Friday, September 26, 2008

Eaton Place , Belgravia

Eaton Place (one of the grandest streets in Belgravia) runs north from Eaton Square, then turns east and finally joins Upper Belgrave Street. Eaton Place has some very large houses, almost as large as those in Eaton Square itself. Most of the houses have now been divided into flats.
The west side of Eaton Place, up to Lyall Street, comprises wide stuccoed houses with porticoed entrances. At No. 86 is a slightly incongruous red brick block of flats.
No. 38 was totally destroyed by fire in 1980 following sabotage which caused a gas explosion. The house was complete the rebuilt (completed in 1983) in the same style as the neighbouring houses. It is now the Italian consulate. According to a report in the Times at the time, the explosion destroyed documents on up to 140,000 Italians working in Britain at the time.
No. 108 on the east side is only two floors high with a flat roof, but it is particularly attractive with an unusual design. There are carved lions on either side of the central entrance (which has an elegant rounded arch above it) which is then flanked by shuttered windows. the central window at the top is covered by a very attractive intricate metalwork.
The east part of Eaton Place, between Lyall Street and Upper Belgrave Street, stucco has less of a grip. Most houses are brick-faced above ground floor level. No. 11 on the north side is noticeable for its lush shrubs and abundant greenery in front of the house. The terrace comprising Nos. 16 to 20 on the south side is particularly grand with its columns and porticos. No. 17 is a key building with a columned fa├žade and a large balcony.
Eaton Place was named after Eaton Hall in Cheshire, the estate of the Grosvenor family.
Work on its construction began in 1826. Work began in the eastern section and moved slowly westwards. The houses at the east end were occupied by 1828. Thomas Cubitt's brother Lewis designed the eastern terraces, which were generally completed by 1835. Five years later the centre blocks were completed and the western sections were completed in 1845.
Thomas Cubitt seems to have liked Eaton Place. Between 1828 and 1847 he had his office at nine different houses in the street, moving on as properties were sold. Finally he had to move to No. 3 Lyall Street.
There is something of an Irish historical connection. Lord Carson, the leading opponent of Home Rule for Ireland, lived at No. 5 at one time. In 1922 Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson was assassinated by two Irish gunmen as he got out of his car outside Number 36.

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