Estate Development

The Cadogan Estate in Chelsea

The foundations of the Cadogan Estate were established in 1717 when Charles, 2nd Baron Cadogan (1685-1776) married Elizabeth Sloane, daughter of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) who had purchased the Manor of Chelsea in 1712. At this time it included 11 houses, a selection of tenements and 166 acres. Chelsea in the early 18th century was a rural retreat, described as 'a town of palaces' that was close to London yet offered 'sweetness of air and pleasant situation'. Sir Hans Sloane was an eminent physician, antiquarian and collector who planned to retire to Chelsea and accommodate his extensive collection in the Manor House. In 1737 he added further to his estate by purchasing Sir Thomas More's former home, Beaufort House (and 10 acres). Sloane died in 1753 without male heirs, his estate being divided between his two daughters; one part passing into the Cadogan family, the other to the Stanley's of Paulton. Sloane's great collection, too large to be housed at Chelsea, was bequeathed to the nation and formed the founding collections at both the British, and later the Natural History Museums.

There have been two great bursts of development in the history of the Cadogan Estate. The first of these began in 1777 when Charles Sloane, then Earl Cadogan, granted a lease to the architect Henry Holland for the development of 'Hans Town', the area of fields between Knightsbridge and the King's Road. Prior to this, fields covered most of Chelsea and the main focus of settlement was by the river and Chelsea Old Church. Holland created Sloane Street, Hans Place and later Sloane Square as well as designing the street layout, building houses and selling speculative building rights on the development. Hans Town became the model for the many new 'towns' that sprang up in central London. For himself, Holland took 3 acres to build 'The Pavilion' a grand Palladian-style house on the west side of Sloane Street with 16 acres of meadow and grounds landscaped by his father-in-law Capability Brown.

In 1821 the whole of the Manor of Chelsea was reunited under Cadogan ownership, the Cadogan family being the closest surviving relatives to the offspring of Sir Hans Sloane's other daughter.

The second great burst of development happened during the era of the 5th Earl Cadogan (1840-1915). This is when much of the modern Estate was formed. By this time Chelsea had been incorporated into the growing metropolis of London. Sloane Square Station opened in 1868, the riverside embankment was completed in 1874 and many long leases were expiring on sites ripe for redevelopment, including The Pavilion. The rebuilding became the responsibility of the 'Cadogan and Hans Place Estate Co.' which pioneered building in the new 'Queen Anne' style of red brick and stucco that has since become so synonymous with the area it is termed 'Pont Street Dutch'. Between 1877 and 1900 much of the Estate was redeveloped. Notable buildings include Walter Emden's Royal Court Theatre and the Willett Building on Sloane Square by William Willett (who also incidentally invented daylight saving). On Sloane Street, Holy Trinity Church was designed by J.D. Sedding and built with financial assistance from the 5th Earl, and more recently the Danish Embassy was created by Arne Jacobsen. Over the years the Cadogan family have donated land and buildings around Chelsea for charitable and community purposes including schools, social housing, churches, a seminary, the town hall, fire station and a hospital.

Estate Development