Monday, September 29, 2008

Anne's Close , Belgravia

Anne's Close is a tiny passage off Kinnerton Street.

Belgrave Mews North , Belgravia

Belgrave Mews North has to be one of the most attractive mews streets in the area. It runs just to the south of (and parallel to) the south side of Wilton Crescent. It is a cul-de-sac and it still has its original cobbles. The houses were clearly built in many different styles and most of them are extremely pretty. Unusually for a mews, there are many attractive trees as well.
The mews ends with a massive brick wall completely covered with creepers and shrubs. There is an even more attractive tree on the other side, which can be seen over the top of the wall. The house next to the wall only has a garage entrance (presumably the house entrance is through one of the houses in Belgrave Square) but it has a beautiful second floor bow window with a view over the whole mews and over the wall looking on to Wilton Crescent.
No. 45 on the north side is particularly appealing.
Like Belgravia itself, Belgrave Mews North was named after Belgrave, a village near Leicester owned by the Grosvenor family.

Belgrave Mews South , Belgravia

Belgrave Mews South is a cul-de-sac which is entered through an arched entrance from Belgrave Place and then runs just below Belgrave Square. It is an attractive cobbled street. It is made all the more attractive by the fact that the houses have many differing styles, and the mews is a lot less uniform than many.
Some of the houses have bare-brick facades at first floor level but most have been painted. No. 21 on the north side particularly stands out with its attractive first floor bow-fronted window.
At the entrance there is a small "sentry box".
Belgrave Mews South was named after Belgrave, a village near Leicester owned by the Grosvenor family.

Belgrave Mews West , Belgravia

This is an attractive cobbled mews which runs from Halkin Place to Chesham Place with a traditional arched entrance at either end. The nicest houses are at the north end nearest West Halkin Street.
The Austrian Embassy is at No. 18, towards the south end of the of mews.
Like Belgravia itself, Belgrave Square was named after Belgrave, a village near Leicester owned by the Grosvenor family.
No. 6 at the northern end is the Star Tavern, a public house built in the 1830s. It was built to cater for the domestic staff in the surrounding great houses. The adjoining mews cottages would have been used for stabling horses and to accommodate the grooms and coachmen. It is a former "Pub of the Year" and is well worth visiting.

Belgrave Place , Belgravia

Belgrave Place is a busy street with one-way traffic going north from Eaton Square to the south-west corner of Belgrave Square.
Like Belgravia itself, Belgrave Square was named after Belgrave, a village near Leicester owned by the Grosvenor family.
The Spanish Cultural Centre, with its imposing columned fa├žade, stands on the corner with Eaton Square. Opposite is the Belgian Embassy which has a plaque unveiled by the late Queen Mother to commemorate the Belgians killed in World War Two (laid on 21st June, 1964).
It is not a predominantly residential street. But No. 7 & 8 on the west side is noteworthy as being an attractive residential building with a wide frontage.
Queen Victoria rented 36 as a home for her mother, the Duchess of Kent, while Kensington Palace was being constructed in the 1840s. She paid £2,000 a year rent.
Various other aristocrats lived in the square in the 19th century. The Earl of Essex was one of the first takers in this untried area in the 1840s and was nick-named ‘the Decoy Duck’ as a result.

