared the history of No. 260, as part of a large seventeenth-century house. Probably then rebuilt, the first occupant thereafter, until c. 1719, was Huntley Bigg, doubtless the scrivener who had involved himself in property dealings in Westminster in the 1690's. (fn. 374) In 1769 Francis Darius Landumiey, an 'operator for the teeth', bought the house for £700 from the owner of this and the house to the east, and lived here until 1779. (fn. 375) In 1780 (being then of St. George's, Hanover Square) he sold it to a trustee for Lewis Lochée (for whom see above), but for only £550. (fn. 376) In 1789–91 it was a school conducted by a Miss Edmonds. (fn. 9) Lochée's heir resold it for £450 in 1803. (fn. 377) The poet and placeman William Boscawen lived here in 1807–11. (fn. 378) From 1862 to 1868 the house (called Mulberry House since the 1840's) was in divided occupation. (fn. 133) In 1869 a branch of the London Suburban Bank was established here and it was probably then that a one-storey addition was built on the forecourt (architect, Charles Sewell): (fn. 379) possibly the cementing of the upper part of the front of the house itself, occupied by the bank manager, was done at that time. The bank soon went, in 1871, and was succeeded in 1876 by a branch Post Office until c. 1901, when it moved to No. 256. (fn. 133) The premises subsequently served as the parochial hall of the Servite Church next door at No. 264, and when that function was removed to a free-standing temporary hall built behind the old house in 1925 the front premises on Fulham Road, now numbered 262, became the offices of estate agents. The parish hall was rebuilt in 1962–4 (Archard and Partners, architects) adjacent to the back of the old house, now numbered 262a. (fn. 380) This is occupied as flats in connexion with the Servite priory, and contains few if any old interior features.
No. 264 Fulham Road: the Church of Our Lady of Seven Dolours and St. Mary's Priory of the Servite Friars
The church and priory occupy the site of a single dwelling-house and its garden, the church occupying the former back garden, the priory the front garden and the old house itself, and the entrance tower and covered approach to the church the site of ancillary buildings and garden west of the old house (figs. 55, 57).
The original house here, according to a recital in 1783 of a mortgage dated 1659, was the westernmost of an unspecified number of houses called the 'New Buildings' of Thomas Maundy. In 1659 it was said to be of brick and to have been lately erected. (fn. 381) The existence so late as the 1870's of a sequence of four oldish houses extending from No. 264 eastward to No. 252 (interrupted only by the recent No. 256) suggests these were, at least in part, vestiges of Maundy's 'buildings', while Maundy's apparent occurrence as an occupier even further east, at what is now the west side of Redcliffe Road, in c. 1664–71 has been noted above, as has his likely identity with a goldsmith and macemaker. In 1659, when he mortgaged the house at No. 264 to Edward Barrington of the Middle Temple, gentleman, he was described as gentleman, of Little Chelsea. (fn. 381)
Henry Middleton, whose name is of frequent occurrence hereabouts, was said in 1713 to have been sometime the owner. (fn. 382) The house is perhaps first tentatively identifiable in hearth-tax books in 1666, (fn. 383) and 'Mr Middleton' was probably taxed for it in c. 1673. (fn. 384) The Charles Knipe who later lived at No. 258 was perhaps here in c. 1674. (fn. 385) By 1681 the occupant was Nicholas Staggins, Master of the King's Music, until his death in 1700. (fn. 386) In 1746 the house was bought for £320 by Robert Griffin, possibly the 'usher to the king' who died in 1765. (fn. 387) When he entered the house new buildings added to the old are mentioned. (fn. 387) In 1783 the house was sold again for £1,000. (fn. 388) From at least 1794 it was a school, run by Miss Ann Amelia Steers until c. 1804 and then by Ann Rishforth until 1810. (fn. 389) Salway indicates it in 1811 largely concealed behind trees in the front garden, where a coachhouse is shown on the west side (Plate 72). (fn. 89) A Chelsea grocer, perhaps retired, was there in 1812–19. (fn. 390) From 1836 the house, called Heckfield Lodge, was occupied by Henry Milton, esquire, of the War Office, who bought it in 1839 and was succeeded in the ownership in 1850 by his son John, also of the War Office. John was later accountant general of the Army, and knighted. His mother occupied the house, which in 1868 attracted the attention of potential purchasers. (fn. 391)
Since then much has happened to the site but the house is an interesting survivor as part of St. Mary's Priory. Inside it has late-seventeenth- or early-eighteenth-century features and keeps much of the old plan, with a central compartment for the wooden staircase. This has a heavy, moulded closed string, plain newels and handrail, and turned balusters that have perhaps been renewed. A number of the rooms have plain marble chimneypieces, plain high panelling and dado rails and box cornices. All the ceilings are plain.
