Every month CabbieBlog hopes to show you a little gem of a building which you might have passed without noticing.
Should you be travelling down the A4 approaching the Hogarth Roundabout from the east you probably will be unaware that just yards from the racetrack that this stretch of road becomes during the evening rush hour, and that you reluctantly find yourself driving along, is an oasis of calm.
[T]his small backwater (I use the word advisedly) has been the enclave of choice for artists to reside for over 200 years. If I find myself in the area I’ll sometimes stop to eat my lunch there. With stratospheric house prices it’s the nearest I’m likely to get to reside in this little gem of a road.
One property, Walpole House was once a school which William Thackeray was a boarder. It provided the setting for Miss Pinkerton’s Seminary for Young Ladies, where Becky Sharp fatefully made the acquaintance of Amelia Sedley in Vanity Fair.
Walpole House takes its name from the Hon Thomas Walpole (nephew of Sir Robert Walpole, England’s first Prime Minister) who lived there from 1798 till 1803. It could be argued that it was the most covetable terrace house in London, when it sold in August 2006 for £7,250,000.
The road lies just behind Fuller’s Brewery, London’s largest and oldest brewery. Red Lion House, once Red Lion Inn was home to actor/manager Sir Nigel Playfair and Sir Herbert Beerhohm Tree another actor/manager lived nearby in 1904–5.
Many houses at the western end date from the middle of the 17th century and have subsequently been refaced. College House, demolished in 1875 was leased to Westminster School in 1570 as a retreat from London in time of plague.
Being so close to the river Thames Chiswick Mall gets flooded. This happens so frequently those residents have sea defences with high front walls topped with Perspex sheets and sluice gates at the entrances to keep the Thames at bay.
Main picture: House on Chiswick Mall – There were plans to make a restaurant out of Heron House, which stands quaintly at the junction with Chiswick Lane South, but so far they have come to nothing. © Copyright Derek Harper (CC BY-SA 2.0)