We finish this series on fictional London with the home of another of London’s most famous fictional spies – James Bond.
In Ian Fleming’s books about the adventures of 007, he has the spy living in a ground-floor flat in a “converted Regency house” in a “plane tree’d square” off the King’s Road.
While several possibilities have been identified over the years (including in Markham Square), it was Fleming’s former assistant to The Sunday Times, biographer and friend, John Pearson, who is credited with having identified this terrace in Wellington Square as the property Fleming probably had in mind (Pearson apparently had a friend from his college days who lived there at some point).
The five storey terrace, which dates from the early 1830s, was actually close by the address where Fleming lived – number 24 Cheyne Walk – when he commenced writing the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952.
The property was on the market not that long ago for a reported asking price of £6.35 million.
PICTURE: The terraces where James Bond is said to have lived in Wellington Square.
Sure, it’s quite obvious that this well-known thoroughfare through Chelsea and Fulham in west London was named for a king but which king and why?
It was the Stuart king Charles II who first starting using the road’s course as part of his route to Hampton Court which meant it was closed to the public.
Access was granted only to those whom the monarch permitted – initially via ticket and from the 1720s via a copper pass stamped with the king’s monogram. Entry was controlled by a series of gates located along its length.
King George III was also known to use the route to travel to his palace at Kew and it was only in 1830 that it was finally opened to the public.
The road, which now runs west from Sloane Square for two miles through Chelsea, transforming into the New King’s Road after entering Fulham, is now known for its shopping (not to mention the site of the UK’s first Starbucks in 1999) although in the 1960s and 1970s it served as something of a hub for London’s counter-culture.
The road has been associated with many famous figures over the years – the king aside. Composer Thomas Arne lived at number 215 and apparently composed Rule Britannia while he did, actress Ellen Terry lived in the same property from 1904-1920 and bon vivant Peter Ustinov after her.
Other famous associations include one with Mary Quant, who opened her ground-breaking boutique Bazaar at number 138a in 1955 and Thomas Crapper, toilet entrepreneur, who had a premises at number 120.
PICTURE: Secret Pilgrim/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Colourful terraced homes located in Bywater Street, a pretty cul-de-sac just off King’s Road, in Chelsea. Incidentally, number 9, was the fictional home of spy George Smiley in John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Number 10 as used as the home in the BBC TV series of the same name dating from 1979.