Hidden Pimlico

Written on 25 June 2013 by Alistair Boscawen in London


2015-08-26_1027-pimlicoPimlico is a true hidden gem with it’s riverside location and remarkable architecture. Think you know the area? Think again.

Pimlico is an increasingly wealthy district with a fantastic riverside London location. It is something of a hidden gem, overshadowed by more famous neighbours such as Belgravia and Westminster, despite being home to impressive architecture and historic buildings. Here are ten compelling facts you may not know about this area:

Image of St. Saviour’s Church, Pimlico courtesy of Jim Linwood flickr creative commons license

  1. The street plan of Pimlico was designed by famous architect Thomas Cubitt in 1825 and sports over 350 grade 2 listed buildings and several grade 2 listed churches. At the time, the last was marshy, but this problem was solved using excavated soil from the world famous St. Katherine’s Dock.
  2. The Ealing Comedy ‘Passport to Pimlico‘ was filmed on location in and around the area in 1949 and was nominated for two Oscars in 1950: best British film and best writing story and screenplay. Special screenings took place around the UK on the 5th June 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
  3. Up until the late 17th century, Pimlico was widely known as both Ebury and The Five Fields. 
  4. The Morpeth Arms was once frequented by the wardens of Millbank Prison (now the Tate Britain). The tunnels underneath the pub contain old holding cells which are said to haunted.
  5. The name “Pimlico” is said to be of foreign derivation and although the exact origin is somewhat disputed, many researchers believe the area to be named after the landlord of a famous local ale house. 
  6. In the 1930’s construction began on the awe inspiring Dolphin Square, a completely self contained mini-city of 1250 upmarket flats built on a site formally used as Cubitt’s building works. After its completion in 1937, the area became very popular with politicians and public servants, thanks to its close proximity to parliament. 
  7. During World War II, unlike many other areas in London, Pimlico survived with it’s essential character intact. Although some buildings experienced mild bomb damage, the lack of war factories in the area helped keep it safe. 
  8. In order to provide local residents with economical and reliable heating sources in the post-war era (around 1950), Pimlico became one of the very few regions throughout the whole of England to have its own district heating system installed. 
  9. Sir Winston Churchill lived in Pimlico for many years and was quoted as describing the area as “the most beautiful in all of London”. 
  10. Laura Ashley started her clothing business empire from her then home in Clarendon Street in Pimlico. 
Want to know more about other areas of central London? Check out our guide to Belgravia.
Thumbnail image from www.freedigitalphotos.net 

Alistair Boscawen

Alistair has 32 years’ experience as an estate agent, starting in the country house department of one of London’s main international agencies before moving to the Knightsbridge house department of the same agency and learning the difference in values between freehold, long lease and short lease houses in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Chelsea and Mayfair.

All articles by Alistair Boscawen

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