The Buildings of London: Earls Court to the Royal Academy

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The gardens of Courtfield Gardens

Following on from my last post about walking around London and learning about the buildings, I thought I’d share a few photos from the walk I did the day following that featured in the previous instalment. I’d arranged to meet up with a friend in Piccadilly, in order to explore a couple of art galleries, but before that I had a purchase to make on Kensington High Street. Armed with my camera, I set off walking from my hotel on Barkstone Gardens, Earls Court towards Cromwell Road.

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Courtfield Gardens, with the Holiday Inn in the background

Earls Court and West Kensington are particular favourites of mine, when it comes to areas of London, and the contrasts between the different building styles can be marked. Barkstone Gardens leads onto Courtfield Gardens (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has over 100 garden squares), which has its own website with a comprehensive array of information for residents and visitors.

Many of the houses and terraces in the borough were built in the second half of the Victorian era, and while taller than their modern equivalents are nowhere near as high as buildings elsewhere in the city; the one exception to that generalisation is the Holiday Inn on Cromwell Road, which can be seen towering over everything else from a number of locations.

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St Jude’s Church and its vicarage

A more interesting building I spotted on my walk was St. Jude’s Church, and its adjacent vicarage. The church tower was undergoing renovations when I walked past the end of the road, but enough of the building was visible for me to plan further online investigations. There’s a fair amount of information to be found regarding the church, though less on the vicarage, which had the same architect; both are detailed on the British History Online Survey of London.

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Iverna Court

Having crossed Cromwell Road and turned up Marloes Road towards the High Street, I found a greater proportion of determinedly brick buildings, notably those of Iverna Court, a crescent of mansion blocks, which seem to fetch astounding prices (to my northern perspective) when placed on the market. Mansion blocks were another Victorian idea, cropping up in London from the 1870s onwards, and becoming especially popular with single gentlemen and ladies. Kensington High Street reached, I made my purchase, browsing the window displays of a few other shops along the way, and took the Tube to Green Park.

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Penhaligon’s Store at the Burlington Arcade

Still being slightly early, I wandered into the Burlington Arcade, where Penhaligon’s had a very shiny Valentine’s Day themed window display. Regency and Victorian shopping arcades merit an entire post of their own, which I should consider compiling at some point. And that was pretty much the end of my solo walking excursions for the day. I had a series of meetings with friends lined up, the first of which was not far away at the Royal Academy.

I’d booked us a joint ticket for two exhibitions: Charles I: King and Collector at the RA, and Charles II: Art & Power at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. Both are still ongoing (the former until mid-April and the latter until mid-May), though the joint ticket offer seems to have ended. Worth seeing: both Kings were influenced in their collecting habits by the women in their lives.

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Outside the Royal Academy (friend waiting just out of sight)


  1. As always, an interesting walkabout that stirs happy memories of past visits to the U.K./London. Thank you for devoting some of your energy to photographing places and buildings during your morning spent in London.


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