Inventory Site Record

Philbeach Gardens (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

The private communal rear garden was provided for residents of Philbeach Gardens, which was developed as part of the Edwardes Estate in the early C19th. Francis Edwardes, who married into the Rich family who owned the Earl's Court Estate, was from Pembrokeshire and many of the street names reflect this connection. Philbeach was a village in Marloes parish, Pembrokeshire. His son William inherited the estate and was created Baron Kensington in 1776. The relatively late development of the land was partly due to the financial difficulties of the 2nd and 3rd Barons. In 1875 Lord Kensington's surveyor made application to the Metropolitan Board of Works to form the roadway of Philbeach Gardens and building began in 1876. The crescent-shaped garden once had tennis courts.

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

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

Full Site Description

This is part of the Edwardes estate, which in the early C19th was the largest estate in Kensington consisting of 3 adjoining areas that together comprised c.250 acres. In 1721 the Earl's Court estate lands belonging to the Rich family, Earls of Warwick and Holland, were inherited by Elizabeth, aunt of Edward Henry Rich, who was married to Francis Edwardes of Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire. Their third son William inherited the property here in 1738 and was later created Baron Kensington in 1776. The links with Pembrokeshire were further strengthened with his marriage to Elizabeth Warren of Longbridge, Pembrokeshire, and many of the street names reflect this when the Kensington estate was later developed; Philbeach was a village in Marloes parish in Pembrokeshire and the name is first recorded as Filebache farm in 1301. However much of the estate remained agricultural until well into the C19th, with over 190 acres occupied by Earl's Court Farm, tenanted by the family of Samuel Hutchins from 1720, who lived in the Manor House. The relatively late development of the estate lands was partly due to the financial difficulties of the 2nd and 3rd Barons.

Martin Stutely, Lord Kensington's surveyor, made application to the Metropolitan Board of Works to form the roadway of Philbeach Gardens in 1875, and building began in 1876 by builder George Mineard, who with Edwin Mineard was responsible for the development that included Cluny Mews and part of Warwick Road. An early resident of Philbeach Gardens, at No. 106, was Sir Henry Cole, former Secretary of the Science and Art Department and Superintendent of the South Kensington Museum. By 1882 George Mineard had built over 100 houses, including 1-31, 64-73 and 89-110 Philbeach Gardens. Between 1882 and 84 there was a lull when only No 88 Philbeach Gardens was built, the only double-fronted house in the development and unlike the Italianate style of earlier houses was in red-brick Domestic Revival style, which was later adopted for the remainder of the development when building resumed. St Cuthbert's Church was built from 1882 and consecrated in 1887, designed by Hugh Roumieu Gough.

The central garden for Philbeach Gardens was laid out in 1875 and an attractive poster advertising 'Elegant and Well-appointed Houses' to let 'on this Desirable Estate' in Philbeach Gardens and Warwick Road has an artist's impression of the communal gardens, which shows an elaborate layout of curving and circular paths, planting of trees and shrubs, and a central feature, and states that: 'The Recreation Grounds are for the use of the residents of the Estate in common, and each house in the outer circle has its own private Garden as well'. In 1928 the garden was in the ownership of Lord Iveagh and the lessees of houses abutting it had rights to use it under their leases (which expired in 1975). It was maintained by a Garden Committee made up of those people entitled to have access, with rules and regulations approved by Lord Iveagh as ground landlord, who made a yearly allowance to cover expenses. The gardens had tennis courts at that time, with a tennis club, coming under the Garden Committee, which contributed additional expenses for this use. It was described as 'a crescent-shaped enclosure flanked on all sides by the rear of dwelling-houses to which it forms a common back garden'. Today Philbeach Gardens is a leafy crescent with the large four-storey houses completely enclosing the secluded garden, which has mature trees, shrubs and lawn. Protected under 1851 Garden Square Act.

Sources consulted:

RBKC Nevern Square and Philbeach Conservation Areas Proposals Statement, 1998; Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 199 ed); Report of Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ251784 (525164,178460)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
?Edwardes Estate
Site management:
Listed structures:
LBII*: St Cuthbert's Church
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:
Not known
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.