To find out what's been happening to Sloane since its 1970 closure, read on. To take a look at its beginnings visit the Sloane History page -
The Sloane School plaque showing its date of construction still sits proudly on the fascia of the old school building which now houses the penthouse and apartments of the King's Library.
CHANGES TO THE SLOANE SITE, BUILDING AND ADJACENT BUILDINGS
The site in Hortensia Road which once housed just the Sloane Grammar School for Boys and the Carlyle Grammar School for Girls has changed a little since they both closed in 1970, having fulfilled the destiny that had been mapped out for them some fifteen years earlier and became part of a larger 1,800 mixed pupil Comprehensive School after amalgamating with the Ebury Bridge and Buckingham Gate schools. In the years that followed their closure, the Grade II listed buildings have remained in use in one guise or another for most of that time. Thankfully, the Sloane School building's Grade II listing has ensured that, in our lifetime at least, the building's exterior remains much the way it looked when constructed in 1908 and much the way it looked when we 'boys' arrived there every weekday morning from the time it was first occupied by us in 1919. The exterior of Carlyle Girls' School building next door remains similarly unchanged.
In effect, the side of Hortensia Road upon which once sat Sloane and Carlyle schools has now become five separate sections. Starting from the King's Road end, the first section sits where Carlyle's old school playground used to sit, on the corner of King's Road and Hortensia Road, and has been renamed The Hortensia, a mixture of privately rented homes and 'affordable' homes as well as a ground floor unit for retail use. Just beyond this and further into Hortensia Road still stands the old Carlyle School building which is now home to the English National Ballet School. On the site of Sloane's old South playground which once separated us from the girls there now stands a rebuilt Kensington and Chelsea College. The apartments of The King's Library inside the Sloane building come next and, finally, we arrive at our old North playground on the corner of Fulham Road and Hortensia Road, where once we played cricket, football and basketball and got up to all manner of less studious pursuits than went on in the building itself. This is now the site of what was the first piece of our land to be redeveloped and is now home to the Chelsea Apartments, Milliner House.
The King's Library (Formerly Sloane Grammar School)
Today, the Sloane School building is known as The King's Library, having been converted to 18 apartments and one Penthouse.
After some deliberation over whether the original Edwardian, Sloane School building would be converted into apartments or return to its old use as an educational establishment, in 2013 Kensington and Chelsea Council gave planning consent to Hortensia Property Development LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) for refurbishment and extension having taken into account national and local policies relating to the historic built environment.
The Heritage Appraisal produced by K M Heritage in support of the redevelopment is available on this link -
Eighteen 'Edwardian' apartments, a penthouse, a new pedestrian entrance and an extension to the south-west of the building with 150 south facing windows were all completed by 2017. The design also includes a communal area incorporating our old assembly hall and, in all, 50,000 square feet was converted.
|Hortensia Road Proposed Elevation||Rear of Building Proposed Elevation|
|Work commences on our old Assembly Hall||Proposed look of the old Assembly Hall before conversion|
As you walk into the complex from Hortensia Road the first thing you see is the Reception area -
There is a King's Penthouse which occupies the entire fourth floor and includes multiple roof terraces -
The King's Hall apartment is arranged on the first and second floors of the old building and includes our old assembly hall -
In all, there are five levels containing another 16 apartments and those lovely old brown, glazed tiled stairwells we used to trudge up and down on a daily basis have now been incorporated into some of the apartments to provide libraries or fine wine storage and where they still serve as staircases the tiles remain.
