If you look above the platforms you can see this metal box structure which contains a large iron pipe. The purpose of the pipe is to carry the River Westbourne on its journey from Hampstead to the Thames. I am not sure how many passengers realise they have a river running overhead.
In the early 1980s Sloane Square gave its name to the Sloane Rangers. A name used to describe young, rich, unemployed, snooty members of the upper classes. So I am expecting the area to reflect people who have an excess of money.
You exit the station onto Sloane Square named after Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753). He was a physician to the Royal family but treated the poor for nothing. He had an interest in natural history and amassed a large collection which became the foundation of the British Museum.
It was this window that inspired the poet John Betjeman to describe the church as the Cathedral of Arts and Crafts. The church is a huge building, the nave being 9 inches wider than St Paul's Cathedral, with many treasures designed by the leading sculptors and designers of the day.
I walked back to the square which has the Chelsea War Monument at one end. The 'Cross of Sacrifice' commemorates the men and women of Chelsea who died in the First and Second World Wars.
The King's Road starts from Sloane Square and travels for two miles through Chelsea and Fulham. It takes its name from King Charles II who used the road on his way to Kew. At that time and until 1830 it was a private royal road. The leading fashion street for mods in the 1960s and then for the punks and hippies in the 70s and 80s. It is now more the shopping street of choice for the wealthy. It is still home to a number of interesting buildings .
The back of the barracks building has been converted into shops and restaurants facing a new public square.
This retail court is known as the Duke of York Square
On leaving the Square I noticed these sculptures entitled 'Two Pupils' by Allister Bowtell (2002). The inscription reads c1814 from the Royal Military Asylum which occupied the site from 1803-1909 when the Duke of York's Royal Military school relocated to Dover.
The pupils represent children who would have been educated at the school during that time. Many of them orphans of soldiers.
Another building of note on the King's Road is the Pheasantry. Built in 1769, it has gone through many different guises over the centuries. In the mid 1800s it was occupied by a game dealer who bred pheasants for the Royal Household. In the early 1900s Eleanor Thornton, a model, lived there. She is thought to have been the model for the Rolls Royce mascot the 'Spirit of Ecstasy'. From the 1930s to 1966 the ground floor and basement was a members only club. After the war, the upper floors were let to a number of famous residents including Eric Clapton, Germaine Greer, Clive James and many more. Currently it houses apartments, shops and Pizza Express.
On the same side of the road is the Curzon Cinema. As with many cinemas it has had a number of different owners and names. It first opened its doors in 1934 as a music hall which could seat 2500. It then became a cinema, the Gaumont Palace. Modernised in 1960, it was renamed the Odeon in 1963. The cinema closed in 1972. The Foyer and stalls area were converted into the Habitat store whilst the former stage area was converted into flats and offices. A new Odeon cinema with 700 sets was created from the balcony area and was opened in 1973. It closed once again in Nov 1981 and remained empty for two years until the film distributors Artificial Eye took it over and named it the Chelsea Cinema
The art deco facade was kept when part of the original building became Habitat.
Above the habitat store there is a bas relief of the film pioneer, William Friese-Greene who had his studios and laboratory in the original building
On the other side of the cinema is the Trafalgar pub with its Edwardian frontage. Built in 1806 it was called The Lord Nelson until 1970.
This building (circa 1920) was originally a billiards hall and is a good example of an arts and crafts building. During the 60s it was home to a number of boutiques and antique dealers. More recently the building has been taken over by 'Anthropologie', an American fashion chain.
Just a little further along the road is Chelsea Old Town Hall. It dates from 1886 and perhaps is more well known for being home to Chelsea Register Office where a number of famous people were married. It ceased to be the local town hall in 1965 when Chelsea amalgamated with Kensington but the Register Office is still used. Judy Garland, Michael Winner, David Niven and director Roman Polanski were all married here.
The beautiful Victorian halls in the Old Town Hall are now hired out for numerous different events including concerts, society weddings, fashion shows etc. It was here that John Lennon and Yoko Ono launched The Plastic Ono Band in 1969.
I left the King's Road and walk southwards to the Royal Hospital Road. The Royal Hospital, Chelsea was established in 1682 to house army veterans. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren it imitated Louis XIV's building Les Invalides in Paris.
* having been a soldier or non-commissioned officer in the British Army
* be in receipt of an Army or War Disability pension
* be 65 years of age or older
* not have a spouse, partner or family to support
(Women have only become residents at the Royal Hospital since 2009)..
Around the corner from here is a 350 yr old garden. The Chelsea Physic Garden was established by the worshipful society of Apothecaries of London in 1673 to grow medicinal plants. It occupies 4 acres close to the River Thames. The garden houses around 5000 different herbal, edible, useful and medicinal plants.
Although it is November there is still some colour in the garden.
I also found a number of exclusive and individual shops down the side roads including Philip Treacy's hat shop. He is a well known milliner and has created hats for numerous famous people. At the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, 36 women were wearing a Philip Treacy creation.
I tried to photograph some of the hats in the window but it was a very sunny day and the reflections on the glass meant you couldn't see them. This was probably the plainest of them but the only one you can see.
Before returning to the station I had a look at Cadogan Hall. Originally built as a church for the Christian Scientists it is now the home of the Royal Philharmonica Orchestra. To commemorate the New England origins of the Church, the foundation stone was brought from Concord New Hampshire.
Back at the station waiting for the train I found another Labyrinth by Mark Wallinger. There is one at every station and they are all different.