Inventory Site Record

Bolton Gardens (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Bolton Gardens are the private communal gardens provided for residents of the houses that surround it, which were built as part of the Gunter Estate development that took place in the area from the 1840s. The garden was laid out with shrubberies, lawn, flower beds and trees; lessees of Nos.1-23 Bolton Gardens had access on payment of enclosure rent.

Practical Information
Site location:
Bolton Gardens
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Garden Square
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
private, for keyholders only
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Gloucester Road, Earl's Court (District, Piccadilly)
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

The site was originally part of the former Court Fields once within the Earl's Court Manor estate, later owned by the Gunter family who had made their money selling confectionery. James Gunter had become a partner of successful Italian pastrycook Domenico Negri, whose business at 7 Berkeley Square was established in 1757 and soon became prosperous. James began investing his money in land in the then rural area around Brompton Lane (now Old Brompton Road), including a house to the north, Earls Court House, where the family lived. When his son Robert inherited the business on his death in 1819 the land holding was considerable. However, the estate remained largely undeveloped until the late 1840s when Gunter began to develop the estate lands, beginning with The Boltons (q.v.) and moving north and east with large houses and terraces. His sons James and Robert continued to develop the estate following his death in 1852. George Godwin was appointed surveyor to the estate in 1848, responsible for the overall street layout and amenities, and overseeing the work undertaken by the contractors and developers who leased the building plots. In 1859 Robert Gunter had leased the west side of The Boltons to John Spicer (d.1883) of Pimlico, who took on many other leases on the estate in the 1860s and 1870s to become one of its principal developers. This included Bolton Gardens where development began in 1865 by now under George and his brother Henry Godwin as estate surveyors. The generous number of communal gardens indicated the type of buyer that they were aiming at.

The garden was laid out with shrubberies, lawn, flower beds and trees; lessees of 1-23 Bolton Gardens had access on payment of enclosure rent. In 1928 the owner was Mr R G Gunter who leased the garden to Mr G J Spicer, solicitor and son of John Spicer (expiry of lease early 1970s), who had similar leases from the Gunter family for the garden enclosures of Bina Gardens West, Bramham Gardens, Collingham Gardens, Gledhow Gardens and Wetherby Gardens (q.q.v.). Mr Gunter retained the right to build on 40% of the land, but this appears not to have happened. The garden at that time was described as 'attractively laid out with lawns, flower beds and shrubberies, and some fine trees around the border'. The OS map of 1976 shows the gardens with a number of winding paths.

Sources consulted:

Survey of London; RBKC The Boltons Conservation Area Policy Statement; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ259784 (525966,178420)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
?Gunter Estate
Site management:
Listed structures:
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:


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:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Article 4 Direction: 11-23 Bolton Gardens

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.