LADBROKE ASSSOCIATION

The conservation society of the Ladbroke Conservation Area in the

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

 

 

 

 

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        STREETS OF THE LADBROKE CONSERVATION AREA

 

 

HORBURY CRESCENT

 

 

 

Horbury Crescent is a short and handsome half-moon shaped street between Ladbroke Road and Kensington Park Road. It has continuous terraces on both sides built in the second half of the 1850s.

 

 

History

 

In 1848 the site (which was then agricultural land) was leased by Felix Ladbroke (the heir of James Weller Ladbroke who had begun the development of the Ladbroke estate) to William Chadwick in 1848. Chadwick, although he described himself variously as an architect and a builder, was in fact what we would now call a developer, who also developed part of Ladbroke Road and several other nearby streets.  According to the Survey of London, the building of Horbury Crescent was in fact begun in 1855 by his heir W.W. Chadwick, and by 1857 sixteen houses were in the course of erection.

 

Kensington Temple was originally a Congregational chapel called Horbury Chapel after Horbury in Yorkshire, the home town of its deacon in the 1850s, and this name was also given to Horbury Crescent and Horbury Mews.

 

Originally, the houses were numbered consecutively, starting from the Ladbroke Road end and running along the western side and then back along the eastern side (so the present 13 was No. 1), but in 1863 it was decided to change the numbering to the present arrangement.

 

 

1863 document showing the old numbers in black and the new ones in red.

Courtesy of the RBKC Local Studies Centre.

 

 

 

Architecture

 

As the Survey of London points out, most of Chadwick's work on the Ladbroke estate consists of well-proportioned and regular terrace houses simply dressed with stucco, and Horbury Crescent is no exception.

 Old postcard of Horbury Crescent.               Courtesy RBKC

 

Eastern side (nos. 1-13 odds)

 

Apart from the end-of-terrace No. 1, which is a slightly larger full-stucco building with no ironwork at first floor level, the houses on the eastern side (Nos.1-13 odds) form a uniform terrace of London stock brick houses with three storeys plus basement. There is coursed stucco at ground floor level and flat stucco below; and decorative stucco mouldings around the windows and above the doors. The window-sills at first floor level have good ironwork balconettes.  Unfortunately, the last two houses have had their brickwork rendered and painted; and the plain side wall on the end house (No. 13) has also been painted over. All houses have good, probably original, iron railings to the street boundaries.

 

There are typical gaps between the buildings at either end of the terrace where it meets the terraces at (near) right angles in Ladbroke Road and Kensington Park Road.

 

1-13 Horbury Crescent. Note the gap on the left separating the range from the back of the terrace in  in in Ladbroke  Road (photo © Thomas Erskine 2006)

 

 

Western side (nos. 2-28 evens)

 

This terrace is less uniform. As on the other side, all the houses are of London stock brick with coursed half stucco at ground floor level and flat stucco below, with decorative stucco mouldings, interesting ironwork at first floor level and iron railings to the street boundary. But there are two distinct ranges. Nos. 2-18 evens form a “bookended” terrace of houses with four storeys, basement and pillared porches, with moulded window frames and ledges. At each end of the range, there are houses (No. 2, a large double-fronted corner house at the Kensington Park Road end, and Nos. 14, 16 and 18 at the other end) with big three-light windows on their upper floors, whereas the intervening houses have two bays of much simpler windows. Nos. 16 and 18 still have balustrades on their roofs and it is clear from the old postcard above that all the houses on this side once had such balustrades. One house in this range (No. 16) has had its brickwork painted black. There is good ironwork above the porches.

 

Nos. 20-28 evens are smaller, and have no porches or canopies (which is unusual for houses built after 1850, but it is possible that earlier designs by Chadwick senior were being followed). They generally match those on the other side of the street. With the exception of No.20 (which has distinctive ironwork on all three floors), they also have the same ironwork at first floor level as Nos. 1-13. No. 28 abuts No. 12 Ladbroke Road.

All have good, probably original iron railings at their street boundary.

 

 

 

8-22  Nos. 2-20 (evens) Horbury Crescent (photo © Thomas Erskine 2006).

 

Street furniture

 

A number of old coal hole covers survive and a new one has been installed by the Notting Hill Improvements Group and the Royal Literary Society with a text contributed by the local writer Sebastian Faulks.

 

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Existing Listings and Article 4 Directions, protected rooflines etc

 

  • No listed buildings.

 

  • Article 4 directions apply to all the houses removing permitted development rights in respect of alterations to front doors or windows.

 

  • All buildings are roofline category 1, which has protected them from dormers.

 

 

Recommendations for new designations

 

  • We recommend that the Article 4 directions should be strengthened to apply to the whole fronts of the houses to give a degree of protection to the brickwork to avoid further painting over, and to cornices and the particularly fine ironwork, which may not be covered by the existing directions.

 

  • No. 2, which has windows on the side facing Kensington Park Road, should also have an Article 4 direction applying to its side elevation.

 

Side of No. 2

 

 

 

 

Recommendations to planners and householders

 

  • It is not clear whether No. 1 was intended to be full stucco, but it is different from the rest of the terrace – perhaps part of a bookend that was not then matched at the other end – and we do not recommend removing the stucco. But it would considerably improve the look of the street if the paint and render could be removed from brickwork of Nos. 11, 13 and 16, so that the pleasant uniformity of the terrace can be restored, and we hope future owners will consider this.

 

  • It would also be welcome if one day the missing roof balustrades could be re-installed..

 

  • Dormer floors should continue not to be permitted. The clean roofline of the street is one of its attractions.

 

  • The gaps at the end of the terrace on the eastern side are characteristic of the Ladbroke estate and we would be critical of any attempt at infilling these gaps..

 

  • Very little of the backs of the houses can be seen from the public realm (there is an oblique view of part of the western side from Ladbroke Road), so there are probably  no conservation reasons to restrict alterations, although there may be other considerations such as overlooking.
  • The brickwork should not be painted over and we hope that one day the paint can be removed from No. 16.

 

  • At present, residents of the street have painted their stucco decoration (including the stucco on ground and lower ground floor) white or cream and their ironwork black. This uniformity enhances the attractiveness of the street and should be preserved. We recommend black for ironwork.

 

  • We also recommend that the coal-hole covers should be preserved as an intersting part of the heritage of the area.

 

  • Horbury Crescent is one of the few streets in the area without street trees. Although the vaults beneath the pavement may restrict planting, we believe that there are a few positions where trees could be planted.

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated 11.1.2017                                                                          Back to Streets index