Gloucester Road, London SW7

From the Hidden London website:

“From the early 17th century this was Hogs Moor or Hogmire Lane and it was the site of an ultimately unsuccessful pleasure garden (and for a while a pick-your-own fruit and flower farm) in the late 18th century. At that time most of the vicinity was filled with nurseries and market gardens.

George III’s sister-in law Maria, Duchess of Gloucester built herself a house called Villa Maria (later Orford Lodge) on part of the pleasure garden’s site in 1805, and she died there two years later. The politician George Canning bought the property in 1809 and retained it until 1825. The house (latterly called Gloucester Lodge) stood in extensive grounds close to what is now the south-east corner of Gloucester Road’s junction with Cromwell Road.

Much of the surrounding area was built up in the second quarter of the 19th century or soon afterwards. The more significant projects included:

Gloucester Lodge was demolished shortly after 1851, by which time almost everyone had stopped calling the thoroughfare Hogmire Lane and started calling it Gloucester Road – as had been suggested by the Kensington Turnpike Trustees soon after the duchess had died.

From 1862 two developer-builders began laying out Cornwall Gardens on land that had belonged to members of the Broadwood piano-making family since the start of the century. The street was named in honour of the Prince of Wales (also Duke of Cornwall), who came of age in November 1862. Cornwall Gardens quickly became popular with high-ranking administrators, lawyers and soldiers, especially those who had recently returned from colonial duties in India. Kynance Place and Mews were created at the same time, originally as St George’s Place and Cornwall Mews.

Palace Gate was also laid out in the 1860s, forking left at the north end of Gloucester Road, which had hitherto forked right and continued up to Kensington Road.

Some grand Italianate terraces were built on Gloucester Road itself during this period. They were later converted to flats or hotels, or replaced by mansion blocks or rows of shops with flats above.

The cosy, ornate church of St Stephen was consecrated in 1867. In the following year the Metropolitan Railway opened a branch line from Edgware Road to Brompton (Gloucester Road), as the station was originally called. John Fowler was the station’s (highly paid) engineer and architect. District Railway trains also began serving Brompton a few months after it had opened.

Part of Kensington’s Alexander estate, the west-central section of Gloucester Road and its hinterland began to fill with high-class housing as soon as developers knew the railway was coming. From an early stage, it was intended to build a substantial hotel on the south corner of Gloucester Road and Courtfield Road. The entrepreneurial son of a Norfolk farmer, James Bailey soon became involved in the project and the main part of his hotel was completed in 1876, though it was subsequently extended in several stages.

Designed by Leslie Green, Gloucester Road Piccadilly line station (see image) opened in 1906, next door to the original station on the corner of Courtfield Road…”

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