Hans Town, Kensington & Chelsea

Now just the name of an electoral ward, Hans Town was a grand 18th-​​century suburb, centred on Sloane Street

A street bollard at the corner of D'Oyley Street and Cadogan Place

A street bollard at the corner of D’Oyley Street and Cadogan Place

Sir Hans Sloane was perhaps Chelsea’s greatest benefactor before Roman Abramovich. A president of the Royal Society, Sloane moved to Chelsea in 1742 and subsequently endowed the Physic Garden. He was instru­mental in founding the colony of Georgia and his vast scientific and literary collection became the nucleus of the British Museum after his death in 1753.

During the 1770s the outward spread of London led Fulham architect Henry Holland to spot an oppor­tunity south of Knights­bridge. He acquired building rights from the Earl of Cadogan, who had come into possession of the land via his marriage to one of Hans Sloane’s daughters. Spacious three-​​storey terraces were erected along the west side of Sloane Street and in Hans Place, then around Sloane Square, and finally in Cadogan Place in 1790.

Holland built himself a mansion called Sloane Place in the south-​​western part of his ‘town’ with grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. Cadogan Square replaced this when R Norman Shaw and others redeveloped Hans Town just a century later, after criticism of the district’s anonymous archi­tectural standards prompted the Cadogan estate to commission new designs. Each house was given its own distinctive detailing, further enhancing the prestige of the locality.

Jane Austen stayed with her brother in Hans Place during 1814–15.
Arnold Bennett lived in Cadogan Square from 1921 to 1930.

Postal district: SW1
Population: 8,792 (2011 census)

 

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