Stanley Gardens took its name from Lord Stanley, a member of the House of Lords when the Ladbroke Estate was being developed. The land on which it was built belonged to Charles Blake and in 1853 he granted leases to David Ramsay for the construction of houses on both sides of the street. The houses themselves were designed by Thomas Allom.
Ramsey went bankrupt in 1854 and Blake then split up the work among various builders. Nos. 1-11, on the north side of Stanley Gardens, is a terrace running from Stanley Crescent to Kensington Park Road (with No. 1 facing onto Stanley Crescent and No. 11 onto Kensington Park Road). These houses were built by a firm of builders called Locke and Nesham.
On the south side of Stanley Gardens, the street numbers start with Nos. 12-15, but the houses of this terrace are, in fact, entirely on Kensington Park Road. The houses were built by the firm of J W Sanders. They are on five storeys (including the basement) with a central structure topped at third-floor level with an enormous triangular pediment. T
he next series of houses, Nos. 16-29, were built by Philip Rainey, who was Charles Blake’s clerk of works. Nos. 16 and 17 turn the corner into Stanley Gardens proper and are distinguished by large bow window structures up to the second storey. The terrace proper then continues with Nos. 18-27. At No. 22 is The Portobello Hotel, a well-known boutique hotel. Nos. 28 and 29, turning the corner, have a similar bow window construction as the earlier houses.
The houses of the main terraces have basement, ground and three upper main storeys, with additional rooms in the side of the pitched roofs. The houses all have large entrance doors in a columned porch, usually between a pair of round-headed windows, set in a plasterwork design of radiating grooves. There is a railed balcony right along the front of the terrace outside the first-floor windows, which are tall, usually grouped in threes, and decorated with the heads of Greek columns. The second-floor windows are almost as impressive and come with nicely designed window bars radiating at the top for the circular heads, and a coiled plasterwork design underneath the sills (which is repeated in other nearby streets). There’s a pronounced cornice and then a third storey, and finally rooms in the sloping roof. The houses are all stucco-faced and painted.