The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 12 Knightsbridge and Kensington


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At the beginning of Queen's Gate, which diverges to the left from Kensington Road beyond the Albert Hall, is a statue of Lord Napier of Magdala (died 1890), by Boehm, and at No. 1A Palace Gate, the next turning, is the house (by P. C. Hardwick) in which Sir John Millais lived from 1879 until his death in 1896. Palace Gate is prolonged by Gloucester Road, in which is the Gloucester Road Station of the District Railway. Beyond Kensington Gardens, Kensington Road is interrupted for + mile by Kensington High Street, a busy shopping centre running through the well-to-do residential district of Kensington proper. The borough of Kensington is the only 'royal borough' in England except Windsor. Kensington Palace Gardens leads on the right to Palace Green, where Thackeray died in 1863 (at No. 2). 'Vanity Fair,' 'Pendennis,' and 'Esmond' were written at No. 13 (now No. 16) Young St. (on the other side of High St.), where Thackeray lived from 1846 to 1853. Young St. leads into KENSINGTON SQUARE, highly fashionable in the early 18th century, when the Court was frequently at Kensington Palace. The Duchess of Mazarin, Addison, and Steele were among its early residents. No. 7 (east side) is described as the residence of Lady Castlewood in 'Esmond.' J. R. Green lived at No. 14 (south side) from 1879 to 1883; at No. 18 J. S. Mill wrote his 'Logic' and 'Political Economy.' Talleyrand lived in a house here (probably the present Nos. 36 and 37) after his escape from Paris in 1792. Sir Edward Burne-Jones occupied No. 41 from 1865 till 1868. At the corner of Church St. (leading north to Netting Hill), a street of many 'antique' shops and small restaurants, is the church of St. Mary Abbots, the parish church of Kensington, part of which belonged to the abbey of Abingdon in the 12th century. The present church, by Sir G. G. Scott, dates from 1869-81. Mrs. Inchbald (died 1821), the novelist, is buried in the churchyard. Opposite Kensington Town Hall is the High Street (Kensington) Station of the Metropolitan and District Railway. At No. 165 (rebuilt), a little farther on, John Leech died in 1864; and at No. 144 (nearly opposite; tablet) David Wilkie, the painter, lived from 1813 till 1824. In Iverna Gardens is the Armenian church of St. Sarhis (1922), and in Marloes Road, a little farther south, is the church of St. Elizabeth, with frescoes by F. Brangwyn (admission on application, daily 2-4, except Saturday). Campden Hill, extending north from Kensington High St. to Notting Hill, was a favourite place of residence in the 17th and 18th century, and contained many fine houses in spacious grounds, of which a few remain. Newton, Swift, and Gray were among its famous inhabitants. The site of Campden House, built about 1612 by Baptist Hicks, afterwards Viscount Campden, is now occupied by Campden House Court, at the north end of Campden House Road, but Little Campden House, an addition of about 1691, when the Princess Anne and her son the Duke of Gloucester came to live here, still exists. A little to the west, in Campden Hill Road, is the Household and Social Science Department of King's College for Women, a brick building of 1915, including Queen Mary's Hostel. Thence Campden Hill runs to the west, with several large houses on its south side, including Holly Lodge, where Lord Macaulay died in 1859, and Cam House, formerly occupied by the Duke of Argyll (died 1900) and then called Argyll Lodge. Holland Walk, a pleasant leafy lane, leads back to Kensington Road. Kensington Road begins again at Earl's Court Road, which runs south to Earl's Court Station and New Brompton. Just short of the corner is the church of Our Lady of Victories, at one time the Roman Catholic pro-cathedral. On the right, farther on, is Holland Park, in the midst of which is Holland House; here, close to Kensington Road, is a statue (by Watts and Boehm) of the first Baron Holland.