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Blogging on Pimlico, London, Renting, Property, and Flats – Pimlico

English: The Clock Tower of the Palace of West...

I try to keep this blog tightly on the subjects of Pimlico, Renting, and Flats. It’s not too difficult because I can use the Forum to ramble about other subjects, and this keeps the blog focussed.

I thought that I would stray a little to talk about this blog, and blogging, as a way of thanking my many sources of information, and I have broken the story into three parts.

Pimlico

Renting

Property

 

 

Pimlico

Blogging about Pimlico is probably the easiest of my 3 core subjects, particularly since I define “Pimlico” as being anywhere within walking distance of Pimlico Flats – so that covers Central London, and makes:

  • Victoria & Belgravia “North Pimlico”,
  • Kensington and Chelsea “West Pimlico”,
  • Battersea, Vauxhall, Stockwell, Clapham “South Pimlico”
  • Westminster, Soho “East Pimlico”

I try to focus on free and little published events and attractions, as the bigger professional things are generally commercially advertised and known about. My biggest source of information is the weekly publication The Pimlico News and Journal which is something that I publish myself and is automatically curated from various feeds. It has been sufficiently successful that I now carry it as a page on this website which can be accessed from the menu on the left.

It’s a great Newspaper but I must give thanks to some of the contributors. There are of course the usual traditional sources of information, BBC, Newspapers, but the purpose of niche blogging is to uncover the real story, and here are the local blogs and websites which I follow in order to reach the news other blogs can’t reach:

London Blogs

  • Foremost has to be the Westminster Chronicle  just because we need professional journalists and local newspapers in our lives, and if you don’t use them and pay for them we will lose them, and be all the poorer. I don’t know how the power of the internet will pan out, but printed news is under pressure from free blogs like this, and the free “Pimlico News and Journal” that I just promoted. In spite of my competition with the Chronicle all I can say is that we need our local shops, and newspapers, so please buy a copy from your local newsagent.
  • Londonist  a website about London and everything that happens in it – it’s a professional publication set up in 2004 as The Big Smoker. I like it because, although it is a comprehensive London-wide reference resource, it carries this off with humour and is in touch with it’s community roots (e.g. the Hand Drawn Maps initiative). They provide everything you need to know about the capital, as well as celebrating the quirks, eccentricities, hidden and surprising bits that make up the alternative side of the city.
  • Discovering London – which I juxtapose alongside Londonist because Peter’s blog is small, if not tiny, yet it is brimming over with personality, quality, and originality. Peter has yet to reach his 1st anniversary of blogging, but already his website is one of my favourites.
  • Tired of London, Tired of Life began in October 2008 as a place to document those moments of inspiration for making living in London exciting & different. Doing the same thing day after day can get anyone down, but our city has an almost infinite number of things to see and do. If you’re not getting the most out of London, it is a sad truth that you have no one to blame but yourself. This site was part of a personal plan for the author to get the most out of the greatest city on earth, and it has worked.
  • Going Underground Look at what the mainstream press has to say! The magic, mystery & sometimes maddening shortcomings of London’s Tube are documented with love, enthusiasm & sometimes despair by its unofficial social historian ……. The best blogs have a tinge of obsession about them … On some mornings it can feel like the only reason to be grateful that the Tube exists … one of London’s obsessives
  • Young and Poor  Cheap/free events, gigs, food & drink, or sales —  never paid to mention things so it’s only things worth recommending.
  • Ian Visits does NOT list the mainstream music/theatre/film events which are already so well supplied by the major newspapers and magazines – but DOES list the heritage open days, walking tours and mostly, the astonishing array of free (or cheap) lectures that the societies and universities of London provide. It’s a personal resource of remarkable usefulness.
  • Boris Watch An act of frustration, at the loss to apparent personality politics, and the accusation that somehow young people are to blame …… but also a great tap into the stories that THEY don’t want you to read about.
  • Laura Porter London-based travel writer & VisitBritain Super Blogger, mum, copywriter, tea drinker, afternoon tea addict & all-round London obsessive. She is a professional travel writer for About but I have recommended her twitter feed as she is a model in how to use Social Media. She does so much more than just promote her own writing, and is very generous with the links and information that she publishes. Consequently I would say – if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of mainstream London – follow Laura.

