This is a rather charming residential alleyway that can be found close to Kensington High Street and offers a mix of appearances as you walk along it.
This part of Kensington was originally countryside with a modest manor house, Parsonage House that was bought/built in 1722 by John Jones. As he was a bricklayer, it’s not unlikely that he bought the land to develop the area into housing, which started fairly soon afterwards.
The alley first appears as part of developments around the 1730s, running between Duke’s Lane and Holland Street, and appears to have originally been called Duke’s Alley. At some point though, it was named Vine Court, and it was in December 1911 that it was renamed again as Carmel Court, and the houses were renumbered as well.
Why they wanted to drop Vine Court is unclear, but the replacement name was chosen due to Mount Carmel Chambers being next to Vine Court, and for reasons that are not explained, the vestry thought that the painter Sir David Wilkie, who lived nearby was important to the renaming somehow.
Frankly, it seems far more likely that the name was chosen because the Carmelite monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock is right next to the alley.
The alley, as approached from the south side is a narrow passage, just about wide enough for a car and a narrow pavement. On one side is residential, and on the other is a row of old shops.
The passage widens slightly further down as the houses behind the shops are set back slightly from the road, leaving space for the residents to fill up the area with potted plants, and right at the end, just enough space for a Mini car to be parked there.
The alley then passes through an unusual double covered walkway under two separate houses with back gardens between them creating a gap in the covered space.
And as you walk out into a narrow street, you can see the Carmelite monastery opposite you.