Chelsea Walk - Tite Street

Just off Dilke Street is Clover Mews, a largely untouched cobbled mews, previously used as stabling with accommodation above for staff. On your right is the London Sketch Club, one of the few remaining legacies of Chelsea artistic past. We have now arrived at Tite Street, which was created as a new access road to the Embankment in 1877.

In the 18th century Gough House occupied all of the eastern side. As with so many large houses it became a school in 1830. It was converted into Victoria Hospital for Children in 1866. The hospital was moved to St George's Tooting and the building demolished in 1968. St Wilfred's convent and home for the elderly now occupies the site.

The rest of the land was used to build a new fashionable artists' quarter. Whistler instructed Edwin Godwin to design him a studio house and encouraged his friends to do likewise. Bankrupted following his libel case with Ruskin he was unable to enjoy the White House (number 35) and it was demolished in 1968. He did however live next door in the studio flats at number 33. Augustus John also lived here intermittently between 1940-1958.

Number 31 was the studio of John Singer Sergeant, the very successful American portrait painter. A procession of famous sitters including Ellen Terry and Henry James had their portraits painted here.

Although artists' studios also dominate the western side there were other famous residents. The most well known of which was Oscar Wilde. He lived at number 34 with his wife and two sons Cyril and Vyvyan. Godwin transformed the house into a stage set where lavish entertainments were held.

In 1884 Lord Alfred Douglas attended a dinner and Wilde became totally infatuated. This was to have disastrous consequences culminating in his incarceration in Reading Gaol. Ironically the trial judge was a neighbour.

Number 52, More House, nicknamed the film set house, was originally built for artist John Collier. Then the Hope Nicholson family resided there from 1892 to 1990. To fill the many rooms, they invited suitable lodgers such as Clement Freud and Anthony Lambton to share their extraordinary home.

Strenuous efforts were made to preserve the house and its unique contents. Sadly these failed and the house sold and the contents dispersed.

The composer Peter Warlock (1894-1930) lived at number 30.

Directions: Turn right and walk along Royal Hospital Road until you reach the National Army Museum.

Three studio houses in Tite Street

Studio houses on the eastern side of Tite Street
enlarge image

Houses on the west side of Tite Street in the early 20th century

The western side of Tite Street looking south in 1905
enlarge image

Virtual Museum – The History of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Home | News | At your service | Local life | top of page
Legal notices | Copyright notices | Comment on this page

Copyright © 1998-2006 The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea