This week’s post is a belated sequel to one I did a couple of years ago called Forgotten Chelsea – scenes you’ll never see, in which I concentrated on views which no longer exist. They all came from original photographs pasted into one of our scrapbook sets – Chelsea Miscellany. I’m returning to the same source this week to reward Chelsea enthusiasts for their patience in putting up with so many recent Kensington-based posts and to present a few more vanished places along with some that have survived but have changed considerably since the pictures were taken. They all have some kind of interesting feature or connection.
We start in the same part of Chelsea in which I finished the last post.
The corner of D’Oyley Street and Earl Street where there was a fascinating shop front. Above the shopkeeper are metal signs for the Weekly Despatch, the People and the Weekly (word obscured) Echo. By his feet are adverts for soft drinks: Batey’s Ginger Beer (and Ale), Batey’s Kola, Batey’s Limo (that’s one I’d like to try) and something called Coda.
But also some hard news on the billboard: why did Lord Rosebery resign? Well apparently he lost a confidence vote, called an election and was resoundingly defeated. Archibald Primrose was a protege of Gladstone, the first chairman of the London County Council, a Foreign Minster and successor to Gladstone as Prime Minister (both old Etonians by the way). A right leaning Liberal but according to Wikipedia a man who had three ambitions in life: to win the Derby (well, to own the winning horse), to marry an heiress and to be Prime Minister. He did them all. These events date the picture to 1895 or 1896.
Heading in the opposite direction from last time, westwards, we stop off here on a much grander street:
The interest here is not number 19 St Leonard’s Terrace, a perfectly good house which takes up most of the picture, but the door to number 18 on the left, the house of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, not to mention the Lair of the White Worm which made a curious Ken Russell film, and the Jewel of Seven Stars which was turned into one of my favourite Hammer films, Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb. Stoker wrote both of those at number 18 where you can find a blue plaque, but wrote Dracula next door at number 17. He also lived in a house in Cheyne Walk which makes him suitable for a blog post of his own one of these days.
Jumping to the other side of the King’s Road we come to a curious view of the garden of a house in Jubilee Place.
The collection of masonry and plants are an early case of reclamation. Like fireplaces and garden features are recovered and traded today these items all came from the Cremorne Gardens, the visitor attraction down by the river.
A closer look shows a series of gargoyle heads around window spaces.
And one of the toughest looking garden gnomes you’ve ever seen. I wonder if Dr Phene had a man at the sale.
Nearby was Marlborough Road, a street I’ve featured before looking crowded, but here is what must be an early morning view.
The men in the centre deserve a close up.
I imagine they must be waiting to load up the trolley for a delivery. Across the street is a manufacturer of boots. There were a few of those in Marlborough Road so I can’t quite pinpoint the building next door with an excessive number of pipes on the wall and some odd devices on the roof. Perhaps one of those steampunk imventors lived there.A little girl is at the door, knocking for entry possibly.
You can see a pair of girls in this picture of a quiet street.
This shows King Street, a narrow road which ran north from Cale Street. On the right are the entrances to the two St Luke’s Schools (Boys and Girls) which were behind St Luke’s Church, Sydney Street.
We had better have a look now at the King’s Road.
I should have included this one in the recent transport related post. Looking east along the King’s Road from the Vestry Hall / Town Hall it shows a two animal version of the horse bus festooned with adverts. The two horses must be working hard with a full upper deck of passengers to pull.
If we turn off the King’s Road onto the northern section of Church Street, where there were (and still are) a wide variety of interesting houses.
I’m not entirely sure if this is a view from the front or the rear of the house. It’s an interesting looking house and it does have one of my favourite photographic features – a person standing in a window. A close up shows more detail.
Above the stone lions (are they exactly the same?) stands a woman in white, wearing a uniform, possibly a nurse or a maid watching the photographer at work. Was he aware of her looking at him? I almost avoided calling her mysterious but you can’t avoid that word with faces at the window. They just have that ghostly quality about them. The next time you look she could be gone.
The picture below is definitely a rear view.
Demolition is under way as the handwritten caption tells us. It returns us to an image I used in the Forgotten Chelsea post
The two storey villa with tall chimneys in the centre of the picture opposite Paulton Street was the house of Madame Venturi.
Madame Venturi was the wife of an Italian patriot and the friend of another, She was also a friend of the nationalist Joseph Mazzini (and his biographer), the Irish politician Charles Stewart Parnell and Tom Taylor, the editor of Punch.
She was also an associate of Whistler. She apparently persuaded Thomas Carlyle to sit for a portrait and she owned some of Whistler’s pictures.She wrote this about the artist’s book Ten o’clock lecture:
‘There is one most amazing and ever renewed delight in this book – the dear, impossible butterfly; now gentle as a sucking dove, now defiant dangerous as a wasp; now artful as a mousquito [sic] that pricks so delicately you don’t know where the sting entered, yet the flesh blisters and cannot forget that it did enter with a vengeance; now coy, now pert now playful, now rampant, now defiant, but always new, always graceful and gentle.”
She died in 1893 so she never saw the picturesque ruin her suburban villa became as the old Chelsea became part of modern London.
Finally, a further addition to the 2012 post in which I used this picture:
Which of course shows the Woodman public house in D’Oyley Street. I mentioned at the time that the wooden sign visible in the picture had survived and was in our archives. I said I would put it in a post when we had a photograph of it but I never followed that up. So to remedy that here is a photo taken as part of the National Public Catalogue / BBC Your paintings project:
The lighting shows the sign, which is pretty big, as it could never have been seen by patrons of the pub.
Whistler’s correspondence, where I found the information about Emelie Venturi at: http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/