Chelsea, London

4 out of 5 stars 38 Reviews

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    Swan House, Chelsea, SW3
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    Musicians, a Dairy and a Home for Old Ladies.

    by HackneyBird Written Mar 24, 2015

    Old Church Street is the oldest street in Chelsea. It is on record as being in existence from 1566, although it was known as Church Lane at that time. Chelsea Old Church (All Saints) (see seperate tip) stands at the Chelsea Embankment end of the street and gives its name to the whole street.

    Today, it is a street of shops, pubs and offices, with some private houses dating back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. No. 34 used to be a tobacconist's where the philosopher, writer and historian Thomas Carlyle bought his cigars.

    Old Church Street was also the home of the recording studios Sound Techniques from 1964 to 1972. Among the artist to have recorded there are Fairport Convention, Pink Floyd, Judy Collins, The Who, The Yardbirds, Pentangle, Steeleye Span, Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny.

    The remains of Wright's Dairy (see seperate tip) are at number 46. Just look for the cow's head on the wall.

    Another interesting building on Old Church Street is the block of flats built in 1878. Hereford Buildings (see seperate tip) was once owned by the English social reformer Olivia Hill. The majority of her tenants were elderly ladies and she used to take them on an outing every year.

    Famous residents of Old Church Street include Sir Charles Wheeler, President of the Royal Acadamy,
    the historian and novelist Charles KIngsley, artist William and Evelyn De Morgan, politician and playwright Bernard Levy, poet, writer and broadcaster John Betjeman, author A. A. Milne and the late Steve Clark, former guitarist for the rock band Def Leppard.

    Old Church Street, Chelsea, SW3 Chelsea Old Church, Old Church Street, SW3 Wright's Dairy, Old Church Street, SW3 Hereford Buildings, Old Church Street, SW3
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    Fit For A King.

    by HackneyBird Written Mar 23, 2015

    The King's Road runs from Eaton Square to Fulham, a distance of some two miles (3.2 km), and was originally a private road used by King Charles II on his journeys to and from Hampton Court. Other privileged people also had access to the King's private road provided they produced a copper pass with 'The King's Private Roads' stamped on one side of it and, on the other, with the King's monogram. The road was also George III's favourite route to Kew. The road ceased to be a private road in 1830.

    The world's first artificial ice rink, the Glaciarium, was opened here in 1876 and, in the 1930's Sir Oswald Moseley's Blackshirts had a barracks on the street.

    Since the early 1960's, the King's Road has been famous for its designer clothes shops, both Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood had boutiques here.

    Thomas Crapper, of water closets and bathroom accessories fame, had a shop at No 120 until 1966 when it was closed down.

    Among the famous people to have lived on the King's Road are Dr Thomas Arne, the composer of 'Rule Britannia', who lived at No 215 and, in the same house although at different times, the actress Ellen Terry, who lived there from 1904-1920 and Peter Ustinov, the actor and playwright.

    Swan Song Records, owned by the heavy metal band Led Zeppelin, had their headquarters at No 484 up until 1983 and the first ever Starbucks in the UK opened here in 1999.

    Second and third images courtesy of www.wikimedia.org

    The King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 The King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 The King's Road, Chelsea, SW3
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    An Orchard Garden.

    by HackneyBird Written Mar 20, 2015

    Roper's Gardens are situated on the Chelsea Embankment opposite Chelsea Old Church. The site was originally an orchard that formed part of the marriage settlement from Sir Thomas More, the statesman and humanist (1477-1535), to his daughter Margret on her marriage to William Roper in 1521.

    In 1941 a parachute mine destroyed the buildings that were then on the site and the land remained derelict from many years until, in the early 1960's, it was decided to build the sunken gardens you can see today. The foundation stone was laid by Cll Lady Heath the Mayor of Chelsea in March 1964.

    The garden's design is by Bridgewater, Shepherd and Epstein and is laid out with two raised lawns with shrubs and paving at either end and a long terrace of sheltered seating.

