The London wine merchant Sir William Blake builds an extensive portfolio of land in Kensington, Brompton and Knightsbridge in the early seventeenth century. The estate was largely occupied by nurseries and market gardens.
From the early seventeenth century, land in South Kensington has been passed down through generations of the same family, whose names can be seen on the current garden squares and road names. As custodians of this land, our role is to preserve and improve this area for those who live, work and visit.
Sir William Blake’s great, great granddaughter inherits the estate and marries the son of John Thurloe, the secretary of State for Oliver Cromwell’s government. Many street names in the area bear this family name.
The estate passes to the Thurloe Brace’s great grandson, John Alexander. It was still principally a market garden specialising in fruit trees and herbaceous plants. The Hoop and Toy, one of two pubic houses built at the time, still exists today in South Kensington.
The 1830s and early Victorian era saw the development of South Kensington’s residential squares and streets such as Alexander Square and Thurloe Square by the lawyer Henry Browne Alexander.
Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition is held in Hyde Park, the profits of which fund the cultural district of museums and universities in South Kensington, devoted to art and science education.
The District line underground route is extended to South Kensington in 1867, built on land purchased from the Alexanders. The Piccadilly line extends to South Kensington in 1906.
Descendants of the Alexander family form an in-house property management company to ensure a high standard of service for the estate’s tenants.
The Brompton Estate is purchased from the Wellcome Trust. This comprises four blocks of residential and commercial properties on Brompton Road.
The Brompton Design District is formed: an initiative led by SKE in collaboration with local design shops and institutions creates a destination for design, art and culture, announced at the V&A Museum.
Brompton Design District celebrates 10 years of a pioneering design programme with the ‘Brompton Cocktail’ event - a reference to the Brompton Hospital’s notorious elixir. SKE announce plans to create a destination for art galleries taking over five large Victorian properties on Cromwell Place.
SKE opens Cromwell Place; five Grade II listed buildings in London’s museum district occupied by a curated selection of galleries and arts organisations.