Knightsbridge Barracks

Page 64

Survey of London: Volume 45, Knightsbridge. Originally published by London County Council, London, 2000.

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Knightsbridge Barracks

Conceived in the late 1950s, but not built until 1967–70, Sir Basil Spence's barracks for the Household Cavalry is architecturally the most remarkable post-war development in Knightsbridge. With its high tower, the principal landmark of the district and a conspicuous presence on the Hyde Park skyline, it is also the most controversial.

Spence's buildings are the third generation of cavalry barracks on the site. The construction of the first, started in 1792–3, coincided with the beginning of a systematic barrack-building programme throughout England. The original structures, obsolete as well as dilapidated, were replaced in the late 1870s by palatial buildings appropriate both to the prestige of the Household Cavalry and the importance of the site. By the 1950s not only had the imperial splendour they reflected become dim, but they in turn were felt to have reached the end of their useful existence.