    There are a number of sculptures in the garden, including an uncompleted stone relief by Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), which stand on the site site of his studios and was unveiled in 1970 and The Awakening by Gilbert Ledward (1880-1960) (see seperate tip).

    Among the trees in the garden is a cherry tree, planted when the garden was opened, to commemorate Gunji Koizum, the father of British judo (1885-1965)

    Roper's Gardens, Chelsea, SW3 Foundation Stone, Roper's Gardens, SW3 The Awakening, Roper's Gardens, SW3 The Awakening, Roper's Gardens, SW3
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    Nude in the Gardens!

    by HackneyBird Written Mar 19, 2015

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    This full-sized bronze nude entitled 'Awakening' is by Gilbert Ledward (1888-1960). It is situated in Roper's Gardens, opposite Chelsea Old Church on the Chelsea Embankment. The statue was created in 1913 and captures the moment when one wakes from a deep sleep. It was installed in the gardens in 1965.

    Ledward, born in Chelsea to an artistic family, won the British Prix de Rome scholarship for sculpture and the Royal Academy's travelling award in 1913 and during 1914 travelled around Italy producing sketches.

    At the start of the First World War he was commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery and later went on to be a war artist for the Ministry of Information.

    After the war, he was much in demand as a sculptor of war memorials and from 1927 to 1929 he was a Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. He went on to become president of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and was awarded an O.B.E. in 1956, just four years before his death.

    Ledwards other works in London include the fountain in Sloane Square and the bronze figures of St Nicholas and St Christopher at the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street.

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    Gone But Not Forgotten.

    by HackneyBird Updated Mar 15, 2015

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    The old Chelsea Public Library stands in Manresa Road, just off the King's Road in Chelsea. Built in 1890, and designed by the architect J M Brydon. It was awarded a Grade II listing in 1969. The building is no longer used as a public library but is part of the Chelsea College of Science and Technology.

    Despite my best efforts I cannot find out any more information about this lovely old building. If anyone has any additional information I would be very grateful for your help.

    The old Chelsea Public Library, Manresa Road, SW3 Plaque, the old Chelsea Public Library
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    You're Not There Any More, Mr Moore!

    by HackneyBird Written Mar 15, 2015

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    This sculpture by Andrew Sabin stands outside Henry Moore Court on the former site of the Chelsea School of Art. It was commissioned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 2011 to replace Henry Moore's sculpture 'Two Piece Reclining Figure no 1'.

    Andrew Sabin was born in London in 1958 and studied at the Chelsea School of Art from 1979 - 1983. He worked in the field of experimental object making until 1989 when he held his debut exhibition in a shop in Islington. The exhibition was later shown at the Whitechapel Gallery in East London.

    He went on to create art instillations,his first major work being produced for the Chisenhale Gallery in East London.

    His later works include the 'Round Bridge' and the 'Square Bridge' at Ravensbury Park, 'The Calibrated Ramp' for Bracknell Forest Council in 2003, and 'The Coldstones Cut' in 2010, which is located at Pateley Bridge in the Yorkshire Dales and won the Marsh Award for Public Sculpture in 2011.

    Sculpture, Manresa Road, Chelsea.
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    In Memory of a Beloved Wife.

    by HackneyBird Updated Mar 15, 2015

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    The Royal Marden Hospital was founded in 1851 by Dr. William Marsden after the death of his wife Elizabeth Anne from cancer. Originally called the 'Free Cancer Hospital' and located in Westminster, it was the only hospital in the world dedicated to the treatment and study of the disease. At first, the hospital was used as a dispensary for palliative medicines designed for treating the symptoms of cancer, but this alone allowed Marsden to research and study the disease.

    It soon became clear that some patients needed to be hospitalised, and the hospital had to move its location many times until, in the 1850's, a permanent solution was found and funds were raised to build a new hospital.

    In 1910 the hospital was granted its Royal Charter by King George V and it became known as The Cancer Hospital (Free). This was changed by King Edward VIII in 1954 and the hospital was renamed The Royal Marsden in memory of its founder.

