Chelsea Walk - Cheyne Walk

Cheyne Walk extends from the World's End Estate to Royal Hospital Road and contains many fine 17th and 18th century houses. Only a few of the original houses remain in this part having been mainly replaced by nondescript modern blocks.

The tranquillity of 48 Cheyne Walk was interrupted by the arrival in 1968 of Mick Jagger and his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. In addition to adoring and noisy fans, members of the Chelsea Drugs Squad regularly monitored the house. A short stroll away at the bottom of Oakley Street was the home of his close friends David and Angie Bowie. Mick continued to live here with his wife, Bianca and daughter, Jade until 1975.

The original Shrewsbury House was home to the notorious Bess of Hardwick. Her fourth marriage was to the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury in 1568, who soon found out that she had "a greedy appetite for money". When he died his fortune was added to that of her three previous husbands. Thus she became the second richest woman in England after Queen Elizabeth I. A modern block stands on the site today.

In 1886 one of Chelsea's oldest pubs the Magpie and Stump, dating from the days when Henry VIII was Lord of the Manor, was burnt down. Leading Arts and Crafts architect and designer C R Ashbee used the site to build three houses at 37, 38 and 39 Cheyne Walk. He built 37, which he named after the old pub, for his mother to live in and as his own workplace. It was demolished in 1968 but mercifully the other two shown here still stand.

The Pier Hotel opened in 1844, when steamboat travel was at the height of its popularity. Many of its customers came from the nearby Cadogan Pier and it was filled with nautical memorabilia. Despite a vigorous campaign by local residents, it was demolished in 1968 and replaced by Pier House. The Boy with a Dolphin, sculpted by David Wynne now dominates this corner. His son Roland was the model, but sadly he died in 1999 and the statue is now his memorial.

Directions: We will pause here to admire Albert Bridge and the Embankment before crossing Oakley Street and continuing along Cheyne Walk.

Photograph taken from the river of Cheyne Walk, near Oakley Street

Cheyne Walk from the river c.1865, photograph by James Hedderly
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Art deco house at 38 Cheyne Walk

38 Cheyne Walk in 1910, watercolour by Sidney Newcombe
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Virtual Museum – The History of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
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