XII.—KENT HOUSE, No. 10 LOWER MALL
Ground landlord, leaseholders, etc.
The freehold is the property of Miss Julia King-Salter, the present
tenant being Miss Sedgefield.
General description and date of structure.
Kent House (fn. 1) is a very fine example of the architectural treatment
of a house in the latter part of the 18th century. The earliest reference
in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Fulham that can be connected at all
certainly with the house itself occurs in 1762, and it is probable that this
coincides approximately with the date of its erection. Its brickwork is
comparatively light in colour, but architects had already for some years
been experimenting with bricks that would match stonework better than
the warm-coloured brick that was in general use. (fn. 2) The main features
of the south front are the two great bay-windows with canted sides, which
in reality form important projecting wings flanking the central portion.
They are carried up the same height as the remainder of the house, the whole
being finished with a brick parapet over a bold cornice with plain modillions.
The building is of two storeys, and the windows of the bays are plain squareheaded sashes, having, however, a small reeded architrave on the exterior,
and at the angles a square block with pateræ. This method of treating
the architrave suggests a later date, but it is probably an instance of the
anticipation of a detail in a subsequent style. The door and window above,
in the centre of the front, both with small side lights to the middle opening
and spanned by a segmental arch, are well designed. The tympanum of
the latter is filled with fan ornament, while the former is glazed. A narrow
window is set in the wall on each side of the above, the upper ones being
circular-headed. These windows have oval medallions over them on the
ground floor, and panels with carved swags above the first floor, beneath
the cornice. The doorway is reached by a flight of steps, and the forecourt
is enclosed by a gateway and railings of wrought iron. The arrangement
of the side panels to the gate is a little curious, but the detail of the scrollwork in the overthrow and in the spearheads to the railings is of a very high
order, and suggests an even earlier date than that of the house. The whole
grouping, however, of gate, railings and doorway appears to be a single
conception, and is wonderfully successful.
The interior contains several fine rooms, full of interesting detail,
and the main staircase, which is curved in plan, is a striking example of its
period. On the ground floor are a large dining-room and drawing-room
occupying the wings, and the whole space between is taken up by the
staircase hall, the walls of which are treated with pilasters, arcading, and
panels either tinted or marbled. The drawing-room has a good plaster
ceiling and panelled walls; the chimney-piece is richly carved, with caryatid supporters and a surround of Siena marble; the steel grate is of good
The first floor seems to have been rearranged, and some of the larger
rooms have been probably subdivided. The middle bedroom has a good
moulded mantelpiece and interior with reeded hobs. Several of the rooms
have elaborate cornices, that to the circular bedroom having modillions
and enriched mouldings, and a frieze of alternate flutes and pateræ. The
scheme of decoration appears to be largely original, the mouldings and panels
being treated with varying harmonious colours and occasionally but sparingly
Condition of repair.
Historical and biographical notes.
The earliest reference in the Fulham Court Rolls to Kent House appears to be in the
year 1762, when Charles Wingfield surrenders "The Mansion House with the piece of ground
set out in breadth ½ a perch on the north side of the brick wall which was formerly a ditch
and bank for a fence together with 8 perch of land lying in the ditch behind the said wall
containing an acre more or less abutting South on the Thames and land formerly of Anthony
Collins west and land heretofore of John Wedgeboro' and the road from Pinsor Gate North
and land heretofore of Thomas Trout East." There is, however, no reference to the date
of Charles Wingfield's admission.
The surrender quoted above is to Harriet Wingfield, who surrenders the property in 1766
to Christopher Ebrall, and he on the same day surrenders to Mary Weldon.
In 1771, Mary Weldon, the widow of Col. Thomas Weldon, surrenders to Francis
Degen, who himself, in November 1783, surrenders to John Danvers and William
The description of the house is still the same in the surrender of William Manning to
William Cox on 19th December, 1788, and in this year we find Kent House and Nos. 11 and
12 Upper Mall referred to in the same surrender.
William Cox on 26th September, 1792, surrenders both the properties to Abraham
Kirkman, and at this date the description of Kent House is altered to "The messuage or
Mansion House near the waterside with Coach house, stables and garden thereto fronting
South on the River Thames now in possession of Abraham Kirkman."
Abraham Kirkman surrenders both properties to Charlotte Kirkman in 1795, while in
1799 (presumably on the death of Charlotte Kirkman) the properties are left to his nine
children, seven of whom in the course of this and the following year surrender their shares to
Joseph Kirkman, who on 3rd December, 1800, surrenders his eight shares to Francis Matthews
and Abraham Kirkman. The final admission, before the enfranchisement in 1865, was that
of the Reverend J. P. King-Salter, when the house is described as "All those nine undivided
shares of that Mansion House near the Waterside with the coach house, etc. belonging fronting
S. on the Thames for some time past in the occupation of Thomas Hunt and then of Maria
Hunt now known as Kent House and in the occupation of Thomas Durran." The surrender
is by the last-named.
Faulkner (fn. 3) dismisses the house in the following words: "adjoining (fn. 4) is Kent House, in the
occupation of Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, as a seminary for young gentlemen and ladies."
In the Council's ms. collection are:
(fn. 5) Plans of the ground floor (measured drawings).
(fn. 5) South elevation (measured drawing).
(fn. 5) Wrought-iron gateway (measured drawing).
View of south front (photograph).
(fn. 5) View of entrance doorway (photograph).
Wrought-iron gate (photograph).
Another view of same (photograph).