Widely regarded as London’s premier destination for high-end fashion, luxury goods and haute couture, the western boundary that divides Belgravia from equally upmarket Kensington & Chelsea stretches a kilometre south from Harvey Nichols at the Knightsbridge end past Gucci, Fendi, Dior, Jimmy Choo, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Versace, Hermes, Bulgari, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana to name but a few.
It then passes Cadogan Place Gardens, the Danish and Icelandic Embassies, luxury hotels and a number of offices and private residences, to Chloe, Tiffany, Cartier, Hugo Boss and Peter Jones at the Sloane Square end. Sloane Street is also bisected by many smaller streets which also host excellent stores, including Anya Hindmarch on Pont Street, and French Sole and Lulu Guinness on Ellis Street.
A brief history of Sloane Street
Unlike Belgravia – which is owned by the Grosvenor Estate – Sloane Street’s origins can be traced back to 1777 when Charles Sloane, then Earl Cadogan, granted a lease to architect Henry Holland for the development of Hans Town – the area of fields between Knightsbridge and the King’s Road.
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.
Sloane Street remains part of the Cadagon Estate, which has been in existence since 1717 when Charles, 2nd Baron Cadogan married Elizabeth Sloane, daughter of Sir Hans Sloane, who had purchased the Manor of Chelsea in 1712.
The latter part of the 19th century saw further development in Knightsbridge when Sloane Street developed into an increasingly busy commercial centre serving the area’s fashionable residents.
However, Harvey Nichols can trace its history back to Benjamin Harvey’s shop of 1831 on the corner of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street, while The Cadogan Hotel opened in 1887.
But the seeds of Sloane Street’s journey culminating in the exclusive, leading luxury stores we see today, were sown in the 1960s when nearby Kings Road saw an influx of high-end trend setting stores.
During the 1990s, Dubai’s ruling Al Maktourm family bought most of the properties on the west side of Sloane Street at the Knightsbridge end. The National Bank of Dubai opened its first overseas branch in London to serve the many UAE-based visitors, who continue to rent these properties in summer.
In fact, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel on Cadogan Place is owned by the hotels arm of the Dubai Holding Company. Other notable hotels in the area include the Millennium Hotel on Sloane Street and the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.
Sloane Street continues to evolve and in 2013 welcomed the first UK standalone boutique for Tom Ford and a new Ermengildo Zegna boutique, while Alberta Ferretti, Christian Dior, Valentino and Saint Laurent have all carried out major store refurbishments.
Property in and around Sloane Street
But there is more to living in an around Sloane Street than luxury brands and designer stores. From grand terraces of white stucco houses in Lowndes Square to elegant crescents of period properties, portered mansion blocks and neat conversions, the prime areas radiating from Sloane Street contain some of the world’s most desirable residential homes currently on the market.
The property choice extends to classic period townhouses in gracious squares such as Eaton Square and Chester Square, ultra-prime new-build apartments and penthouses in flagship developments such as One Hyde Park to cottage-style houses tucked away in quiet mews.
Meanwhile, Pont Street – which cuts across Sloane Street, providing a convenient link between Belgravia and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea – contains Dutch-style red-brick buildings built in the 19th century by Earl Cadogan. Many have since been converted into apartments, but there still remains a number of whole houses that are particularly sought after.
Life under the Cadogan Estate
We covered the Grosvenor Estate in our Area Guide to Eaton Square. The 8th Earl of Cadogan comes a close second to the Duke of Westminster in the London property stakes. Cadogan Estates Ltd is particularly associated with the area around Cadogan Square, Sloane Street and the King’s Road in Chelsea, where the company owns the freehold on a mix of residential, retail and commercial property. It also owns property in Knightsbridge.
In 2000, the company acquired the Duke of York’s Headquarters, a former barracks adjoining Sloane Square, which has been converted to retail, office and residential use, as well as providing a home for the Saatchi Gallery.
The Chelsea estate comprises several hundred flats and houses and the company continues to develop its residential portfolio. New homes have been built at Cadogan Gardens and as part of the second phase of the Duke of York Square development off King’s Road, while residents of a Cadogan Estate property are often eligible to become a member of one of its gardens, some of which include tennis courts.
Transport in and around Sloane Square
There are three public car parks within easy reach of Sloane Street – the NCP facility on Cadogan Place, Chelsea Cloisters Car Park off Sloane Avenue and Nell Gwynn Car Park, also in Sloane Avenue, Chelsea.
District and Circle Line trains run from Sloane Square Tube Station to the City and West to Kensington High Street and Notting Hill. Nearby South Kensington station also offers Piccadilly Line services into the West End and to Heathrow Airport.
For more information about property sales and lettings in Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Chelsea and South Kensington, please contact Best Gapp.
New look for Sloane Square Station
The refurbishment of Sloane Square Tube Station in 2015 sparked protests when its iconic olive green tiles – which had been in place since the 1980s – were replaced by “a palette of dark blue and off-white tiles throughout the station”.
A spokeswoman for the Chelsea Society said it had opposed the removal of the tiles during a consultation with Transport for London.
However, TfL said the new look “has given Sloane Square a complete and consistent design throughout the station as well as making it smarter, brighter and much more welcoming to customers.”
Underground stream marks ancient boundary
The Westbourne stream forms the ancient boundary between the lands of Chelsea, under the stewardship of the Cadogan Estate to the west and the Grosvenor Estate to the east. The stream still exists, although now runs underground.