    The Royal Marsden has earned many distinctions of the years, including the International Qualitly Standard for radiotherapy (1996) and for chemotherapy (2003), and it became one of the first NHS Foundation Trusts in 2004.

    On 2nd January 2008, a fire started in a plant room on the top floor of the hospital. All patients and staff were evacuated, including two patients that were undergoing surgery at the time. At the height of the fire, 111 fire engines, 125 firefighters and 16 ambulances were in attendance, but apart from two members of staff suffering from minor smoke inhalation, there were no other injuries.

    After the blaze, the damage was not as bad as had been first thought and by 7th January the out-patient and radiotherapy departments had reopened,and later in the week, the in-patients were transferred back to the Royal Marsden from their temporary home at the Royal Brompton Hospital.

    Famous patients of the Royal Marsden include Dusty Springfield (singer), Benny Green (saxophonist), George Harrison (The Beatles), Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones), Susanah York (actress) and Jade Goody (reality TV celebrity)

    Second image courtesy of www.wikimedia.org

    The Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea. The Royal Marsden Hopsital, Chelsea.
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    Chelsea Old Church.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 24, 2013

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    I had seen a photo of this church and the statue of Sir Thomas More in a travel book and went to Chelsea to look for it. It is the church of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535). He lived in Chelsea from ca 1520 and attended the Chelsea Old Church. He rebuilt one of the chapels in the Chelsea Old Church, which is called the More Chapel and was More´s private Chapel. There is a statue of More (1969) south of the church.

    Sir Thomas More was a councellor to King Henry VIII, who ordered for him to be beheaded as More didn´t approve of King Henry´s VIII separation from the Catholic church. After his execution he was brought into the All Hallows by the Tower Church. Sir Thomas More was later canonized in 1935.

    The Chelsea Old Church dates back to the 13th century. The church was hit by a bomb in 1941 during WW2, which almost completely destroyed the church, apart from the More Chapel and some of the Monuments. The church was rebuilt in 1950. There is a reproduction of a Medieval Arch in the church.

    The church is filled with beautiful Monuments, many of which commemorate the "great" families living in Chelsea. It is said to have the finest collection of Monuments outside of Westminster Abbey. Many of them were damaged during WW2, but were saved and restored.

    When I visited there was a concert rehearsal, and the sacristan or the vicar, I don´t know, whispered and asked me where I was from and gave me a leaflet on the history of the church. So I tiptoed in there, looking at all the Monuments and reading up on the church. The church is filled with Monuments, one of which is More´s Monument and Tomb, even though it is not believed that he is not buried here, due to the nature of his death.

    The Chelsea Old Church is a Grade I listed building.

    There is a book on the history of the church "Chelsea Old Church, The Church that would not die".

    When I left the church I stood by the entrance and was taking a photo with flash and at the exact same moment a lightning struck, scaring the living daylights out of me.

    Sir Thomas More. Chelsea Old Church - the Medieval Arch. Chelsea Old Church. Chelsea Old Church. The More Chapel.

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    Visit the famous flower show

    by Tracyden Written Feb 19, 2011

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    Well worth a trip - we had a ticket for one day of the show and one days is enough time to see all the display gardens and tour the grand pavillion.

    There's the chance to get tips and have a chat with the garden designers and to but some unusual seeds and garden ornaments.

    Also - don't miss the Pims stalls.

    See my travelogue on my London page for more

    show garden
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  • The Saatchi Gallery

    by Mariajoy Written Nov 1, 2008

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    The new Saatchi Gallery is now open in Duke of York Square - and this magnificent building is home to exhibitions of contemporary art from around the world. Currently the work on display is by Chinese artists but I shall be back soon to see the "Germania" exhibition too!

    More information about this "free to enter" (isn't London fab??) gallery can be found on their website.

    (The "old" Saatchi gallery was previously located in the former GLA building on the South Bank).

