Nos. 1-4, The Vale

Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1913.

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'Nos. 1-4, The Vale', in Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II, (London, 1913) pp. 50. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

LXXX.—LXXXIII.—Nos. 1 to 4, THE VALE (Demolished).

Not more than a generation ago much open space remained between the King's Road and the Fulham Road, the northern part of which contained a large private mansion, and was still known as Chelsea Park. This house was destroyed in 1876, the grounds being now covered by Elm Park Gardens and Elm Park Road. South of the latter was a large field or paddock, usually known as the Vale and attached to Vale Grove, Church Street, the residence of Mr. Barrett, brushmaker, who died there quite recently, that event being followed by its destruction in December, 1912. Until some three years ago, there still existed a blind walk also called The Vale, communicating with the King's Road, and immediately south of the paddock from which it was shut off by an iron gate and railing. It contained four houses, all of which are shown on Thompson's map (1836), and with their trees and charming gardens they served to remind the visitor of a Chelsea that is now almost completely gone. In No. I, on the left hand or southside, resided Mr. William de Morgan, the novelist and potter, whose manufactory for his famous tiles was once at Orange House, Cheyne Row. He lived in the Vale for 22 years, having been preceded by a Mr. Carter, who resided in the same house for 20 years. Plate 54 shows the pretty porch to the garden, and incidentally portrays Mr. and Mrs. de Morgan as well. Opposite, at No. 2, on the right-hand side, a semi-detached house with plastered front, and a long verandah, lived Whistler from 1886 till 1890. Messrs. Ricketts and Shannon afterwards dwelt here and hence was derived the title of the Vale Press, published by Huron and Ricketts. Professor and Mrs. Oliver were the last occupants. This house was semi-detached, but nothing special need be said about the northern portion. On the same side of the Vale, close to the King's Road, was a Chapel, afterwards the studio of Mr. T. Stirling Lee, sculptor, who has now built for himself a studio in Vale Avenue, a new thoroughfare leading from the King's Road over the site of the Vale Walk to Elm Park Road.

In No. 4, more to the north, lived for some time an old-fashioned character named Maguire, who used to keep stags in the paddock and afterwards had plaster statues of stags in their stead. He was succeeded by a son and daughter-in-law of Mr. Barrett, who had held the long lease of the Vale, and, as we have recorded, died recently at his house in Church Street.