Belgrave Square , Belgravia

Belgrave Square covers nearly 10 acres. It was the centrepiece of the whole estate and contained the grandest homes The north and east sides of the square were the first to be constructed. When it became clear that there was going to be considerable demand for the houses, the west and south sides were built in a more extravagant and flamboyant style. The houses are very large. There are only 11 in the terraces on each side (with one more on the south side).
In the first half of the 20th century the area fell into decline, and the square was saved by the need for suitably large and imposing houses for embassies. In recent times, several buildings have returned to use as residences, but as flats rather than houses. The original facades have been kept but many of the buildings have been substantially rebuilt behind to create large flats, some running laterally behind more than one house front to make very large flats indeed.
The central gardens are private. On the east side of the gardens, there is a bronze statue of Simon Bolivar, which was created by Hugo Daini in 1974, and apparently donated by grateful South American countries. (Simon Bolivar liberated much of South America from Spanish colonial rule, including Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama.) The inscription on the plinth - apparently his own words - reads: "I am convinced that England alone is capable of protecting the world's precious rights as she is great, glorious and wise." He must have been applying for a loan at the time.
Like Belgravia itself, Belgrave Square was named after Belgrave, a village near Leicester owned by the Grosvenor family.
Earl Grosvenor had to get an Act of Parliament passed to allow him to begin building on the site in 1826. The builder he chose was Thomas Cubitt. The architect was George Basevi, who was responsible for many of the best Regency buildings in Kensington.
Large detached houses were placed at the corners of the square, separated from it by the roads radiating outwards. Each house is place diagonally, facing into the centre of the square. No. 12, on the north-west corner, was built in about 1830 for Lord Brownlow by Sir Robert Smirke. No. 24, on the south-west corner, was built in 1834 by H E Kendall for Thomas Read Kemp. (Read Kemp had himself built Kemp Town in Brighton). No. 37, Seaford House, the house on the south-east corner, was designed by Philip Hardwick for Lord Sefton, and built in 1842-6. Finally, No. 49, on the north-east corner, was designed by Sidney Herbert. Thomas Cubitt built it in 1847, possibly for his own use. Two of these houses are now homes to the Spanish and Portuguese Ambassadors

Belgravia Place , Belgravia

Belgravia Place is a luxurious but discreet corner of Belgravia. It's a new development (1991) covering about one acre, in its own private square between Whittaker Street, Bourne Street, Holbein Place and Graham Terrace.
The development was a joint venture between the Grosvenor Estate and Hutchinson Whampoa Property Group. The architects were Paul Davis & Partners.
An old school site was turned into 28 town-houses. 10 of them are mews houses with patio gardens. The 8 largest houses each come their own 30-foot swimming pools at sub-basement level. The houses run from 2 to 6 bedrooms in size. There are 14 apartments (including 4 penthouses): 8 facing onto Whittaker Street and 6 onto Bourne Street. They come in various sizes from 1 to 4 bedrooms.

Boscobel Place , Belgravia

Boscobel Place is a small mews off Elizabeth Street.
No. 34, a yellow house with shutters, stands out.
No. 48 was 'Regency-fied' in the 1920s.

Bourne Street , Belgravia

At the north end of Bourne Street are some fairly humble (by Belgravia standards) terraced cottages. The houses in Bourne Street are generally 2-storeys with semi-basements and they have 2 or 3 bedrooms. At this end the street crosses Underground lines running to Sloane Square station and in some places you can faintly hear or feel vibration from the trains.
At the south end of the street, is Carmel Hall, built in 1937-1938. This houses the 'Grosvenor Club' - a members-only club along the lines of the old style working men's clubs of the 1950s. (It was built as a church hall by H S Goodhart-Rendel.)
There's a Best Foods Supermarket which is a useful corner shop at the end of the street. But if you prefer to eat out there's also 'La Poule au Pot', a very well known French Restaurant where Lady Diana used to eat.
The Francis Holland School is also in this street. The local church (C of E) is the red-brick St Mary's Bourne Street.
Samuel Archbutt, a Victorian developer in the area, built some of the houses, such as Nos. 37-45, in about 1824. Designed originally as workers' cottages, they are extremely narrow by modern standards.
At the southern end there is an attractive Neo-Georgian built in 1979-81 and designed by the architects Chapman Taylor and Partners.

Bowand Yard , Belgravia

Bowand Yard is a 1980s development - unusually for this part of Belgravia. The area was previously an old warehouse. There are 4 houses, 2 maisonettes and 2 flats and a short entrance passage protected by gates.
A plaque records that the architects were awarded the Europa Nostra Award, Diploma of Merit for "A Sensitive Development Of A Typical London Mews". The architects were D W Insall & Associates.
It is quite a small space, so there is no access for cars. On the north side are some two-storey houses.

