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Thurloe Square Garden Kensington & Chelsea

Summary

This private communal garden was provided for residents of Thurloe Square, which was built on the Thurloe Estate. The Estate had passed to John Alexander in 1799, who began house development on the land from 1826. His son Henry Browne Alexander undertook the second phase of building from 1840, which included Thurloe Square. The south-west corner was demolished to make way for the underground railway in 1867. The garden has lawn, shrubberies, borders and flower beds, numerous mature trees and original railings.

Basic Details

Site location:
Thurloe Square

Postcode:
SW7 2SX ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Garden Square

Date(s):
1840

Designer(s):
George Basevi

Listed structures:
LBII: Nos. 6-33 (consec.) and 35-51 (consec.) Thurloe Square

Borough:
Kensington & Chelsea

Site ownership:
private (1 resident owns)

Site management:
One of residents maintains gardens, donating payment to charity.

Open to public?
Occasionally

Opening times:
Has opened for OGSW. Otherwise private, for keyholders only
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 21 times, most recently in 2018.

Special conditions:

Facilities:
Playground

Events:

Public transport:
Tube: South Kensington (District, Circle, Piccadilly). Bus: C1, 14, 49, 70, 74, 360

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2007
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.thurloesquaregardens.com

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ270789

Size in hectares:
0.856

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
Yes

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No

In Conservation Area:
Yes

Conservation Area name:
Thurloe Estate & Smith's Charity

Tree Preservation Order:
Yes - Area of trees

Nature Conservation Area:
No

Green Belt:
No

Metropolitan Open Land:
No

Special Policy Area:
No

Other LA designation:
None

Thurloe Square Garden

Thurloe Square - Photo: Gavin Gardiner

Click photo to enlarge.

Album

Fuller information

The Thurloe Estate was a wedge of land within the larger Henry Smith's Charity Estate that was owned by descendants of Sir William Blake (d.1630) and became the Thurloe Estate when Blake's descendent Anna Maria Browne conveyed it to John Thurloe Brace, her second husband, on their marriage in 1713. He was grandson to John Thurloe (1616-1668), Oliver Cromwell's Secretary of State who, it is said, was presented with land in Brompton by Cromwell for services rendered during the Commonwealth. In 1799 the estate passed to John Alexander, who was both a descendent of Anna Maria Browne's first marriage and godson to John Thurloe Brace's son Harris Thurloe Brace. John Alexander expanded his estate in 1808 when he purchased the Bell and Horns Inn from Lord Kensington, Lord of the Manor of Earls Court, but did not begin development until 1826 when he drew up a building agreement with the speculative builder James Bonnin to develop Alexander Square (q.v.), the eastern terraces of South Street, Alfred Place, North Terrace, Alexander Place and York Cottages. The agreement stipulated that the buildings should conform to the overall design of John Alexander's surveyor who at that time may have been the architect George Godwin the elder. However in 1829 George Basevi was appointed architect.

After John Alexander's death in 1831, the work was continued by his son Henry Browne Alexander and the second phase of building began from 1840 and included Thurloe Square, begun in 1840 by Basevi, which announced a new era in Italianate town house design. Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882), campaigner and educator and first Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, lived at No. 33. The south-west corner was demolished to make way for the underground railway in 1867. The original railings enclose an area very densely planted around the edge with trees and shrubs. There is an open area of lawn in the centre and winding tarmac paths with fine shrubberies, borders and flower beds, and numerous mature trees.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); RBKC Thurloe Estate and Smith's Charity Conservation Area Proposal Statement

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