 

English: Pimlico tube station backlit platform...
Now publishing any list of recommendations is always fraught – you forget someone important, offend others, and no doubt there are excellent resources that I am yet to stumble across. I have tried to give an honest account of how I produce the Pimlico Blog, but by no means would I say that it is perfect. I would be delighted if readers add their own suggestions in the comments of websites and blogs that we should all be reading and following.

Pimlico Road Interior Design Shops

On Pimlico Road, Antiques stores are joined by bespoke furniture makers, such as Soane and Linley, and dealers of midcentury treasures like Gordon Watson and Lamberty. And the street’s gravitas continues to grow, thanks to new additions, including Coote & Bernardi, Talisman, Luke Irwin and Plus One Gallery. So, with Pimlico Road this year being named the London Design Festival’s newest design district, Interior Design Magazine Wallpaper has done a detailed review of Pimlico Road’s businesses as part of their Street View series.

Pimlico Road Shops

Pimlico Road Shops

1 Luke Irwin hand-knotted rugs

2 Gordon Watson cutting-edge 20th-century art and design

3 The Orange rustic-looking gastropub

4 Talisman furniture emporium

5 Daylesford Organic smartly packaged quality farm produce.

6 Lamberty 20th century art and design.

7 Soane Britain high-quality antiques

8 Coote & Bernardi furniture and textiles collections

9 Mark Ransom signature antique pieces and decorative accessories

10 88 Gallery rare and original 20th century decorative arts

11 Plus One Gallery hyperrealist, abstract and surreal art

12 Jamb antique and reproduction chimneypieces

Video courtesy of The Pimlico Road Association

The Best Places to Have a Flat in Pimlico

Homes and Property recently published an Insider’s Guide to Pimlico, which astutely sums up the area for prospective Landlords looking to buy in the area.

Pimlico is a central London area separated from Belgravia by Victoria railway station to the north and bounded by the River Thames to the south. Vauxhall Bridge Road separates Pimlico from Westminster. With easy access to the Victoria line, good bus routes and riverboat services to Waterloo and Southwark, this area is a commuter hotspot.

At Pimlico’s heart you’ll find the highly desirable grid of residential streets developed by Thomas Cubitt from 1825, now protected as the Pimlico Conservation Area, the area has a very village-y feel, with plenty of shops and restaurants around Warwick Way and Wilton Road, as well as the open spaces of Warwick, Eccleston and St George’s garden squares.

The article asks itself

What are the best investment opportunities in Pimlico?

The answer is One- or two-bedroom flats within the Pimlico grid – in streets such as Gloucester Street, Cambridge Street, Alderney Street or Winchester Street because these are among the most popular for tenants, usually letting within about 48 hours. The grid attracts good tenants because its location offers everything you could possibly need and the council tax in the Borough of Westminster is one of the cheapest in London, which is a big draw for renters.

There is no arguing with that!

Pimlico Flats

Pimlico Flats

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Homes and Property in Pimlico

Look! “Homes and Property” did a feature on Pimlico! It’s not actually what Pimliconians want – the reason that Pimlico is the best place to live in London is because our village isn’t a “name”, it’s a secret. Our film “Passport to Pimlico” didn’t sell our village in the same way as “Notting Hill” sold Notting Hill. Both areas were originally working class, and both have been gentrified. So lets critique an outsiders view of our village, and if you want to see the original article click on any of the pictures:

Known for its monumental terraces and white stucco homes, Pimlico is packed with style and offers excellent value for money in central London
Essentially true, although “monumental” is the wrong adjective for Pimlico. One of the things that endlessly fascinates me is that there are around 2000 houses that look identical (hence the “monumental” terraces) yet if you look at them in detail, most are different from their neighbours.
Shops on Pimlico Road

Shops on Pimlico Road

Locals can shop for organic produce, or consult London’s leading interior designers, in Pimlico Road

Well yes, this is true however most of us rarely buy antiques and designer knick knacks, so the the Warwick Way shops are of far more use. And how can they not have mentioned Pimlico’s Markets?

 

The grand white stucco terraces of Pimlico bear a striking resemblance to those in wealthier Belgravia. Both neighbourhoods owe their existence to the marriage of heiress Mary Davies to Sir Thomas Grosvenor in 1677 at the tender age of 12; and both were developed by the Grosvenor family in the 19th century by the visionary builder Thomas Cubitt, whose statue stands in Denbigh Street.

Yep – not a shadow of doubt that Belgravia is Pimlico on steroids, and with the personality surgically removed.

