Plaque: Bessborough Gardens - Prince of Wales
Erection date: 14/7/1988
One Bessborough Gardens - This building was opened by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, 14th July 1988.
Not the style but the high quality of this plaque reminds us of the one on Lorne House, unveiled by the Princess of Wales the following year.
Site: Bessborough Gardens (2 memorials)
SW1, Bessborough Gardens, 1
The plaques are in the porch behind the pillars that you can see in our photo, Cubitt on the left, Prince of Wales on the right.
The (2018) Bessborough Gardens management's website gives: "In the 1840's the Thomas Cubitt development began. Within a century the head lease of this land had reverted back to the Crown Estate. Most of the buildings were suffering from the damage of the Big Flood in 1928 and the Second World War and were in a derelict state, although they were still required for residential use because of the acute post war housing shortage. In the mid 1980's, in conjunction with Wimpy Homes the Crown Estate embarked on redevelopment of the land with a three phase development. Phase one being the build of some 140 flats which we now know as Bessborough Gardens. The two projects of Lindsay Square and Balvaird Place followed."
When we visited the website again in 2019 the text on that page had changed and adds to our knowledge again: "Bessborough Gardens was named after Lord Granville who was married to The Countess of Bessborough's niece in the early nineteenth century. The acreage was largely marsh land split by the River Tyburn which was little more than an open sewer leading to the River Thames. The area's development had inauspicious beginnings: In the 1820's there was a depressed housing market, but an astute developer, by the name of Thomas Cubitt was enjoying a huge success bucking the trend and selling high worth houses like hotcakes to the aristocracy in Belgravia. He gradually acquired parcels of land in Pimlico from the Grosvenor family and also a major section of Bessborough Gardens from a bankrupt developer, Thomas Hamlet. In the 1840's the Thomas Cubitt development began. Within a century the head lease of this land had reverted back by the Crown Estate."
Trying to understand why the name Bessborough was used we followed up the clues provided in this text and discovered that Lord Granville had had an affair (producing two illegitimate children) with the Countess of Bessborough who then arranged for him to marry her niece. Nice. But we don't know in what way Granville was connected with this area.
These are some quality plaques. It seems that when the Prince of Wales is going to be named on a memorial they spend that bit more.