In the 18th Century, Sloane Square looked much the same as it does today, except that the square was an open green space enclosed by wooden posts, connected by iron chains. It was here that Queen Charlotte’s Royal Volunteers often assembled, and marched off in military order to Hyde Park, headed by their band.
On the eastern side of the square, the same side as the Royal Court Theatre, stood Blandel Bridge, which crossed the Westbourne River, one of the old rivers of London. It was about twelve or fourteen feet wide, and had walls on either side high enough to protect passengers from falling into the river.
In the early 19th Century, when Belgravia and Chelsea were developed, it became necessary to drive the river Westbourne underground to build over it. It now runs over Sloane Square station in a green iron pipe (keep and eye out for it when you’re next in the neighbourhood!).
Chelsea in the 18th Century wasn’t always the genteel neighbourhood that it is now, thank God. The bridge became known as Bloody Bridge because of the many murders and robberies that happened on the bridge. Share that little fact with friends next time you’re having dinner at Colbert or a cocktail at The Botanist.