Tag Archives: Lexham Mews

More mews views

 

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.


Backwaters: behind the streets you know

Royal Crescent Garden Square looking north east 1970 KS799

A quiet secluded spot not that far from here.

Some of this week’s pictures are places you can still go to today, others have vanished entirely. Most of them are quite different now. All of them are off the beaten track. You may have passed them by without noticing. London is full of such places. A name which ends in close, or place, or walk or court may be the sign of a backwater. Or mews – Kensington and Chelsea is full of those. A mews can be a short stretch of cobbled street just off a main street, or be part of a hidden network of semi-pedestrian paths behind a big public street.

Or it can be a daunting passage you never knew existed.

Railway Mews looking west 1970 KS1692

Leading to a place you never wanted to go.

Railway Mews looking north 1970 KS1691

Mewses (is that the word?) are often connected with motoring even today. In the 1970s, where all of these pictures originate, small workshops and showrooms were everywhere.

Such as here, Lexham Mews:

Lexham Mews entrance looking north 1976

between the large houses an arch leads to the mews, where you could have kept your horses and carriages if you had them and tradesmen could make discreet deliveries. Later, the chauffeur could live over the garage. The mews turns right and leads behind the houses.

Lexham Mews 3-6 looking south 1976 KS4102

In later times these buildings could be converted into small houses, with or without an integral garage. In this picture a woman stands at a door, possibly about to park her Rover, the quintessential manager’s car of the age. I first saw these kind of houses and streets in programmes like the Avengers (Steed lived in one). They had become trendy boltholes for the new classes of urban dwellers.

Lexham Mews no25 1976 KS4107

Just like this man.

Lexham Mews met Radley Mews.

Radley Mews no1 looking east 1976 KS4095

A mark 3 Cortina peeps out of a garage.

Mewses were also good locations for outlets of the motor trade, with the full range of services, workshops and even sales, especially the exotic marques like SAAB.

Radley Mews looking south SAAB showroom - Ace Motors 1976 KS4093

Now we turn to a vanished street, perhaps even forgotten by some.

Lenthall Place looking west 1969

Lenthall Place was next to Gloucester Road station. There is now  an office building on this corner, with a shopping arcade between it and the station. I often use the Waitrose store in the arcade so I must regularly walk this route in its modern form. But back in 1969..

Lenthall Place south side 1969 2

A grocery/bakery, the Casa Cura cafe (“hot meals served every day”) and Frank’s Sandwich Bar all single storey buildings built as makeshift appendages to the station. On the other side of Gloucester Road there are some surviving examples of this style. Further along some older terraced housing with retail businesses at ground level.

Lenthall Place south side 6-8 1969

Hair fashions by Leslie (“Posticheur”), with another snack bar which relies on a sign saying Continental rather than a regular shopfront. Somewhere for a dedicated set of customers I imagine. Including workers connected with the businesses at the end of the street.

 

Lenthall Place west end garages 1969

Like in many a backwater a set of garages, these ones more anonymous than most. Take a look back at Gloucester Road…

Lenthall Place looking east 1969 - Copy

Finally, a backwater that still exists but massively altered over time.

Cavaye Place looking south 1972 KS242

Cavaye Place is a street which begins and ends on the Fulham Road. This view looking south shows the covered alley entrance on the right and the gap where some older buildings were demolished and the buildings on the south side of Fulham Road are visible, like the former Midland Bank, the pale building on the left. At this point Cavaye Place was a muddy patch of open ground used as a car park. A modern building was inserted into the space behind the wooden fence housing offices at the back and retail at the front. For many years the Pan Bookshop (now a branch of Daunt’s) was there, a treat fro local residents like myself – back in the 80s you could have a meal at the now sadly gone restaurant Parsons, while away some time in the bookshop and then take in a film at the cinema visble in this picture.

Cavaye Place looking east 1972 KS232

The side of the cinema on the left where the other entrance to Cavaye Place is, once an ABC but later with many other names, and now currently part of the Cineworld chain.

This post might be the first of a series. There are may more backwaters in Kensington and Chelsea, and we could visit some more of them. But while you decide let’s get back to that quiet garden.

Royal Crescent Garden Square looking north west 1970 KS798

Postscript

I’m also introducing a new occasional item which I’m calling “where are they now?”. In the course of looking at the Photo Survey I often come across people caught by accident during the course of their day. Here are three 70s people waiting to cross the road at Lexham Gardens. Are you one of them, or do you recognize anyone? A bit of a long shot I know….

Lexham Gardens 94-96 1976 KS4135 - Copy

Do you think they’re together? Or just three random strangers. Interestingly, it’s the woman who could walk down this same road today without attracting comment. But those flares…

 


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