Hyde Park Gate and Kensington Gate

Survey of London: Volume 38, South Kensington Museums Area. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1975.

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'Hyde Park Gate and Kensington Gate', Survey of London: Volume 38, South Kensington Museums Area, (London, 1975), pp. 26-38. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol38/pp26-38 [accessed 20 June 2024].

. "Hyde Park Gate and Kensington Gate", in Survey of London: Volume 38, South Kensington Museums Area, (London, 1975) 26-38. British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol38/pp26-38.

. "Hyde Park Gate and Kensington Gate", Survey of London: Volume 38, South Kensington Museums Area, (London, 1975). 26-38. British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol38/pp26-38.

In this section

CHAPTER III - Hyde Park Gate, Kensington Gate and Palace Gate

This chapter describes the group of streets in the north-west corner of the area covered by this volume (fig. 9), the names of which recall the nearby entrances into Hyde Park and the grounds of Kensington Palace, and the existence until c. 1864 of the toll gate for travellers between Knightsbridge and Kensington (Plate 79e). By 1811 the land here was in three units of ownership. The largest estate was in the centre, now occupied by the western, or 'frying pan', arm of Hyde Park Gate and by Kensington Gate, and belonged to the trustees of the Campden Charities. To the east lay a three-and-a-half-acre field, then in the ownership of Durs Egg, a West End gunmaker, and later to be purchased by Joshua Flesher Hanson, apparently a schoolmaster turned property developer. To the west was another three-and-a-half-acre plot occupied by Noel House and its grounds, at that time owned by George Aust, Secretary to the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, and some fifty years later to be purchased by the building firm of William Cubitt and Company. Each of these three holdings remained intact until building development was under way.

The numbering of some of the houses here is complicated by the fact that Hyde Park Gate is the name given not only to two adjacent streets opening out of the south side of Kensington Road, but also to the whole south-side frontage of that road between Queen's Gate and De Vere Gardens. Thus the two houses at the north-west corner of Palace Gate which have frontages to Kensington Road only are numbered 58 and 59 Hyde Park Gate although their building history belongs to that of Palace Gate. Nos. 1–4 (consec.) Hyde Park Gate, at the north-west corner of Queen's Gate, were built on the Harrington estate and are described in Chapter XXII, while No. 60 (the De Vere Hotel), at the western end of the Hyde Park Gate frontage, is outside the area of this volume.

The Campden Charities: Butt's Field Estate

The Campden Charities were created in the seventeenth century by the wills of Sir Baptist Hicks, first Viscount Campden, and his wife Elizabeth, for the benefit of the poor of the parish of Kensington. On his death in 1629 Viscount Campden had left £200 on trust for this purpose, and in 1635 his trustees bought a sixteen-acre estate near Shepherd's Bush called Charecrofts. When Lady Campden died, in 1643, she bequeathed £200 on trust for the purchase of land in Kensington yielding an income of at least £10 a year. Half of this income was to be used 'for the better relief of the most poor and needy people, of good life and conversation, that should be inhabiting within the said parish of Kensington', and the other half 'to put forth one poor boy or more being of the said parish, to be apprentice or apprentices'. In 1644 the trustees used Lady Campden's bequest to buy some six acres of land at the east corner of Kensington Road and Hogmire Lane: (fn. 1) the vendor was William Muschamp, the owner of a considerable estate in this area. The land purchased consisted of two adjoining pieces, of which the larger, a close of five and a half acres called Butt's Field, gave its name to the whole. (fn. 3) A third estate, also in Kensington and known as Cromwell's Gift, was acquired by the trustees in 1651, but the origin of the purchase money (£45) has never been satisfactorily explained. This estate, now occupied by Clanricarde Gardens and Nos. 2–12 (even) Notting Hill Gate, is described in Survey of London, volume XXXII.

Throughout the rest of the seventeenth century and much of the eighteenth the Butt's Field estate appears to have been let in one piece, the first tenant being Phillip Colby of Kensington, gentleman, who in 1645 took a twenty-one-year lease of the ground from the trustees at a rent of £10. (fn. 4) Later a public house, originally called the Dun Cow, and subsequently the Campden Arms, was built on the estate near the corner of Kensington Road and Hogmire Lane and close to the turnpike toll gate.

The old workhouse


The benefits provided by the Campden trustees were, originally, quite independent of the poor relief organized by the parish Vestry. In the second half of the eighteenth century, however, the Campden trustees and the parish authorities became parties to an arrangement under which this distinction was blurred. The trustees wanted to increase their income by developing their estates, but were advised that they needed statutory authority to grant building leases. At the same time the Kensington Vestry was anxious to reduce the burden of the poor rate by building a workhouse. (fn. 5) These two ostensibly quite unrelated objectives were both achieved by means of a single Act passed in 1777. The Campden trustees were empowered to grant building or repairing leases of their estates (though only to the highest bidders at a public auction), and the trustees of the poor, constituted under the Act, were authorized to build a workhouse. But the Act also directed that the income from the Campden estates (apart from a fixed sum set aside to put out apprentices) was to be applied to the purchase of a site for, and the building of, a new workhouse. Furthermore, the trustees of the poor were empowered, if they wished, to build the workhouse on any part of the Campden estates in Kensington. (fn. 6)

A number of sites were considered before it was decided to build the new workhouse on the southern part of Butt's Field (now the site of Kensington Gate). (fn. 7) The design chosen was by Thomas Callcott, a member of the well-known Kensington family of builders and bricklayers, and Thomas Lee of Wardour Street was appointed surveyor and superintendent of the building. (fn. 8) Work started in April 1778, the foundation stone was laid in May and by September 1779 the workhouse was in use. (fn. 9) The cost, originally estimated at some £2,332, was reported in 1780 to have doubled, probably on account of the many alterations made during the building, and had to be partly offset by the sale of annuities. (fn. 10) In 1820 Faulkner described the workhouse (of which no picture is known) as 'a substantial brick building, in the form of the letter H'.

