LADBROKE ASSOCIATION

 The conservation and amenity society for the Ladbroke Conservation Area of the

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

 

   

 

 

 

 

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STREETS OF THE LADBROKE CONSERVATION AREA

 

 

       

         ST MARK'S PLACE

 

 

   St Mark's Place, a short street between Cornwall Crescent and Blenheim Crescent, was originally called Chapel Place after a Baptist Chapel (described in the entry for Cornwall Crescent) that stood on the eastern corner with Cornwall Crescent. It seems to have acquired its present name after a large church called St Mark’s was built in the neighbouring St Mark’s Road. The numbering of the houses in the street is eccentric, and almost certainly reflects the fact that Nos. 1-3 (consecutive) on the east side and numbers 4-10 on the south side were the earliest to be built and that the street acquired its numbers when they were the only buildings in the street (apart from the chapel).

 

Eastern side (nos. 1-3 and 11-13)

 

   Nos. 1-3 (consecutive), at the southern end of the road, constitute a short terrace of handsome uncoursed half-stucco houses (three storeys plus lower ground floor) with bay windows at ground floor level surmounted by semi-pierced stucco balconies, stucco decorations around the upper windows, and well-decorated cornices. There is no record of these houses in the Survey of London, but they were probably built around the 1860s, the last great period of building on the Ladbroke estate. Next to No. 1 is a matching corner house entered from Blenheim Crescent, obviously built at the same time, and together this range forms a symmetrical terrace, the end houses marked by more elaborate stucco decoration over the first floor windows.

 

1 St Mark’s Place, with No. 40 Blenheim Crescent to the right (photo 2008).

 

   At the other (northern) end of this side, the Ladbroke Grove Baptist Chapel used to stand. It is not clear when it was built, but probably in the 1860s. In 1881 the plans shown below were approved for its ‘re-erection’, together with the construction of four houses on the land between the chapel and Nos. 1-3. It is not clear how far the plans for rebuilding the chapel were taken, but three houses were built adjoining Nos. 1-3. They were numbered Nos. 11-13 (consecutive), as the intervening numbers had already been given to the houses on the other side of the street. They are higher than their neighbours, with four storeys and no basement, bay windows at both ground and first floor level, and elaborate stucco decoration, including stiff-leaf acanthus capitals to the mullions on the bay windows. Unusually for the Ladbroke estate they were not even half-stuccoed. Unfortunately, the brickwork of all the houses has been painted over.

 

11-13 St Mark’s Place, probably built in the 1880s (photo 2008)

 

   The chapel was demolished after the Second World War and the present modern block of flats, Hudson House, put up on the site.

 

Western side (Nos. 4-10).

 

   Charles Blake, the developer of both Cornwall Crescent and part of Blenheim Cresscent, gave a consortium of London builders building leases for the houses at Nos. 4-10 (consecutive) in 1864-6 . The arrangement was that, once the houses had been built, the developer would give 99-year leases to their builders who could then let them to recover their costs, paying a ground rent to the landlord. The houses have three storeys plus basement, coursed half-stucco and curious key-pattern stucco bands around the first floor windows. They form a symmetrical terrace with the end houses set slightly forward. These houses also have an extra bit of decoration on their first floor windows. The cornices are elaborate and those of Nos. 5-7 are surmounted by pierced stucco balustrades, now lost from Nos. 8-9. No. 4 has a somewhat curious solid parapet instead of the balustrade; it is unclear whether this was part of the ‘bookending’ pattern to distinguish the end houses of the terrace (the parapet on No. 10 at the other end is badly damaged).

 

4-10 St Mark’s Place (photo © Erskine 2006).

 

1881 plan for rebuilding the chapel and constructing four houses between the new chapel building and Nos. 1-3. From LCC planning archives in the RBKC Local Studies Centre.

 

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Listings and Article 4 Directions

 

None of the buildings is listed, but all the houses have Article 4 directions removing permitted development rights in respect of alterations to the front doors or windows.

 

We recommend that these be transformed into directions removing permitted development rights in respect of the whole fronts of the houses and also the side in the case of No. 4, in order to provide protection to brickwork and cornices.

 

 

 

 

Advice to householders and planners:

Features to be retained or restored

 

  • Dormers: Nos. 1-3 have discreet dormers. The terrace at Nos. 4-10 has only one, unfortunately very obtrusive, dormer, on No. 9, which rather spoils the look of this otherwise neat terrace with a uniform roof-line. It would be better to avoid building any further dormers and, if any are allowed, they should be set back to minimise their visual impact from the street.

 

  • Nos. 11-13 have a most attractive corniced roofline which would be seriously compromised if any dormers were allowed.

 

  • Brickwork: it is unfortunate that the brickwork of Nos. 4, 5 and 11-13 has been painted over. These houses all have interesting stucco detailing which was designed to contrast with the brickwork and much of the desired effect has been lost. We would encourage future owners to remove the paint, and would urge the owners of the other houses not to paint their brickwork (apart from anything else, painted façades are more expensive to maintain).

 

  • Cornices: the cornices have generally been well-preserved in this street, although that of No. 10 is lacking its guttae. Nos. 8-9 have also lost the balustrade above the cornice and it is to be hoped that one day an owner will be able to replace it. The parapet above No. 10 is a crude and ugly structure. It would be better if it could be rebuilt to resemble that on No. 4.

 

  • Stucco paintwork: the stucco is currently all painted white or in pale pastel shades and we hope that this will continue to be the case. It would improve the look of the street if all the pipework on the front of the houses could be painted to match the stucco.

 

  • Stucco detailing: the detailing around the windows and on the porches has by and large been well preserved. But it would improve the street if the following could be reinstated:

 

  • No. 5: restoration of the stucco decoration on the top floor windows to match that on the rest of the terrace. The capitals on its porch also need to be restored.

 

  • No. 6: restoration of the stucco decoration on the top floor windows to match that on the rest of the terrace.

 

  • Nos. 8, 9, and 10: restoration of the worming decorated keystones above the ground floor windows. Nos. 9 and 10 also need restoration of the frieze below the cornice and the detailing around the top floor windows.

 

The top part of Nos. 7-9. No. 7 on the left has kept all its detailing; but much has been lost from Nos. 8 and 9. No. 8 has a particularly ugly pediment or parapet.

 

 

  • Railings: most of the houses have good railings painted black. The exception is No. 1 and it is to be hoped that a future owner will install railings to match others in this range.

 

  • Gaps: there are gaps between No. 4 and the terrace round the corner in Blenheim Crescent; between No.10 and the terrace round the corner in Cornwall Crescent; and between No. 13 and Hudson House. These gaps are important for the character of the area. In 2009 a planning inspector upheld a Council refusal to give planning permission for a new building next to No. 4; in his decision he commented that “the gap is typical of the way that the join between two terraces at right angle to each other is resolved in the conservation area and so is important to its character” (Appeal ref: APP/K5600/A/09/2100770).

 

 

 

 

Updated 18.2.2014                                                                                      Back to streets index