After Isabel’s tour de force I feel a bit diffident about taking you back to mere architectural details but the show must go on.
This post is another one resulting from a find in the archives uncovered by general tidying up. At some point one of our staff did a kind of photo survey of mews streets, especially the ones with arches. This was also the focus of my previous post on mews arches, so I was naturally fascinated by this find and started scanning. I ended up with one folder of mostly mewses in South Kensington and one of mewses I didn’t recognise. There are enough of those for another post called What mews is this? or something like that. I may do that yet but i’m going to try again to identify the unknowns. I’ll give you one to try at the end.
This one is one I pass several times a week.
Ensor Mews is not named after the Belgian painter and print maker James Ensor (as far as I know) but always makes me think of a completely different painter, Edvard Munch the painter of the far better known painting, The Scream. (Lucky I fact checked. The association is just a quirk of my memory) But back to reality.
Interestingly, Ensor Mews is laid out in a straight line in which you can see both entrances but there are two arms off it both of which end in walls with gardens behind them – hidden spaces as far as the view from ground level is concerned. (The aerial view is more straightforward and not mysterious, I’ve discovered on Google Maps). But both walls have doors, I think,which i always like.
This is the other end.
The arches of Ensor Mews are quite plain. Others are more ornate. Not far away, just off Queen’s Gate is this one, Manson Mews, whose columns stand apart from the buildings with just a couple of pedestrian mini arches joining them.
The current incarnation has a white paint job, although that looks a few years old.
A close up gives us some idea of the date of these pictures. (The graffitti)
The notorious Charles Manson was probably the most famous bearer of the surname. Some of us these days might hold out for Shirley Manson, the singer of Garbage. Each to his own. Manson Mews is a cul-de-sac, so it’s an easy one to miss, if you were doing a walking tour of the area,
Round the corner is a pair of mewses. Stanhope Mews East is a long one joining Stanhope Gardens and Cromwell Road.
It only has one arch, at the Cromwell Road end. Moving west you have the two arms of Stanhope Gardens, with its spacious communal garden. and then the other Mews, Stanhope Mews West, with its full complement of arches. This is the southern end.
That telephone box is not still there but overflowing bins can still be seen. This is a narrow mews with quite a few rear entrances to businesses on Gloucester Road but the arch at the northern end looks a little grander.
If you were on a 49, as until quite recently I used to be almost daily, you would soon cross Cromwell Road, going up Gloucester Road. There are quite a few mewses off Gloucester Road but mews devotees are fond of this one.
This picture perhaps doesn’t show it at its best, but it has some unique features. The first section has a low wall on one side. You can actually go down it in Google Street View and see some nice paint work and pleasant foliage. But unless you live nearby save your walk in the actual world for when the lockdown is over.
Furthermore, Kynance Mews has a second section.
This is an equally pleasant walk which gives pedestrian access (up a small set of steps which I used for fictional purposes in the 2019 Halloween story) to Christchurch, Victoria Road.
We can move west now briefly into W8 for a pair of pictures of the entrance to Lexham Mews. The arch is fairly low.
But I noticed the photographer caught a little action.
A man in white (ish) gets into his car. Behind him is the TR Centre so is his car a Triumph? Maybe. In my mind (that unreliable device) this links up to a dream I once had, but let’s not go there now.
The next mews arch is one I find interesting as an architectural object.
Pont Street Mews is another single arch street, a private road with entraces in two places on Walton Street. It snakes around St Saviour’s churc,h most of which became a spectacular private residence in the 1980s. My transport correspondent and Google Street View navigator took some time to locate it. One day we plan to inspect it in the actual world.
We also had some virtual fun with this one.
Redcliffe Mews, coveniently dated for us, has entry points on Redcliffe Gardens.
But for the virtual traveller Street View allows you to travel a little way into the mews at which point you are thrust through a portal and find yourself on a street in Vauxhall. Devotees of Street View enjoy its occasional glitches. In this case you can travel back from south London as well.
Shafto Mews is another pleasing arch.
The other has another blank wall, with a door, as you can see at the end. But this is the other side of that wall.
I wanted to draw to a close with a mews which has no arch, but does have a gate and a secret(ish) space inside.
And it’s on my bus route to work and home.
Sydney Mews is the starting point for another post.
You can follow that link if you wish, to a time when many people were roaming the streets of west London. But let’s finish with a picturesque arch.
And one mews I couldn’t identify. There’s a handwritten list locked up in the archives which might give me a clue but who knows when I’ll see that again. So here is a mews arch I think I should know but don’t.
