Holland Park could easily be known as Cope Park. The great house in the park was built for Sir Walter Cope, a chamberlain of the exchequer, in 1605 – and was called Cope Castle. It was part of a 500 acre estate, extending all the way to Fulham. Through the marriage of Cope's daughter Isabel to Sir Henry Rich, first Earl of Holland, ownership of Cope Castle passed to the Rich family, the Earls of Warwick and Holland. Thus, the estate became known as Holland Park.
Holland Park past and present
Today’s Holland Park was mostly built from 1820 during a building boom in London. Architect Thomas Allason laid out the blueprints for many streets such as those found on the Ladbrook Estate during this time.
The very first houses on the Holland Park estate were built on Addison Road. They consisted of 2 storeys over a basement, with double bay windows and stucco dressings. These cost from £350 to £800 to be built and were leased from the estate owners for 99 years.
The second phase began in 1849 when an ambitious builder, George Henry Goddard, accepted a commission to build 863 houses on 70 acres of the estate. Houses were allocated vast amounts of rear garden space, often continuing into communal gardens for neighbouring streets. New roads and sewers were constructed. Leases granted then had an annual ground rent of £8.
Many houses in Holland Park still have restrictive covenants written into the deeds, some dating back to the early 19th century – including conditions successive owners must uphold, which we can advise you on. The area is part of a conservation area which also carries a number of prohibitions for homeowners.
Goddard, however, did not complete the project and fled to Europe with his family. Other builders and architects applied for various chunks of the unfinished development. As an interesting result different architects built entire streets in Holland Park as speculations. Many of their houses still remain on the estate, adding architectural variety and splendor.
Holland Park, Pembridge Square and Pembridge Gardens
Notably, builders Francis and William Radford were commissioned to build houses on the most famous street on the estate – Holland Park. The Radfords built 80 identical houses, consisting of 3 storeys over a basement plus dormers, each with beautiful Italianate styling. Such large family houses are very much in demand today – one selling for £53.5 million in January 2016.
The Radfords also completed similar houses nearby in Notting Hill’s Pembridge Square and Pembridge Gardens. These were intended for wealthy professionals, as evidenced in the local census. Nowadays, you’re likely to find celebrities and various high commissions flying their national flags there.
North of Holland Park – Holland Park Avenue and Royal Crescent
The northern part of the estate crosses over Holland Park Avenue, formerly the Uxbridge Road, into the Norland Estate, which was mostly farmland until 1837 when Robert Cantwell began to develop it. The Norland estate includes Royal Crescent, one of the most desirable streets in Holland Park, a short walk from Westfield shopping centre. There you’ll find 5 bedroom terraced houses, maintained to a high standard, with large communal front gardens.
East of Holland Park – Campden Hill Road and the Phillimore Estate
East of Holland Park estate the W8 postal district includes Campden Hill Road and a number of attractive streets developed from 1837 onwards. Many feature large, south-facing detached houses in close proximity to the Kyoto Gardens at Holland Park, donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991.
There’s also the private residential blocks of flats Academy Gardens and Duchess of Bedford House, which has 7 storeys. These are amongst the most luxurious in the area. They’re part of the Phillimore Estate, which includes Upper Phillimore Gardens, Phillimore Place, Phillimore Gardens, Essex Villas, Argyll Road and Stafford Terrace.
Phillimore Place includes a collection of properties built in Tudor-Gothic style by the brilliant architect H.W Hayward in 1857. The Phillimore Estate hosts the headquarters of the Royal Borough of Kensington Council, and is a short walk from Kensington High Street shops.
South of Holland Park – Melbury Road and Oakwood Court
South of Holland Park you’ll find red brick houses and an assortment of large detached villas, built for local artists that lived in the area. Most notable is 29 Melbury Road, built in 1876. This French Gothic chateau has a circular stair turret with conical top. Its interior has themed rooms.
There’s an entire street called Oakwood Court, comprising of 8 storey red brick apartments. Built at the turn of the century, it followed the trend set by Richard Norman Shaw’s new red brick apartments on Kensington Gore. Holland Park station was also built at this time.
20th century additions
The 20th century brought more additions to the Holland Park estate, with developments such as Dukes Lodge in 1939, Stavordale Lodge in 1965 and Woodsford Square in 1968. 1973 saw the arrival of the Hilton International Kensington on Holland Park Avenue.
Much of the building work in today’s Holland Park consists of subterranean additions to existing properties, adding bespoke contemporary comforts for VIP homeowners to enjoy in privacy.