Every month CabbieBlog hopes to show you a little gem of a building which you might have passed without noticing.
This Building, of the Month is in fact two little buildings.
The Prince of Wales Lodges which sit either side of the gate they take their name and which is used by cabbies as a cut through to Ennismore Gardens when exiting Hyde Park.
[L]odges or gatehouses were popular with the Georgian nobility as they served two purposes. They housed the gatekeeper whose function was to protect residents of the main house from unwanted guests. The other more subtle function was to show off what could be seen if you were granted access to the main house, for many gatehouses were designed as smaller versions of the mansion hidden from view.
The two lodges at Prince of Wales Gate just served as gatehouses to Hyde Park. The West Lodge designed by Decimus Burton was built in 1846 one of many he produced in a long and distinguished career.
The East Lodge built in 1851 was designed as a police station for the Great Exhibition. The tiny size of the East Lodge gives some indication how little trouble was expected during the Exhibition’s six month life in which 6 million visitors – the gentlemen paying £3 while the ladies were discounted at £2 – to view artefacts from around the world.
The lease of the small one bedroom West Lodge opposite is currently on the market through Cluttons. Although it would make a unique second home for the wealthy it’s hard to imagine a Victorian gatekeeper’s family living in its cramped accommodation.
These two single story Grade II listed Regency lodges are mirrors of each other. With a stone slate roof, their most attractive feature is the Doric portico of three bays with a pediment decorated by the Prince of Wales feathers motif. The entrance door is flanked by windows and the return of three bays with corniced casement windows makes them perfect miniature Regency houses.
There are several gates of this style around the park erected at the time when the old wall enclosure was demolished (see picture) to be replaced with see-through iron railings. The Prince of Wales Gate takes with name from the current Prince Regent who eventually became King George IV.
Early picture: Bonhams