Inventory Site Record

Emperor's Gate (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Emperor's Gate was built on land once part of the Edwardes Estate owned by Lord Kensington, which had been sold when the railway was constructed here in the 1860s. Surplus to railway requirements, it was sold and developed for housing in 1872-5. The terraces overlook the small railed garden, which has grass, seating and a number of trees, including horse chestnut.

Practical Information
Site location:
Grenville Place/Emperor's Gate
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Garden Square
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
Took part in Open Garden Squares Weekend in 1998.
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Gloucester Road (District, Circle, Piccadilly)
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

The Metropolitan and District Railway was constructed between 1864-69. In 1869 the railway company then sold this triangular piece of land not required for the railway to Joseph Clark for residential development (see Daws' map of 1879). It was named for the 1873 compact between Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia. Building commenced in 1872 on Nos.1 and 4-10, with Nos. 11-25 constructed from 1875. Nos. 37-47 were probably designed by George Edwardes and built in 1876-8. Nos. 26-36 were also built in 1876-8, possibly designed by Edward Habershon and Brock, with gothic forms applied to a classical terrace.

In 1928 the small central garden was owned by Lt-Col Colville and vested in a Committee of rated inhabitants under the 1863 Town Gardens Act. It was maintained by the Committee out of rates levied by the Borough Council on the occupiers of houses that abutted it. It was described at that time as 'set apart for the use and enjoyment of the inhabitants of houses enjoining the enclosure', 'a small triangular area laid out as a grass plot with a few trees. Overlooked by dwelling-houses and a church'. On the corner of Emperor's Gate is now St Stephen's Church Hall but this was once the site of the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile. This had originated as the South Kensington Baptist Chapel, a gothic building of 1868-9 designed by the non-conformist architects C G Searle & Son, and was taken over in 1873 by the English Presbyterians, who used it until 1929, when it was acquired by the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile.

Famous residents include the poet TS Eliot, who lodged with the vicar of nearby St Stephen's Church (q.v.) at 9 Grenville Place and 11 Emperor's Gate from 1933-40, and Charles Booth who lived at 6 Grenville Place from 1875 to 1889.

Sources consulted:

RBKC De Vere, Kensington Court and Cornwall Conservation Area Proposals Statement, (c1985); Report of the Royal Commission on London Square, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ260789 (526000,179000)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
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:
De Vere, Kensington Court and Cornwall
Tree Preservation Order:
Yes - group TPO
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

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.