Nos. 38–54 Hyde Park Gate

Meanwhile the Campden trustees' attempts to let the remaining parts of Butt's Field for building were proving conspicuously unsuccessful. In April 1779 they had offered a premium of £10 for the best layout plan (won by Thomas Lee), but when in June the individual plots were put up for auction no bids were received. (fn. 11) Further abortive attempts to lease the ground were made in 1786, 1788 and 1803. (fn. 12) It is difficult to account for the reluctance of builders and developers to take sites here: possibly the proximity of the workhouse was an adverse influence. The trustees themselves were baffled, and 'conceiving that the Difficulties and disappointments which have occurr'd in getting Butts Field built upon may have arisen from some ineligibility of the plans and Conditions under which the Ground has been hitherto submitted to the public', they resolved in 1810 to seek the 'Opinion and Assistance of one of the most eminent Architects'. (fn. 13) This was S. P. Cockerell, whose proposals for building on the Foundling Hospital estate in 1790 had earned him a considerable reputation. Cockerell submitted three plans, one of which was adopted, but shortly afterwards the trustees' own advisers were apparently questioning the legality of the trustees' granting building leases, and Cockerell's plan was abandoned. (fn. 14)

By 1820 any doubts about the trustees' powers seem to have been resolved, for in June of that year they asked their surveyor, Thomas Drew of Brompton, to prepare new layout plans for building. (fn. 15) In March 1821 one of Drew's plans was adopted and preparations were made to put up the site for auction in April. (fn. 16) Drew's plan is the earliest for which a drawing survives. He excluded the site of the Campden Arms (then recently rebuilt) (fn. 17) and divided the rest of the estate into twelve plots. Four of these faced the Kensington Road, though set back behind a seventy-foot-wide strip laid out as a plantation, and between the two central plots a road gave access to a small 'square', where the remaining plots were arranged at right angles to the front plots, on either side of a central garden. Lessees were to be allowed to build one or two houses on each plot. At the south end land was reserved for stables. (fn. 18) When the plots were auctioned all four along the Kensington Road, as well as two in the 'square', were taken; (fn. 19) the latter were, however, subsequently given up, and the trustees also experienced considerable difficulty in getting any of the houses built on the front plots, in some cases succeeding only by the threat of litigation. (fn. 20) Eventually, by 1828, three detached and two semi-detached houses were built along the Kensington Road frontage. (fn. 21) Among the lessees, who were granted terms of eighty-four years in 1829 and 1831, were the economist Nassau Senior, and an architect, Redmond W. Pilkington. (fn. 22) Four of these five houses were rebuilt or completely reconstructed before the end of the century, but one (No. 52) survived apparently without much alteration until its demolition in c. 1965. It was a plain stuccofaced house, three storeys high, with wide overhanging eaves.

Figure 9:

Hyde Park Gate, Kensington Gate and Palace Gate. Based on the Ordnance Survey of 1894–6. The original northern end of Gloucester Road is shown to the east of Palace Gate

In June 1824, when building was booming in many parts of London, the trustees appointed a sub-committee which included Stephen Bird, a prominent local brickmaker and builder and a trustee, to consider once again the disposal of the remainder of the estate. (fn. 23) An auction followed in July, at which all the unlet plots appear to have been taken, only to be relinquished again before any houses were built. (fn. 24) Further auctions were held in the less propitious conditions of 1828 and 1834, again without success. (fn. 25) At all these auctions the layout plan proposed was a modified version of the 'square' suggested in 1821, but for an auction held in February 1837 the present 'frying pan' layout was adopted. Its authorship is not known. On this occasion Robert Charles Kidd of Connaught Square, esquire, bought the plot in the south-east corner and built himself a house there called Cleeve Lodge (now No. 42 Hyde Park Gate), which he occupied until 1862. (fn. 21) The site was leased to him by the trustees in 1838 for a term of ninety-nine years from 25 December 1836 at an annual rent of £20. (fn. 26)

At another auction held in September 1838 Robert Thew, a major in the East India Company's artillery, bid successfully for the plot in the south-west corner, where he built the house known as Stoke Lodge (now No. 45 Hyde Park Gate, Plate 79c). The site was leased to him in 1840 for a term of ninety-eight years from 25 March 1838 at an annual rent of £20. (fn. 27) Thew apparently did not live at Stoke Lodge himself, and in 1840 he moved into a house in the adjacent arm of Hyde Park Gate; (fn. 21) in 1851 the house was occupied by the celebrated Italian opera singer Giulia Grisi. (fn. 28)

When first built both Stoke Lodge and Cleeve Lodge were only three bays wide, but they have been greatly altered and enlarged. Both buildings retain their original plain stucco facings and wide overhanging eaves, and Stoke Lodge has an attractive wrought-iron veranda along its rear elevation. The brick stables erected by Kidd and Thew in the gardens of their respective houses as a single building now form the nucleus of No. 43 Hyde Park Gate.

