History

HERITAGE
The area surrounding South Kensington Station has grown and evolved from a rural hamlet to the heart of London’s world-renowned cultural quarter. Over time, it has seen sporadic changes as the station and railway evolved.

In the 19th century, fashionable terraces were constructed across the site, developed as part of London’s boom. These connected the hamlet of Brompton to Chelsea and Kensington.

Since 1868, when the first railway was designed and built to connect South Kensington to central London, the surrounding area has seen irregular development, with different neighbourhoods and streets emerging.

In the early 20th century, there were a number of upgrades to the station, including the signature oxblood station building, followed by a new ticket hall and shopping arcade, along with structural provision for shops at the ‘Bullnose’, referred to as such because of its unique shape at the front of the station.

The Bullnose building was constructed by 1916 with structural drawings showing that the original building was designed to accommodate several floors.

In the 1970s, an escalator to the Piccadilly Line was installed along Pelham Street, with shops adjacent to the Oxblood building demolished.

Site Heritage

TODAY
The current station is tired and in need of modernisation to ensure it remains fit for purpose. The Grade-II listed arcade needs careful restoration, while the site is surrounded by low and nondescript walls that are not in keeping with the local architecture.

The station currently presents a poor experience for passengers, with overfilled platforms and limited access to the ticket hall. Station upgrade works are being undertaken by Transport for London to deliver an improved ticket hall, new platform and overall more positive experience for passengers.

Importantly, the wider plans for the improvement to the station and the properties around it include plans to introduce step-free access from the platform of the District and Circle lines to the ticket hall and to the street.

The step free access, which is integrated with the wider development plans, will greatly improve accessibility for visitors to the station and London’s world renowned museum quarter, providing for wheelchair users, those with mobility issues, and parents with buggies - creating safe, easy and efficient access from the station.

PREVIOUS PROPOSALS
Since the 1980s, there have been five different proposals by previous developers and architects to redevelop the site to deliver new housing and commercial space.

These proposals varied in scale and style – some included tall buildings unsympathetic to the local area. Only one of those proposals received planning consent but was not then carried through. We therefore have an opportunity to learn from those past schemes and deliver a development that is sensitive to its surroundings.

Previous Site Proposals