Kensington Sash Windows

The History of Timber Windows in Kensington

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has a rich architectural history, with a large number of timber sash windows.

There are 35 Conservation Areas in Kensington and Chelsea – designating areas of special architectural or historic interest – covering around 70% of the borough.

Timber Windows in Kensington – A Brief History

The construction of one of the most noted buildings in the borough, Holland House, which first assumed the guise of Cope Castle in 1605, took place during the 17th Century. Built in the Jacobean style, the building would likely have featured windows with classical proportions – inspired by the House of Stuart’s contact with the Catholic countries of Europe – either in 1:1 or 1: 2 height ratios with four lights divided by a single mullion – a vertical element that acts as a divide between windows – and transoms – a transverse horizontal structural beam or bar – often made from stone.

As the 17th Century progressed windows were often constructed in timber in the ‘cross-casement style’, which were lower and wider than previous incarnations and featured several mullions and no transoms.

Kensington’s desirability received a significant boost when Nottingham House, which, like Holland House, was situated in the popular Campden Hill area, was improved and expanded by the one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history – Sir Christopher Wren.

Wooden Sash Windows and Casement Windows in Kensington

While specific details of Nottingham House’s upgrade do not include detailing about windows, what we do know is that in Stuart, Georgian and early Victorian properties the subdivision of sash and casement windows focused on emphasising their vertical proportions. This meant several glazing bars, smaller panes and a more complex glazing pattern than that seen in later Victorian timber windows.

Located on a patch of high ground between Notting Hill, Kensington and Holland Park, Campden Hill continues to boast a number of large Victorian homes making up the Phillimore estate.

The expansion of Kensington village continued through to the 18th Century, with architect John Jones at the helm of developments north of Kensington High Street including Jones Buildings, which later became known as Kensington Church Court.

Homes in Kensington Church Court (W8) feature many remnants of their architectural past, boasting timber sash windows in the classic Georgian 6-pane design.

Sash Windows London – The Kensington chapter continues

Jones continued his work on Kensington’s redevelopment until his death in 1727, purchasing land in St Mary Abbots and constructing a series of houses; of which 9-17 Church Street (W8) still survive.

St Mary Abbots church still has pride of place on Kensington High Street, and of the properties on Church Street only the ‘double-house’ at 15-17 Church Street retains its segmental window openings and original brick front.

John Price continued his development work into the 1700s and 1800s working on 16-26 Holland Street (W8), a street which today continues to boast a number of period properties with restored or original sash windows.

Sash windows in the 18th Century had moved on from the chunky timber subdivisions needed to support poorer quality glass and featured slimmer sash members and larger pane sizes.

Such was the pace of development in Kensington that its population grew from 8,556 in 1801 to 163,151 by 1881.

Timber Sash Windows in Kensington today

While remodelled over the centuries, Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens set the tone for the quality of architectural heritage across the London borough.

Sash windows were also used in Hampton Court Palace (KT8) and stately homes such as Ham House (TW10) and traditional timber sash and casement windows continue to take centre stage in Kensington today.

These are featured in listed buildings such as those at 1 and 2, Whitchurch Road W11 (grade II), Lansdowne Walk W11 (grade II) and 10 Palace Green W8.

Ultimately the type and range of period properties on offer in Kensington make for a unique snapshot of the evolution of architecture in London from the 1600s to the present day.

At The Sash Window Workshop, we have 30 years experience working on period properties in Kensington and Chelsea. To obtain a quote to replace or draught proof your windows, contact our team today on 01344 868 668.