Kensington Gate

Plate 81a, 81b; fig. 10 and drawing between pages 38 and 39

The workhouse built at the southern end of Butt's Field in 1778–9 was soon to prove something of a liability to the Campden trustees. Not only did they receive no rent for the building but they had to use the income from their estates to discharge the annuities granted to pay for its erection. This inequitable situation continued until the last annuitant died in 1816: thereafter the Campden trustees demanded a rent from the poor law authorities for the use of the building. In 1820 this was fixed at £40 a year. With the subsequent development of nearby areas for speculative housing in the 1830's and '40's the value of the workhouse site increased considerably but the poor law authorities always resisted any attempt to raise the rent. Long-drawn-out disputes ensued, culminating in the Campden trustees' threat to take possession of the building if they did not receive an economic rent. Eventually the poor law authorities decided to build a large new workhouse in Marloes Road but until it was ready they were obliged to rent the old building at £365 a year. (fn. 29)

With the opening of the new workhouse in 1849 the building in Butt's Field was surrendered and the Campden trustees soon found a speculator willing to undertake the redevelopment of the whole site. This was John Inderwick of Princes Street, Leicester Square, a well-known importer of tobacco and meerschaum pipes who had already successfully developed his own small freehold estate in nearby Kensington New Town. (fn. 30)

After demolishing the workhouse Inderwick laid out the site for building as a narrow 'square' opening off Gloucester Road and originally called Gloucester Square, but by 1852 known as Kensington Gate. (fn. 31) The house plots were arranged in two terrace-like groups overlooking a central garden. Both the layout and the individual houses were designed for Inderwick by Alfred Cubitt Bean, an architect and surveyor from Hammersmith, who was also to superintend the building work. Inderwick agreed to pay him a fee of £15 per house. (fn. 32) Bean was then about twenty-eight years old. (fn. 33) He was born in London in 1821, the son of a City clothier, but little is known of his career until 1849, when, as clerk of works for the building of the Fulham workhouse, his dismissal was unsuccessfully demanded by the architect of that building because of serious deviations from the drawings and specifications, which he attributed to Bean's frequent absence from the site. (fn. 34)

Bean's work at Kensington Gate, though conservative in its use of the Italianate idiom, is an enterprising variation on the ordinary terrace layout. There are twenty-nine houses altogether, and except for the addition of a single detached house on the slightly longer south side the grouping is symmetrical, each side being composed of a central terrace of ten houses flanked by semi-detached pairs. By adding an extra storey to the end houses in the terraces and putting squat 'campanile' towers at the corners of the semi-detached pairs Bean contrived to avoid the usual monotonous outline associated with terraced housing. He placed the detached house (No. 1) at the south corner with Gloucester Road and gave it a prominent round corner-tower rising through five stages from a ground-storey colonnade and capped by a small dome. It was this rather exoticlooking house which drew Leigh Hunt's censure for 'having one of those unmeaning rounded towers whose tops look like pepper-boxes, or "Trifles from Margate"'. (fn. 35) All the houses are faced with stucco and have entrance porticoes supported on Ionic columns. To give unity to the composition Bean has maintained constant levels throughout and provided a common entablature with a large bracketed cornice to hold together the separate units.

Work on the houses was begun over a period of some eighteen months between June 1850 (the houses on the south side) and mid-October 1851 (No. 1). (fn. 36) In December 1851 The Times reported that on one side (probably the south, though excluding No. 1) the houses were almost ready but uninhabited, while on the other side the carcases were complete except for the roofs. (fn. 30)

This comment on the state of the development had been occasioned by the occurrence of a fatal accident on the site, in which one workman was killed and five others injured when part of the main cornice collapsed. The subsequent inquest, which was widely reported, throws some light on Inderwick's methods. He organized the financial side of the development and supplied the building materials but avoided all legal responsibility which by his agreement with Bean was transferred to the architect. No clerk of works was appointed and in Bean's absence building went on unsupervised. Most of the witnesses blamed the accident on the poor building materials which, since they were provided by Inderwick, were not, so Bean claimed, subject to his control. But the coroner pointed out that 'in as much as he had power to stop the progress of the works at any moment, he had indirectly power over the materials', and not surprisingly the jury found that 'the cause of the accident was by reason of the bad materials furnished by Mr. Inderwick', and 'that Mr. Bean, the surveyor, was to blame for having permitted the works to proceed under such circumstances'. (fn. 37) (fn. 2) The Builder had some sympathy for Bean's position: 'It is all very well to say that the architect should not have permitted such materials to be used: but what authority could he exercise over his employer?' Other reports commented on the fact that the developer supplied his own materials: 'It is a common practice', said the Annual Register, 'but a very bad one, pregnant with mischief.' (fn. 38)

Figure 10:

Kensington Gate, details

The accident does not appear to have affected the progress of the development and on 9 October 1852 the Campden trustees leased the whole site to Inderwick for a term of ninety-nine years, effective from 25 December 1849. The total annual ground rent of £235 (fn. 39) (equivalent to about £120 an acre) was more than £100 a year less than the trustees had latterly received in rent for the old workhouse. (fn. 40) Shortly after obtaining the lease Inderwick mortgaged the whole property for an unknown sum to a gentleman in Kent, no doubt to secure debts incurred during building. (fn. 41)

Some of the houses were already occupied by April 1852, and except for Nos. 14 and 15, which remained empty until 1858, most of the others were inhabited within a year or two of the start of building. (fn. 21) At the time of the census of 1861, when only five houses were still occupied by their original inhabitants, the householders included four civil servants (two of whom were in the Indian service), three fundholders, three lawyers, three merchants, two ladies of title, a physician, an ironmaster, a mine proprietor, a professor of music and two artists—the American landscape painter Jasper Francis Cropsey at No. 2, and the sculptor Richard Westmacott the younger at No. 1. They were mostly middle-aged or older, and able to afford annual rack rents estimated at between £70 (for a terraced house) and £145 (for No. 1), as well as to maintain households with an average size of six, including two servants. The largest single household, Richard Westmacott's, consisted of eleven people of whom five were servants. (fn. 42)

