|Cranley Mews||Kensington & Chelsea|
This is one of four private communal gardens provided for residents of Evelyn Gardens, built as part of the Smith's Charity Estate. This garden serves the most northerly terrace, built in 1886. The Trustees of the Estate began building on the estate from 1823, appointing George Basevi as architect in 1828, who was succeeded by Henry Clutton and Charles James Freake. Two associated gardens are separately listed as Thistle Grove Gardens and Evelyn Gardens.
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
The communal garden is behind Evelyn Gardens and Cranley Mews. By the C17th the land in this area was largely owned by Henry Smith's Charity Estate, with part owned by the Thurloe Estate. Henry Smith, an Alderman of the City of London, had died in 1628 and left his fortune in trust for charity. The Trustees bought the estate c.1630 but the first recorded lease was not granted until 1664. A wedge of land within the Charity's Estate was owned by descendants of Sir William Blake (d.1630) and became the Thurloe Estate when Blake's descendant Anna Maria Browne conveyed it to John Thurloe Brace, her second husband, on their marriage in 1713. He was the grandson of John Thurloe (1616-1668), Oliver Cromwell's Secretary of State. Two other parcels of land at the west of the Smith's Charity Estate by Sallad Lane separated a section of the estate lands, part of Brompton Heath and later the site of Evelyn Gardens, from the main estate land. The Trustees of Henry Smith were granted building leases by an Act of Parliament in 1772.
Following the Napoleonic Wars the rapid development of parts of London began in earnest, including in this area of Kensington, which the Trustees of Henry Smith's Charity began to develop in 1823. They appointed George Basevi as architect in 1828 and subsequently Henry Clutton from 1845, later succeeded by Charles James Freake. Cranley Terrace, originally called Strong's Place and now Nos. 46-78 Fulham Road, was built by Freake in 1853-4 with mews behind. The west side of Cranley Gardens with mews behind was built from 1877-1880 before Freake's death. The development of Evelyn Gardens followed in 1886 and was undertaken by Freake's widow and Charles Townshend Murdoch. It was named after one of the Trustees, William John Evelyn. The three east-west terraces and the long north-south terrace were completed by 1892. Each of the terraces had its own communal rear gardens, including this site between Evelyn Gardens and Cranley Mews.
This garden was situated at the rear of Nos. 31-44 Evelyn Gardens and in 1928 was described as 'an enclosure of irregular shape flanked on two sides by roads and on two sides by the rear or sides of houses'. At that time these gardens were all owned by Trustees of Smith's Charity Estate and were for the use of lessees of adjoining houses who paid a portion of the expenses to maintain the garden, which was managed by a Garden Committee.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed) p543; RBKC Thurloe Estate and Smith's Charity Conservation Area Proposals Statement; Report of the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928