by Muzaffer Sasmaz
Away from the vast array of activities and commercial space, Earls Court contains charming mansion blocks and stunning gardens which showcases SW5 as an abundance of character.
With impressive examples of early- to mid-Victorian architecture lies the award-winning Victorian Earls Court Square. A resident’s association purchased the garden under the 1851 Kensington Improvement Act after WW2 due to the garden falling into ruins as a result of bomb blasts. Famous residents of the Square have included Pink Floyd members, Royal Ballet founder Dame Ninette de Valois (No 23), choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton, and actor Sir John Gielgud.
As well as an award-winning garden, Earls Court Square also contains award winning architecture. An example of this would be 1B Earls Court Square which won the London RIBA regional award in 2019. Designed by Sophie Hicks Architecture this house was built down to a single storey to minimise the footprint.
Not to mention the many fantastic views of gardens in Earls Court such as Bramham Gardens and Courtfield Gardens, which were built as a part of the Gunter estate developments from the 1840s onwards as a private space for residents of the houses that surround them. With the street names reflecting the family's connections in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Bramham Gardens is larger than others in the area and was a late square began in 1883. The central garden was laid out formally, shaded by tall trees, making it a cool place to relax during the summer. Freeholders and lessees of adjacent houses, who use the garden, pay a rent for upkeep.
Like many of the garden squares the original garden railings were removed for the war effort but were replaced with replicas in the 1990s. Another garden square built as a part of the Gunter estate was Courtfield Gardens, encouraged by the arrival of the railways and by the new church of St Jude’s, the area was built between 1873-81 and the communal garden was formally laid out with lawns, flowerbeds and trees. Unlike other garden squares the garden is unusual in being partly sunken due to the construction of the railway, the lower level apparently the original level of the ground, and the mounds at the edges. These are beautiful traditional residential squares with many imposing properties fronting onto them. This gives SW5 a more genuine Victorian ambience.
Photo Credit - Annabel Elston