Bunhouse Place , Belgravia

Bunhouse Place is a small street near Bourne Street, slotted in behind commercial premises in Pimlico Road. It leads into Ormonde Place.
Bunhouse Place contains some neo-Georgian town-houses built in the 1970s.

Capeners Close , Belgravia

Capeners Close is a pedestrian cul-de-sac with a gated entrance off Kinnerton Street, with the adjoining house built as a flying freehold over the top of the entrance.

Caroline Terrace , Belgravia

Caroline Terrace contains attractive houses, most of which are of a size which still works for modern family homes. They are usually on 3 or 4 floors from ground floor up, with a semi-basement as well. The accommodation usually includes 3 or 4 bedrooms. The houses have their own gardens and some of them have garages.
Samuel Archbutt, a Victorian developer active in the area in the 1820s, was involved in much of the construction.
Most houses have stucco facades at ground floor and semi-basement levels, with exposed brick work from the first floor level upwards.
Charles McCall (1907 - 1989), an artist and designer, lived and died at No. 1A according to the 'Blue Plaque' on the wall.

Chapel Street , Belgravia

Chapel Street runs from the south east corner of Belgrave Square to Grosvenor Place. Most of the houses have five storeys (including a basement. They are mainly stuccoed up to first floor level. Nos. 9 -11 on the south side are the oldest in the street, dating from 1787. (No. 11 has an interesting and unusual glazed first floor balcony.)
The houses further west, many with attractive iron balconies at first floor level, were constructed in the first two decades of the 19th century.
Harewood Lodge is a rather interesting building. The ground floor only has windows at the front. There is an entrance at the side, but it is still marked "Tradesmen Entrance". Very Belgravia!
Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, lived at No. 24.

Chesham Close , Belgravia

Chesham Place takes its name from Chesham in Buckinghamshire, the site of a country estate owned by the Lowndes family.
Their estate, the Lowndes estate, makes up a large part of the land between the Grosvenor estate and Knightsbridge.

Chesham Mews , Belgravia

Chesham Mews takes its name from Chesham in Buckinghamshire, the site of a country estate owned by the Lowndes family. Their estate, the Lowndes estate, makes up a large part of the land between the Grosvenor estate and Knightsbridge.
Seen from the outside, Chesham Mews is plainer than many other mews streets. The brickwork of most of the houses is painted. The mews is overlooked by the German Embassy at the far end.

Chesham Place , Belgravia

The Lowndes estate, makes up a large part of the land between the Grosvenor estate and Knightsbridge. Chesham Place takes its name from Chesham in Buckinghamshire, the site of a country estate owned by the Lowndes family.
On the south side Nos. 29-37 were built by Cubitt in the 1840s. Nos. 30-31 were knocked together by Cubitt in 1852 and given a separate entrance at the back, to form a single residence for the Russian Ambassador of the time. (The Ambassador threw a party for the 200 workmen who had been working on the project.) No. 29 has an interesting cast iron conservatory designed in the late Victorian era when iron constructions were the fashion. Lord John Russell lived at No. 37 in the mid-19th century.
The central garden is unusually in the shape of a triangle and Chesham Place is built round it. There are some very impressive apartments on the south side. Lady Thatcher had her office here when she 'retired' as Prime Minister.
No. 20 is now the site of the Belgravia Sheraton Hotel. The bronze statue outside is called 'Flora' and was created in 1978 by Fritz Koenig. The Germans built a new embassy in Chesham Place in 1979, designed by Walther and Bea Betz, a firm of Munich Architects.
But many of the houses are still residences. No. 26 on the west side of Chesham Place is an imposing house on five floors (including the basement). Thomas Cubitt built houses here in the 1830s.
Lord John Russell (1792-1878) , twice Prime Minister 1841-1857 and 1859 - 1870 lived at No 37. George Harvey, an American ambassador, lived at No 29 in 1922.