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Research & insight article

Victorian Stafford Terrace - Kensington

Written by previous Chestertons historian, Melanie Backe-Hansen

Stafford Terrace street

Terraced houses in Stafford Terrace

Stafford Terrace is one of many streets laid out during the mid-Victorian period as part of developments on the Phillimore Estate.

The Phillimore Estate was acquired in the early 18th century, but can actually be traced back to 1612 when it is believed Baptist Hicks won the estate in a card game with neighbouring landowner Sir Walter Cope of Holland House.

By the 1840s, the estate had passed to Robert Phillimore and from that time was known as the Phillimore Estate. From 1805 (and possibly earlier) the agent for the Phillimore estate was Charles Chesterton, the founder of Chesterton estate agents. The Chesterton firm acted as agents for the Phillimore’s for over 250 years. 

Old Chestertons office

Old Chesterton office - Kensington High Street 1904

By the 1850s, there had already been a number of plans for building development across the Phillimore estate. It is also believed that Charles Chesterton’s son, Arthur was heavily involved in the plans and layout of the Phillimore estate, including Campden Hill Road, Phillimore Gardens and Stafford Terrace. After a few changes and alterations, most of the grand houses were built during the late 1850s and 60s. Stafford Terrace was the last street to be completed, with building leases granted in 1868 and all the houses occupied by 1874.

Interior stafford terrace

Interior of Victorian Stafford Terrace

Today, Stafford Terrace is known as the location of the former home of Punch Illustrator, Edward Linley Sambourne. The Sambourne family moved into No.18 Stafford Terrace in 1874-5 and since that time very little of the interior design has altered. Today, it is open to the public as a museum of Victorian interior design and Victorian domestic living. It is a rare survivor of the ’Aesthetic interior’ style and features original William Morris wallpaper, stained glass windows and rich interior decoration.

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