Cheyne Walk

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Cheyne Walk seen from across the river

Cheyne Walk is a historic road, in Chelsea, London, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It runs parallel with the River Thames. Before the construction of the Chelsea Embankment reduced the width of the river, it fronted the river along its whole length.


At its western end, Cheyne Walk meets Cremorne Road end-on at the junction with Lots Road.[1] The Walk runs alongside the River Thames until Battersea Bridge where, for a short distance, it is replaced by Chelsea Embankment with part of its former alignment being occupied by Ropers Gardens. East of Old Church Street and Chelsea Old Church, the Walk runs along the north side of Albert Bridge Gardens and Chelsea Embankment Gardens parallel with Chelsea Embankment. At the north end of Albert Bridge, the Walk merges with Chelsea Embankment. The Walk ends at Royal Hospital Road.

Map showing a riverside road and bridges
Before (1866)
Map showing a riverside road and bridges
After (1895)
Cheyne Walk before and after construction of Chelsea Embankment

At the western end between Lots Road and Battersea Bridge is a collection of residential houseboats that have been in situ since the 1930s. At the eastern end is the Chelsea Physic Garden with its cedars. It marks the boundary of the, now withdrawn, extended London Congestion Charge Zone. The section west of Battersea Bridge forms part of the A3220 road.


Cheyne Walk circa 1800.

Cheyne Walk takes its name from William Cheyne, Viscount Newhaven who owned the manor of Chelsea until 1712.[2] Most of the houses were built in the early 18th century. Before the construction in the 19th century of the busy Chelsea Embankment, which now runs in front of it, the houses fronted the River Thames. The most prominent building is Carlyle Mansions. Chelsea Old Church dates from 1157 and Crosby Hall is a reconstructed medieval merchant's house relocated from the City of London in 1910.

In 1951, the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea planned to construct a new river wall straightening the river bank west of Battersea Bridge. On the reclaimed land behind the wall a new arterial road and public gardens was to be constructed. Cheyne Walk was to remain unchanged to the north of the new public gardens. The works would have reduced the foreshore and required the removal of the house boat births.[3] The works did not take place. In the 1960s, plans for the Greater London Council's London Motorway Box project would have seen the West Cross Route, a motorway standard elevated road, constructed from Battersea to Harlesden through Earl's Court. A spur road would have been constructed from the motorway to the junction of Cheyne Walk and Lots Road.[4] The plans were abandoned because of the cost and opposition from local communities.

In 1972, number 96 Cheyne Walk, the then home of Philip Woodfield, a British civil servant, was the site of a top secret meeting between the British government and the leadership of the Provisional IRA aimed at ending the violence in Northern Ireland. The talks were inconclusive and the violence soon started again.

Notable residents[edit]

Many famous people have lived (and continue to live) in the Walk:

4 Cheyne Walk, shown here in 1881, was briefly the home of George Eliot
4 and 5 Cheyne Walk
15 Cheyne Walk
16 Cheyne Walk, home to Dante Gabriel Rossetti

No. 1:

  • Samuel Prout Newcombe (b. 1824) entrepreneur, leased the property from the ground landlord, the Earl Cadogan,[5] in 1891 shortly after it had been rebuilt. Newcombe had made his money in the 1850s from 'The London School of Photography', a photographic portrait studio that soon had branches across London and beyond, exploiting the public’s appetite for carte de visite portraits. His daughter Bertha Newcombe (1857-1947) , who lived in the house until her father's death in 1912, was an artist, illustrator and suffragist. She had a relationship with George Bernard Shaw, who sat for a portrait in her studio within the house.


  • John Barrymore American actor, lived for a short time at No.2, on the corner with Flood Street.
  • Vera Brittain, novelist and pacifist, and her husband, George Catlin, lived at number 2 before and during the Second World War.[6]






No. 12:






  • Thomas Attwood (composer) (1765–1838) lived at No 17 for some years up to his death in 1838. He was organist at St Paul's Cathedral from 1796, and of the Chapel Royal from 1836. He was a pupil of Mozart. Thomas Attwood is buried in the crypt of St Paul's underneath the organ.


  • Number 18 was renowned for being the home of the curious museum (knackatory) and tavern known as Don Saltero's Coffee House. The proprietor was James Salter, who was for many years the servant of Sir Hans Sloane.[7]
  • Sir Hans Sloane's manor house, demolished in 1760, stood at numbers 19–26.


  • No 19 was site of the horrific 1973 killing of elderly widow Isabella Griffith, by the serial killer Patrick Mackay.



  • Dame Elizabeth Taylor English actress, rented this house during the 1982 West End run of her Broadway play, The Little Foxes.



  • Architect C. R. Ashbee lived at number 37 until 1917. He also designed 38 and 39.[16]
  • Nicolaus Ludwig, Imperial Count von Zinzendorf und Pottendorf, and the Brethren of the Moravian Church renovated Lindsey House at numbers 99–100 in Cheyne Walk in the mid-18th century; it was for a number of years the headquarters of their worldwide missionary activity. Moravian Close nearby is still the London God's Acre, where many famous Moravians are buried.


