Built in Chelsea

Dan Cruickshank’s latest book tells Chelsea’s story through its architecture and built environment

A new book published later this month, tells the unique and fascinating story of Chelsea through its architecture. Written by Dan Cruickshank, historian, broadcaster and maker of numerous cultural and history programmes for the BBC, Built in Chelsea gives a voice to the buildings – telling the story of the characters who inhabited them, informing and influencing their construction, as well as the wider evolution of the neighbourhood as a whole.

Among all the ‘villages’ of London, Chelsea has always held a special charm for residents and visitors alike – ‘spacious and gracious, with the River Thames as a background, and with a unique history of artists, bohemians and good causes.’ Sumptuously illustrated, the nine chapters of Built in Chelsea encapsulate distinct episodes from Chelsea’s story, based on buildings that mark stages of change, connecting what can be seen on the street with the hidden histories of architects, patrons and the diverse people who have made their lives in and around them.

For the last three centuries, Cadogan has been an integral part of Chelsea’s story – from the visionary development of Hans Town, the first ‘New Town’ outside of London, by the 1st Earl Cadogan from 1777 and the 5th Earl’s redevelopment in a new architectural style ‘Pont Street Dutch’ in the 1880’s. The book touches upon these developments, as well as Cadogan’s more recent influence – as our townscapes are constantly reinterpreted and reimagined – such as working with the spaces between the buildings and regeneration projects that can act as models for unobtrusive management of change.

Built in Chelsea will be available from all good bookshops from 21st February 2022. Copies can be pre-ordered from Waterstones here.

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