Rosmead Garden

Information for residents of the Rosmead Garden


GD 1151 II

Sixteen mid C 19 private communal gardens together forming the Ladbroke Estate, laid out between 1840 and c 1868, largely to the overall plan of Thomas Allason, architect and surveyor.
In the early C19 the Kensington estate of the Ladbroke family was one of the largest holdings in the parish. The estate is thought to have been acquired in the mid C 18 by Richard Ladbroke of Tadworth Court, Surrey, brother of the banker, Sir Robert Ladbroke (Phipps). After Richard Ladbroke's death, the estate passed to his son, Richard, who died without heirs, and then in 1819 to a nephew, James Well er (d 1847), who assumed the name of Ladbroke in accordance with his uncle's will. During James Well er Ladbroke's ownership (1819-1847), building development started on the estate, which was under the management of Smith Bayley (Bayley and Jackson from 1836), a firm of solicitors, acting in conjunction with the architect, Thomas Allason (1790-1852). In addition to acting for Well er Ladbroke, Allason was surveyor to other Kensington estates, to the Stock Exchange, and to Lord Shrewsbury at Alton Towers (qv). He remained surveyor to the Ladbroke family until his death in 1852.
Allason's original plan for the Ladbroke Estate was drawn up in 1823 and shows a large circus, similar in design to proposals for Regent's Park (qv), with detached and semi- detached villas on either side of a circular road and along a central axial road (along the line of the future Ladbroke Grove). There were two semi-circular shared greens, and a triangular piece of ground, which were marked on the plan as paddocks (Phipps). By 1832 the building boom of the early 1820s had collapsed and it became clear that the proposed development was too far west to support grand houses. The architect J B Papworth (1775-1847) was probably involved in the next phase of development (Phipps) and Allason's scheme was modified by lames Thompson (1800-1883), a pupil of Papworth. Thompson designed a number of smaller, mainly terraced houses to the west of Ladbroke Grove. The plans for this scheme were drawn up in liaison with the surveyors and architects for the lands to the east of Ladbroke Grove (Harwood). In August 1836 development was at a standstill, and a Mr John Whyte took a twenty one year lease of 1400 acres from Well er Ladbroke and laid out courses for steeple chasing and flat racing. The first meeting at the new Hippodrome took place on 3 June 1837. The enterprise was not a success and building work resumed in 1841, with the houses on Ladbroke Square being started in 1842. Although it is uncertain whether Allason retained any overall control, he was still working on the project in the 1840s and was probably responsible for the layout of the largest garden, Ladbroke Square, in 1849. By this date lames Thompson had ceased to be involved, and Allason was working with the builder and surveyor, William Reynolds. The houses built in the 1840s were relatively simple brick or stucco houses but after Allason's death ·in 1852, a much more theatrical style of architecture was used (Phipps). The artist and designer, Thomas Allom (1804-1872) was responsible for the design of this new phase of development, with mansions along Kensington Park Gardens and Stanley Crescent, and a streetscape incorporating views of St Peter's church on Kensington Park Road. The gardens to these houses may have been laid
out and were probably planted by the landscape gardener and nurseryman, David Allan Ramsay (bI796; designer of parts of Highgate Cemetery qv), who was also responsible for many of the houses of the Ladbroke Estate (Phipps). Like many of the Estate developers, Ramsay became bankrupt in 1854 probably because of the scale of the houses and the low density of development. By the 1860s the estate was nearing completion and, as new transport made it more accessible, it became popular with professionals.
The ownership of the many of the gardens was conveyed to a Trust but other gardens had a single owner (Felix Ladbroke retained ownership of Stanley Crescent Garden and South Stanley Garden and was one of the three Trustees of Ladbroke Square Garden) or were owned by the freeholders of the surrounding properties. Committees were set up to manage the gardens, and bye-laws were introduced (Phipps).
During World War II the path layouts in some of the gardens were simplified and some ofthe railings were removed but bomb damage was minimal. Following the war the area became run down, especially in the lower, northern part of the estate but few changes were made.
