Nestled in the very heart of London’s upmarket Kensington is Cheval Lexham Gardens, a boutique 30-apartment Residence that sits within an iconic Victorian development. Constructed primarily in the 1870s and 1880s, the buildings that make up the Cheval Lexham Gardens Residence were the work of two architects, W. Ashfold and W. Douglas, indicated on the map below.
Historic Development Map attributable to the 2016 Ordnance Survey 100021668
Spanning numbers 32-38, at first glance the Residence may look similar, if not identical to the buildings that sit nearby. Whilst each building on the same street features Victorian-Italiante cast iron railings, long facades, straight rooftops, large airy windows and majestic white pillar entrances (some of which are stepped including Cheval Lexham Gardens), they also have unique differences. These are noticeable in their decorative finishes, window arrangements or mosaic tiling, and it is only when you look closely that you are likely to spot the variations. To preserve this outstanding example of Victorian-era architecture, Lexham Gardens has been designated a conservation area, limiting the scope of changes anyone can make to the buildings’ exteriors.
Image attributable to British History
Other variations include the stucco decorative finishes, which in some houses might contrast with the colour of the brick, whilst other houses were painted to create a uniform appearance. Another variation can be seen in the symmetrical vs asymmetrical frontages demonstrated by the number and style of windows, as well as the presence of a pediment (the triangular shape perched at the top). If you look up to the roof of Cheval Lexham Gardens, you will spot the individual arched dormer windows, another feature important to this conservation area.
Having been built in short succession and under the same building legislation, the houses were constructed by a number of different builders over a period of approximately nine years. Each builder obtained their plot of land from Lord Kensington, and each left their own stylistic mark on the area. Interestingly, houses in the Lexham Gardens development were built from east to west, contrary to the way the buildings are numbered today, ascending from west to east.
KEY DATES IN THE DEVELOPMENT:
Kensington today is known as an affluent area, and it seems this was the case from the beginning, when these houses were home to the wealthy elite of the day. According to the 1881 census, occupations of residents included an abundance of army officers, barristers and solicitors as well as surveyors, doctors and even a Church of England clergyman. Each home had on average four servants per household affirming the prosperity of this location.
With other iconic buildings on the doorstep of Lexham Gardens, such as Kensington Palace and The Royal Albert Hall among many more, the area retains its elevated status to this very day. Cheval Lexham Gardens, complete with its historic features, now sits proudly renovated in the heart of this conservation area, ready to welcome those in search of a quintessentially British luxurious stay experience.
Sources: Lexham Gardens Conservation Area Appraisal, British History Online