Monday, September 1, 2008

Ebury Street , Belgravia

The land on which Ebury Street was built was part of a farm of 430 acres which at one time belonged to Elizabeth I, called Ebury farm. The Grosvenors acquired it in 1676. Ebury Square marks the site of the original manor house. Ebury Street runs along the southern edge of Belgravia into Pimlico Road.
Many of the original houses have become hotels - often the fate of houses on a main traffic route. There are still a few small brick-faced Victorian terraced houses. Pimlico Grammar School with a classical Greek portico, built by J R Candy Deering in 1830, is now flats.
There are a few older houses left. Nos. 83-89 were built in 1796. Nos. 162-170 and Nos. 180-188 are among the oldest houses in Belgravia and were built between 1720 and 1740. (No 176 in the middle is the much later St Barnabas Boys' School, built in 1871 by Frederick Hunt.) Mozart stayed at No. 180 in 1764-5 when he was 8 and there's a 1994 statue of him by Philip Jackson, at the junction with Pimlico Road.
Other houses were built much later. Nos. 78-94 on the north west side were built by G. Watkins in 1825. At about the same time George Harrison built Nos. 117-133 on the south east side.
Ebury Street houses quite a collection of large blocks mainly from the post-War period. Belgrave Court was designed by Ronald Ward & Partners and built in 1964-7. T P Bennett & Son put up the Cundy Street Flats which are rather isolated blocks built in 1950-2. They are also responsible for Nos. 55-75 built in 1975-8. Johnson House went up in 1953 to designs by J Innes Elliott and was originally a hostel for policemen.
The blocks are not all modern. Coleshill Buildings in distinctive white bricks was designed to house the local workers and built in 1868-70. Apparently the builders were given the land cheap by the Marquess of Westminster on condition that the properties were made to look nice, so they were given French pavilion-style roofs. They also have iron-fronted access balconies.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791),wrote his first symphony in 1764 at the age of 8 while staying at No 180. In 1847 Alfred Lord Tennyson lived at No 42. Ian Fleming (1908-1964), Creator of James Bond, lived at No 22. Dame Edith Evans (1888-1976) lived at No 109. George Moore (1852-1933), an Irish author, who wrote "Conversations in the Ebury Street" lived at No 121 where WB Yeats and GB Shaw visited him. Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) and Vita Sackvlle-West (1892-1962), writers and gardeners, lived at No 182. Michael Caine and Terence Stamp rented flats here.


spruit said...

Johnson House Ebury Street was never a hostel for policemen. It consisted of 60 independant flats for married policemen and their families. My father was a Detective Sergeant at Scotland Yard and my parents and I moved there in the autumn of 1953 when I was 6 months old.

Cathy said...

Just to confirm the above comment. My father (PC Byatt 402) was the Coroners Officer for Westminster based at Horseferry Road. We lived in a 3 bedroom flat at Johnson House Ebury Street from the late 1950's to 1969. It was never a hostel. I have very fond memories of living there. As children we felt safe playing outside as the flats always had policemen walking in or out!

Unknown said...

I was born there, 1955. Dad was a Fulham PC, William Brimstone. Really enjoyed childhood, scouted all surrounding buildings. Got dreary in the teens, London normality developing, ie don't look at or talk to anyone. Stayed until post uni (Imperial) age 21, dad took early retirement age 45. Johnson House was my entire youth, sad to see it gone.