The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 11 Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens


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Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are skirted on the north by BAYSWATER ROAD, the west continuation of Oxford St., beyond which is a residential district dating from about the first half of the 19th century. The quarter to the north of Hyde Park is sometimes known as Tyburnia, while to the north of Kensington Gardens stretches Bayswater. Near the east end of Bayswater Road, and about + mile west of the Marble Arch, is the little CHAPEL OF THE ASCENSION, founded in 1897 by Mrs. Russell Gurney in memory of her husband, on the site of the old mortuary chapel of the cemetery of St. George's, Hanover Square. It is intended for private prayer and meditation, and is open daily from 9 till dusk. This chapel, designed by H. P. Horne, is decorated with scenes from the Bible and figures of prophets and apostles by Frederic Shields (died 1911). Most of these are painted on canvas fixed to slabs of Belgian slate, which are riveted to the walls, leaving an air-chamber behind. A passage to the left of the chapel admits to the Cemetery, now a recreation-ground, including the shooting ground of the Royal Toxophilite Society. Near the middle of the left (west) side is the railed-in grave of Laurence Sterne (1713-68), author of 'Tristram Shandy,' whose body, however, is believed to have been removed by body-snatchers. The old inscription, beginning 'Alas, poor Yorick,' should be noticed. Mrs. Radcliffe (1764-1823), the romantic novelist, was buried beneath the old mortuary chapel. In Albion St., the next street, Thackeray lived for a short time after his marriage (1834) at No. 18, and Sir Henry Bishop (1786-1855), the composer, at No. 4. The latter died at No. 13 Cambridge St., close by No. 34 Gloucester Square, a little to the west, was the home of Robert Stephenson, the engineer, from 1847 until his death in 1859. Farther on in Bayswater Road are the stations of Lancaster Gate and Queen's Road, on the Central London Tube, and 2 minutes to the north of the latter, in Queen's Road, is the Queen's Road Station of the Metropolitan Railway. In Orme Square No. 1 was occupied in 1839-45 by Sir Rowland Hill, introducer of penny postage, and No. 2 by Frederick Leighton, afterwards Lord Leighton, in 1859-66. In St. Petersburg Place, close by, is the New West End Synagogue, and in Moscow Road is a Greek Church. 'Boundary House,' at the beginning of Notting Hill Gate High St., farther west, is, with a frontage of only 6 feet, the smallest real house in London. Just beyond it are the Notting Hill Gate Stations of the Metropolitan Railway and the Central London Tube. Thence Notting Hill High St. is continued to the west by Holland Park Avenue to Shepherd's Busk.