Lancaster Gate

Lancaster Gate, Westminster

A street, locality and entrance to Kensington Gardens located halfway along Bayswater Road

Hidden London: Lancaster Gate, September 2019

The entrance to Kens­ing­ton Gar­dens, which gave the local­i­ty and sta­tion their names, is so called in hon­our of Queen Vic­to­ria, in her guise as the Duke of Lan­cast­er (as the monarch is styled, regard­less of gen­der). Lan­cast­er Gate sta­tion is actu­al­ly sit­ed oppo­site Marl­bor­ough Gate, just to the east.

In its hey­day, Lan­cast­er Gate’s Christ Church was nick­named ‘the thou­sand pound church’ because of the large sums col­lect­ed from the wealthy Bayswa­ter con­gre­ga­tion every Sun­day. Dry rot led to the demo­li­tion of the body of the church in 1978 and the spire now finds itself attached to an eccle­si­as­ti­cal-look­ing block of flats.

Among the locality’s many pres­ti­gious address­es, the grand­est is prob­a­bly the Lan­cast­ers, which stretch­es the length of the block between Lein­ster Ter­race and Lan­cast­er Gate. Orig­i­nal­ly a ter­race of 15 six-storey town­hous­es, com­plet­ed in the 1860s, it was divid­ed into flats in the 1920s and then con­vert­ed into a hotel in 1970. After the run-down hotel closed in 2006 the entire struc­ture was demol­ished except for the French-Renais­sance-style façade, part of which is shown in the pho­to­graph below, behind which 77 ‘super-prime’ homes were built.

Hidden London: The Lancasters

For over sev­en­ty years Lan­cast­er Gate was the home of the Foot­ball Asso­ci­a­tion, the gov­ern­ing body of Eng­lish foot­ball. The FA relo­cat­ed to Soho Square in 2000, sell­ing its old build­ing to prop­er­ty devel­op­ers for £7¼ mil­lion, and moved again in 2009, to Wem­b­ley Sta­di­um.

Lan­cast­er Gate is a dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed ward, with 85 per­sons per acre at the 2011 cen­sus. The ward has a high pro­por­tion of young, well-edu­cat­ed, sin­gle res­i­dents liv­ing alone in pri­vate­ly rent­ed accom­mo­da­tion. There are very few fam­i­lies with chil­dren or house­holds with more than one pen­sion­er.

Lytton Strachey, the eminent biographer, spent 25 years at 69 Lancaster Gate. JM Barrie lived around the corner at 100 Bayswater Road, among several other addresses in the vicinity of Kensington Gardens.

Postal district: W2
Population: 13,195 (2011 census)
Station: Central line (zone 1)
See also: Bayswater