Pont Street, SW1X

Road in/near Knightsbridge, existing between 1825 and now

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Road · Knightsbridge · SW1X ·
JANUARY
12
2017

Pont Street is a fashionable street in Knightsbridge/Belgravia, not far from the Knightsbridge department store Harrods to the north-west.


The street crosses Sloane Street in the middle, with Beauchamp Place to the west and Cadogan Place, and Chesham Place, to the east, eventually leading to Belgrave Square. On the west side Hans Place leads off the street to the north and Cadogan Square to the south.

The actress Lillie Langtry (1852–1929) lived at 21 Pont Street from 1892 to 1897, recorded since 1980 by a blue plaque. The building became part of the Cadogan Hotel in 1895, but she still stayed in her old bedroom even after this. Oscar Wilde was arrested in room number 118 of the Cadogan Hotel on 6 April 1895.

Politician Harry Crookshank, 1st Viscount Crookshank (1893-1961) lived from 1937 until his death at 51 Pont Street.

St Columba’s Church in Pont Street was designed in the 1950s by the architect Sir Edward Maufe (1883–1974), who also designed the brick Guildford Cathedral. It is one of the two London congregations of the Church of Scotland. The original St Columba’s Church building of 1884 was destroyed during the Blitz of World War II on the night of 10 May 1941.

Portmeirion had an antiques shop in Pont Street, later to become the headquarters of Portmeirion Pottery. A section of railing from the Liverpool Sailors’ Home was installed outside the shop by Clough Williams-Ellis.

The Challoner Club, an exclusively Catholic gentleman’s club, was based in Pont Street.

A restaurant called Drones is located at 1 Pont Street (not to be confused with the fictional Drones Club of P. G. Wodehouse).

In P.G. Wodehouse’s The Code of the Woosters (1938), Mrs. Wintergreen, widow of the late Colonel H. H. Wintergreen and fiancée of Sir Watkyn Bassett, lives in Pont Street.

Pont Street is referred to in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited (1945), as a place related to typical English snobbery. In the novel, the character Julia and her friends say that "it was ’Pont Street’ to wear a signet ring and to give chocolates at the theatre; it was ’Pont Street’ at a dance to say, ’Can I forage for you?’".

In Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate (1949), the heroine’s aunt, who is bringing her up to mix in the best society, is said to "keep her nose firmly to Pont Street".


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Knightsbridge

Knightsbridge was originally a small hamlet, between the villages of Chelsea (Chelsey), Kensington (Kensing town) and Charing. In the time of Edward I, the manor of Knightsbridge appertained to the abbey of Westminster. It was named after a crossing of the River Westbourne, which is now an underground river.

Knightsbridge is notable as an ultra-expensive residential area, and for the density of its upmarket retail outlets. Fourteen of Britain's two hundred most expensive streets are in the district.

Knightsbridge is leafy, especially considering its location at the heart of London. It is home to many of the world's richest people, and has some of the highest property prices in the world. In February 2007, the world's then most expensive apartment at One Hyde Park, sold off plan for £100,000,000, and was bought by a Qatari Prince, and another apartment at the same place in February 2009, of almost the same price was bought by an Afghani Prince.

The principal landowners in the area are the Duke of Westminster and Earl Cadogan. The two areas of aristocratic landholdings can be distinguished: red-brick Queen Anne Revival buildings are mostly to be found on the Cadogan Estates, whereas white stucco-fronted houses are mostly found on the Grosvenor Estate, built by Thomas Cubitt.

Knightsbridge station opened on 15 December 1906 by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR, now the Piccadilly Line). When opened, the platforms were accessed in the standard manner by four lifts and an emergency staircase connecting to parallel passageways and bridges to midway along the platforms. The original station building designed by Leslie Green was located on Brompton Road a short distance west of its junction with Knightsbridge and Sloane Street.
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