3 Porchester Terrace, London W2

From: An Economic History of the English Garden (2019), by Roderick Floud:

“(Loudon) followed contemporary practice in dividing up his gardens, as was done with houses by building regulations and the local taxation system, into four classes from first to fourth ‘rate’. Georgian and Victorian society could import class differences into virtually anything…

Loudon knew what he was talking about, since he had built for himself in 1825 a fourth-rate ‘double detached’ house (his term for a pair of semi-detached houses), which still exists (see image), in Porchester Terrace, Bayswater – then seen as a suburb of London, now one of its most fashionable areas – and had equipped the garden of the pair of houses with rare trees and shrubs…One of his objectives was to grow as many species as possible…

In 1838, aged fifty-five and five years before his death, John Claudius Loudon was one of the most successful and respected of authors, journalists and magazine proprietors and editors of his time…His own garden in Bayswater was renowned…Since 1830, he had been helped in his work by his wife Jane, nee Webb…she soon became knowledgeable, publishing her own books and editing her husband’s…”

Oliver Wainwright wrote for The Guardian of 1.4.15:

“…As for Loudon’s former abode, it has come full circle. No3-5 Porchester Terrace now has a single owner: it is one of the many trophy properties of Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al-Thani, a distant relative of the current Emir of Qatar and owner of Leicester Square’s W Hotel, who enjoys an estimated net worth of $2.2 bn. The sheikh submitted a plan to unite the semi-detached houses in 1985, and insert a lavish subterranean entertainment room beneath Loudon’s historic garden, but his application was refused on conservation grounds.

I ring the buzzer, but there is no reply. “In the seven years I’ve been working here,” says a doorman across the road, “I’ve seen him twice.” The house has been recast once more, this time by the forces of global investment, as an empty status symbol of social aspiration.”

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