Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Holland Park

This is the 36th station I have visited on the Central Line. Holland Park was opened in 1900 and was recently closed so that the 30 yr old lifts could be replaced. There are no escalators here so if you don't like lifts then it's a walk up 110 steps.

Some of the signage from the 1950s still remains alongside the more familiar Underground signs.

 The original green tiles are still in place in the ticket hall.
 The station was built as a single storey building with the idea that commercial buildings would be built above the station but that never happened.

On leaving the station I turned right past The Castle pub, established in 1827 and still going strong today.

 A little further on you pass a number of small independent shops and cafes including Lidgate's butchers. It has been here for 150 years and is run by the fifth generation of Lidgates. It is well known for its quality meats sourced from free range and organic farms and estates.
I turned off Holland Park Ave on to one of the many roads that are part of the Norland Estate which was built from 1839 onwards. A census is taken every ten years in the UK and tells us quite a lot about life at that time. The census of 1851 tells us that none of these Italianate stucco houses were sub divided and that one third of the population here were domestic servants. The householders were made up of doctors, lawyers, diplomats, merchants and stockbrokers. There were six schools in the tall houses of Norland Square and Royal Crescent. Nowadays those professions are joined by celebrities such as the Beckhams

Royal Crescent was laid out in 1846 using a similar format to the Royal Crescent in Bath and Regent's Park Crescent.

Holland Park Mews

On the corner of Norland Square is an Edward VII pillar box. About 6% of UK boxes have the ER VII cypher. He reigned from 1901-10

These boxes were the first to introduce the crown above the monarch's cypher. This has continued to the present day.
A short walk from Norland Square brings you to Addison Ave and the area around St James's Church. Take away the cars and road signs and you feel as though you have gone back in time. The old street  lamp posts once lit by gas have not been replaced but I assume have been converted to electricity.

St James's Church was built between 1844 and 1855. The developer Charles Richardson gifted the land for the church to the Church Commissioners thinking that the houses he had built would be more saleable if the residents had access to their own adjacent church.

He also set up these woodland style gardens, surrounding the church, for the benefit of the residents who were, and still are, required to maintain them.

Opposite the gardens is the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. Founded in the early 1900s by West London's Sephardi immigrant community, it is one of the oldest synagogues in London.

Leaving St James's Gardens I turned left onto St Anne's Road  where the old meets the new.

Turning right onto Queensdale Road I found another place of worship, a Gurdwara. This Sikh Temple, Khalsa Jatha, is the Central Gurdwara for London and was the first to be founded in the UK. It was formed in 1908 but did not move into these premises until 1969. The domes were added in the early 1990s.

I walked back to Holland Park Ave via Norland Road. This area was pedestrianised in 1883 and is a popular walk through.

Looking back towards the Gurdwara.

I am now on the other side of Holland Park Ave on my way to Holland Park. This is Abbotsbury Road, full of large mansions. I had to walk back to this one as I noticed a couple of sculptures on the portico over the door.

Could these really be Anthony Gormley figures? As this is a private house I couldn't find any information about them on the internet but I have seen enough Gormley figures to be almost certain these are  genuine.

On the other side of the road is Debenham House. Built in 1905 for the department store owner Ernest Debenham. The exterior is clad in Royal Doulton Carrera marble and the inset panels are made from blue and green Burmantoft bricks. The colour makes it stand out on the road. The building is currently surrounded by hoardings but as this is a Grade 1 listed building there won't be any major changes.

I continued walking until I came to to the entrance to Holland Park, a gem of a park in West London. It is spread over 55 acres of what used to be the grounds of Cope Castle, a large Jacobean Mansion hidden in the woods. It was built by Sir Walter Cope in 1605

It was renamed Holland House after the Earl of Holland's wife inherited the property.

The House  was badly damaged during the Second World War and only one wing remained which until recently was used as a youth hostel. Another section is the backdrop for operas in the park.

The park is divided into three distinct areas, woodland with wildlife in the North, the Grade 1 listed remains of Holland House and formal gardens in the centre.

The once summer ballroom of Holland House is now a very upmarket restaurant, the Belvedere. Apparently opulent and beautiful inside but very expensive.

The Kyoto garden was built to celebrate the Japan festival in London in 1992.

It was pouring with rain as I walked through the park, even the peacock was sheltering. Definitely time to go home.


  1. Looks like quite a nice neighborhood. Speaking of which have you featured your neighborhood station yet?

  2. Quite a contrast to some of the areas you have visited. No sign of mantles in the former gas lamps. Melbourne still has a few working gas lamps. Good spotting of the Gormley sculptures. The Japanese garden looks wonderful, as they usually do. Given it is such an expensive area, I am surprised that there are non Christian places of worship.

  3. Thanks for another great tour.

  4. Royal crescent looks very posh, the tunnel underground I don't know how I'd feel in there, a bit claustrophobic?

  5. This looks a posh and beautiful suburb. The park and opulent restaurant are a treat. WE have a suburb called Holland Park but its not a patch on this one.There is so much history in everyone of your posts. I appreciate the hard work you put into these posts. Well done.

  6. This was a great stop. History, beauty, and diversity. It is too bad there wasn't a gardener or somebody outside that "Gormely house " ... imagine owning those! When you market your London guidebook, you'll want to leave that last sentence out ))) the Chamber of Commerce here in Eugene doesn't mention rain either!

  7. Thanks for your kind comment on mine. My hands are healing and I can "type left handed with a stylus.

  8. There a lot to say about all the photos. The mail box is sure different then ours.
    I came in from Andrew. Hope you can fine the time to stop in for a cup of coffee

  9. Your subways are so clean and well lit! This area had such varied and interesting architecture. The mailbox is really charming

  10. Love it that there were still some buildings you could reconize! The Pyke's Theatre and the Castle pub - nice to know they're still there. I know the feeling of coming back after so many years, and it looks so different. Thanks for taking us on your walk through this part of town!
    Thank you for coming by:)

  11. Wow, absolutely fantastic blog. I am very glad to have such useful information.



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