Egerton Gardens Mews History

Like the other “Egerton” streets, Egerton Gardens Mews was named after the Honourable Francis Egerton, one of the Smith’s Charity trustees.

In about 1795 Michael Novosielski began the development of housing on the Smith’s Charity estate by building terraces of housing in new streets which he called Michael’s Grove and Michael’s Place. At the south end of Yeoman’s Row, Novosielski built himself a very grand mansion called Brompton Grange. In 1843 the trustees of the Smith’s Charity recovered possession of Brompton Grange when its lessee, a well-known singer called John Braham, fell into financial difficulties which forced him to give up the mansion and its extensive grounds. The trustees decided to demolish it and use the six acres which the house and its grounds covered to build new houses.

Alexander Thorn of Cremorne Wharf, Lots Road, Chelsea, was the builder chosen to develop the main parcel of land. He signed a building agreement with the Smith’s Charity’s trustees on 25th March 1886 to build much of Egerton Gardens. This was soon followed by further agreements including one covering the site of Egerton Gardens Mews.

But it soon became apparent that he had overextended himself – he was also doing a development in Elm Park Gardens, Chelsea – and by 1887 Thorn was virtually bankrupt. He was unable to carry on with the development and his building agreement with the Smith’s Charity trustees for the Egerton Gardens area was taken over by Matthews Brothers and Company, which was owned by three partners: Andrew Rogers, Maurice Charles Hulbert and Henry Arthur Matthews.

Nos. 17-25 (odd) Egerton Gardens were begun by Thorn and completed by Matthews. Mathews quickly constructed the rest of Egerton Gardens. It would appear that the mews buildings, comprising stabling for the houses, were built at the same time. Mews were built to stable horses and carriages for the richer inhabitants of the main houses, with accommodation for servants above the stables.

One of the recent partners of Matthews was Maurice Charles Hulbert, who had previously been working as an architect in private practice. He was probably the architect of the Egerton Gardens houses and therefore of the mews, although some houses were designed by Thorn’s architect.  Hulbert went on to design a number of houses on the Grosvenor estate in Mayfair for Matthews.