Later history of the estate

Since the second half of the nineteenth century a considerable amount of rebuilding has taken place on Butt's Field, and the Campden trustees' holdings in the estate have been diminished by sales. In 1874 they sold the freehold site of the Campden Arms and some recently acquired adjoining land to the ninth Duke of Bedford, who was enlarging the grounds of his neighbouring property Thorney House (see page 42). (fn. 43) On the east side the freehold of the whole area now occupied by Nos. 38, 39 and 40 Hyde Park Gate was sold to James Watney, Member of Parliament, in 1875 for £22,500. (fn. 44) Two large blocks of flats, Nos. 38 and 39, were erected here in 1891–2 (A. Steer of Victoria Street, Westminster, builder), and another block, No. 40, by 1907. (fn. 45) (fn. c1) Buildings erected on the remaining parts of the estate since 1900 include Nos. 47–49 Hyde Park Gate (Christopher Wright, architect and developer, 1933–4), (fn. 46) and Broadwalk House, which occupies the site of the former Nos. 52–54 (Chapman, Taylor and Partners, architects, 1966–9). (fn. 47)

Nos. 5–37 Hyde Park Gate: Hanson's Development

In 1833 Joshua Flesher Hanson, described as a schoolmaster, who speculated extensively in land and property, purchased the three-and-a-half-acre field to the east of the Campden Charities' estate. He had previously been responsible for Regency Square in Brighton, which was begun in 1818, and in the mid 1820's he had moved to Kensington, where he undertook the initial development of Campden Hill Square and part of the Ladbroke estate (fn. 48). The land at Hyde Park Gate had belonged to Durs Egg, the gunmaker, who had died in 1831, and from whose descendants Hanson purchased it two years later. (fn. 49) The price paid is not stated in surviving documents, and the later evidence of the memoirs of Charles West Cope, an artist who had a house built on land leased from Hanson, must be regarded with caution. Cope wrote, 'There was a waste piece of ground at Kensington Gore, opposite the small cavalry barracks at the entrance of Kensington Gardens and the turnpike, both now pulled down. This was the haunt of one or two donkeys which fed on the thin grass and thistles. It was purchased by a schoolmaster, a Mr. Hanson, for about £300. He built himself a house on it, and let the rest gradually on building leases.' (fn. 50)

The field was approximately rectangular in shape with a long north-south axis and sloped away from the turnpike road towards the south. It was sufficiently wide to allow for the building of a cul-de-sac down the middle with house plots of slightly under a hundred feet in depth on each side (fig. 9). On the frontage to the turnpike road there was room for two short terraces on each side of the new opening (Plate 79d). These were set back some fifty feet from the main road behind private carriage drives, no doubt to mitigate the effects of the noise and dust generated by the heavy traffic along the Kensington Road.

The terrace to the west of the new road, consisting of three houses, was the first part of the new development to be completed. These houses (fn. c2) were apparently built under contract and were ready for occupation by 1836, when they were let on short-term leases by Hanson. The annual rental value of each house was assessed for rating purposes at over £200 per annum, and in 1836 Hanson mortgaged the newly built houses for £5,300. (fn. 51) Only one, No. 36, now survives, perhaps the most distinguished house architecturally in the whole development. The façade is in the Nash tradition with a ground floor of coursed stucco forming a podium on which rest four engaged Ionic columns, two storeys in height, with a full attic storey above their entablature; a basement with its area protected by spear-headed cast-iron railings makes up five storeys in all. The composition of the principal elevation has suffered by the later replacement of the original dominant pediment (shown in Plate 79d) with one that is disproportionately small. The original appearance of the two flanking houses has been conjecturally restored in fig. 11 from photographs of No. 35 in an altered state. Stylistically this three-house group has some affinity with three groups of houses in Holland Park Avenue, Nos. 2–6 and 24–28 (even) and Nos. 23–27 (odd), which were built as part of Hanson's developments there and which may have been designed by Robert Cantwell, (fn. 52) but no direct evidence has been discovered to indicate who was the builder or architect of the Hyde Park Gate houses. The first occupant of No. 36 was Francis Seymour Larpent, who was the chairman of the board of audit of public accounts and had formerly been a deputy judge-advocate-general to the army. (fn. 53)

Hyde Park Gate Mews was laid out by 1836 to provide stables and coach-houses for these three houses. Converted stabling survives on the north side.

Building proceeded very slowly and by 1842 only four more houses had been added. These were on the west side of the road and are now Nos. 27–30 (consec.). Nos. 29 and 30 have been altered and extended, and some account of these alterations will be found below. They were originally a semi-detached pair built under a ninety-nine-year lease, granted in 1840 at a ground rent of £42 per annum, from Hanson to Robert Thew, the major in the East India Company's service who (as previously mentioned) was the builder of Stoke Lodge. (fn. 54) Nos. 27 and 28 (Plate 80b) were built for two artists, Richard Redgrave and Charles West Cope, who were both granted ninety-nine-year leases in 1841 at ground rents of £14 per annum each. (fn. 55) Richard Redgrave, who lived at No. 27 until his death in 1888, was art superintendent for the Science and Art Department at the time of the establishment of the South Kensington Museum (see page 79). The name of the builder is not known, but Redgrave's daughter claimed that Redgrave himself supplied the working drawings for both houses. (fn. 56) If so they seem to show his rather conservative temperament. They are a matching pair of brick-fronted houses which represent a late survival of the Georgian tradition in the proportions of the window-openings and the general absence of decorative features, although the gables and overhanging eaves no doubt provided a touch of rusticity to match their surroundings at the time of building. Unfortunately later alterations and additions have somewhat marred this quiet dignity of effect. Internally the surviving decorative features such as cornices and door architraves are simple and small-scaled. An interesting feature of the planning is the provision at the rear of each house of a double-height room at garden level entered from the hall via a gallery. These were originally the studios of Redgrave and Cope (Plate 80e). Nos. 27 and 28 are now jointly famous as the last home of Sir Winston Churchill. He bought No. 28 in 1945 and acquired No. 27 later, chiefly as office accommodation, when the two houses were made into one. Apart from the period between 1951 and 1955 when he was Prime Minister, he lived at Hyde Park Gate until his death there on 24 January 1965. (fn. 57)

Figure 11:

