A quiet street in London

IT IS WONDERFUL how easy it is to escape from bustling activity on London’s main thoroughfares. Seymour Walk, a cul-de-sac leading north from London’s busy Fulham Road, is one of many such peaceful havens. In the 1860s, Seymour Walk was called ‘Seymour Terrace’. In those days it was bordered on its west side by market gardens and on its east by a line of buildings. Today, it has buildings on both sides and is entirely surrounded by land that has been built on. It is worth leaving the main road to enjoy a bit of quiet in this picturesque short street.

The small lane was built-up during the period between the 1790s and 1820s and is included in an area called Little Chelsea. Most of the terraces of houses along it appear to be from that era, but there are one or two newer constructions. The large house on the western side of the part of Seymour Walk nearest to Fulham Road is older than the other buildings. This larger house or a predecessor on the same spot might have existed as early as 1664 (www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol41/pp162-194#h2-0008). Its earliest occupant was a Dr John Whitaker, who lived there from 1666 to about 1670.  The elegant house, number 1 Seymour Walk, as we see it today looks as if it was largely built in the 18th century. Amongst its various occupants there was one, Mary Moser (1744-1819), the Royal Academician and flower painter (https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/name/mary-moser-ra). The house became a school or academy from about 1831 to 1939.

Socially, the population of Seymour Walk was very mixed during the 19th century. Its inhabitants ranged from ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ to the ‘better off’ amongst whom were The Reverend Elias Huelin; a jeweller; an architect; a lady doctor; and various artists.

Huelin (1786-1870), who owned several properties, was murdered in one of his homes along with his house-keeper Ann Boss. It has been recorded that:

“The murders were only discovered when a box was found in the kitchen of Reverend Huelin’s unlocked house, sitting in a pool of blood. It contained the body of the housekeeper. The police then began searching for the clergyman. He was eventually found buried in the backyard of the house he had rented to Walter Millar.” (https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/brompton-cemetery/explore-brompton-cemetery/elias-huelin)

Huelin was murdered by Millar during a robbery, when he was living in Paulton Square in Chelsea, but still owned property in Seymour Walk.  

Other buildings in Seymour Walk are pleasant aesthetically, but not notable architecturally or from a historical point of view. A curve near the beginning of the Walk effectively insulates most of it from the busy thoroughfare into which it leads. It was only because the road looked so attractive from Fulham Road that I decided to wander along it. It is small peaceful enclaves such as Seymour Walk that help to make London a pleasant city to live in and visit.

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