SPOT­LIGHT ON PIMLICO

When it’s got to be Zone 1, this is the place for smart river­side homes, great schools and a real cen­tral Lon­don buzz. By Anthea Masey

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Front Page -

THE grand stucco build­ings and gar­den squares found in Pimlico ri­val those of its neigh­bour, Bel­gravia. But this Zone 1 district is also home to Dol­phin Square, built in 1937, which was billed back then as the largest self- con­tained block of flats in Europe. Over the decades Dol­phin Square has been home to top lawyers and MPs, and it re­mains so to­day.

Pimlico is also on the home seek­ers’ radar for its award-win­ning and well­main­tained coun­cil estates, where “right-to-buy” flats are a bar­gain for the area. The neigh­bour­hood was laid out as the south­ern ex­ten­sion of Bel­gravia in the first half of the 19th cen­tury by the mas­ter builder Thomas Cu­bitt, whose statue stands on the cor­ner of St Ge­orge’s Drive and Den­bigh Street.

The ar­rival of the rail­way in 1860 ma­rooned Pimlico’s fine squares and ter­races on the wrong side of the tracks, cut­ting it off for­ever from wealth­ier Bel­gravia. Es­tate agent Robert Oat­ley, from the lo­cal branch of Knight Frank, says flats in one of Pimlico’s gar­den squares, or houses in the so- called “Pimlico Grid” of streets be­tween St Ge­orge’s Drive and Suther­land Street, are pop­u­lar with buy­ers who love the clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­ture but can’t af­ford Bel­gravia prices.

“Many of our buy­ers have homes out­side Lon­don and buy a week­day pied-à-terre in Pimlico,” adds Oat­ley. “Once here, peo­ple love the vil­lagey feel and re­alise how cen­tral and con­ve­nient it is. We also get a lot of French and Ital­ian buy­ers who like apart­ment liv­ing.” Churchill Gar­dens oc­cu­pies a large site be­tween Lu­pus Street and the Thames and was de­signed by ar­chi­tects Pow­ell & Moya, who went on to cre­ate other mid-cen­tury clas­sics such as the Chich­ester Fes­ti­val The­atre and var­i­ous Ox­ford col­lege build­ings.

De­vel­oped be­tween 1946 and 1962, Churchill Gar­dens has 1,600 flats in 32 blocks and right-to-buy flats are some of the best value in Zone 1, with onebed­room homes from about £450,000; two-bed­room flats at £540,000 and three-bed­room flats at £600,000.

Award-win­ning Lilling­ton Gar­dens Es­tate, be­tween Vaux­hall Bridge Road and Tach­brook Street, was de­signed in the Six­ties by ar­chi­tects Dar­bourne and Darke. With its dark red brick and cas­cad­ing bal­conies, it re­mains pop­u­lar and again, right-to-buy flats here are a Zone 1 bar­gain.

Only a mile away from Trafal­gar Square, Pimlico has Bel­gravia to the north; West­min­ster to the east; the River Thames to the south and Chelsea to the west.

Pho­to­graphs: Daniel Lynch

Above: laid-back bistros pep­per Pimlico’s streets and there’s a good choice for more for­mal din­ing. The cen­tral location ap­peals to week­day pied-àterre seek­ers, and French and Ital­ian fans of apart­ment liv­ing

Sought-af­ter: Bel­grave Road in the Pimlico Grid of streets, de­vel­oped in the 19th cen­tury by mas­ter builder Thomas Cu­bitt

Cof­fee time, Ital­ian style: Delizie D’Italia deli, Lu­pus Street

Well en­ter­tained: eat, shop and see a show in Wil­ton Road

Ri­valling Bel­gravia: stucco ter­races of St Ge­orge’s Square

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