The area became fashionable again in the late C20 and the houses and gardens have been restored.
The Ladbroke Estate (c29ha as here registered), is situated in Notting Hill, west London, and lies c500m north of Holland Park (qv), c800m north-west of Kensington Gardens (qv), and c850m south of the A40(M). The estate within which the sixteen gardens lie is bounded by Kensington Park Road to the east, the houses along the south sides of Lansdowne Walk and Ladbroke Square to the south, Clarendon Road to the west, Blenheim Crescent to the north- west, and Elgin Crescent to the north-east. Ladbroke Grove runs north-south through the centre of the estate, with ten gardens to the west and six to the east. The names of the gardens are those used by the Gardens Committees and are mostly derived from the names of the roads which border the garden. As a result, some of the names are very similar to each other.
The gardens to the west of Ladbroke Grove are, from north to south (and west to east as relevant): Blenheim and Elgin Crescents Garden, Lansdowne Road - Elgin Crescent Garden, Montpelier Garden, Lansdowne Road - Lansdowne Crescent Garden, Lansdowne Crescent Garden, Clarendon Road - Lansdowne Rise Garden, Notting Hill Garden, Clarendon Road- Lansdowne Road Garden, Hanover Gardens, and Ladbroke Grove Garden. The gardens to the east of Ladbroke Grove are, from north to south (and west to east as relevant): Arundel Gardens - Elgin Crescent Garden, Arundel and Ladbroke Garden, Stanley Crescent Garden, Stanley Gardens North, South Stanley Garden, and Ladbroke Square Garden.
There are vistas within the gardens, from the roads into the gardens through gates or gaps between semi-detached villas, and along the roads, often aligned on dominant buildings including the churches ofSt John the Evangelist (1845, by J H Stevens and G Alexander in an Early English Gothic manner, listed grade II) on the west side of Ladbroke Grove between Lansdowne Crescent Garden and Ladbroke Grove Garden, and St Peter's (listed grade II*) on Kensington Park Road, aligned on the east end of Stanley Gardens. The south-east corner of the Estate is largely level, from where the ground falls to the west and north. The gardens are
arranged concentrically on the sloping ground, with fourteen laid out behind the houses, and
two in front of the houses. The gardens are accessed either directly from the backs of the houses and their gardens, or from gated entrances from the surrounding streets.
Blenheim and Elgin Crescents Garden, 0.81ha, lies between the terraces along Blenheim Crescent (built 1861-63) to the north, Elgin Crescent (1858-62) to the south, and Clarendon Road to the west. Large private gardens lead onto a long communal garden, with a path layout much simplified from its original pattern (OS,1867). There is a hard tennis court at the east end, screened by evergreen shrubs, and the rest of the garden is largely open with scattered mature trees.
Lansdowne Road - Elgin Crescent Garden [Renamed ROSMEAD GARDEN in 2011], 0.82ha, is a large, curving garden near the foot of the hill. It lies between the painted stucco houses along Elgin Crescent (mostly 1852) to the north and Lansdowne Road (c1862) to the south with their private gardens. It retains most of its mid C 19 paths, although simplified in the centre. Shrubberies back three large oval shaped lawns and there are dense evergreen shrubberies at the west and east ends. Osbert Lancaster (1908-86) lived in Elgin Crescent as a child and described it in All done from Memory (1963) and the Ladbroke Estate in general in The Pleasure Garden (1977), co- authored with Anne Scott-James.
Montpelier Garden, 0.66ha, slopes to the west, and is largely open with fine mature trees. The garden curves between Lansdowne Road to the east (with semi-detached villas (nos 45 and 47 together listed grade II), 1847, and terraced stucco houses, 1855 -62) and the terraced houses along Clarendon Road and Elgin Crescent to the west and north-west. The mid C19 meandering perimeter path survives but the central path has been lost. The scattered mature trees on the lawn include ash, poplar, horse chestnut, a weeping willow, and a liquidamber. Iron gates were installed for the 1977 Jubilee.
Lansdowne Road - Lansdowne Crescent Garden, 0.48ha, is a curving, triangular shaped garden on a steep slope. The garden is backed by terraced houses on two sides, Lansdowne Crescent (1860-2, nos 19-28 together listed grade II and nos 29-38 together listed grade II) to the south and Lansdowne Road (1860-4) to the north. Part of the original path layout survives with some mature ash trees, supplemented by late C20 trees and shrubs and with a playground inserted.
