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The famous faces of Cheyne Walk

From royalty to rock stars, this Chelsea street has been a hub for the stars for centuries

22 July 2021

Henry VIII
Marianne Faithful and Mick Jagger

The first notable address on Cheyne Walk, on the Chelsea Embankment, was built by Henry the VIII. He built the Chelsea Manor House in 1536, where numbers 19 to 26 Cheyne Walk are today, near the Albert Bridge.

Henry lived sporadically at his manor house with some of his wives, including Anne of Cleves, Lady Jane Grey and Katherine Parr. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, stayed there as a young princess.

But Cheyne Walk’s residents weren’t all so regal. Mick Jagger bought number 48 for £50,000 in 1968 and lived there with Marianne Faithfull. Jagger sold the property in the seventies but is back on Cheyne Walk again after recently purchasing number 98, the former home of renowned French-born engineer Sir Marc Isambard Brunel.

Another Rolling Stone, guitarist Keith Richards, lived at number 3 Cheyne Walk from 1967, with actress and It girl Anita Pallenberg. Chelsea was a hive of mods and rockers at the time.

Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger has lived at both No.48 and No.98 Cheyne Walk

Elsewhere on Cheyne Walk, number 119 was the last home of famous landscape painter Joseph Mallord William Turner, who lived there until his death in 1851. He was inspired by the river just outside his window and had a balustrade built so he could see it better.

Another celebrated artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, lived at number 16 for 20 years, moving there 1862. He kept a menagerie of animals at the address, including armadillos, kangaroos, wombats and peacocks.

George Eliot, the Victorian author who wrote Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, moved in at number 4 in 1880. She lived there for just a few weeks before she died of a kidney infection. Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and artist William Holman Hunt also lived on the street.

Returning to the Manor House, it was seized by Parliament in 1653, and eventually sold by commissioners to Charles Cheyne, who purchased it with the dowry he received for marrying Lady Jane Cavendish, a wealthy poet and playwright whose family owned land in London.

Cheyne’s son William sold the property in 1712 to physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane (Sloane Street’s namesake), in whose hands it remained until his death in 1753, when it was demolished and numbers 19 to 26 Cheyne Walk were built.

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