Nos. 35–37 Hyde Park Gate. Outline of Nos. 35 and 37 (both demolished) and pediment of No. 36 restored to presumed original state

The ground to the south of No. 27, originally one large plot, was taken by Samuel Redgrave, a civil servant and Richard Redgrave's elder brother, who later also became an authority on art and compiled A Dictionary of Artists of the English School. (fn. 58) He had built a detached house there (No. 25, now demolished) by 1843 and was granted a ninety-nine-year lease by Hanson at an annual ground rent of £22 12s. (fn. 59) In 1847 he had another house erected on the remaining part of his plot by Locke and Nesham of Theobalds Road, and in the 1850's he himself moved into this house, now No. 26 (Plate 80b). (fn. 60)

In the middle of the east side of the road Hanson had a house built for his own occupation, and moved there in 1843. (fn. 21) This house (No. 17 on fig. 9), which had a spacious garden on its south side, has been demolished and its site is occupied by a block of flats known as Chancellor's House.

The ground between Hanson's garden and the southern boundary of the land which he had purchased in 1833 was developed by Henry Payne, a builder from Hammersmith, who erected six houses in the form of three semi-detached pairs under ninety-nine-year leases granted by Hanson in 1842 at a ground rent of £9 5s. per annum for each house. (fn. 61) These houses, Nos. 19–24 (consec.), were originally of three main storeys and were stuccoed, but several have been substantially altered. They were all completed and occupied by 1846. (fn. 21)

By this time the only part of Hanson's land which was not occupied by houses, stables or gardens, lay in the north-east corner, including a ninety-foot frontage to the turnpike road. In 1845 he contracted with William Tarte, a plumber and lead merchant of Tothill Street, Westminster, who lived at Streatham Park, (fn. 62) to make the land available for building under ninety-nine-year leases at a total ground rent of £200 per annum. (fn. 63) Approximately half an acre of land was involved, and the very high ground rent secured indicates how eligible the site must have appeared at that time. Tarte employed the notable building firm of Thomas Grissell and Samuel Morton Peto to build nine stuccoed houses, four on the south side of the main road, Nos. 5–8 (consec.) Hyde Park Gate, and five on the east side of Hanson's road, Nos. 9–13 (consec.). (fn. 64) This was a busy time for Grissell and Peto, for in addition to being the main contractors for the new Houses of Parliament they were also building four large houses in Kensington Palace Gardens in 1845. (fn. 65) For the short frontage on the south side of the turnpike road they provided a symmetrical terrace of four houses, those at either end being brought forward slightly with a fully articulated Corinthian order expressed by pilasters embracing the first- and second-floor façades (Plate 79d, 79e). The centre houses had paired Doric porches. No. 5 was refronted in 1900 and Nos. 7 and 8 were demolished in 1972. No. 6 survives basically in its original form. It is four storeys high with a basement and an attic storey contained within the mansard roof. The bay window to the east of the entrance porch must be a later insertion, but the fenestration above remains largely as built.

Figure 12:

Nos. 12 and 13 Hyde Park Gate as built, west elevation, with east elevation of No. 12 and plans of No. 13

No. 9 was originally a detached house with Corinthian pilasters at the corners but has been much altered. It was the home for much of his boyhood of Robert (Lord) Baden-Powell. (fn. 66) Nos. 10–13 (consec.) form two semi-detached pairs (Plate 80c; fig. 12), originally identical but now extensively altered. Each pair has a shallow recessed centre with detached Corinthian columns producing the effect of a portico in antis, the columns being placed very closely adjacent to their corresponding pilasters in order to make room for the entrances to the houses. Originally there were two columns in each recess, but in both cases only one now survives. The unity of each pair was emphasized by a common entablature surmounted by a central attic feature pierced with three æil de bæuf windows. This arrangement can still be seen in Nos. 10 and 11, but at Nos. 12 and 13 its effect has been largely destroyed by later alterations. The authorship of these unusual designs is not known, but it may be that they originated in the drawing office which presumably existed in such a large firm as Grissell and Peto. The provision of attractive lead canopies over the bay windows and entrances may perhaps be partly accounted for by the vested interest of the developer as a lead merchant. (fn. c3)

Nos. 14–16 (consec.), the last houses to be built under Tarte's agreement, were not begun until 1847, after the partnership between Grissell and Peto had been dissolved. They were built by Thomas Jackson of Pimlico, (fn. 36) and, although also faced with stucco, are noticeably more conventional and less ambitious in design than Grissell and Peto's houses.

All of Tarte's houses appear to have been erected under contract. He mortgaged them for substantial sums before they were occupied (Nos. 5 and 6, for instance, for £4,500 and Nos. 14, 15 and 16 for £7,000), and then let them on short leases or sold them leasehold. (fn. 67)

Hanson died in 1847. At that time the annual income from Hyde Park Gate in the form of ground rents, plus the rack rents for Nos. 35–37, must have amounted to approximately £900, but there were extensive mortgage commitments to be met. Hanson had borrowed over £16,000 in the course of the development (fn. 68) and there is no evidence that any of the principal had been repaid. In 1850 George Dodd, a Member of Parliament who was one of the principal mortgagees, sold the freeholds of all the houses in this part of Hyde Park Gate, with the exception of Nos. 35–37 and Hanson's own house, to the landowner William Sloane Stanley, Hanson's executor and beneficiaries under his will consenting to the sale. (fn. 69) The remaining four houses were still subject to mortgages, (fn. 70) and although Hanson left his children well provided for (fn. 71) it seems unlikely that he profited greatly from his speculations in Hyde Park Gate.

