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Spotlight On Chelsea

Meet some more of our neighbours!

Whats in a Name?

The first firm record of the use of the name ‘Chelsea’ is of a manor at Chelsea, just before the Norman Conquest in the 11th Century. The meaning of the word is a "landing place for chalk or limestone".
 

Noteworthy Residents

Mary Ann Evans who wrote under the pen name George Elliot, lived on Cheyne Walk between 1871–72. She is the author of seven novels, most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.

 

Bram Stoker lived on St Leonards Terrace and wrote twelve novels in all but the most famous of these was Dracula, published in 1897.

The American author and humourist Mark Twain lived at Tedworth Square with his wife and children for a short time. Among his writings are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Oscar Wilde, one of London's most popular playwrights and best-known personalities of his day, lived on Tite Street. Renowned for his epigrams, The Picture of Dorian Gray, numerous plays, as well as more sadly the circumstances surrounding his imprisonment and early death. 

A number of houses on Cheyne Walk were the former home of many famous names:

First to note, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his father Mark lived in Lindsey House, from 1808. Brunel’s designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering. Though his projects were not always successful, they often contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems and during his career, Brunel achieved many engineering "firsts", including assisting in the building of the first tunnel under a navigable river and development of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven ocean-going iron ship, which was at the time also the largest ship ever built.

Prior to her actions as a campaigner for the suffragette movement, Sylvia Pankhurst studied at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington, to which she had won a scholarship. She left university early, however, 120 Cheyne Walk remained her base for three between Political tours for the Women’s Social Movement.

James Abbot McNeil Whistler, of number’s 21 and 72 was an American-born, British-based artist active during the American Gilded Age. He used a signature on his paintings in the shape of a stylized butterfly possessing a long stinger for a tail. The symbol reflected both aspects of his personality—his art was characterized by a subtle delicacy, while his public persona was combative. His most famous painting is "Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1", commonly known as Whistler's Mother, the revered and oft-parodied portrait of motherhood.
Danvers Street was home to Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin changed the world of modern medicine by introducing useful antibiotics; penicillin has saved, and is still saving, the lives of millions of people around the world, by treating some of mankind's most oldest illnesses, including syphilis, gangrene and tuberculosis.

The English author, AA Milne, best known for his books about Winnie-the-Pooh and various poems. Milne served in both World Wars, joining the British Army in World War I, and was a captain of the British Home Guard in World War II. Milne moved to Mallord Street on his discharge from the army and military intelligence in 1919 and owned it until 1942. This is where his son, Christopher Robin, was born.



 
Before becoming engaged to Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge lived with her Sister in a flat on Old Church Street.

Eric Clapton lived on the King's Road during the late 1960s.

The Hollywood actress Ava Gardner, spent the last twenty years of her life living in Chelsea, until her death in 1990.

Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Keith Richard lived together in Edith Grove before The Rolling Stones gained worldwide notoriety.

Built in 1850, Durham Cottage in Christchurch Street, was the love nest of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh between 1937 and 1956. They moved into the home while working together on Fire Over England and christened the detached two-storey house, which they owned for 19 years.



 
Bob Marley composed his hit "I Shot the Sheriff" in a one-bedroom flat off Cheyne Walk in the mid-1970s

Christian the lion was purchased by John Rendall and Anthony "Ace" Bourke for 250 guineas (£3500 today) from Harrods in 1969 and lived with them in a flat on the Kings Road. With the help of the conservationist George Adamson, they were able to successfully reintroduce Christian to the African wild:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sju3kSTAzdI

David Bowie lived in 5-storey stucco townhouse on Oakley Street during the 70s. The story goes that he painted the interior jet black during the miner’s strikes.

 

Hot spots and Noteworthy buildings

 

Much of Chelsea is still owned by Earl Cadogan, through the Cadogan Estates. The Estate has a major influence on the markets as the Earl is the freeholder and generally has no desire to sell. However, changes in legislation now mean a freeholder is obliged to sell lease extensions to a leaseholder at prices which are determined by the Leasehold valuation tribunal. Cadogan Estates are generally regarded as an effective and successful property developer/landlord being responsible for bringing all of the fashion labels to Sloane Street, and also forward thinking developments at Duke of York Square on Kings Road, at Peter Jones and on Sloane Street.
 
Chelsea Town Hall has seen a number of celebrity marriages take place over the years, including Wallace Simpson, Judy Garland, Patrick Vieira, David Niven and Roman Polanski.

Chelsea Physic Garden
The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673, with the purpose of training apprentices in identifying plants. The location was chosen as the proximity to the river created a warmer microclimate allowing the survival of many non-native plants, such as the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain, and more importantly, to allow plants to survive harsh British winters. The river was also important as a transport route that linked the garden to other open spaces, facilitating easy movements of both plants and botanists. The garden has always sought to achieve good communications with others working in the same field and by the 1700’s it had initiated an international botanic garden seed exchange system, which continues to this day.

 



Chelsea Barracks
Originally built in the 1860s to house two battalions of troops. In April 2007 the Ministry of Defence agreed to sell Chelsea Barracks in its 12.8 acres site for £959 million to a consortium consisting of the Qatari Diar and the CPC Group.

Saatchi Gallery
The Saatchi Gallery opened in October 2008 with the objective of providing an innovative forum for contemporary art, presenting work by largely unseen young artists, or international artists whose work has been rarely, if ever, exhibited in the UK.


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