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  • Chelsea Physic Hospital

    by Mariajoy Written Sep 27, 2008

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    An ancient walled garden where from the 17th century apothocaries have researched and studied the medicinal purposes of flowers shrubs and herbs. Nowadays the plants are grown for conservation purposes and visitors can wander round admire the flora and fauna - visit the cafe and shop or just relax with a book in the sunshine.

    The garden is near Chelsea embankment a short walk from Sloane Square tube station or the 170 bus from Victoria. You could also visit the National Army Museum and the National Trust property Carlyle's House on Cheyne Walk.

    Adult tickets are £7 - check the website for opening times and other ticket concessions.

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    Chelsea Flower Show

    by annase Updated Aug 3, 2007

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    Every year in May, there is a huge garden exhibition in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in London called Chelsea Flower Show. It is spectacular. I went there a few years ago, but it is just fab. You can pick up loads of great gardening tips, if you are into that sort of stuff, obviously. At the end of the show, they also sell plants with hefty discounts.

    The exhibition lasts only 5 days, but the exhibitors prepare months and months in advance for the show. The show features some of the finest examples of horticultural excellence and the best displays and gardens get awarded with gold, silver and bronze awards. The show also sets the latest gardening trends and functions as a platform to launch new plants.

    Designers have to apply to create show gardens. Since there is only 20 spaces, only the extraordinary garden designs make it to the show. There are also more than 100 floral displays as well a number of smaller gardens, falling into categories 'the stylish and bold chic gardens', 'courtyard gardens', 'roof gardens' and 'city gardens'.

    Make sure you buy your tickets early (months and months before) as it sells out fast.

    Buddha statue in previous years' show
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    The Chelsea Cruise

    by Elodie_Caroline Written Apr 19, 2007

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    The Chelsea Cruise is in and around the Chelsea and Battersea regions of London on the last Saturday of every month, mostly during the summertime. It's a great evening out, seeing all of the old classic cars. There are American Cars like Cadillacs and Chevy 57s here, plus there are other weird and wonderful modes of transport that actually turn up at these events. We once saw a cut down red Bus, and what can only be described as a white box on wheels with Christmas lights all around it!
    When we had our old Ford Cortina mk4, we had that painted an Ice cream pink with Pink Panther on the bonnet back in the early 190s; we drove proudly along the Cruise with the rest of them and wasn't out of place at all.

    Chelsea cruise - Vauxall Cresta Me & our Pink Ford Cortina
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    Kensington & Chelsea

    by Oana_bic Updated Aug 13, 2006

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    From the ever-hip King's Road in Chelsea to the more recently popular Notting Hill; the shopping heaven that is Kensington High Street; the fantastic greenery and scenery of Kensington Gardens; or some of London's top museums, located in South Kensington - Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert, Science Museum.
    For those into markets, Portobello Road is highly recommended, situated just behind Notting Hill Gate. The area around Portobello Road also has many trendy and unique boutiques, perfect for fashonistas.
    For big department stores, there is none better than the world famous Harrods in Knightsbridge. Close behind is John Lewis in Sloane Square, which underwent a recent refit, whilst Barkers in Kensington is smaller and not as well stocked, but still worth checking out if in the area. My favorite though is Harvey Nics - just next to Harrods.
    Harrods IS pricey, but it is well worth visiting even if you do not attend to buy anything because of the beautiful decor and the amazing selection. Visiting the enormous food hall, on the ground floor, is an absolute must. You might also enjoy having a cappuccino and a snack in one of the numerous cafes, or treat yourself to afternoon tea.
    Nowadays, amongst other things, Kensington and Chelsea is the most affluent borough (local authority area) in Britain.
    Perhaps surprisingly then, it is very popular with younger visitors because there are still much reasonably-priced accommodation available.

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    Chelsea Bridge

    by Airpunk Written May 25, 2006

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    We all know Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Westminster Bridge and a couple of other London bridges a tourist won't miss. But Chelsea Bridge is a little away from the famous tourist attractions. The suspension bridge was opened in 1937, but there had been a bridge on this place in 1858 already. A recommendation I do on every bridge in London: See it at night when it is illuminated.

    Chelsea Bridge at Night (seen from north bank)
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