Inventory Site Record

Bramham Gardens (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Private communal gardens provided for residents of the houses that surround it, which were built as part of the Gunter Estate development from 1840s onwards. Many of the street names reflect the family's connections in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Bramham Gardens, a late square begun in 1883, is larger than many others in the area. The central garden was laid out simply and formally for the use of freeholders and lessees of adjacent houses, who paid a rent for upkeep. As with many garden squares, the original railings were removed for the war effort but have been replaced by replicas in the 1990s. The garden is shaded by tall plane trees.

Practical Information
Site location:
Bramham Gardens
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Garden Square
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
Has opened for OGSW. Otherwise private, for keyholders only
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 16 times, most recently in 2023.
Special conditions:
Standard Bye-Laws are posted on the garden notice boards.
Public transport:
Tube: Earls Court (District, Piccadilly). Bus: C1, 74, 328.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

These gardens are part of the Gunter Estate developed from late 1840s under the then surveyors George and Henry Godwin. The generous number of communal gardens indicated the type of buyer that they were aiming at. The Gunters had made their money selling confectionery and had begun to acquire land in the area from the latter part of the C18th; James Gunter had become a partner of successful Italian pastry cook 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. But although some plots had been let for building by the mid 1840s, 73 of the estate's c.81 acres remained undeveloped and leased to farmers and market gardeners. From the late 1840s Robert Gunter began to develop the estate lands, beginning with The Boltons 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 estate surveyor in 1848. By then, Godwin, who was local to Kensington, already had useful experience as District Surveyor for South Islington, and had erected one or two houses on Fulham Road with his father, also an architect or builder. As estate surveyor Godwin was 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 leased the west side of The Boltons to John Spicer (d.1883) of Pimlico, who went on to take on many other leases on the estate in the 1860s and 1870s to become one of its principal developers.

Bramham Gardens was laid out very simply and formally; a late square begun in 1883 it is larger than many of those in the area. Many of the street names reflect the Gunter family's connections in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The buildings on one side of the square are by Ernest George and Harold Peto, a combination of private commissions and speculative building. On the other three sides are a mixture of 'splendid mansion blocks and individual houses' (Hopkins), the first to be built being Nos. 19-27 by M. Hulbert, which appear in the street index of 1891 census. In 1928 the garden enclosure of Bramham Gardens was owned by Sir R V Gunter and leased to Mr G J Spicer, solicitor and son of John Spicer, who had similar leases from the Gunter family for the garden enclosures of Bina Gardens West, Bolton Gardens, Collingham Gardens, Gledhow Gardens and Wetherby Gardens (q.q.v.). Bramham Gardens was for the use of freeholders and lessees of houses abutting the garden, who paid a rent for upkeep. In that year it was described as 'An oblong area flanked on three sides by roads and on one (long) side by the rear buildings. Surrounded by a sparse privet hedge and laid out as an ornamental garden with well-kept lawns and flower beds, and some well-grown trees'.

As with other squares, the railings to Bramham Gardens were removed for the War Effort. Fund-raising to replace them began in the 1960s but it wasn't until the early 1990s that this was achieved when residents' donations were supplemented by a grant from English Heritage. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England was established in 1984 and was commonly called English Heritage. In April 2015 it split into 2 separate entities, Historic England (HE), which continues to champion and protect the historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, whose role is to look after the 400+ historic sites and monuments owned by the state. HE manages the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) that includes over 400,000 items ranging from prehistoric monuments to office blocks, battlefields and parks, which benefit from legal protection. 

London Metalcraft was commissioned to create replicas of the original railings and this was completed by August 1997 when an inauguration party celebrated the restoration, which cost £157,000. A suite of benches was donated as a bequest by the recently deceased, a freeholder. Protected under 1851 Garden Square Act. The garden is shaded by tall plane trees, and in recent years has seen much new planting.

The garden is now maintained by Richard Keeling of Garden Associates, the company headed by Robert Player who maintains a number of the garden squares in the area. Additions are regularly made to the planting, shrubs and flowerbeds with funds being provided from the annual maintenance budget. Dogs are allowed in the garden provided that they have been registered on the specified dog list.

Sources consulted:

Survey of London; D J Hopkins, 'London Squares, a brief history (no date, but available at LGSD 2002); Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ258784 (525808,178459)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Private Freeholder living locally and active member of Garden Committee
Site management:
Bramham Gardens Garden Committee
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:

Bramham Gardens

Bramham Gardens - Photo: Janne Watson
Date taken: 10/06/18 12:11

Click a photo to enlarge.

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