Inventory Site Record

Evelyn Gardens (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

These two areas of private communal gardens were provided for residents of the houses of Evelyn Gardens that overlook them, which built between 1886-96 as part of the Smith's Charity Estate. The Trustees of the Estate began building on the estate from 1823, appointing George Basevi as architect in 1828, who was succeeded by Henry Clutton and later Charles James Freake. Two associated gardens are separately listed as Thistle Grove Gardens and Cranley Mews.

Practical Information
Site location:
Evelyn Gardens
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Private Garden
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Opening times:
private, for keyholders only
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 terraces of Evelyn Gardens, orange brick houses with elaborate two storey projections, lead down to the gardens on both sides of the square, one fronting Fulham Road. They retain their original railings and contain mature plane trees. By the C17th the land in this area was largely owned by Henry Smith's Charity Estate, with part owned by the Thurloe Estate. Henry Smith, Alderman of London, had died in 1628 and left his fortune in trust for charity. The Trustees bought the estate c.1630 but the first recorded lease was not until 1664. A wedge of land within the Smith's Charity Estate 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. He was grandson to John Thurloe (1616-1668) Oliver Cromwell's Secretary of State. Two other parcels of land at the west of the Smith's Charity Estate by Sallad Lane separated a section of the estate lands, part of Brompton Heath and later the site of Evelyn Gardens, from the main estate land. The Trustees of Henry Smith were granted building leases by an Act of Parliament in 1772. Following the Napoleonic Wars the rapid development of areas of London began in earnest, including in this area of Kensington, which the Trustees of Henry Smith's Charity began to develop in 1823, appointing George Basevi as architect in 1828 and, after his death, Henry Clutton from 1845, later succeeded by Charles James Freake. Cranley Terrace, originally called Strong's Place and now 46-78 Fulham Road, was built by Freake in 1853-4 with mews behind. The west side of Cranley Gardens with mews behind was built from 1877-1880 before Freake's death.

The development of Evelyn Gardens followed in 1886 and was undertaken by Freake's widow and Charles Townshend Murdoch. It was named after Trustee William John Evelyn. The three east-west terraces (one of which is known and separately listed as Cranley Mews (q.v.) and the long north-south terrace (known as Thistle Grove Gardens (q.v.) and separately listed) were completed between 1886-1896. Each of the terraces had its own communal rear gardens. In 1928, all were owned by Trustees of Smith's Charity Estate and were for use by lessees of adjoining houses who paid a portion of the expenses to maintain the garden, managed by a Garden Committee. The two communal gardens known as Evelyn Gardens, both long rectangular gardens flanked on three sides by roads and on one long side by the rear of Nos. 1-29 Evelyn Gardens in one case, and Nos. 2-30 in the other, were described in 1928 as 'attractive gardens'.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); p543; RBKC Thurloe Estate and Smith's Charity Conservation Area Proposals Statement; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ265782 (526584,178192)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Site management:
1886 - 1896
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:
Thurloe Estate and Smith's Charity
Tree Preservation Order:
Yes - Area of trees
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

Evelyn Gardens

Evelyn Gardens (SE) - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 29/04/21 10:50

Click a photo to enlarge.

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