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Research & insight article

In the fields of Chelsea

Written by previous Chestertons historian, Melanie Backe-Hansen

I have recently completed the history of a house in a quiet terraced row off Fulham Road in London. Today, the house sits within a popular location in sought-after Chelsea, but when the house was first built it sat in amongst fields and market gardens.

Seymour Walk Chelsea

Seymour Walk - Chelsea

No.36 Seymour Walk was completed in the early years of the 19th century, around 1810, in a small village known as ‘Little Chelsea’ separated from its larger neighbours, Kensington by Kensington Palace and Chelsea by the river. At this time there were very few buildings as this early map shows:

Map Somerset Place 1830 courtesy Motco maps

Greenwoods map 1830

Thanks to Motco Maps

Seymour Walk was known as Somerset Place (top right corner) at this time, but it is clear that much of the surrounding area was still covered in fields. Little Chelsea remained a quiet village area for many years and it was only in the later 19th century that the area became covered in homes.

In an advertisement in The Times in 1839, No.36 Seymour Walk (then No.1 Seymour Terrace) was described as “very pleasantly situated within 20 minutes drive of Hyde Park Corner, and combines every requisite comfort and convenience with economy, the rent being only 16 shillings a week.”

The early residents of No.36 Seymour Walk were quite a mix of characters, including a ‘railway station inspector’, a ‘tea taster’, domestic servants, a house painter and a retired beer seller.

Seymour Walk was also formerly the home of playwright Douglas Jerrold and artist Mary Moser. 

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