Stanley Crescent

Unlike Lansdowne Crescent, where houses were built on both sides of the road, the houses in Stanley Crescent were only built on the west side (with their backs facing the gardens). The road was apparently named after Lord Stanley, a leading member of the House of Lords when the area was being developed. Charles Blake  owned the land and he granted leases for the construction of Nos. 1-13 to David Ramsay in 1853. The houses were designed by Thomas Allom. Ramsay went bankrupt in 1854 but his houses were completed by Philip Rainey, who was Blake’s clerk of works.

The story goes that the street was originally nicknamed ‘The Sticks’ because individual builders put up single narrow houses on their plots, and the houses were only gradually joined together as terraces by the gaps being filled in by other builders; the gap between No. 8 and No. 9 was filled with a lift shaft for the converted flats.

These are all large and elaborate buildings in two conjoined terraces. They all have ground, first and second storeys. Some of the houses nearer the middle of the terrace have a third storey. The houses have raised entrances beneath high pillared porches, with a stone balustraded balcony on top. The ground floor windows have curved heads, and the plasterwork has been carefully worked to give the appearance of stonework radiating round the windows. A unifying architectural feature is the carved coil design beneath the first-floor windows, but apart from that, different decorative features appear all the way along, from triangular pediments with scrolling brackets to Greek-style sunken pillars with flowering heads.

As the numbers progress, the houses start to have canted bays up to first-floor level. Houses differ in size, as can be seen from the different number and size of ground floor windows. The first terrace appears to end at No. 9. Nos. 10 and 11 form a semi-detached building with entrances on either side, built in mirror style to look a bit like a Renaissance Italian castle, with turrets on either side providing a third floor, with the roof in between. Nos. 12 and 13 also form a semi-detached building which is similar in size, also with large canted bays side-by-side in the middle and rising up to a third floor with an elaborate cornice above. There is an additional fourth storey above No. 13 and a fifth storey in the sloping roof, which looks fairly new.

These semi-detached houses, in fact, have connections to the terraces on either side and to each other. There is a particularly elaborate connection at third storey level with an oriel window between Nos. 13 and 14.

Blake sold the remaining land around Stanley Crescent to H and W Gardner, who were brewers, and in 1862 they granted leases of the remaining plots to the north, which were Nos. 14-23, to another builder, William Wheeler. He apparently used Allom’s designs too, but in fact they look a very different style of property.

Nos. 14-17 are conjoined semi-detached houses on basement, ground and three very grand upper storeys beneath a prominent cornice, and then topped by a final smaller fourth storey. The windows are triples and are stuccoed and painted, but the facade above ground level is bare brick. The same style applies for Nos. 18-23, which is a terrace running round the corner into Ladbroke Gardens. These are all on six storeys, including a basement and a fourth floor above the cornice.

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