Monday, September 29, 2008

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.

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