Situated north of a bend in the River Thames, west of Westminster, south of Belgravia and east of Chelsea, Pimlico is still overlooked. However, Alex Leschallas from the Pimlico branch of estate agents Douglas & Gordon says that people are beginning to wake up to the fact that the “poor man’s Belgravia” represents excellent value for money for central London.

Alex – be quiet please? OK?

Pimlico is known for its monumental terraces. The largest houses are in the garden squares, Eccleston, Warwick and St George’s and along the two big main roads, Belgrave Road and St George’s Drive which dissect the area. There are smaller examples in the Pimlico grid roads such as Cambridge, Alderney and Winchester streets. Most houses have been converted into flats and whole houses come on to the market only rarely.

A typical Pimlico stucco and brick terrace on Sussex Street

A typical Pimlico stucco and brick terrace on Sussex Street

Only take a flat in one of the squares, if you get a key to the gardens. Avoid the main roads Belgrave Road, Sutherland Avenue and St George’s Drive because of the traffic. Cambridge, Alderney and Winchester streets are THE places to live in Pimlico.

There are plenty of children in the garden squares, but families without a magic key to the private communal gardens tend to move out to more family-oriented places such as Clapham and Wandsworth or Guildford.

No children in Winchester St. – plenty of schools, but kids don’t live in the Pimlico Conservation area. I’ve no idea why, that’s just how it is.

 

Leafy Eccleston Square, Pimlico

Leafy Eccleston Square, Pimlico

The Moreton triangle formed by Moreton Street, Moreton Terrace and Moreton Place, where the houses are similar to those in the Pimlico grid. “Prices are catching up but houses here are still cheaper, and there is a good community feel.” Former council flats always sell at a discount, but the gap between the price of flats in Pimlico’s well-maintained council estates — the best are Churchill Gardens and the red-brick award-winning Lillington Gardens designed in the Sixties by Darbourne & Dark — and the stucco terraces is unusually wide and could narrow over time.

Yes the Moreton Triangle would be my second choice of location in Pimlico after Winchester St. – very handy for the shops & restaurants. Yes I would buy a flat in Lillington Gardens – it’s a really great Council Estate, better than many private developments.

Pimlico has a good mix of shops, restaurants and cafés. Lupus Street, Tachbrook Street, Churton Street, Warwick Way, Wilton Road and Denbigh Street serve the local area, so charity shops rub shoulders with barbers, delis and pavement cafés.

In these streets several shops and restaurants stand out: Rippon is one of the capital’s leading cheese shops; at Volpe — Italian for Fox — Adrian Holdsworth, the owner, is a tailor who also sources beautiful bags, shoes and men’s shirts from Italy; and in Wilton Road, Pimlico Fresh is a stylish café with chalkboard walls.

Where Pimlico meets Belgravia along Pimlico Road there is a step change. Here, around Orange Square, there is a Saturday farmers’ market, Daylesford Organic, where locals pick over a few stylish salad leaves for lunch; and it’s also the area where you can consult many of London’s leading interior designers such a Nicholas Haslam, Joanna Wood and Jane Churchill.

Yes – the shops are fantastic in Pimlico, but I’m surprised that they didn’t mention Victoria Street – a shopping Mecca, with House of Fraser & all the normal chain stores, which when combined with Pimlico’s own shops, means that everything that you could ever want to buy is within walking distance.

For those without access to the garden squares, Pimlico can feel very urban, although there are fine riverside walks, and Green Park and St James’s Park are close.

And Battersea Park is 5 mins walk!

The Queen Mother Sports Centre on Vauxhall Bridge Road is the nearest council-owned pool and the privately owned pool in Dolphin Square is available to members of the fitness club. There are two large theatres in Victoria: the Victoria Palace and the Art Deco Apollo. The Royal Court is in nearby Sloane Square. There are no cinemas. Tate Britain is a near neighbour.

The iMax cinema at Waterloo is 10 mins on the C10 Bus

Pimlico is in Zone 1 and not in the congestion charge area. There are two Tube stations: Victoria and Pimlico both on the Victoria line. Victoria mainline station offers quick access to East Croydon, Gatwick and the coast. There are many buses. An annual travelcard covering Zones 1 and 2 costs £1,104.

Victoria is Pimlico’s semi-detached neighbour, and consequently 5 mins walk takes you to one of the best connected transport hubs on the planet.

Council

Westminster City Council (Conservative controlled); Band D council tax for 2011/2012 is £687.62.

