Inventory Site Record

Wetherby Gardens (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

The private communal garden was provided for residents of the surrounding houses, which were built as part of the Gunter Estate development commencing in the 1840s. This area of the estate, including Wetherby Gardens, was built in the 1880s and the garden was available to freeholders and lessees of surrounding houses as well as in certain neighbouring streets including Ashburn Place and Harrington Gardens. The garden was laid out with trees, grass and flower beds. Surrounded by large blocks of houses, the garden enclosure can be glimpsed from the street through an archway.

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

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

Full Site Description

The site was originally laid out as part of the Gunter Estate in the 1880s. It was part of the former Court Fields once within the Earl's Court Manor estate, later owned by the Gunter family. The Gunters had made their money selling confectionery and had begun to acquire land in the area from the latter part of the C18th; James Gunter had become a partner of successful Italian pastrycook Domenico Negri, whose business at 7 Berkeley Square was established in 1757 and soon became prosperous. James began investing his money in land in the then rural area around Brompton Lane (now Old Brompton Road), including a house to the north, Earls Court House, where the family lived. When his son Robert inherited the business on his death in 1819 the land holding was considerable. But although some plots had been let for building by the mid 1840s, 73 of the estate's c.81 acres remained undeveloped and leased to farmers and market gardeners.

From the late 1840s Robert Gunter began to develop the estate lands, beginning with The Boltons and moving north and east with large houses and terraces. His sons James and Robert continued to develop the estate following his death in 1852. George Godwin was appointed estate surveyor in 1848. By then, Godwin, who was local to Kensington, already had useful experience as District Surveyor for South Islington, and had erected one or two houses on Fulham Road with his father, also an architect or builder. As estate surveyor Godwin was responsible for the overall street layout and amenities, and overseeing the work undertaken by the contractors and developers who leased the building plots. In 1859 Robert Gunter leased the west side of The Boltons to John Spicer (d.1883) of Pimlico, who went on to take on many other leases on the estate in the 1860s and 1870s to become one of its principal developers. Nos. 12-19a Wetherby Gardens were built in 1884 by H B Measures, who built Bina Gardens (q.v.) and was architect for William Millett (Willett?) who developed the area. Nos. 23 and 24 were by R W Edis, and No. 25 also by Edis was built for Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, sculptor (1834-90), and has Renaissance reliefs. Other residents at Wetherby Gardens were Field Marshal Viscount Edmund Allenby (1891-1936) at No 24; and W S Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan, who later moved to Grims Dyke (q.v.)

In 1928 the garden enclosure at Wetherby Gardens was owned by Sir R V Gunter and Mr R G Gunter and leased on a peppercorn rent to Mr G J Spicer, the lease expiring in 1986. Spicer, a solicitor and son of John Spicer, had similar leases from the Gunter family for the garden enclosures of Bina Gardens West, Bolton Gardens, Bramham Gardens, Collingham Gardens and Gledhow Gardens (q.q.v.). Wetherby Gardens was for the use of freeholders and lessees of Nos. 1-21 Wetherby Gardens, 29 Ashburn Place, Nos. 27-75 (odd) Harrington Gardens and Nos. 28-50 (even) Harrington Gardens, all paying a rent for upkeep. In that year it was described as 'A long enclosure of irregular shape flanked on one (short) side by a road and on the remaining sides by the rear of dwelling-houses. A well-kept and attractive ornamental garden'.

Sources consulted:

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

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ261785 (526071,178586)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Site management:
Garden Committee
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:
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.