Westbourne Green had a very refined air in 1795 and was still considered a beautiful rural place in 1820. The Grand Junction canal, passing north of the village between the grounds of Westbourne Farm and Bridge House, was a scenic enhancement, later used to attract expensive building to the area. Although housing was spreading along Black Lion Lane, it had not reached Westbourne Green by 1828, when a house later called Elm Lodge stood north-west of Westbourne Manor House.
In 1809, Edward Orme, a print seller of Bond Street, acquired the former Bell at Bayswater, called Elms House, with two houses behind it, formerly a single house, along with the Bayswater tea gardens. Soon he also held much property farther west along the Uxbridge road, where he may first have made money from gravel. He turned to building and property speculation, mainly in the Bayswater area.
By the mid 1820s, he had been responsible for building Orme’s Green – named after his family like much of what he built. He built a row of houses, later called Belsize Villas, standing alone in the fields on the south side of Harrow Road. There were three ratepayers in 1826 and seven, mostly on empty houses, by 1830.
Building, although not the imposing crescent planned in 1847, stretched from the canal bridge to Woodfield Road at Orme’s Green by 1855.
Building spread northward from Westbourne Green during the 1860s, as the Neeld family followed the example of the lessees of the Paddington Estate. Growth was matched by a westward spread along the south side of Harrow Road, from the Lock hospital beyond Orme’s Green to Carlton Crescent (later Terrace).
See Orme’s Green on an 1830 map – just after it was built. Click on the different decades to see how this very rural area became transformed. Remember to use the slider to the left of the “years: to superimpose the modern map.