Lansdowne Crescent Garden, 0.30ha, is situated on the crest ofthe hill, bounded along the curving west side by the semi-detached villas along Lansdowne Crescent (1844-5) and their private gardens. The vicarage to St John's church is situated in the southern corner of the garden. To the east, the garden is bounded by a tall terrace of houses along Ladbroke Grove (1841-2), which was originally terminated at each end by houses with large private gardens. These have been replaced by C20 blocks of flats, that to the south designed by Maxwell Fry (1938, listed grade II). There are no private gardens along the east side which has a raised terrace. The original path layout has been simplified and an additional path has been added across the centre of the garden. Most of the garden is open but there are roses trained on poles and pergolas.
Clarendon Road - Lansdowne Rise Garden, 0.41ha, is one of the earliest gardens in the estate, bounded by large stucco houses along Clarendon Road to the west and Lansdowne Road to
the east (nos 29 and 31, 33 and 35, 37 and 39, 41 and 43, listed grade II as pairs), both built in 1846. The garden slopes gently to the west and has a central shrub bed, originally connected to the perimeter path by cross. paths. The communal garden is backed to the west and east by large private gardens, with original railings. The rest of the garden is open with scattered mature trees.
Notting Hill Garden, 0.20ha, is a small garden on the hill near St John's Church. It is bounded to the west by stucco mansions along Lansdowne Road (1846, with C20 flats replacing bomb damaged houses) to the west, Lansdowne Crescent (1846) to the north, and St John's Gardens (1846) to the south-east. There are no houses along the east side but the garden is concealed from Lansdowne Crescent by a privet hedge. The original path layout survives with a fine horse chestnut, supplemented by self-sown sycamores and late C20 tree planting.
Clarendon Road - Lansdowne Road Garden, 0.41ha, is one of the earliest gardens in the estate, bounded by large brick houses with stucco detailing along Clarendon Road (built 1846) to the west and Lansdowne Road (1846) to the east. The garden slopes gently to the west and has a central shrub bed, connected to the perimeter path by a cross path which runs west-east (the mid C19 north-south cross path has now gone). The communal garden is backed to the west and east by large private gardens, with original railings. The rest of the garden is open with scattered mature trees, including planes and hawthoms.
Hanover Gardens, 0.78ha, is bounded by buildings on two sides, with tall terraced houses (James Thomson, 1842-3) along Ladbroke Grove to the east, and semi-detached villas (1845) with infills along Lansdowne Road to the west. The sloping garden is one of the earliest on the estate, with views to the spire of St John's Church (1845), between shrub beds, scattered mature trees and clumps. The original path layout survives, with a straight terraced path along the east side and a meandering path across the centre. The mid C19 railings survive along the Lansdowne Road side. A bench marks the 90th birthday of the landscape architect, Dame Sylvia Crowe, a former resident.
Ladbroke Grove Garden, 0.1 Oha, set back from Ladbroke Grove, has terraced houses on the west side. The small rectangular garden of grass and trees is unenclosed except for a low brick wall.
Arundel Gardens - Elgin Crescent Garden, 0.53ha, is bounded by the terraced houses on Elgin Crescent (built 1852) to the north and Arundel Gardens (1862-3) to the south.. There are small private gardens leading to a broad, level communal garden, dominated by a huge plane in the centre. An oval enclosure, surrounded by a privet hedge, is flanked by lawns backed by beds with flowering shrubs. The complex mid C 19 path layout has been simplified and some of the original railings survive.
Arundel and Ladbroke Garden, 0.49ha, lies between the stuccoed terraced houses along Arundel Gardens (1863) to the north and Ladbroke Gardens (originally designed by Thomas Allom in 1852, but not completed until 1866, nos 1-14 together listed grade II) to the south. Private gardens lead onto the steeply sloping communal garden. The mid C19 path layout, some of the original railings and plane trees survive, under planted by plantings of woodland shrubs.
Stanley Crescent Garden, 0.68ha, retains its early Victorian paths, railings and character. Three large, open lawns are bordered by shrubberies and trees, separated by gravel paths.