  • James Clerk Maxwell lived at number 41 while lecturing at King's College London in the early 1860s. He used the iron railings outside his home in two experiments on electro-magnetic fields, much to the dismay of friends and foreigners.
  • Mortimer Menpes, the watercolourist and etcher, shared a flat with Whistler.

No.42 Shrewsbury House:

  • Guy Liddell, British Intelligence officer, lived in a flat in the present Shrewsbury House, No.42 Cheyne Walk.



  • Charles Edward Mudie, English publisher and founder of Mudie's Lending Library, was born 1818 in Cheyne Walk; where his father owned a Circulating library, stationery and book binding business at No. 89.[18][19]


No.92 (Belle Vue):

No. 96-101 (Lindsey House) (presently known as No. 100)

- No.93:

- No.96:

- No.98:

- No.100:



No. 113

  • Suffragette Isabella Potbury and her husband, the playwright and actor Charles Nicholas Spencer.




  • Edith Cheesman, watercolour artist, lived at number 127 in 1911, since demolished and now covered by the World's End Estate, where The Clash frontman Joe Strummer lived.
  • George Weidenfeld, publisher, who became Lord Weidenfeld of Chelsea, lived here from the 1960s until his death on 20 January 2016.
  • George Best once had a flat there.
  • Laurence Olivier and Jill Esmond lived there in the 1930s.
  • Mary Sidney lived at Crosby Hall from 1609 to 1615.
  • In July 1972, during a short-lived ceasefire, an IRA delegation that included Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness held talks in a house in Cheyne Walk with a British government team led by Northern Ireland Secretary William Whitelaw.
  • The Old Cheyneans – former pupils of Sloane Grammar School, Hortensia Road, Chelsea – take their name from the association with Cheyne Walk and Sir Hans Sloane who lived there.
  • Colin Colahan, Australian painter and sculptor, lived in Cheyne Walk.
  • Augustus Pugin, English architect, known for his work on the Palace of Westminster, lived briefly on Cheyne Walk in 1841.
  • Susan Fleetwood, British actress, lived on Cheyne Walk. Her brother is Mick Fleetwood, a member of British rock group Fleetwood Mac. He was part of an earlier short lived band, the Cheynes, named after the street.[citation needed]

Fictional residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ "OS Maps Online". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  2. ^ "The Gentleman's Magazine".
  3. ^ "What is to Happen to Chelsea's Famous Cheyne Walk River Front". Illustrated London News (5855): 23. 7 July 1951. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Ringway 1 West Cross Route". Pathetic Motorways. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  5. ^ Survey of London, Vol. 2: Chelsea, Pt I (London County Council, 1909).
  6. ^ "Did Haig have a London residence - Great War Forum". Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Chelsea Walk - Cheyne Walk 1-30". 18 May 2006. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  8. ^ Damer Dawson's plaque Archived 25 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine,, retrieved 20 July 2014
  9. ^ "Cheyne Walk: No. 1". Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  10. ^ Frege, Gottlob. 1980. Philosophical and Mathematical Correspondence. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 147–155. ISBN 0 631 19620 X
  11. ^ Pamela Todd, Pre-Raphaelites at Home, Watson-Giptill Publications, ISBN 0-8230-4285-5
  12. ^ Caine, Hall (1882). Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. London: Elliot Stock. p. 114.
  13. ^ Obituary, The Independent, 14 June 2001
  14. ^ "No. 72, Cheyne Walk".
  15. ^ "Manuscripts - Collections relating to Edward Arthur Walton". Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  16. ^ Gere, Charlotte, & Michael Whiteway. (1993) Nineteenth-century Design: From Pugin to Mackintosh. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 253. ISBN 0297830686
  17. ^ Faithfull, Marianne (1995). Faithfull. Penguin. p. 223. ISBN 0-14-024653-3.
  18. ^ London and Country Directory, 1811
  19. ^ Article titled "Mudie's" in the 'London Echo'
  20. ^ "Charles Conder" by Ann Galbally and Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of NSW., 2003, p.200, ISBN 978-0-7347-6343-3
  21. ^ Godfrey, Walter Hindes (1913). "Belle Vue House, No. 92, Cheyne Walk". Survey of London, vol. 4: Chelsea, pt II. British History Online. pp. 31–32. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  22. ^ Diana Mosley.
  23. ^ O'Byrne, Robert Hugh Lane 1875–1915. Lilliput Press, 2000, p. 118.
  24. ^ Riley-Smith, Ben (30 September 2014). "Sol Campbell attacks Labour's mansion tax in scathing series of tweets". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  • Stourton, James (2012). Great Houses of London (Hardback). London: Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3366-9.

External links[edit]

Media related to Cheyne Walk at Wikimedia Commons Coordinates: 51°28′56″N 0°10′22″W / 51.4823°N 0.1727°W / 51.4823; -0.1727