Survey of London: Volume 4, Chelsea, Pt II. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1913.
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LXXXIV.–XCIII.—Nos. 11, 13, 15, 29, 31, 53, 71 and 34, 36, 38, CHURCH STREET.
Church Street is the oldest road in Chelsea, having originally been the only way of approach to the riverside. Not very long ago it was lined on both sides with houses of the 17th and 18th centuries, but these are rapidly giving place to modern buildings of not the most desirable character.
A tablet built high up in the south wall of No. 9 is a witness to this. The house has been largely re-built, and during the alterations which disclosed the stone, Mr. J. Henry Quinn had an opportunity of inspecting it and took a rubbing of it on 23rd February, 1912. As far as the inscription is legible it reads:
THIS IS CHURCH LANE
IN YE? YEARE OF CHARLES
THE SECOND'S REIGNE
M 166? B
The Rectory and the Petyt School will be dealt with separately, but as the remaining houses scarcely warrant very full treatment, we will notice them together.
Starting at the southern end, along the west side, we pass three 18th-century houses, Nos. 11, 13 and 15, which apparently formed part of a larger block of the same date. Nos. 11 and 13 are recessed from the road, while No. 15 comes right forward in the form of a wing. They have good brick fronts with moulded brick string-courses.
Internally they are interesting examples of early 18th-century work. Nos. 11 and 13 are similar in plan, the former having on the ground floor two rooms, back and front, with good panelling; the latter having a cupboard semi-circular in plan with shaped shelves. An elaborately treated opening, with fluted-pilasters, leads from the front room to the staircase, which retains its old balusters and carved brackets. The stair to basement is protected by a grille of wooden balusters. Behind the stair, and within its enclosure, is a powder closet on the first floor. The upper flight has balusters of late 17th-century character. No. 13 has lost the greater part of its panelling and its back wall has been rebuilt.
The plan of No. 15 is interesting as it consists of a back and front room, connected by a passage, from which there ascends a stair in a curved recess, between the two rooms. This stair surrounds a small well and has continuous newels, the height of the house. It seems certainly to date from the 17th century. Each length of the balustrade has one baluster only, with two half balusters against the newels, all of an early pattern.
Nos. 29 and 31, built partly over an archway to Waterloo Place, have been evidently reconstructed, but some remains of c. 1700 are to be seen. No. 53 has also been rebuilt, but an early brick cornice seems to have been re-used. This house has a small enclosure to the south, and, overhanging it and projecting from the south wall, is an interesting glazed balcony or greenhouse, probably dating from the early part of the 19th century.
No. 71 is of the latter half of the 18th century, and has a doorway of Early Victorian character.
On the east side there are only three houses of any considerable age:—Nos. 34, 36 and 38. Of these the two former have been refronted, but all retain their old doorways of the late 18th century. The sign on No. 16 is described hereafter.
In the Council's ms. collection is:—
No. 53, Church Street (photograph).