Chelsea Walk - Cheyne Row

Turning into Cheyne Row the Catholic Church Our Most Holy Redeemer can be seen. This is dedicated to Sir Thomas More and on the altar is a relic from his vertebrae. Annually on July 7, the date of More's execution, a procession is made from the church to the convent of the order of Adoration Reparatrice in Beaufort Street and then by river to the Tower of London.

In 1872 William de Morgan moved into 8, Cheyne Row and built a kiln in the garden. It was here that he produced metallic glazed and decorated tiles. The business grew and he expanded into the Orange House, now the site of the church. He took on two assistants and opened a show room. In 1887 the factory moved to Fulham.

A plaque on number 10 commemorates Margaret Damer Dawson, founding member and first Commander of the Women's Police Service during WWI. She was also an active animal welfare reformer.

The most famous resident of Cheyne Row is Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane. He arrived, with his wife Jane, from
Scotland in 1834 and settled for the rest of their lives at 24 Cheyne Row. Jane kept a detailed record of their domestic life describing local shops and problems with her maids. Carlyle was much troubled by the noise and had an attic room soundproofed so that he could work on his histories without too much disturbance. It was here that the Sage of Chelsea wrote The History of the French Revolution, his most famous work. Following publication, they received many visitors, including Ruskin, Tennyson and Dickens. In 1895 the house was bought by a group of admirers and eventually presented to the National Trust. The interior is lovingly preserved and the museum is open to the public from April till October.

It was the journalist and essayist, Leigh Hunt who found the house for the Carlyles and he lived next door at number 22. Harold Skimpole, in Dickens's Bleak House, is supposedly based on Leigh Hunt. Although Hunt was made welcome at number 24 Jane, a thrifty and well organised housewife, was appalled by Marianne Hunt's housekeeping. Even Hunt himself described it as "hugger-mugger, unthrifty and sordid". To complete the picture of domestic chaos were their seven grubby, wild children.

Directions: Turn left at the bottom of the road and walk along Cheyne Walk towards Albert Bridge.

The Carlyles in their sitting room at 24 Cheyne Row

Thomas and Jane Carlyle at home
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Colour postcard of Cheyne Row looking towards the Thames in 1900

Cheyne Row looking south in 1900
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Virtual Museum – The History of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
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