This is a former stables mews that’s now expensive homes a stones through from South Kensington’s museums.

This part of Brompton was originally bought by William Methwold in the 1630s after he became rich trading on behalf of the East India Company. The estate stayed in the family until William Methwold’s grandson left his entire estate to Captain John Fleming, an officer he served with in the military. Ahem.

John Fleming was later Baronet Fleming of Brompton Park, and his daughter later married Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington. It was their decision to lease some land to David Ramsay in 1831 as a market garden that was to lead to the area being known as Stanhope, as he called it Stanhope Nursery. Although successful up to this point, didn’t do well though, being declared bankrupt in 1834, and the lease was sold off for housing instead.

The area was already developing into housing for the expanding city by the 1850s, and where there had been country cottages and well-to-do houses separated by fields and market gardens, whole estates were soon springing up.

The nursery was soon turned into a block of housing surrounding a central garden square, and behind the grand houses was a narrow mews street as accommodation for the stables and servants necessary for grand houses in those days.

As with all the mews in London, the arrival of the motor car slowly rendered them obsolete for housing horses and stables, and many were converted into houses. Most of the top half of the mews was destroyed during WWII, with most of the western side totally destroyed, and serious damage to the eastern side.

OS Map 1961

After the war, while the narrow eastern side was restored to its original mews-like appearance, the plot of land on the western side was large enough for a complete rebuild. Two rows of flats were built, one facing into the mews, and the other facing out to the road on the other side, with a narrow sunken road between them for access to the car parks that everyone wanted at the time.

The restored mews buildings look grander than most, with often quite substantial entrances, and a check online for a few sales brochures shows very upmarket and expensive houses behind those grand doors.

One of the more notorious former residents of the mews was Ghislaine Maxwell, who lived here between 1989-1997. She lives in less comfortable surroundings now.

The mews is dominated by the contrast between the 1970s flats on one side and the restored mews houses on the other. A couple of side roads lead to the sunken car park space at the rear, and there’s a grand archway at the northern end facing onto the main road.

But do look for the house about halfway down that looks like it has two doors.

The southern end building looks like a classic grand building, which it is, but it’s also a primary school. The Glendower Preparatory School was founded in 1895 with just three pupils in rented rooms above a Fulham Road furniture shop. It moved around a few times until it settled in its current site in 1947.


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One comment
  1. SteveP says:

    My mews in W2 had several houses with the small “second doors” for rubbish. Nice idea as it kept bags off the pavements. Slowly disappearing as houses are renovated though

    We lived in a mews near the RAH for a while, and the horses would sometimes detour past us on the way to the park. I believe the only stables left is north in Bathurst Mews now?

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