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Inventory Site Record

Royal Avenue * (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

The Avenue was part of the project to connect the Royal Hospital with William III's Kensington Palace in a scheme by Sir Christopher Wren approved in 1681, but which stopped short at King's Road. The Avenue was made partly through commonland, the rights to which were acquired in 1694 by the Commissioners of the Royal Hospital, the extreme southern end originally part of Burton's Court. It now consists of a broad expanse of gravel with a gully each side, set between two rows of lime trees, a low post around the edge; it has fine views to Royal Hospital across Burton's Court.

Practical Information
Site location:
Royal Avenue, off King's Road
Postcode:
SW3
What 3 Words:
flying.spring.games
Type of site:
Garden Feature Remnants
Borough:
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Sloane Square (District, Circle). Bus: 11, 19, 22, 211, 239
Research updated:
01/05/2010
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.rbkc.gov.uk

Full Site Description

Royal Hospital Chelsea: Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list. 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.

This was part of a bold project intended to connect the Royal Hospital with William III's Kensington Palace in a scheme by Sir Christopher Wren approved in 1681. Unfortunately the project stopped short at King's Road, and the flanking terraces are not uniform. The Avenue was made partly through commonland, the rights to which were acquired in 1694 by the Commissioners of the Royal Hospital paying rent of £3 p.a. The extreme southern end was originally part of Burton's Court. The Avenue originally had gravel with grass verges, horse chestnut trees and hedging with wooden fencing bordering each side. Walls and gates enclosed each end with ladder stiles, painted white in 1748 and the Avenue previously called Chestnut Walk became known as White Stiles. The eastern terrace was built in the 1840s at which time the horse chestnuts were probably replaced by lime and plane trees, the grass verges gravelled and the gates and fences replaced by railings. It was known as Royal Avenue from 1875.

In 1970 the road access to King's Road was closed. The Avenue now consists of a broad expanse of gravel with a gully each side, set between two rows of lime trees, a low post around the edge and it has fine views to Royal Hospital across Burton's Court. Described in 1928 as 'a gravelled roadway with some fine trees. Flanked on each side by a public road with dwelling-houses fronting on to it', it was at that time not publically accessible except on one day each year.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); Royal Hospital Conservation Area Proposals Statement; Report of Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ277783 (527735,178344)
Size in hectares:
0.3503
Site ownership:
RB Kensington & Chelsea leased from Commissioners of the Royal Hospital
Site management:
Leisure Services, Parks and Open Spaces
Date(s):
1692-4
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII: 2-48 and 17-43 Royal Avenue
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Yes
NHLE grade:
Grade II
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Yes

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:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Royal Hospital
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
Rail Safeguarding Area (north tip)
Photos

Royal Avenue *

Royal Avenue - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 07/09/18 11:08

Click a photo to enlarge.

More photos

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.