Inventory Site Record

Alexander Square (North and South) (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Alexander Square was developed in 1827-30 for the Thurloe Estate, a wedge of land within the larger Henry Smith's Charity Estate that was owned by descendents of Sir William Blake (d.1630). The Estate had passed to John Alexander in 1799, who began housing development on the land from 1826, when he drew up an agreement with builder James Bonnin. George Basevi was appointed architect in 1829 and designed the north terrace. The two terraces are bisected by Alexander Place and are fronted by private roadway; between this and the main road are narrow garden enclosures with railings to the front, well planted with trees.

Practical Information
Site location:
Brompton Road
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Garden Square
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: South Kensington (District, Circle, Piccadilly)
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

The Thurloe Estate was a wedge of land within the larger Henry Smith's Charity Estate that was owned by descendants of Sir William Blake (d.1630) and became the Thurloe Estate when Blake's descendent Anna Maria Browne conveyed it to John Thurloe Brace, her second husband, on their marriage in 1713. John Thurloe Brace was grandson to John Thurloe (1616-1668), Oliver Cromwell's Secretary of State. In 1799 the estate passed to John Alexander, who was a descendent of Anna Maria Browne's first husband and also godson to John Thurloe Brace's son Harris. John Alexander expanded the estate in 1808 when he purchased the Bell and Horns Inn from Lord Kensington, Lord of the Manor of Earls Court. He did not begin development until 1826 when he drew up a building agreement with the speculative builder James Bonnin to develop Alexander Square, the eastern terraces of South Street, Alfred Place, North Terrace, Alexander Place and York Cottages. Their agreement stipulated that the buildings should conform to the overall design of John Alexander's surveyor who at that time may have been the architect George Godwin the elder, who later lived at No. 24 Alexander Square. His son George Godwin the younger also lived here, himself an architect and the first editor of 'The Builder'. In 1829 George Basevi was appointed architect when the square was under construction.

The South and North Terraces were built in 1827 and 1830 respectively, flanking the square north and south; Basevi was responsible for the north group. The two terraces are bisected by Alexander Place, built in 1829. After John Alexander's death in 1831, the work was continued by his son Henry Browne Alexander and the second phase of building began from 1840, which included Thurloe Square (q.v.).

The two terraces are fronted by private roadway and between this and the main road are narrow garden enclosures with railings to the front, well planted with trees. In 1928, according to the Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, the two enclosures were owned by Lady George Campbell, at which time two-thirds of the land was being conveyed to Kensington Borough Council for road-making purposes, with a proposal to build over the remainder of the enclosure, a narrow strip 10 feet wide, and on the roadway between the enclosure and the houses facing it. The LCC had consented to this project and an Order had been obtained from Quarter Sessions to 'stop up the roadway'.

Famous residents of Alexander Square include the bookseller and publisher John Murray.

Sources consulted:

RBKC Thurloe Estate & Smith's Charity Conservation Area Policy Statement; Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ271789 (527180,178950)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Site management:
George Basevi
Listed structures:
LB II: 5-24 Alexander Square; 1-19 (odd) and 4-22 (even) Alexander Place
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

To be checked

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Thurloe Estate and Smith's Charity
Tree Preservation Order:
Yes - Groups of trees
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

Alexander Square (North and South)

Alexander Square (North) - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 16/04/21 10:33

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.