In 1858 his descendants conveyed the four still unsold houses to John Austin of Hillingdon, a miller, who had been the executor of Hanson's will. Austin immediately sold Hanson's former residence to Edward William Cooke, the marine painter, who had been living there since 1855. (fn. 72) (fn. c4) The remaining three houses, Nos. 35–37, had not been let on long leases and Austin was able to appropriate some ground from their gardens to provide a site for a new terrace of four houses, Nos. 31–34 (consec.). These houses are of four main storeys over a basement and are brick faced with a stuccoed ground storey and stucco architraves, quoins and cornice in the upper storeys. They have Ionic porches and a continuous balcony with iron railings at first-floor level. The builder was William Carr of St. Marylebone, who was granted ninety-nine-year leases by Austin in 1858. One of Hanson's daughters, Theodosia, was Carr's mortgagee for £2,600. In 1861 Austin conveyed the freeholds of the houses to Carr. (fn. 73)

Later building activity in the street has resulted in the erection of two additional houses and the alteration and rebuilding of others. In 1871 Edward William Cooke, the painter who had purchased Hanson's old house, had the present No. 18 (Plate 93c, 93d) built on a plot which had formerly been part of his garden. He was then no longer living in Hyde Park Gate, having moved to Glen Andred, a house near Groombridge designed for him by Richard Norman Shaw. Cooke had had some architectural training, having worked briefly in Augustus Pugin's office, and had assisted (probably to a minor degree) in the design of Glen Andred. (fn. 74) His diary records that in January 1871 he made plans and elevations for No. 18 Hyde Park Gate and sent these to Shaw on the following day. From the diary entries it appears that Shaw also prepared plans—'He showed me his plans for my new house'—and Cooke may then have revised his own, for he records in February with some ambiguity that 'Shaw sent to me my new plans of house'. (fn. 75) The builders were Manley and Rogers of Islington, who were also the contractors for two houses being built to Shaw's designs in Hertfordshire at about that time. (fn. 76) Shaw was present when Cooke discussed the construction of the house with Manley, and he apparently continued to supervise its erection. (fn. 75) Manley's bill was for £2,029, but Shaw persuaded the firm to settle for £59 less. He received £100 from Cooke, equivalent to a normal five per cent commission. (fn. 76) Nevertheless there must be considerable doubt about the extent to which Shaw was responsible for the design. The house is faced with yellow stock bricks and has a semi-basement and four storeys rising to a gable-ended roof, with a canted bay (probably altered) to the basement and ground floors. The dressings, which are on the whole spare and simple, are of brick and stone, the stone being used chiefly in the windows sills, the hood of the porch and the coping of the gable, although attenuated strips of raised brickwork in the upper storeys are capped with stone fleurs-de-lis. Although the small-paned windows with wide, moulded frames are in the domestic revival idiom, the overall appearance of the house with its large gable and stone dressings is more 'Gothic' than 'Queen Anne', and in stylistic origin it appears to owe more to the London works of Philip Webb than to the country houses which had formed the bulk of Shaw's commissions to that date. In plan the house (now converted into flats) seems to have been of a conventional terrace-house type, with a dog-leg stair rising from the rear of a narrow hallway at the side and two main rooms to each floor. The quality of the brickwork is inferior to that in most Norman Shaw houses, and it was a relatively cheap house even by the yardstick of standard Italianate houses being built nearby at the same time. Perhaps significantly Shaw did not seek to publicize the house and it has not previously been included among his known works. Consequently it exerted little obvious influence on the history of the domestic revival. Nevertheless as apparently the first London house with the design of which Shaw was at all involved and as a work which is exactly contemporary with J. J. Stevenson's Red House in Bayswater Road, No. 18 is of more than passing interest.

Cooke may have built the house as an investment for the first occupant, who had a twenty-one-year lease, was William Stephen Coleman, a book-illustrator and painter who also provided designs for Minton tiles. He was the first manager of Minton's art-pottery studio which was erected in 1870–1 on the nearby property of the 1851 Exhibition Commissioners (fn. 77) (see page 91). According to Cooke's diary mosaics from Minton's were to be used in the decoration of the house. (fn. 75) Other artists who subsequently lived at No. 18 included Solomon J. Solomon, the painter, who added a studio at the rear with access from Queen's Gate Mews, and Sir Jacob Epstein, the sculptor, who occupied the house for some thirty years before his death in 1959. (fn. 78)

The other new house, No. 35A, a low redbrick house with stone mullioned-and-transomed windows, was built at the rear of No. 35 to the designs of A. M. Cawthorne in 1927. (fn. 79)

In 1877 extensive additions and alterations were made at No. 30 to the designs of the architect Alfred Williams (Plate 10b). (fn. 80) A completely new street elevation was provided in brick with dressings in cut and moulded brick and carved stone or stucco. Several elements in the façade, particularly the Dutch gables defining the three bays of the house itself, are reminiscent of the style of J. J. Stevenson, but the eclecticism of the whole is emphasized by the combination of sash windows and casements, and by the large mullioned-and-transformed window (now partially blocked-in) with four carved panels in the northernmost bay. The additional wing to the north originally consisted of a coach-house and stables. The builders were Macey and Son and the decorative carving was by J. W. Seale.

No. 29, which was originally the other half of a semi-detached pair with No. 30, was also altered and extended at various times. The most important alterations were carried out in 1928 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Sir Roderick Jones, the chairman of Reuter's, and his wife, the playwright Enid Bagnold (Plate 80d). (fn. 81) It was an ingenious scheme. In the southern half of the house (formerly the coach-house and stables) a large double-height drawing-room was created with its floor at basement level, the entrance being at a high level, down a broad staircase at right-angles to the door, separated from the main space by square panelled piers. Four French windows to the garden threw light on to a banqueting table. At a half-level above this room, Enid Bagnold's writing-room— 'a room like a ship's cabin'—was inserted, also entered at a high level. On the newel-post of the writing-room staircase Lutyens with typical whimsicality placed a revolving copper ball, so that Miss Bagnold, if she woke up in the middle of the night with a literary inspiration, could run down the staircase into the room and propel herself into her chair in a single movement. The interior was still intact in 1969 when the house was put up for sale. Lutyens also laid out the simple but dignified garden; he provided the terrace and steps down from the house with brick walls and elegant geometrical railings characteristic of his later years.

