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Property News,



In our address book

Property News,



In our address book

The historical residents of Clarendon Road


Words by Jake Russell

How one street in Holland Park connects composers, writers, sculptors, and suffragettes

A growing London

Over the course of the nineteenth century, the population of London rose from just over one million people to just under six million people. Hyde Park Corner was once the western entrance to the city, but as the population increased, the countryside beyond was filled with new developments.

Some of this land belonged to the Ladbroke family. They were wealthy bankers based in the City, who had acquired estates in Middlesex, Surrey and Essex. They also owned several parcels of land in present-day West London, including 170 acres between the Portobello Road and the Portland Road. Today, these roads form the boundary of the Ladbroke Estate conservation area.

Development of the estate began in 1821. The original plans were ambitious, with large, private communal gardens enclosed by terraces and crescents of houses. Although these plans had to be scaled down after the financial crisis of 1825, fifteen of the communal gardens were eventually built, along with many of the most beautiful terraces in Notting Hill and Holland Park.

A street of professionals

The western part of the estate – including Clarendon Road – was developed in a second flurry of building work between 1840 and 1846. The road itself was named after George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, who was Lord Privy Seal during this period. He later became Foreign Secretary, appointed to the role three times in total, before dying in his post in the year 1870.

At first, Clarendon Road was separated into smaller terraces, each one funded by a different developer. As a result, the street contains a range of architectural features – from the porches and eaves, to the window dressings and façades. However, the southern half of the street is characterised by detached and semi-detached villas, separated by wide spaces and set back from the road. Some of the houses are substantial, but thanks to this spacing the road feels broad and expansive.

The size of the houses was intended to attract members of the growing middle and upper-middle classes. By 1851, the majority of these properties were occupied by professionals, along with their families and servants. This include barristers and solicitors, bank clerks and stockbrokers, merchants and retired service personnel.

Emmeline Pankhurst

There were also several figures linked to the city’s artistic and intellectual life. This included a portrait painter named Hugh Carter at No.12; a German mathematician named Olaus Henrici, president of the London Mathematical Society, at No.34; and Arthur Machen, the Welsh author of horror and fantasy stories, who lived at No.23 in the 1880s. The artistic side to the street’s inhabitants continued into the twentieth century, with the Scottish composer William Wallace and his wife, the sculptor Ottilie Wallace, who both lived at No.32 in the 1930s.

Perhaps the most celebrated resident of the street was Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Dame Christabel Pankhurst, who both lived at No.50 in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Together they founded the Women’s Social and Political Union, one of the leading organisations of the suffragette movement. This movement was known for its publicity-seeking tactics, such as assaulting police officers and staging hunger strikes in prison. Their tactics were effective in helping to bring about universal suffrage – women over 30 were given the vote in 1918, while the Equal Franchise act was passed in 1928 – and No.50 now carries a blue plaque in recognition of their achievement.

Classical to Italianate and Gothic

Over the course of the twentieth century, changing living habits meant that many of Clarendon Road’s houses were divided into flats. The street was also badly hit during the Blitz, with several damaged properties either demolished or repaired on the cheap. However, in the last decades of the century, a few far-sighted developers recognised the extraordinary potential of these buildings and began restoring them to single occupancy.

Nowadays, the houses on the southern half on Clarendon Road show an attractive variety of sizes and styles, from strictly classical to Italianate and even Gothic. Since builders began turning the properties back into single houses, many of the original architectural features have also been repaired. As a result, lost cornices, window surrounds and porches are being restored to the facades, returning the street to its former glory.


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