A Long History of Glamour

Baynards House set down its roots in the 1860s, when the site fell across the boundary of the parishes of Kensington and Paddington. At that time a conglomeration of houses and shops covered the land, and it was not until 1905 that J.E. Stubbs, a prominent architect and builder of the time, obtained permission to erect a single building on Hereford Road. Later that year, Stubbs extended his building onto Chepstow Place and Westbourne Grove, but Baynards House did not finally evolve, as one building, until 1953. The glamorous and fashionable lifestyle within this small part of the world’s greatest city is not a recent association. Part of Westbourne Grove was occupied from 1873 by a company variously known as Bradleys, silk mercers to dressmakers, milliners and costume makers. Bradleys’ trade grew during the late Nineteenth Century to incorporate their own sales of mourning clothes and furs, drapery and ladies tailoring, and at the same time the premises expanded into Chepstow Place. Just after the turn of the century Bradleys acquired the Arctic Fur Store, “renowned for the finest furs”, which was to pave the way for their rise to pre-eminence in the London fashion world

The First of its Kind

The Arctic Fur Store was the first of its kind in the country. Not only did they import raw skins and sell tailored fur garments, but a large basement store room was set aside as summer storage for the winter wardrobes of the rich and famous. Bradleys’ expansion continued apace well into the Twentieth Century, maintaining their specialisation in furs while becoming one of London’s leading high class dressmaking and tailoring establishments; a model house for couture, furs and clothes with workrooms and eighty-six individual fitting rooms occupying nearly six acres of Westbourne Grove and Chepstow Place. The main mannequins’ room was situated on the first floor so that the models and their clothes could be shown to maximum effect as they descended the grand central staircase to the marbled ground floor reception.


Bradleys would have been a magnificent sight between the wars. One of London’s finest couture houses, resplendent in marble, bronze and gold leaf, with its own ghost purported to roam the first floor.

Seconded by Paddington’s local authority as a first-aid post in the Second World War, Baynards House, as it was by now known, reverted to Bradleys in peacetime but never recaptured the glamour of its heyday. The building was sold to the Co-Operative Insurance Society in 1952 and was occupied by a number of “grey” government ministries through the succeeding decades.

The area’s association with a glamorous lifestyle, however, was now cast in its buildings’ magnificent stone facades. While Her Majesty’s Factory Inspectorate watched from the top floor of Baynards House, the Profumo affair was unfolding around Mandy Rice Davies’ front door opposite.

John Cleese and Irene Handl numbered among other well-known neighbours, and Notting Hill was synonymous with show business long before Julia Roberts wandered into Hugh Grant’s bookshop.


Baynards was restored to its former glory by Regalians, who redeveloped it to create a magnificent space, which has not lost touch with its unique history.