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Number 1a Including Area Railings

A Grade II* Listed Building in Kensington and Chelsea, London

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Latitude: 51.5013 / 51°30'4"N

Longitude: -0.1843 / 0°11'3"W

OS Eastings: 526121

OS Northings: 179603

OS Grid: TQ261796

Mapcode National: GBR 2J.S0

Mapcode Global: VHGQY.RJDG

Entry Name: Number 1a Including Area Railings

Listing Date: 15 April 1969

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1066003

English Heritage Legacy ID: 422467

Location: Kensington and Chelsea, London, W8

County: London

District: Kensington and Chelsea

Electoral Ward/Division: Queen's Gate

Built-Up Area: Kensington and Chelsea

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Mary Abbots with Christ Church and St Philip Kensington

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text

249/32/1 PALACE GATE W8
15-APR-69 Kensington
(West side)
Number 1A including area railings


Town house (now gaming club), 1896-98, architect C. J. Harold Cooper (1863-1909) for William Alfred Johnstone, contractors James Simpson and Son of St. Marylebone and Kentish Town. Portland stone facades, brown stock brick right hand flank, slated roof concealed by tall parapet gable. 5 storeys and attic, over basement. Plan with entrance hall at left, and principal rooms at right derives from reconstruction around core of earlier house on site. Free Tudor style, with mullioned and transomed windows, moulded string courses, and attenuated polygonal colonnettes around porch, and heraldic panel (now modern replacement) to tall parapet above; windows 1:2:1 lights to right, deep set within pilasters and profiled corbels forming part of moulded base to 2 storey canted oriel bay, which rises through first and second floors; with tall 12 light front and 6 light sides (lighting drawing room within), and rounded to left on first floor; and 8 light front and 4 light sides (lighting principal bedroom), and 4 light window to left on second floor. 3 windows 4:6:4 lights on third floor, 2 windows, each 8 lights on fourth floor, single 3 light window in centre of gable. To left, set-back and linked to next house, square stone chimney with moulded coping on flank. To right, tall multi-flue brick chimney stacks with moulded stone copings.
INTERIOR: The interior of the house was notable as a collaborative project by the architect, and his associate, Graham H. Nicholas, and a team of artists and craftsmen, all of whom were members of the Art Workers' Guild. Many, and also the contractors, had already worked for Cooper at No. 15 Stratton Street, Piccadilly, a town house for W. M. Johnstone, H. A. Johnstone's brother. Stirling Lee, W. S. Frith, F. W. Pomeroy and A. G. Walker, undertook stone-, wood-, and plasterwork; Nelson Dawson, ironwork; Selwyn Image and Christopher Whall, glasswork; and John Cooke, frescoes and soft furnishings. Of these, Lee Pomeroy, Image and Whall were one-time Masters of the Guild. Apart from the loose furnishings, a significant part of the decoration survives.
Entrance Hall has inner oak screen with twin doors, Tuscan columns raised on pedestals and twin oval fanlights with raised keystone surrounds. glazing bars and leaded glazing. Main staircase at left of newel construction, open well plan, in oak, closed string, posts surmounted by moulded caps, carved open strapwork pattern balustrade panels, and moulded handrail. Soffit has moulded strapwork pattern plasterwork; ceiling of similar design. Former dining room at rear has panelled dado, stone fireplace with rubbed brick arch on corbel abutments, and elaborate relief-carved heraldic overmantel. Limed oak ceiling canted and coffered, with moulded beams, and elliptical arched ribs supported on stone corbels. On first floor, is former drawing room, running through from front to back, terminated by arches, which separate the room from its bay windows. Pearwood panelled dado and pilasters, arched ceiling divided into panels by moulded ribs, and modelled relief decorations. At front is inglenook fireplace, in panelled recess with plaster vault. Chimney piece of green Irish and red Verona marbles, with yellow Siena in panels, the design derived from Book VII of Serlio, to the left rounded with stained glass in pattern of stylised trees. At rear of first floor, octagonal ante-room of Bath stone (now painted over), rib and panel vault, carved figure on keystone above doorway, floor of Pavanazza marble inlaid with red and yellow Verona. Beyond is former gallery, a two storeyed room with upper balcony having Art Nouveau style railings in iron and copper, with copper electroliers with a cluster of four bulb pendants, at the corners (all by Nelson Dawson). Coved ceiling with raised relief plasterwork with Egyptian motifs (renewed), stained glass laylight (by Christopher Whall) with pattern of trees and foliage. Former principal bedroom at front on second floor retains some original panelling, fireplace surround and moulded cornice and moulded plaster ceiling. Basement, gutted and opened out to form new gaming rooms, and not of special interest. Area railings - original ironwork with gilded stylised leaf motifs.
History No 1A Palace Gate replaced an earlier house, built by Cubitts in 1862-4 for John Forster, biographer of Dickens. It included a library, the content of which was transferred to the Victoria and Albert Museum after his death. William Alfred Johnstone was the youngest son of the newspaper proprietor, James Johnstone of The Standard. The Johnstone family commissioned extensive work from C. J. Harold Cooper, but the Palace Gate house was probably the most important single project, being enthusiastically written-up and illustrated in The Studio in 1899, by George Hare Leonard, and drawings had been exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1898. It was a remarkably complete project, commended by Leonard as 'a house built for a gentleman by gentlemen'.

["Survey of London" XXXVll, pp 39-41; G. L. Hare "A 19th century house", "The Studio", 16 (1899) pp 91-100; N. Pevsner (rev. B. Cherry, "London 3: North West", p 536]

Listing NGR: TQ2611679604

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