Bayswater

The name comes from Bayard’s Watering, a spring near Queensway. Bayswater Road is part of an original Roman road known as the Via Trinobantia.

From 1439 to 1812 a water pipe known as the Bayswater Conduit ran all the way from here to the City of London to provide the city with a water supply. Connaught Place was built between 1807 and 1815 and took its name from the Earl of Connaught who built a house in the area. This started the process of making the area north of Hyde Park fashionable. Connaught Square was built in the 1820s.

The eastern part of Bayswater, near Hyde Park Corner and Edgware Road is called Tyburnia, after Tyburn where criminals were executed until 1783. The gallows – known as “Tyburn tree” – stood at the junction of Edgware Rd and Bayswater Road. The Bishop of London owned an estate here, known as the Hyde Park estate, and this was developed in the 1830s. The style – mansions faced with stucco – followed the style of John Nash’s terraces in Regent’s Park. The Bishop of London’s estate is now owned by the Church Commissioners.

From the 1930s onwards, they redeveloped parts of the Bayswater area where houses had fallen into disuse. After the construction of Tyburnia, building spread further west to include Lancaster Gate and more large terraces and squares with massive and luxurious houses were built in the 1860s. A particular feature of the area was the planting of a considerable number of trees in the terraces and streets, many of which are still there.

Bayswater has the advantage that it is very close to the West End and Central London, and has the largest expanse of parkland in London right across the road. It is more sedate than Notting Hill. Whether that is an advantage or disadvantage is a matter of taste. Bayswater is roughly defined by the W2 postcode. Bayswater is sandwiched between Westway in the North and Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens in the South, and runs from Notting Hill as far east as Edgware Road.

The jewel in the crown is the Hyde Park Estate which is roughly the triangle of streets between Sussex Gardens Edgware Road and Bayswater Road. This is an estate developed by the Bishop of London in the 19th century; the freeholders are now the Church Commissioners. It was originally called Tyburnia – name which is coming back into use. This estate contains mainly Regency houses in stucco faced terraces. There are a few modern houses but they have been inserted tastefully. Gloucester Square contains some of the grandest houses, along with Hyde Park Gardens which has its own substantial communal gardens right opposite Hyde Park. Sussex Square and Connaught Square also contain beautiful terraces of Regency houses. Many of the original houses were long ago converted into flats. The estate was built with mews behind the grand houses and very attractive mews houses are to be found in Hyde Park Garden Mews, Albion Mews and Albion Close. (The area further north from Sussex Gardens, up to Praed Street, falls into Paddington.)

Moving further west along the Bayswater Road, the area between Paddington Station and Queensway, there are a series of long streets running from Bishops Bridge Road to Bayswater Road which still have original large Victorian houses. Inverness Terrace and Gloucester Terrace contain large stucco fronted houses, mainly divided into flats. Many of the houses became hotels in the mid-20th century, as in Westbourne Terrace for example, but now they are gradually being converted back into private homes. Between Inverness Terrace and Gloucester Terrace at the top near Bishops Bridge Road is Hallfield Estate, a large council estate with tower blocks surrounded by gardens. Below the Hallfield Estate and off Gloucester Terrace, is a cluster of smaller streets also containing attractive stucco faced houses from the Victorian era. Further south, below Craven Road, everything is on a smaller scale with a series of attractive mews leading down to Lancaster Gate. Lancaster Gate and Portchester Terrace contain some of the most attractive houses in the area.

On the west side of Queensway are streets which ultimately merge into Notting Hill. These streets similarly contain attractive stucco fronted houses, many of them five storeys high, which were converted into flats in the 1980s. Much of this area was laid out in large squares, such as Leinster Square, Kensington Gardens Square and Princes Square. There are also a number of mansion blocks. Westbourne Grove is now a fashionable street for shops and restaurants. Over the other side of Westbourne Grove towards Royal Oak tube station, are more squares with flats. The housing here is more varied. There are detached villas on a grand scale as well as apartment blocks in Westbourne Park Road. Alexander Street contains houses which are still family homes for the most part.