The Church of Our Lady of Seven Dolours and St. Mary's Priory of the Servite Friars (Plates 76,77, fig. 57). The potential purchasers of Heckfield Lodge in 1868 were members of the Order of the Servants of Mary, commonly called Servites. (fn. 392) It had been in 1864 that the first Servite friars had come to establish themselves in England, in the persons of two Italian priests sent from Rome to support the missionary work of a small convent in Cale Street, Chelsea. Their Order, originating in the thirteenth century at Florence, was then almost unknown in England. In 1867 they were given a parish, hitherto part of that of the Oratory and including south-western Kensington. This they served from converted houses in Chelsea, first in Park Walk and then, in 1868, in Netherton Grove. There they had a school adjacent, on part of the present site of St. Stephen's Hospital. (fn. 393)
It is significant of the vitality of the few early Fathers, and perhaps also of the assimilative characteristics of mid-Victorian London, that the Order—wholly foreign as it was, unlike the English converts at the Oratory—was able to establish itself quickly, and in 1868 was seeking a site for a permanent church.
An attempt was then made to buy Heckfield Lodge at No. 264, which was in fact only to be acquired for that purpose some five years later. The negotiations in 1868 proved abortive, perhaps because an ill-chosen intermediary was used. Doctor John O'Bryen, a physician living in Drayton Gardens (at what is now the back building of No. 63), (fn. 133) had been employed in acquiring the school in Chelsea, to avoid anti-Catholic feeling. (fn. 394) At Heckfield Lodge, O'Bryen had evidently hoped to buy the house on his own account — at £2,250, however, not Milton's asking price of £3,000. According to Father Bosio, the Superior of the Servites, O'Bryen therefore agreed to treat for the house on their behalf, and came to an agreement for it at £2,750. Then, however, he asserted (according to Father Bosio) that the house must remain his own as Milton would not conclude the sale if the site was to be used for a Roman Catholic church. Father Bosio had employed another agent, who also approached Milton, and told Father Bosio that O'Bryen's statement was untrue. With the help of Father Knox at the Oratory an indignant letter was composed (and presumably dispatched) to O'Bryen, threatening him with recourse to 'the law' or the invocation of local opinion if he tried to conclude the sale on his own behalf. (fn. 395) What then happened is not known, but the house was still on offer five years later, and in May 1873 the Fathers decided to buy it. One of them seems to refer to it as 'that house which O'Brien [sic] had bought for us', (fn. 396) but O'Bryen was not a party to the sale, which was made in August directly to Father Bosio by Milton and his mortgagees. (fn. 397) It is also not known why the purchase price should have risen steeply, to £4,200. (fn. 398)
In the autumn of 1873 the architect for the new church was chosen. He was the Roman Catholic, Joseph Aloysius Hansom (1803–82). At that time he was working with his son Joseph Stanislaus Hansom, who assumed control of the firm in 1880 (fn. 399) and was responsible for the important later stages of the work here in the 1880's and 1890's. J. A. Hansom was evidently chosen at least in part for his recent work on churches at Arundel, Manchester and Boulogne, and his designs then being executed for St. Aloysius's Church at Oxford. (fn. 400) It was his first church in London.