I was approached by the interior designers for the show apartments, Helen Green Design, after they found our website, and asked whether I could provide black and white photos of the school and it's people from the period apanning 1920 -1950ish. I was happy to do so even though they rejected my plea for first refusal on the £15+ million penthouse apartment that cover the 6,000 sq ft of the whole 5th floor and incorporates two wings; one for your private accommodation and one for entertainment alone. I sent them some 70 photos and if they are suitable some would have been used to line the walls of the 'show' apartment. You'll no doubt have seen them when you visited to view your potential London pad. Prices started at £3.1 million, rising to £15+ million for the King's Penthouse. This was how the show apartment looked -
What also became part of this development was the old chapel of St Mark and St John, next door to Sloane in the grounds of the former St Mark and St John College. Two town houses were created here with one being named St Mark's House and the other St John's House. Not particularly original names but certainly the right choice to keep the memories intact -
St Mark's House
St John's House
The Hortensia (Formerly Carlyle Grammar Schools For Girls)
Grainger plc were granted permission to redevelop and manage the council-owned land next to the Carlyle building at the South end of Hortensia Road in 2017, to provide 31 one, two, three and four bedroom units to include a range of rental tenures one of which was to be the usual, ambiguous, "affordable". The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea retained the freehold and shared the long-term rental income. Among the thirty one homes built here are 6 rentable town houses. In all, the building ranges from three to seven storeys and incorporates 2,756 sq ft of non-residential, (business) ground floor space.
Unusually, this is a car free development with no parking provided other than for bicycles. There are residential entrances on Hortensia Road and a commercial entrance on the King's Road. Residents have the use of a communal courtyard -
This is how the King's Road/Hortensia Road corner was expected to look after work was completed -
This is how it actually turned out -
For those of you who can't remember, this is what the site looked like before work started -
The English National Ballet School (The Carlyle School Building)
Meanwhile, Carlyle's old building next door retains the fascia we all knew but became home to the English National Ballet School in 1988 -
English National Ballet School Exterior
English National Ballet School Interior
Kensington and Chelsea College Chelsea Centre
The new Kensington & Chelsea College, known since 2014 as their Chelsea Centre, now sits where the playground used to be between the old Sloane building and the old Carlyle building. Work on the new college building, with designs by the architects who transformed the Royal Opera House and the National Portrait Gallery, was completed in 2012.
Two views of Kensington and Chelsea College in 2017
Chelsea Apartments/Milliner House (Sloane's North Playground)
The flats, constructed on the side of the old Sloane building in Sloane's old North playground on the Fulham Road are known as Milliner House, Chelsea Apartments, and were ready for occupation in 2011 at advertised prices between £785,000 and £2,350,000. Or if you could afford it, the single penthouse at the top would have set you back £5.85 million when first offered for sale but a market downturn in 2012 saw it reduced to an almost tempting £4.25 million - and it was being sold as a shell!
|The entrance to the Milliner House apartments on
|The Milliner House apartments seen from Fulham Road|
|View of St Mark's Chapel and the Fulham Road from one of the balconies|
Roehampton Playing Fields in Dover House Road
When I was at Sloane the Slocombe family used to live in the grounds of our Dover House Road playing fields and they still had links to the ground up until 2010, as Alan Slocombe, the son of Mr and Mrs, was part of the set-up charged with looking after the grounds for the local council.
Our old Sports Ground sits in a Preservation Area today and is used by many local sports teams, playing everything from football, to cricket and lacrosse, so its future looks reasonably safe and looks likely to outlive most of us. However, in 2010, the grounds were bought by Roehampton Ubiversity who will have a 99 year lease in return for refurbishment of the pavilion and continued local community access to the site for 25% of the time, which is different to the 100% access they've always had and for which the site was originally built to allow. In reality, the council has privatised Roehampton Fields and, where once the community had sole ownership, it now has a 25% share. Due to the grounds being in a preservation area and the likelihood that local residents would strongly oppose any building on the site, nothing much is going change as regards site use for the forseeable future, and any building work carried out will be restricted to single storey.
Updates on Roehampton Playing Fields
Agreement was reached in January 2011 for the grounds to be tranferred over to Roehampton University. My thanks to Stefan Bremner-Morris, who has provided me with additional information that says the university will have a 99 year lease in return for refurbishment of the pavilion and continued local community access to the site for 25% of the time, which is different to the 100% access they've always had and for which the site was originally built to allow. In reality, the council has privatised Roehampton Fields and, where once the community had sole ownership, it now has a 25% share. Due to the grounds being in a preservation area and the likelihood that local residents would strongly oppose any building on the site, nothing much is going change as regards site use for the forseeable future, and any building work carried out will be restricted to single storey.
