One of the still standing properties most associated with Mary Shelley in London (hence the English Heritage Blue Plaque), Shelley lived in this home at 24 Chester Square, on the square’s north-west side, from 1846 until her death in 1851.

Mary moved here for the last few years of her life after her son Percy (a child she had with now deceased husband Percy Bysshe Shelley) had come into a substantial inheritance following the death of his grandfather in 1844.

During this period, she spent her time between this house which had been relatively recently built by Thomas Cubitt, and the Shelley’s ancestral home at Field Place, Sussex, where her son Percy Florence and his wife Jane lived.

Shelley was 53 when she died here on 1st February, 1851, of a suspected brain tumour. She had apparently asked to be buried with her parents in the graveyard of St Pancras Old Church but instead was buried at St Peter’s Church in Bournemouth close to her son’s new home in Boscombe. Her son had her parents exhumed and buried with her there.

The Blue Plaque was installed on this property in 2003 and unveiled by her biographer Miranda Seymour.

PICTURE: Spudgun67 (licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0).

 

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In this, the final in our series looking at fictional character addresses, we take a look at the home of Lord and Lady Bellamy and then the Holland family from the two TV series of Upstairs Downstairs.

The first five series, which ran from 1971-1975, followed the lives of the somewhat ill-fated Bellamy family and spanned the period from the early 1900s until 1930.

The second, short-lived, incarnation, which the first series of which aired on the BBC only a couple of years ago before the second in 2012 (after which it was cancelled), picked up the story six years later.

It follows the lives of the Hollands, who take up residence in what had been the Bellamy’s residence at 165 Eaton Place in Belgravia (Jean Marsh, one of the original show’s creators who played head parlour maid Rose in the original series, returned as housekeeper – the only original cast member in the newer series).

There is an actual Eaton Place in Belgravia but it doesn’t go up to number 165. The original series used a house located at 65 Eaton Place for exterior shots (they added a 1 to the front of the 65 although no interiors were shot here) although the newer series apparently used a property based in Leamington Spa.

The property at 65 Eaton Place, meanwhile, was apparently part of a development built in 1824 by renowned builder Thomas Cubitt on the orders of the 2nd Marquess of Westminster, Richard Grosvenor.

Among the many real residents over the years (when the property was no longer used as a single home but had been divided into flats) was the rather scandalous Lady Alexandra Metcalfe, youngest daughter of Lord Curzon, a former Foreign Secretary and Viceroy of India.

We’ll launch a new special series next Wednesday.

What’s in a name?…Pimlico

September 10, 2012

Tradition holds that this small triangular area, wedged between Westminster and Chelsea on the north bank of the Thames, takes its name from Ben Pimlico, said to be the 17th century owner of an famous alehouse or tea garden in Hoxton, on the north side of the City, and brewer of a particularly sought-after “nut brown” ale.

The story goes that so popular was his brew that Hoxton Street was then known as the “Pimlico Path”  due to the numbers making their way to his alehouse and that the area of Pimlico somehow adopted this name (although to be fair we should note that it’s also been suggested that the name comes from the Pamlico tribe of American Indians who exported timber to London around the same period).

While references to Pimlico go back to the 17th century, the area was largely uninhabited until the 19th century when it was developed by Victorian planner Thomas Cubitt under contract to the land owner, the Grosvenor family.

Initially in demand among the well-to-do, the fortunes of the area had declined by the end of the nineteenth century before a resurgence of interest took place in the early 20th century.

Among the projects constructed at that time was Dolphin Square (pictured) – with more than 1,200 apartments, it was the largest apartment complex in Europe at the time and has since proved particularly popular among politicians keen to be close to the action in Westminster and Whitehall.

Famous residents of Pimlico have included Winston Churchill, who lived briefly at 33 Eccleston Square between 1908-11.

Worth noting is that there is a racecourse in Maryland in the US known as the Pimlico Race Course which is also named for Ben Pimlico’s tavern.

For a photographic essay of Pimlico, check out Brian Girling’s Pimlico Through Time.