Lennox Gardens History

In 1886 a private Act of Parliament authorised the extension of Pont Street from Sloane Street to Walton Street where it would then link with Beauchamp Place.  Most of the necessary land was part of the Cadogan Estate but the part just to the north of St Saviour’s Church was in Henry Smith’s Estate.

The land on which Lennox Gardens, Lennox Gardens Mews, and Claybon Mews, were to be built was part of the Quail Field.  When Malcolm’s executors had surrendered the property to Smith’s Charity shortly after his death in 1836, the land was let by Basevi to a Mr Cattleugh, who continued to own it until he died in 1874.  His executors sold it to a Mr Prince, who sold it to a Mr Rithendon in 1875.  He must have sold it or surrendered it, presumably for a profit, because he was not directly involved in the subsequent development.  In fact, the Cadogan and Hans Place Estates, which owned the neighbouring land, paid Smith’s Charity ground rents on some of the houses, so it would seem that they were involved in a joint venture from which the new development emerged.

So far as the Smith’s Charity part of Pont Street was concerned, J J Stevenson produced designs for houses which were to be numbers 42-58 Pont Street in 1861-8.  The houses on the south side of the street, which were to be numbers 55-65 Pont Street, were built in about 1883.  The houses have similarities with houses built in Collingham Gardens by an architect named Ernest George, and his name appears in the local council records as being involved in Pont Street, so perhaps he built these houses.

The building agreements for Lennox Gardens have been lost, so there is no clear record of their construction.  A Mr T J Messon submitted an application to build a house there in 1882.  Petto Brothers of Pimlico built at least three houses and W H Willis of Cromwell Road is recorded as having built six.  W Shepherd of Bermondsey built two.  It seems that Smith’s Charity adopted a new policy towards house building.  In the past, they had designed, or approved the designs, for an area, and then entered into a contract with a builder to construct the houses.  But there was a growing tendency for prospective buyers to want to have a hand in the design of their proposed new house.  So the Charity began adopting the policy of selling or letting individual plots and allowing the prospective buyer to employ his own architect and builder.

On the west side of Lennox Gardens, it is known that George Devy built numbers 2, 4, 6 and 8 and that Willis built numbers 10 to 52 and the mews houses between 1883 and 1886. On the east side, there were far more individual properties.