The house has since been subdivided. The northernmost part, with a front of three wide bays and a doorcase with Greek Doric columns in antis, is now numbered 29 and corresponds approximately in extent with the house built c. 1840 (fn. 82) although its appearance has been much changed. The part now called Monmouth House, adjoining to the south of the present No. 29, has a recently added semi-circular Roman Doric porch.

Rebuilding has taken place at No. 37, where the present brick building was erected in 1893 by Perry and Company of Bow (Plate 79d). (fn. 36) It has five main storeys with a steeply pointed roof and small balconies in the north-east corner of each floor carried on thin columns with Composite capitals, producing a distinctly un-English effect. Chancellor's House, the block of flats which replaced Hanson's house, was erected in 1960–1, and the flats on the site of No. 35 in 1965–7. (fn. 83)

By the time the census of 1851 was taken several eminent people were living in the street. Besides the artists Charles West Cope and the Redgrave brothers, Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, the comic writer who was a member of the original staff of Punch, was living at No. 19, and described himself as 'Metropolitan Police Magistrate, Barrister and Author'. Other residents included a justice of the peace who was also a landowner and banker, two other landowners (one of whom, Howell Leny Vallotton, owned an estate in Kensington New Town), a magistrate who was also an East India merchant, three other barristers and two solicitors, a major in the East India Company's service (Robert Thew), two silk manufacturers, a linen draper, a wool factor, a merchant, a wharfinger, an insurance broker, a public officer in the Court of Chancery, a proctor, an annuitant, a fundholder, two windows (one of them a publican's) and the head of a ladies' school with five pupils living on the premises. The residents were surprisingly young, for of twentyeight householders eight were under forty and ten more under fifty, while sixteen of them had been born in London, an unusually high proportion for a middle-class street. There were on average three servants to each house. By 1871 the householders' occupational pattern had changed little, but the number of servants per household had risen to four. (fn. 84)

In later years Hyde Park Gate has often provided a home for people of professional and social eminence. Among several aristocratic residents were the eldest son of the fifth Duke of Rutland, styled Marquis of Granby, who lived at No. 35 when he was a Member of Parliament immediately before his succession to the Dukedom in 1857, and the Dowager Duchess of Grafton, who lived at No. 30 for about five years around 1890. (fn. 85) Many Members of Parliament found the street convenient for Westminster. Nearly a score of the nineteenth-century occupants of this part of Hyde Park Gate are entered in the Dictionary of National Biography, including Sir Leslie Stephen, the Dictionary's first editor, who lived briefly at No. 20 and then at No. 22 from his second marriage in 1878 until his death in 1904. (fn. 86) His daughters Vanessa (Bell) and Virginia (Woolf) were born at No. 22 and spent much of their childhood there.

The wealth of many of its occupants has in general had an adverse effect on the architecture of the street, much of whatever distinction it originally possessed having been mutilated by inappropriate additions. The insensitive manner in which Sir Leslie Stephen added two extra brick-faced storeys (fn. c5) to his otherwise stucco-fronted house at No. 22 provides an obvious case in point.

