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Kensington and Chelsea Gallery

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Kensington and Chelsea in Boroughs can be found in London, England, United Kingdom in Europe

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Holland House library after an air raid BB83_04456 Featured Kensington and Chelsea Print

Holland House library after an air raid BB83_04456

HOLLAND HOUSE, Kensington, London. An interior view of the bombed library at Holland House with readers apparently choosing books regardless of the damage. Photographed in 1940. The House was heavily bombed during World War II and remained derelict until 1952 when parts of the remains were preserved.
Holland House, originally known as Cope Castle, was a great house in Kensington in London, situated in what is now Holland Park. Created in 1605 in the Elizabethan or Jacobean style for the diplomat Sir Walter Cope, the building later passed to the powerful Rich family, then the Fox family, under whose ownership it became a noted gathering-place for Whigs in the 19th century. The house was largely destroyed by German firebombing during the Blitz in 1940; today only the east wing and some ruins of the ground floor still remain.
In 1940, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended the last great ball held at the house. A few weeks later, on 7 September, the German bombing raids on London that would come to be known as the Blitz began. During the night of 27 September, Holland House was hit by twenty-two incendiary bombs during a ten-hour raid. The house was largely destroyed, with only the east wing, and, miraculously, almost all of the library remaining undamaged. Surviving volumes included the sixteenth-century Boxer Codex.
Holland House was granted Grade I listed building status in 1949, under the auspices of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947; the Act sought to identify and preserve buildings of special historic importance, prompted by the damage caused by wartime bombing. The building remained a burned-out ruin until 1952, when its owner, Giles Fox-Strangways, 6th Earl of Ilchester, sold it to the London County Council (LCC). The remains of the building passed from the LCC to its successor, the Greater London Council (GLC) in 1965, and upon the dissolution of the GLC in 1986 to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Today, the remains of Holland House form a backdrop for the open air Holland Park Theatre, home of Opera Holland Park. The YHA (England and Wales) "London Holland Park" youth hostel is now located in the house. The Orangery is now an exhibition and function space, with the adjoining former Summer Ballroom now a restaurant, The Belvedere. The former ice house is now a gallery space

© Historic England Archive

Boys on an 18th century fire engine, Wirksworth Featured Kensington and Chelsea Print

Boys on an 18th century fire engine, Wirksworth

Boys playing on an 18th century fire engine at Wirksworth, Derbyshire. It was believed to be the oldest fire engine in England, dating back to 1721, made by Newsome. Its most recent use had been to facilitate the washing of windows, but the Town Surveyor had offered it to the South Kensington Museum (Victoria and Albert Museum) as it was older than any fire engine held there

© London Fire Brigade / Mary Evans Picture Library

LCC-LFB changeover from brass to cork fire helmets Featured Kensington and Chelsea Print

LCC-LFB changeover from brass to cork fire helmets

Two firemen in the foreground wearing new style cork helmets and Proto Mark IV breathing apparatus sets. The man on the right is from Station 34, Shadwell, whilst the man on the left is from Station 4, Chelsea. In the background are London firefighters still wearing the old style brass helmet. The new style cork helmet was gradually being phased in

© London Fire Brigade / Mary Evans Picture Library