A temporary iron church was provided, in front of Heckfield Lodge, by Samuel Dyer, 'portable house builder' of the Euston Road. (fn. 401)
The permanent church, placed behind Heckfield Lodge, which was adapted for use as the priory and extended forward in a refectory wing, was built in 1874–5 by G. H. and A. Grimwood of Upper Charlton Street, Fitzroy Square. The clerk of works was Condy. The contract price was £5,240, although the Fathers cautiously provided for calling a halt, if needs be, at £2,850. (fn. 402) Father Bosio had the reputation of keeping a keen watch on the builders' work and charges: nevertheless in 1875 he was complaining that the actual cost had risen to £9,000. (fn. 403)
The materials are stock brick with external dressings in Ham Hill stone, and internal dressings in Corsham Down stone, except for the pillars of the nave, which are of 'Freeman's Cornish granite' with polished shafts. Minton's encaustic tiles were laid in parts of the church. (fn. 404)
The original dedication of the church, at the laying of the foundation stone by Cardinal Manning in 1874, was to the Sacred and Sorrowing Hearts of Jesus and Mary, (fn. 405) but it immediately became known as Our Lady of Seven Dolours. (fn. 406)
The style of the church (Plates 76a, 76b, 77b) is Early English, although incorporating some features, such as the Decorated choir windows, the 'strainer arch' on the (liturgically) 'south' side of the sanctuary, and the choirstalls, designed to look like later work.
The interior decoration was chiefly in the hands of Thomas Orr and Company, 'church furnishers and embroiderers' of Baker Street. (fn. 407) The altar of the Lady Chapel was carved by 'Mr Farmer', perhaps of Farmer and Brindley. (fn. 408) Most of the glazing, probably plain, was provided by J. J. Boyce, 'window lead maker' of Great Titchfield Street, (fn. 409) although the Lady Chapel had a window painted by a friend of the Fathers, Lord Charles Thynne, (fn. 404) and the central window at the (liturgically) 'East' end was soon filled with stained glass made by Clayton and Bell to designs by W. Tipping of Edith Grove, Chelsea. (fn. 410) G. M. Hammer, 'school furnisher' of Blue Anchor Lane and the Strand, provided benches, stalls and confessionals to Hansom's designs. (fn. 411) At the opening it was commented that the Fathers looked to Rome and Munich for some of the decorative fittings or devotional aids. (fn. 404) But over the years much has also come from craftsmen nearer home in Chelsea and the Fulham Road.
A notable contribution to the interior, in progress in 1876, was made by one of the Fathers, Piriteo Simoni, an artist, who designed and painted the altar of the Seven Founders (now the altar of Our Lady) with panels skilfully executed in a thirteenth-century Italian style.
The church was described in The Builder at its opening in September 1875 but without evaluative comment. (fn. 412) The Tablet said 'the front elevation is bold and effective, and the interior devotional and thoroughly church-like in composition and details, yet devoid of gloom'. (fn. 404)
The next major work was the building of a new block for the priory on the Fulham Road frontage (joined to the old house behind by the plain, recently constructed refectory wing), together with a street entrance to the approach leading to the church. This was done in 1880, to designs by J. A. Hansom and Sons and under the supervision of Joseph Stanislaus Hansom (Plate 76d). A new contractor was chosen, Frank Wilkins of the Fulham Road, at a price of £1,580 (final cost, £1,620). Iron gates were provided by John Hardman and Company of Birmingham. It was probably at that time that W. H. Palmer, 'architectural sculptor' of Flood Street, Chelsea, carved the west front of the church, now largely concealed by the later narthex. (fn. 413) Inside, an organ was provided by another local firm, that of Henry Jones of the Fulham Road, replacing a temporary instrument supplied by them. (fn. 414)
The new buildings were greeted by The Building News as a 'welcome addition to this part of the Fulham Road', although it regretted that they were overtopped by the houses and shops immediately to the west (fn. 415) — a disadvantage made less apparent when a tower was added fifteen years later. The Building News did not comment on the choice of a late Gothic style for the domestic front of the priory in conjunction with the Early English style of the church and gateway — a deliberate contrast found also in J. Stanislaus Hansom's design for the Servites' church and monastery at Bognor, begun in the following year.
