This is a posh-looking alley to be found in Chelsea’s World’s End that has a link with the brutalist architects that designed the Barbican estate.

There’s a hint of how the alley came to be where it is in the Greenwood map of 1828, where a line dividing two fields is perfectly aligned with the alley today. It’s likely that two property developments used the border between the fields for the alley.

The OS ma at the end of the 19th-century shows an unnamed alley with a school to the north, and a single shop facing onto Park Walk, but the houses facing into the alley still appear to be unbuilt.

These were soon filled though, but not with houses, but a Printing Works light industrial factory. The alley is also named for the first time in a 1940 OS map, as Lamont Road Passage. The alley also boasted three telephone boxes. Two at the eastern end and one at the western end of the alley.

The factory eventually closed and was converted into an office occupied by the modernist architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, who are famous for, amongst many things, the Barbican estate development. They moved out in the mid-1970s, and the building was for a while offices, then chopped up into flats. Finally though, in 1997, the factory building was demolished and replaced with the row of houses that line the alley today, so even though they look like cleaned up Georgian buildings, they’re quite modern.

A curiosity emerges though when you look at the flats, as they have a different street name on them. The flats are 1 to 5 Vintners Row, Lamont Road Passage. What’s happened, rather oddly, to my mind, is that the development was given a single name, more like a block of flats than a row of houses. So instead of 1-5 Lamont Road Passage, we have 1-5 Vintners Row, Lamond Road Passage. Apart from someone thinking Vintners Row sounded more historically appealing, there seems to be no reason why that was done.

At the eastern end, where the alley joins up with the shops, there’s King’s House Studios, and this links to the flats above the shops — the whole block is known as King’s House. You can see the block name around the corner between some of the shops.

There’s a row of modern bollards at the shop’s end, but at the far end is a rather odder and older set of bollards with a curious top on them.

Otherwise, it’s an alley that has the air of converted Victorian stables mews about it, lined with expensive houses and lots of pot plants, but is in fact, a modern development.


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