Betts & Marriott
Length Closure Ratio (B): 1 to 5.3
Width Closure Ratio (B): 1 to 4
Green 122 ft. by 186 ft. (37 by 57 m)
Ratio Width to Length (Face to Face): 1 to 1.3
Face to Face: Width 191 ft. (58 m)
Face to Face: Length 253 ft. (77 m)
Height A: 43 ft. (13 m)
Height B: 48 ft. (15 m)
38 Houses on Square; 4.5 stories.
A year before Thomas Cubitt struck his deal with Lord Grosvenor and began his famous work in Belgravia, a tract that formed part of the Moreau family property further to the west was sold for development to John Betts and Thomas Marriott. Betts and Marriott proceded to design and develop a simple grid of streets and a square with a connection to Brompton Road. Handicapped by a lack of access to Kensington Road, Marriott struck a deal a few years later with Lord Dungannon to the east which provided access to the neighboring Trevor Place and thence to the north.
In 1950 Cynthia Koestler reflected “It struck me as the most beautiful square I had ever seen” after seeing Montpelier one cold winter morning, but its early 19th century development history was spotty and challenged. Originally intended to have a uniform development motif on the east, west and south ranges, economic challenges and a development period that stretched into almost three decades ended up with missteps, though the size of the square itself is particularly well formed, and the green is a pleasant size. On a cloudy day, one loses the ability to recognize another person at about 250 feet (75 meters) – thus the layout of Montpelier Square encourages a sense of community and awareness that would be violated if the square were much larger.
There are many details well handled from the earlier days. As opposed to many of the Belgravia square developments, most of the homes are simple brick with equally simple arched entries approximately eight feet high from threshold to the tops of the arches with entry level wall now parged with tailored rustication on the NW and NE ranges. The modest balconies for the second level have attractive iron railings. The townhouses on the NW side of the square are approximately 18.5 feet (5.6 meters) in width.
The SE range is more grand, all parged and with four or five superscaled ionic columns at each end plus two highly ornamented pediment crowned windows at the second floor of unit #15. These homes exhibit rectangular entry door treatments.
End units of the ranges are larger, reflecting the greater market value for these units caused by the addition of a third orientation.
As one leaves the square heading south on Montpelier Street, one is struck with the smooth step down to more modest homes, with lower floor to ceiling dimensions in the four story townhome versions closest to the Square and three story versions further to the south – a clear reflection of the market impact of proximity to the Square amenity.
Generally, the primary finished floor elevation is held constant, with the height of the first step taking up any rise or fall in the sidewalk elevation.