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

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Knightsbridge, the forty-fifth volume of the Survey of London, is the first of the series to be published under the aegis of English Heritage, which took over responsibility for the work of the Survey on its amalgamation with the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in 1999. English Heritage is proud to have been entrusted with a project which its idealistic founder, the architect C. R. Ashbee, conceived of in terms far broader than mere antiquarianism and architectural history. His aim for the Survey was:

to make nobler and more humanly enjoyable the life of the great city … and to stimulate among her citizens that historic and social conscience which to all great communities is their most sacred possession.

Poised between the West End and Kensington, the subject of the present volume is a district without precise boundaries yet is clearly established in the popular imagination. 'Knightsbridge' has long since become a byword for exclusive shops and smart homes for the rich. In some respects no greater contrast can be imagined between this area and that last studied by the Survey-Poplar, Blackwall and the Isle of Dogs. The one, huge in extent, an old dockland and industrial area with a high proportion of public housing, which since the mid-1980s has seen urban regeneration on an unprecedented scale; the other small and up-market, consisting largely of private residences-nineteenth-century terraces, Edwardian mansion blocks, twentieth-century flats and desirable mews houses - interspersed with shops, hotels and restaurants. But as this volume shows, Knightsbridge has a more richly varied past than its present face may suggest — a largely forgotten world of music-halls and dubious boardinghouses, of exhibition rooms and skating-rinks, and the famous Tattersalls' horse-mart on Knightsbridge Green. Among its more remarkable landmarks were a towering factory for making floorcloth and a brightly coloured Chinese pagoda which ended its days in a public park in Hackney in the 1950s.

Many local people have helped in the preparation of this book, and English Heritage is grateful to them all, and particularly to those residents who very kindly gave the staff access to their homes, and allowed photographs to be taken and drawings made.

This volume has been prepared under the direction of the General Editor, John Greenacombe, who with Philip Temple edited all the material. It was researched and written by Alan Cov, John Greenacombe, Harriet Richardson, Ann Robey, Philip Temple, Colin Thom and Rosalind Woodhouse. Additional material was provided by Tara Draper, Michael Goldman, Paul Hutchings and Sonia Larsen. The drawing programme was carried out by Michael E Clements and Malcolm Dickson, and the photography by Sid Barker and Derek Kendall.

Neil Cossons
English Heritage