The west side is bordered by the private gardens and semi-detached villas along Ladbroke Grove (1843 to 1861, nos 36, 38 and 40 in the south-west corner, together listed grade II) and the curving east side is enclosed by the large houses along Stanley Crescent (Thomas Allom, 1854 (nos 1-9 together listed grade II, nos 10-11 listed grade II, and nos 12-13 listed grade II), and the slightly narrower houses in the northern section, early 1860s). Large shrubberies with evergreens fill the triangles formed by paths and there are many large C 19 trees, including narrow-leaved ash, horse chestnuts, beech, lime and plane trees. There are private gardens along the west side, which is lined by a broad gravel path terminating at gated entrances onto Ladbroke gardens to the north and Kensington park gardens to the south. The private gardens along the crescent are smaller or non existent. A large mid C19 urn stands at the centre of the garden.
Stanley Gardens North, 0.36ha, slopes steeply to the north, between the terraced stucco houses along Stanley Gardens (Thomas Allom, 1854, nos 1-11 together listed grade II) to the south and the terrace along Ladbroke Gardens (1858-62) to the north. The garden was designed without private gardens and has a broad, terraced path along the south side. The mid C 19 path layout survives around the perimeter, although a central cross path has been lost. There are fine trees including hawthorns, limes and a weeping wych elm in the centre, and these trees have been supplemented by late C20 planting of flowering trees including a magnolia.
South Stanley Garden, 0.61ha, is a trapeziform garden backed by the tall mansions along Kensington Park Gardens (Allom, 1852-3, nos 25-33 together listed grade II and nos 34-47 together listed grade II) to the south, with a break in the centre and a gated entrance (directly opposite a gated entrance to Ladbroke Square Garden on the other side of Kensington Park Gardens). The stucco houses with their bow windows along Stanley Gardens (Allom, 1853- 4, nos 12-16 together listed grade II and nos 17-29 together listed grade II) form the boundary to the north and north-east. The garden was designed without private back gardens and retains its original path layout, railings and many C 19 trees. The mid C 19 circular bed has been converted into a children's playground and the C19 planting has been continued with C20 trees, and flowering plants.
Ladbroke Square Garden, 2.82ha, is the largest garden on the estate. It is enclosed on the north side by the tall stucco mansions along Kensington Park Gardens, the eastern part designed by W J Drew, 1849-50, and the western part designed by Thomas Allom, and built by David Ramsay, 1853-8 (nos 10-22 together listed grade II). There is a break between the two terraces with an entrance and a pair of mid C 19 cast iron gates (listed grade II, and with the coat of arms of Felix Ladbroke on shields in the centre of inscribed circles), opposite the gated entrance to South Stanley Garden. The square is open on the other three sides which are bounded by railings. The garden slopes from north to south, and retains its original path layout (including a broad walk running west-east along the south side), a circular fountain (now a flowerbed) surrounded by ornamental cast iron urns on piers, a wooden summer house (one of a pair, the other demolished in the 1980s), and a gardener's cottage in the north-east corner. The paths cross the garden to form three large lawns, backed by shrubberies, with a tennis court near the south-east corner. The mid C 19 planting includes planes, limes, beech,
evergreen and semi-evergreen oaks, hawthoms, and horse chestnuts, which is supplemented by more recent planting of trees and flowering shrubs.
E Cecil London Parks and Gardens (1907), p219
E B Chancellor The History of the Squares of London (1907), p321 LCC Survey of London (1937), XXXVII, pp194-257
N Pevsner The Buildings of London except Westminster (1952), p31 0-311 Country Life, 158 (13 November 1975), pp1278-1280
Country Life (21 November 1991), pp84-87
E Harwood, The Gardens of the Ladbroke Estate (unpublished report for English Heritage, December 1988)
H Phipps, The Communal Gardens of the Ladbroke Estate: unpublished notes (nd)

OS 60" to 1 mile OS 60" to 1 mile OS 25" to 1 mile

1 st edition published 1867 2nd edition published 1895 3rd edition published 1914

Register Inspector: CB
Date written: February 2002, amended April 2002

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