In 1882–3 important interior additions were made by the installation of a polychrome stone pulpit and a great pinnacled High Altar in Caen stone, alabaster and marble, both designed by J. Stanislaus Hansom. The cost was said to be about £1,000. The Builder and The Building News both described the work and the former gave a large illustration of the High Altar, which rose thirty-eight feet six inches above the nave floor at its central flèche (Plate 76b). The carving on the High Altar was by Richard Boulton of Cheltenham, and the tabernacle (now removed to the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament) by George Hardman of the Fulham Road. The main constructional work, however, was by George Porter, designated 'sculptor', of King's Road, Chelsea. (fn. 416) Of this only the altar table itself partly survives.
The work of adding to and enriching the church continued in 1890 with the reconstruction and enhancement of the Lady Chapel (now the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament) in a Decorated style to J. Stanislaus Hansom's designs on the (liturgically) 'north' side of the sanctuary (Plate 77c). The builder was again Porter, at a cost said to be £1,115. (fn. 417)
The Fathers perhaps liked employing local men and Porter was retained as contractor for the last great work, undertaken to Hansom's designs in 1893–5. This was the raising of a Perpendicular bell-tower over the entrance, which was itself dressed with a battlemented Perpendicular porch, and the construction of a covered, Early English approach to the church (Plate 77a) via a new, large, Early English narthex. This is separated by an arcade, opened in the pre-existing 'west' front, from the nave, which is at a higher level and approached by steps. This spatial sequence is now the most characteristic and telling feature of the church (fig. 57).
At the same time stained-glass windows were provided by Jonathan (or Ion) Pace, nearby at No. 252 Fulham Road, at a cost of some £1,039, and the organ was enlarged by Henry Jones. The bronze statue of St. Peter in the narthex (copied from that in the Vatican) is by Paul H. Brondreth (at £135), and four statues in stone were provided for unknown positions by Vincent Biglioski, sculptor, of Upper Cheyne Row, Chelsea (at £89). The bells, by Mears and Stainbank, cost £636. The total outlay, variously stated at £10,132 or £12,000, was defrayed, as some earlier costs had been, by Charles Robertson, a stockjobber of Begbroke, Oxfordshire. (fn. 418)
Porter had tendered at £4,804 for his part of the work, but was eventually paid £6,291. (fn. 419) The employment of a man not very experienced in contracting for a large work as a general builder and without the use of either a clerk of works or properly made-out bills of quantities led to difficulties. Porter in fact charged too little. In Hansom's view 'he evidently had not the slightest conception of the way he had cheated himself; and it remained for me to point out to him how several items in his estimate meant nothing but absolute loss to him'. Being told this by Hansom, the Prior, Father Appolloni, instructed him to increase the payment to Porter to cover the work actually done. Sadly, this good thought led to trouble, and the Fathers became involved in a disagreement with Hansom when he charged a quantity surveyor's fee for the extra calculation thus necessitated. The matter had to be sent for arbitration to a past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, J. Macvicar Anderson, who pronounced a compromise judgement. (fn. 420) This dispute did not, however, prevent Porter's employment in the following year, 1896, on work of unknown extent, (fn. 421) or Hansom's employment to design the tomb of Father Appolloni himself on his death in 1900. (fn. 422)
A total departure from the prevailing style of the church was made in 1925, when the impressive green and gold marble baptistery was opened off the 'west' side of the narthex, designed in an Arts-and-Crafts LombardicByzantine style (Plate 77d). The octagonal bronze font is said to have been 'the gift and work of two convert artists, Miss Baker and Miss Brown', the former perhaps the Miss Alice Baker, artist, who is found at that time at No. 125 Cheyne Walk. (fn. 423) Unfortunately the designer of the baptistery scheme as a whole (and presumably of the small war memorial in the same style) is not known.
