18 April 2014
Moscow: 21:02
London: 18:02

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NO.13 KENSINGTON PALACE GARDENS: HARRINGTON HOUSE

In 1924 after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the USSR and Great Britain the embassy of the USSR was originally located in the building of the former Imperial embassy - Chesham House which had been rented by the Russian Imperial government for a period of 50 years. It was situated in that house till May, 25th, 1927 when diplomatic relations were suspended by the UK Government. In 1929 after restoration of diplomatic relations with the USSR searches of suitable premises started. In 1930 a South African businessman and "wool millionaire" Sir Lewis Richardson agreed to hand over the private residence, 13 Kensington Palace Gardens, to the Crown for the Soviet embassy.

Initially the terrain of Kensington Palace Gardens belonged to the Kensington palace. In XVII-XVIII centuries this palace, which was at that time a country residence of British kings, played an important role, and currently remains home for some members of the British Royal Family. In 1841, by a special Act of Parliament a "kitchen garden" of 28 acres (about 11 hectares) was cut off from the lands of the Kensington palace and on this "kitchen garden" there was a street - Kensington Palace Gardens gradually acquiring two lines of rich private residences.

No. 13 is one of the biggest houses in the road. The house was constructed in 1852 for Leicester FitzGerald Charles Stanhope, the fifth Earl of Harrington, at a cost of about £15,000. The original design for the exterior for No. 13 was made by Mr. Burton. The works were carried out under the superintendence of Mr. C. J. Richardson. Lord Harrington agreed on condition that he should be allowed to build the house in his favourite style the Gothic. The family of Harrington owned the house until the First World War. Lord Harrington was living in the house by July 1853, and in December 1854 he was granted the lease but then the house began to pass from hand to hand, yet didn’t become Lewis Richardson’s property. On house collars nevertheless long the inscription "Harrington House" still remained and only at placing in it of the Soviet embassy the inscription was painted over and replaced by the number 13.

In 1991 under a Russian-British agreement the rent was extended for 99 years (the Russian side pays for rent an annual symbolical payment in one pound sterling, the British for residence of the ambassador on the Sofiyskaya Embankment in Moscow - one rouble).

The internal interior of a building is typical for the London private residences of second half of 19th century. Despite a number of refurbishments, it substantially remained in its original form. Some of the antiques decorating the halls, including paintings by Russian and Soviet artists were specially brought from Moscow.

Further information is available at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=49873#s9 , http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=49872



COMMENTS

Comments: 1


20.02.2014 20:35 - Roger Schofield

Please accept my congratulations at the overwhelming success of the Winter Games.The fact that our politicians choose to follow the example of U.S.A in ignoring this achievement merely demonstrates their limited vision in the world to-day.Everyone I know is following and enjoying the wonderful spectical provided by your country. Best Wishes