Inventory Site Record

Stanhope Gardens (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Development of the area took place mainly after the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and building began on the Harrington Estate in 1855. Stanhope Gardens was among the terraces to be built from the mid-1860s, and the communal gardens for the residents' use were laid out around the same time. The underground railway track was laid between South Kensington and Gloucester Road in the mid 1860s and runs under the south of the gardens. Harrington Road was constructed in 1867.

Practical Information
Site location:
Stanhope 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 5 times, most recently in 2003.
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Tube: Gloucester Road/South Kensington (District, Circle, Piccadilly). Bus: 49, 74.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

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

Full Site Description

Development of this area of Kensington took place predominantly after the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851 when Parliament decided that a 'cultural centre' for the Nation should be established here, together with a grand residential estate, and identified funds from profits of the Exhibition and additional monies from the Treasury. Ownership of the land was in the hands of the 1851 Commissioners and a number of private estates including the Harrington and Alexander estates. Up until then a number of individual houses, some substantial, had been built in the area. Building began in 1855 on the Harrington Estate, developed by William Jackson with C J Richardson the architect, and the first terrace of houses is now Nos. 5-19 Queen's Gate. The style of Jackson's development, which extended north to Nos. 1-4 Hyde Park Gate and was also on land owned by the 1851 Commissioners, was suitably opulent, maintaining the tradition of the Georgian town house with mews behind, grand terraces of four or more stories with ornamental stuccoed facades above a rusticated ground floor.

Stanhope Gardens was among the terraces built from the mid-1860s/70s, also on the Harrington Estate; Stanford's Library Map of London and Its Suburbs of 1862 shows the site with a building at the corner of Harrington Road (now Stanhope Gardens) and Gloucester Road marked as Jackson's Works, with open land to the east with trees indicated. The fully stuccoed terrace of houses on the west end of the south side was designed by Thomas Cundy III in c.1871. The east side of Stanhope Gardens was rebuilt in 1955-60 as a result of war damage.

The communal gardens were probably laid out around mid-1860s when the underground railway track between South Kensington and Gloucester Road was laid, with Harrington Road constructed above in 1867 by the engineer John Fowler. The line runs under the south of the gardens, including a planted area between Nos. 52 and 53 Stanhope Gardens. The original cast iron railings still surround the garden on three sides, representing a notable exception to the common practice of removing garden railings for the war effort in WWII. The gate piers also survive, but the gate is of modern design with wire mesh. In 1928 the owner of the gardens was the Earl of Harrington and those able to access them were his lessees of the adjoining houses. The garden was maintained and controlled by a Garden Committee elected by the lessees who paid a garden rate for its maintenance. It was described at that time as an 'oblong enclosure flanked on three sides by roads and on one (short) side by the rear of houses. A large and attractive open space with well-kept lawns, tennis courts and flower beds, and some fine trees. Surrounded by a sparse shrubbery.' Today the gardens have a central raised flower bed with a modern low brick wall around it, lawns and many ornamental trees; there are no longer tennis courts.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); London Garden Squares Day booklet 2001; RBKC Queen's Gate Conservation Area Proposals Statement, 1989; Report of Royal Commission on London Squares 1928

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ263787 (526386,178822)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Site management:
Listed structures:
LBII: 21-62 (consec.) Stanhope Gardens, railings to three sides of garden enclosure
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:
Queen's Gate
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:

Stanhope Gardens

Stanhope Gardens - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 30/04/21 11:31

Click a photo to enlarge.

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