The Boltons Conservation Area


“The Boltons area of Brompton and Chelsea developed as part of London’s growth in the early and middle decades of the 19th century, providing high quality suburban housing on the model of speculative development pioneered by Thomas Cubitt. In Brompton the leading figures were the two Godwin brothers, George and Henry, the designers of the Boltons, the area’s principal set piece with two shallow crescents facing each other, with a church in the middle.

Finborough Road developed some twenty years after the Boltons, and backed onto Brompton Cemetery, which opened in 1842. The road took its name from the village of Finborough in Suffolk, on the Pettiward Estate near Stowmarket; R J Pettiward was one of the first lessees in the the area in 1860s. Pettiward leased the land to builders Corbett and McClymont in the 1860s. It is of the same period as Redcliffe Square, by the same builders, who went bankrupt in 1878. The architects may have been George and Henry Godwin.

The road developed from the southern end as an extension to Ifield Road, with the northern stretch Nos 146-182 Finborough being leased in 1870-71 (source, Survey of London). West Brompton Station opened in 1869 and the area grew rapidly thereafter.

West Brompton and Earls Court was substantially developed by the early 1900s, with the stucco and stock brick terraces making way for red brick mansion blocks and Arts and Crafts villas. Despite some bomb damage (including a direct hit in 1941 on the north-west corner of the cemetery) and some unsatisfactory infill the area is mostly well preserved.

Finborough Road is in The Boltons Conservation Area, first designated in January 1970 around the core area of St Mary’s Church and the Boltons itself, a distinctive essay in town planning and speculative housebuilding by the architect George Godwin junior. All of these buildings are now listed Grade ll, and the Area is the subject of a conservation area statement prepared in the late 1980s. The Royal Borough has recently consulted on a revised and useful draft Conservation Area Appraisal for the extended area, which analyses the special architectural and historic interest of the locality.

The conservation area has since been extended in each direction and includes Finborough Road at its western edge.

No 180 is of group value with its neighbours in the terrace and is also of some associative value with Redcliffe Square, apart from the Boltons the conservation area’s other set piece, and of the same date. Redcliffe Square is larger and grander but has similar Italianate motifs and materials palette.

The property backs onto Brompton Cemetery, a conservation area of long standing and also Grade 1 on English Heritage’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The Cemetery is the only cemetery owned by the Crown and managed by the Royal Parks. It is of national importance.

Brompton Cemetery is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:

• One of the earliest cemeteries (1839-42) in London, one of the group of seven great cemeteries laid out beyond the city edges in the 1830s/early 1840s.

• It is an outstanding and innovative monumental and formal design for this period by a nationally renowned architect, Benjamin Baud.

• Baud designed an exceptional ensemble of buildings within the landscape to evoke great architectural drama including the circular chapel, the colonnades which flank the drive approaching it and open out into The Ring.

• J C Loudon, author and landscape designer, was consulted regarding appropriate planting.

• The cemetery contains a large number of C19 monuments reflecting a wide range of local and national interest and social groups, some of the monuments being of exceptional artistic quality.

• The site survives complete

The Cemetery North Gates and iron railings are separately listed Grade II*

The Cemetery was compulsorily purchased by the Board of Health in 1854. Lime trees in the churchyard were planted between 1869 and 1900, and are believed to have been intended to conceal the houses on Finborough Road.

The backs of Finborough Road were not designed to be viewed from Brompton Cemetery and on the contrary, later efforts were made to screen them. The proposed two storey rear extension will be seen from Brompton Cemetery but its stock brick, sloping roof below eaves level and traditional fenestration will ensure that it reads with those of its neighbours and it will have no impact on the setting and thus the significance of the Conservation Area and Grade I Registered Historic Park.”

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