The Norland Estate was built in the 1840s. In just fifteen years the area went from green fields and farms into suburbia. The development was sparked by drainage works for the new railway line, but the estate was too near the notorious ‘potteries’ slum and the scheme failed.

St James’s Square in the 1840s

The owner, Charles Richardson, was left bankrupt. He and his architect, Robert Cantwell, left behind swathes of impressive buildings. At the heart of Cantwell’s design were the ‘set pieces’ of Royal Crescent, Norland Square and St James’s Gardens.

In 1969 Norland was designated the first Conservation Area in Kensington and Chelsea and was later named an ‘Outstanding Conservation Area’ by the Department of the Environment. The Norland Conservation Society was set up the same year to preserve and enhance this valuable heritage.

 

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