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
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.
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