Kensigton Gate, plans and elevations


  • 1. When Palace Gate was laid out in the 1860's the northern end of Hogmire Lane (by then called Gloucester Road) was closed: its former course is indicated on fig. 9.
  • 2. With this adverse verdict Bean's independent architectural career appears to have come to a sudden end (apart from some very minor commissions in the 1870's and '80's), and in 1856 he was no doubt glad to secure the post of surveyor to the Fulham Board of Works against forty-seven other applicants. The selection committee, surprisingly, made no reported reference to the accident at Kensington Gate, although they did require to be satisfied over the affair at the Fulham workhouse.36 Bean held this post, despite increasing deafness, until forced to retire, aged sixty-five, when the Fulham Board was disbanded in 1887. 37 He died in 1903 leaving over £8,000. 38
  • 3. Endowed Charities (London), vol. iv, 1901, pp. 425–6: G.E.C.
  • 4. C.C.T., lease of 29 Sept. 1645 to P. Colby.
  • 5. An inquiry into the merits of the claim made on behalf of the Parish of Kensington to the workhouse built on the lands of the Campden Trust, 1846 (copy in K.P.L.).
  • 6. 17 Geo. III, c. 64, public.
  • 7. K.P.L., Minutes of the Trustees of the Poor, 1777 passim.
  • 8. Ibid., 16 Sept. 1777, 13 Feb., 13 March 1778.
  • 9. Ibid., 3 April, 1 May 1778.
  • 10. Ibid., 31 March 1778, 9 Feb. 1780, 6 March 1797.
  • 11. C.C.T., Minutes, 1779 passim.
  • 12. Ibid., 1786–1803 passim.
  • 13. Ibid., 26 Nov. 1810.
  • 14. Ibid., 25 April 1811, 28 Feb. 1812.
  • 15. Ibid., 20 June 1820.
  • 16. Ibid., 13, 17 March 1821.
  • 17. K.P.L., Kensington Turnpike Trust, Minutes of Committee, 29 July 1822.
  • 18. W.C.S. P/16/515: C.C.T, Minutes, 31 March 1821.
  • 19. C.C.T., Minutes, 24 April 1821.
  • 20. Ibid., 1821–31 passim.
  • 21. R.B.
  • 22. C.C.T, lease of 20 May 1829 to T. R. Drew; conveyance of 8 May 1875 to J. Watney: M.L.R. 1832/7/632.
  • 23. C.C.T., Minutes, 23 June 1824.
  • 24. Ibid., 16 July 1824 et seq.
  • 25. Ibid., 1828 passim; sale particulars of 1834.
  • 26. Ibid., lease of 1 Feb. 1838 to R. C. Kidd.
  • 27. Ibid., lease of 23 June 1840 to R. Thew.
  • 28. P.R.O., H.O. 107/1468, f. 23.
  • 29. An inquiry . . ., ut supra: K.P.L., Vestry Minutes, 1 May 1840; Minutes of the Trustees of the Poor, 1820–45 passim: G.L.R.O.(L), KBG Minutes, 1840–9, passim.
  • 30. T. 1 Dec. 1851.
  • 31. M.C.S. P/4/106: M.L.R. 1852/15/296.
  • 32. B. 13 Dec. 1851, p. 779n.: T. 9 Dec. 1851.
  • 33. Guildhall Lib., MS. 9154.
  • 34. Ibid.: G.L.R.O.(L), FBG 3, June-Nov. 1849.
  • 35. Leigh Hunt, The Old Court Suburb, 1855, vol. 1, pp. 87–9.
  • 36. D.S.R.
  • 37. B. 13 Dec. 1851, p. 779: T. 9 Dec. 1851.
  • 38. B. 13 Dec. 1851, p. 779: Annual Register for 1851. Chronicle, pp. 187–8.
  • 39. M.L.R. 1852/15/296; 1853/7/836.
  • 40. G.L.R.O.(L), KBG 11, 17 Feb. 1848.
  • 41. M.L.R. 1852/15/304.
  • 42. P.R.O., R.G. 9/17, ff. 5–8: R.B.
  • 43. C.C.T., Minutes 1873–4 passim: Annual Reports of Campden Charities' Trustees, 1867–8, p. 6; 1874, p. 7.
  • 44. C.C.T., conveyance of 8 May 1875 to J. Watney.
  • 45. D.S.R.: B.A. 4395: P.O.D.
  • 46. C.C.T., file on Nos. 47–49 Hyde Park Gate.
  • 47. B.A. 106238.
  • 48. Survey of London, vol. XXXVII, 1973, pp. 89–90, 197: J.A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, pt. 11, vol. 3, 1947, sub Hanson, Stephen.
  • 49. K.P.L., MS. 3791: M.L.R. 1833/6/268–9.
  • 50. Charles Henry Cope, Reminiscences of Charles West Cope R. A., 1891, pp. 118–19.
  • 51. R.B.: M.L.R. 1836/5/606.
  • 52. Survey of London, vol. XXXVII, 1973, pp. 93, 197.
  • 53. R.B.: D.N.B.
  • 54. M.L.R. 1841/2/223; 1850/5/796.
  • 55. Ibid., 1841/2/110–11.
  • 56. F. M. Redgrave, Richard Redgrave C.B., R.A. A Memoir . . ., 1891, p. 47.
  • 57. G.L.C. Members' Library, file no. 1631.
  • 58. D.N.B.
  • 59. M.L.R. 1847/10/22; 1850/5/796.
  • 60. D.S.R.: P.O.D.
  • 61. M.L.R. 1843/6/994–5; 1850/5/796.
  • 62. Ibid., 1845/8/102; 1847/7/1007: P.O.D.
  • 63. M.L.R. 1846/9/341–2; 1847/2/622–8; 1848/3/ 823–5; 1850/5/796.
  • 64. D.S.R.: W.C.S. 84, pp. 352, 364.
  • 65. Survey of London, vol. XXXVII, 1973, p. 158.
  • 66. G.L.C. Members' Library, file no. 1227.
  • 67. M.L.R. 1846/9/772; 1847/7/1007; 1848/4/ 767.
  • 68. Ibid., 1841/2/112; 1843/3/506; 1847/2/351.
  • 69. Ibid., 1850/5/796.
  • 70. Ibid., 1851/12/268.
  • 71. P.R.O., PROB 11/2054, f. 327.
  • 72. M.L.R. 1858/6/743; 1881/29/684.
  • 73. Ibid., 1858/13/302–9; 1861/7/69, 391.
  • 74. Mark Girouard, 'Creating the "Old English" Style. Early Norman Shaw Commissions— 11', in Country Life, 6 Sept. 1973, pp. 614–18.
  • 75. Manuscript diaries of E. W. Cooke in private possession (reference kindly supplied by Mr. John Munday).
  • 76. Information kindly supplied by Mr. Andrew Saint from material for a forthcoming biography of Shaw.
  • 77. D.N.B.: P.O.D.: Elizabeth Aslin, The Aesthetic Movement, 1969, pp. 141–2.
  • 78. D.N.B.: P.O.D.: G.L.C. Members' Library, file no. 1302.
  • 79. B.A. 53337.
  • 80. B.N. 7 Dec. 1877, p. 562.
  • 81. A. S. G. Butler, The Lutyens Memorial. The Architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens, 1950, vol. 1, p. 13: Enid Bagnold's Autobiography, 1969, pp. 150–6, and information kindly supplied by Miss Bagnold.
  • 82. M.L.R. 1850/4/848.
  • 83. B.A. 53337, 101661.
  • 84. P.R.O., H.O.107/1468, ff. 17–22; R.G. 10/29, ff. 43–4, 68–71.
  • 85. P.O.D.: G.E.C.
  • 86. Frederic William Maitland, The Life and Letters of Leslie Stephen, 1906, p. 322.
  • c1. Architect R. J. Worley. Doulton's supplied the terracotta.
  • c2. Nos 35-37
  • c3. In 1859 the architect John Burges Watson exhibited an interior view of a studio for the artist E. H. Corbould, presumably for No. 10 Hyde Park Gate, where Corbould had taken up residence in 1859.
  • c4. In 1864 Decimus Burton designed alterations and additions for E. W. Cooke at this house.
  • c5. in 1879.