Preparatory to the consecration of the church, which did not take place until 1953, the sanctuary was extended further towards the nave. (fn. 424)
Subsequent changes have been rather by removal than addition. Externally, important alterations were made in 1962 when the top of the bell-tower, the dressing of the gateway, and the front of the priory were all divested of architectural features (architects, Archard and Partners). At the time the tower was said to have become dangerous in its upper parts and the stonework of the Priory window-dressings to have passed beyond repair. (fn. 425) The effect has been to make the Fulham Road front look of a more meagre and earlier Victorian period than 1880–95 (Plate 76c). Even greater has been the change inside brought about by the removal in 1974 of the polychrome pulpit and of the greater part of the High Altar. This had completely screened the apsidal end of the sanctuary and its destruction was intended to conform with the changes of liturgical practice that followed the Second Vatican Council of 1962–5.
Narthex: tomb of the second Prior, Father Appolloni (1838–1900) with marble Pieta carved by J. W. Swynnerton; bronze figure of Our Saviour by Mayer and Company of Munich, 1872. Magdalene altar: marble relief by J. W. Swynnerton, 1895. Founders' chapel: carved and painted retable by Stufflesser family; frescoes by Father Simoni; the altar has been removed, together with panels painted by Father Simoni which were moved here from the present Lady Altar in 1952. St. Joseph's altar: painted panels signed by Leopoldo Galli, Florence (evidently replacing paintings by Guido Guidi); statue of St. Joseph by Mayer and Company of Munich. Chamber organ by James Davis of Francis Street (now Torrington Place, where Davis was in c. 1809–24 (fn. 426)).
Nos. 266 and 266a Fulham Road and Nos. 1–11 (odd) Redcliffe Gardens
Between the Servite church and priory at No. 264 Fulham Road and the corner with Redcliffe Gardens the history of the site before 1681 is uncertain (z on fig. 48). It was probably part of the Hobson property which in 1639 included the rather indeterminate breadth of the droveway of Walnut Tree Walk on the line of Redcliffe Gardens. From 1681 to 1710 the land was owned as garden or orchard ground by a John Frank, who was said to have built the house and two cottages which stood upon it. The property passed, evidently as freehold, to his widow and then to his son John, a joiner. (fn. 427) In 1735 a slip of ground on the west was added, by lease from Daniel Pettiward of Putney, esquire: (fn. 428) the deeds relating to the property suggest its abutments to west and south, on the lane and high road, were not precisely established. The freehold, after passing through various hands (in 1750, for example, being sold for £300 (fn. 429)), was bought in 1802 by Alexander Ramsay Robinson, esquire, (fn. 430) a landowner elsewhere in the parish. (fn. 431) The occupant of the house since 1797 had been a George Burley, probably a lawyer, who remained until 1824. (fn. 432) The rateable value rose greatly in 1808 and Salway's view of 1811 (fn. 89) (Plate 72) may show a new or much renovated house. In 1835 Miss Mary Ann Foy, doubtless a relation of the schoolmaster in Seymour Walk, took the house (called Burley House) for a girls' boarding school, which she conducted until 1865–6. (fn. 155)
The making of Redcliffe Gardens northwards from Fulham Road by the building firm of Corbett and McClymont had already begun and the first houses to be built by them there were already just completed on the opposite side of the road on Pettiward land. The freeholders here followed suit. Burley House was demolished and in 1868 Robert Tetlow Robinson of Dieppe and Lucy Margaret Robinson of Bayswater granted leases (effectively for ninety-eight years) to Corbett and McClymont of newly completed houses over shops at Nos. 266 and 266a Fulham Road (in May) and to Corbett or McClymont individually of houses at Nos. 1–11 (odd) Redcliffe Gardens (in November). (fn. 433) In their usual way Corbett and McClymont were each parties to the individual leases to the other. In Redcliffe Gardens the existence of No. 264 required them to plan wider and shallower houses than usual.
In 1960–2, after a fatal fire, Nos. 266 and 266a Fulham Road were reconstructed (Stewart and Shirley Thomson, architects), with a steel-framed concrete staircase at the north end in Redcliffe Gardens, expressed externally in narrow-coursed, vitrified engineering bricks. (fn. 434)