LXXX.—LXXXIII.—Nos. 1 to 4, THE VALE (Demolished).
Not more than a generation ago much open space remained between
the King's Road and the Fulham Road, the northern part of which contained a large private mansion, and was still known as Chelsea Park. This
house was destroyed in 1876, the grounds being now covered by Elm Park
Gardens and Elm Park Road. South of the latter was a large field or paddock,
usually known as the Vale and attached to Vale Grove, Church Street, the
residence of Mr. Barrett, brushmaker, who died there quite recently, that
event being followed by its destruction in December, 1912. Until some
three years ago, there still existed a blind walk also called The Vale, communicating with the King's Road, and immediately south of the paddock
from which it was shut off by an iron gate and railing. It contained four
houses, all of which are shown on Thompson's map (1836), and with their
trees and charming gardens they served to remind the visitor of a Chelsea
that is now almost completely gone. In No. I, on the left hand or southside, resided Mr. William de Morgan, the novelist and potter, whose manufactory for his famous tiles was once at Orange House, Cheyne Row. He
lived in the Vale for 22 years, having been preceded by a Mr. Carter, who
resided in the same house for 20 years. Plate 54 shows the pretty porch
to the garden, and incidentally portrays Mr. and Mrs. de Morgan as well.
Opposite, at No. 2, on the right-hand side, a semi-detached house with
plastered front, and a long verandah, lived Whistler from 1886 till 1890.
Messrs. Ricketts and Shannon afterwards dwelt here and hence was derived
the title of the Vale Press, published by Huron and Ricketts. Professor and
Mrs. Oliver were the last occupants. This house was semi-detached,
but nothing special need be said about the northern portion. On the same
side of the Vale, close to the King's Road, was a Chapel, afterwards the
studio of Mr. T. Stirling Lee, sculptor, who has now built for himself a
studio in Vale Avenue, a new thoroughfare leading from the King's Road
over the site of the Vale Walk to Elm Park Road.
In No. 4, more to the north, lived for some time an old-fashioned
character named Maguire, who used to keep stags in the paddock and
afterwards had plaster statues of stags in their stead. He was succeeded
by a son and daughter-in-law of Mr. Barrett, who had held the long lease
of the Vale, and, as we have recorded, died recently at his house in