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.