It looks like the old place will outlive most of us but, just in case, click on these links for an aerial view of the grounds, the terms of the lease to Roehampton University, and a basic plan of the grounds. Use the controls to the left of the page you see to zoom in and out and to change the type of view -
This second link shows a basic diagram of the layout of the playing fields -
The following link will show you the terms of the lease of the grounds to Roehampton University -
In 2017 I received an email via the Contact Us page from a lady living in Roehampton to alert me to the latest development in the Dover House Road playing fields saga. Here's what she had to say -
Re Roehampton Playing Fields.
I thought you might be interested to know that the playing fields that you know so well are under threat. The council, in an effort to save money, is offering the site to a commercial organisation for a 30 year lease that would allow them to resurface with all weather, erect floodlights, restrict use to those who can pay the most and build a new clubhouse. As the area is so important to local people - and particularly the Doverhouse Lions, who would not be able to pay the new rates and local schools who would not have enough room for sportsdays. I thought you might like to circulate this petition below to your Sloane Grammar colleagues for signature - and also encourage them to write with objections to the contact below. We'd be grateful for any help we can get in this respect.
Can you help me out by signing this petition? http://chn.ge/2iQg3jq "
This is the letter she received prompting her to contact me -
"Note to residents and interested parties; We are holding a meeting at Granard School on Tuesday 21st 7pm at Granard School Cortis Road you would be very welcome to join us. Meanwhile: The dreadful situation has come to light over the last few days and anyone within the Dover House Road and Roehampton community, we need to act now. If this proposal isn't opposed within 28 days, the playing fields as we know them will be lost forever. We have until the 8th December to lodge our objections with the local authority. The company involved wish to run this as a commercial site with floodlit pitches open till 10pm each night for private hire. So much for community use! By all accounts this will be another 'goals' type business creating increased traffic, parking issues and anti social noise etc. The current use by many local primary and secondary schools as well as our fabulous Doverhouse Lions FC (supporting well over 200 children) will no longer be viable.
Email your objections to: Jshearer@wandsworth.gov.uk
These playing fields have been part of this community since the birth of the Dover House estate almost 100 years ago! Please share this."
As a result of local objection and pressure from Sloane website members at a Wandsworth Council meeting on 6th December, 2017 it was announced that local residents would be given the chance to get involved in planned improvements to the 12 acre site. Over the coming months the local community would have the opportunity to work through options on any management proposals.
At the meeting Councillor Cook said,
“The overarching aim is to provide better facilities for local schools, sports clubs and community groups. The site is popular and well used but does need investment to upgrade its facilities. We recently published proposals that would have secured substantial improvements funded by a private sector partner in exchange for a fixed period lease on the land.
Some local residents and community groups told us they were not happy with these proposals and asked us to consider alternative plans including letting the local community take over the day to day running of the playing fields.
We have listened very carefully to what they’ve said and agree they should be given this opportunity. This means we will offer local people and groups the professional advice and help they need to provide the kind of high quality sports and training facilities that meet the needs of local schools and sports clubs in the years ahead.”
The current proposals for the site will now be paused pending the outcome of this community initiative.
Speaking for the Roehampton Playing Fields Campaign group, Sarah Wilton, said,
"This is a very positive move by Wandsworth Council and a welcome recognition of the strength of feeling that has been shown by residents and users of the playing fields. We agree with the Council that the overarching aim must be to provide better facilities for local schools, sports clubs and community groups. We particularly welcome the commitment by the council to offer local people and groups the professional advice and help they need to provide the kind of high quality sports and training facilities that meet the needs of local schools and sports clubs in the years ahead. We will certainly be taking them up on that offer.
The six month pause that has been announced now gives us the chance to set out plans to turn these playing fields into a much more inclusive space able to cater for the whole community - sporting clubs, schools and residents alike. We plan to embark on an intensive programme of work to enable us to fully understand the needs of users and potential users of the facility as well as the wider impact on the wider community. Our aim is to draw up a fully costed plan and vision for this vital community asset. We will also be looking to create a suitable charitable vehicle to implement that vision. This is an exciting project for our community that we hope will demonstrate just how much can be achieved when the council works collaboratively with a local community to implement shared objectives.”