Help me out if you can. And if you’d like to see more as yet unidentified mewses, let me know and I’ll publish few more.
I hope you’re all having a good lockdown.
April 15th, 2020 at 3:31 pm
Thanks for posting all these evocative mews arches!
That mystery mews at the end of your post is the Eastern end of Ennismore Gardens Mews in SW7. The modern block in the distance is the Imperial College halls of residence, as it was when I lived there in 1979.
There used to be a lovely pub on here called the Ennismore, which is sadly now a private house.
Kind regards Neil Smith
On Wed, 15 Apr 2020 at 16:21, The Library Time Machine wrote:
> Dave Walker posted: ” After Isabel’s tour de force I feel a bit diffident > about taking you back to mere architectural details but the show must go > on. This post is another one resulting from a find in the archives > uncovered by general tidying up. At some point one” >
April 15th, 2020 at 3:38 pm
The Portico is from Ennismore Gardens Mews by HTB and behind Brompton Square. best Edward
April 15th, 2020 at 3:49 pm
Iconic ‘arch’ at east entrance to Ennismore Gardens Mews, I think. Looking from Ennismore St.
Incidentally, there was a nice pub, The Ennismore Arms, in the mews which disappeared some years ago.
May 14th, 2021 at 10:43 am
You’re quite right about the pub (the Ennismore Arms); I had my ushers’ lunch there before being married in HTB in April 1984.
April 15th, 2020 at 3:58 pm
The first year of my life was spent in a Mews Flat, at West Eaton Place Mews SW1, before we moved to Wiltshire Close SW3 in 1949. Our Mews home was a war requisitioned property at the time I was born, and rather less salubrious than it is now. I always have a pilgrimage back to the Mews whenever I’m visiting the area.
April 15th, 2020 at 4:34 pm
Dave, many thanks – spent my early working life an the infamous London Penta Hotel in the late 1970`s and remember the mews of S. Ken well… though never made a study of them … see link on this site to Penta Hotel – (now possibly to be demolished). My parents backed onto a mews off Marylebone High St., – Beaumont Mews, where The Radio Times had an administrative building – there were a lot of notable Mews in Marylebone off Devonshire St and the Harley St. area – worthy of study too … thanks for the lovely photos – wish I could turn the clock back 50 years and roam thoise places again . Hardly the same but here a shots of Perrins Court in Hampsted probably in the mid. 60`s near Hampstead Tube station, https://www.flickr.com/photos/edgh1/albums/72157661291496692
and shots of the London Penta in Kensington – (some borrowed from the internet…)
April 15th, 2020 at 7:55 pm
Hi Dave would love to see any unidentified mews photos you have, I worked for the borough as Highways Manager for 36 years and was responsible for the maintenance of all mews in the borough, except those privately maintained.
April 15th, 2020 at 8:28 pm
! “Mews” ! why the word Mews? Where does it come from. Nobody can tell me the origin of the word, mews ❓☹😷
April 15th, 2020 at 8:34 pm
That’s a treat. My great uncle Redcliffe was so named as he was born in Redcliffe Gardens, two other brothers were names for the streets they were born in, but none of the sisters. Why, I wonder
April 15th, 2020 at 9:59 pm
Yes Dave, having a very good lockdown, a quite amewsing one in fact, thanks you very much.
April 21st, 2020 at 10:12 pm
Fascinating article, and I loved the old pictures – thank you for putting it together and researching the background. Many of the arches are in the ward I represent as a councillor (Courtfield) and I photographed them all a couple of years ago and put them on my Instagram account (@greghammond66). Most of the arches are not owned by anyone, which makes maintaining them a challenge. One of those pictured, Gaspar Mews, has seriously deteriorated since the photo in this article was taken, but after two years’ work and helped by other colleagues and the Council’s planning department, I got some money into this year’s RBKC capital budget to get it fixed and do proper surveys of the others. We just need to get Coronavirus fixed now to enable the work to be commissioned!
April 7th, 2022 at 2:19 am
Well done for trying to save the (rapidly) deteriorating mews arches Greg,I think the wealthy mews house owners should have to pay for their upkeep,but they`re probably too selfish for that,although I`m sure they will complain very loudly when the arches become derelict beyond repair and are demolished!
July 15th, 2020 at 7:17 pm
Hi Dave I have recently discovered your blog and find it very interesting. I can confirm that the car on the left of the Lexham Mews pictures is indeed a Triumph possibly a TR5 as is the one in the garage