Lord Listorel, Elger, Peter and Alexander Thorn
Height to Width Closure Ratio: 1 to 5.9
Height to Length Closure Ratio: 1 to 7.2
Width to Length: 1 to 1.2
Width Face to Face: 277 Ft (84.4 m)
Length Face to Face: 337 Ft (103 m)
Green: 228 Ft by 237 Ft (69 m by 72.2 m)
Height A: 47 Ft (14.3 m)
Stories: 4.5, 5
John Elger approached the 2nd Earl of Listowel (grandson of the 1st Earl who had died in 1837 and from whom the name Ennismore was derived) in the early 1840’s. By 1843, Elger had obtained a lease and had submitted for sewers based on a layout which ran a north-south street southwardly from Kensington Road to a point about 45 feet north of Brompton Square. The plan laid out 23 attached houses on what would become the eastern range of Ennismore Gardens square. Elger likely was influenced by designs completed by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, and built 21 of these, beginning construction of the homes in 1849 and finishing in 1854.
The Brompton Square developer had hoped to connect with the new street, but Elger and Lord Listowel vigorously opposed the connection because they correctly deemed the homes inferior to the ones Elger was currently building. The controversy was ended by Elger purchasing the vacant zone at the end of Brompton Square and building a rather clumsy termination.
By the mid 1850’s prices had risen considerably in the area as the “westward movement of Noble and Wealthy Families” continued (see Westminster City Archives, Acc.943/2.). The third Earl of Listowel arranged for Peter and Alexander Thorn to develop and construct 34 houses around three sides of a square in 1868. The arrangement was a compromise with Elger who had at that point retired from building, and demanded a scheme that enhanced the eastern terrace.
This is the only square in the area not entirely encompassed by streets – the rear facades of the north range adjoin shallow private gardens that buffer them from the larger communal green.
No reference to the architect for the Thorn take is known, but the construction of the five story ranges was supervised by Lord Listowel’s surveyor, W. F. Meakin. The design is plastered and reminiscent of an Italian palazzo. Common entries to the flats have large porticos, and a continuous iron railing connects the second story balcony. Corinthian columns support the entry entablatures, and horizontal grooving on the first story facades creates a rustication in contrast to the upper floors.
Five stories for a square of this size is the maximum that feels comfortable.