An arbour in Warwick Square, Pimlico

An arbour in Warwick Square, Pimlico

Renting in Pimlico
One-bedroom flat £375 per week
Two-bedroom flat £500 per week
Three-bedroom house £700 per week
Four-bedroom house £1,200 per week
Source: Douglas & Gordon

 

 

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Free Walking Tours of Pimlico Victoria Belgravia

I wouldn’t normally alert you about something so far in advance, but as these walking tours are free they are booking up very fast.

The garden squares are not open to the general public, so it really is a rare opportunity to explore and enjoy these hidden green spaces – so these garden walks are very highly recommended indeed.

Garden Walk: Chester Square

FULLY BOOKED – I only included this to ram home the point that if you would like to go on one of the other walks you need to book up well in advance.

Garden Walk: Eaton Square

The walk will be centred upon Eaton Square’s Fountain Garden. Managed by Grosvenor since its creation in the 1820’s a significant period for this particular garden is that of the Second World War. A cannon shell from a German aircraft was found embedded in tree limbs during pruning work as recently as the 1970s. Walkers will learn about Belgravia and this famous square’s history as well as the garden and the several species of trees that have been cultivated here.

Thursday 5 May (ONLY A  FEW PLACES LEFT) 12pm to 1pm

Garden Walk: Eccleston Square

This extended 75 minute walk will start with a brief history of Victoria whilst making your way to Eccleston Square. The tour will demonstrate how over the years more and more tender trees and shrubs have become viable in our changing environment within the City micro climate.

The garden now has the largest collection of Californian Lilacs (Ceanothus) in the world. There are also a substantial number of plants that originate from Australasia. The garden has won awards continuously over the last ten years and has the distinction of being the only garden square that has made it into the National Garden Scheme.

Wednesday 25 May & Thursday 26 May Extended walk 12.00pm to 1.15pm on both days

Victoria’s Hidden Past

Nothing is quite what it seems: the Bluecoat School was built in 1709 and was in use until 1926. The building of this charitable school was funded by a brewer, who also used the school as a storage place for beer. It is now a National Trust gift shop. Another seemingly contradictory story involves Caxton Hall, a meeting place for the suffragette movement, which became renowned for celebrity marriages. There is a burial ground where the first black man to get the vote in Westminster is buried.

You can also browse round the modern day store, which supplied the needs of the British Empire; find mansions that housed the mistresses of the military; imagine the Church turning a prison into a cathedral and up market accommodation and learn about a prisoner who was not actually kept locked up in a prison. You will also find out about current and future development opportunities for Victoria and much more.

Wednesday 1 June, 6 July, 3 August 12pm to 1pm

Belgravia & Victoria

Right in the heart of Victoria between the boundary wall of Buckingham Palace and Lower Grosvenor Gardens is the little known Victoria Square with a connection to Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond and a statue of the young Queen Victoria. As the walking route takes you into Belgravia you will be amongst larger squares with fine houses inhabited by the wealthy and well-heeled celebrities, past and present.

It is an area originally developed and built by the Grosvenor family and designed by architects like Thomas Cubitt. It is made up of elegant terraces divided by fine squares, many of them with private gardens at their centre. Many of the terraces have smaller mews houses behind them. The Grosvenor Estate is still very much involved in the area’s management and continual improvement today. It has become the location for many foreign embassies and consuls, encompassing some of the most desirable addresses in the UK, like Eaton Square and Belgrave Square.

Wednesday 8 June, 20 July, 10 August 12pm to 1pm

Pimlico

In one of the side streets adjacent to Westminster Cathedral lived Sir Winston Churchill and a Cardinal. Beneath the paving runs the hidden King’s Scholars’ Pond Sewer winding its way to the Thames. Close by on the west side of Vauxhall Bridge Road is the recently revived Tachbrook Street Market with its fresh produce and food stalls and Warwick Way with a traditional high street smattering of neighbourhood restaurants, cafés and charity shops.

Wednesday  15 June, 27 July, 17 August 12pm to 1pm

Palaces of Power

Victoria has an important role in the direction of national politics by virtue of its proximity to the Palace of Westminster and the seat of British government. It is also a place of entertainment. The walk will start with the first of our Palaces, the Victoria Palace where we will learn about its association with Ballerina, Anna Pavlova. We will also learn more about the architecture of Buckingham Palace and talk about the builder of one of the wings, whose present day ancestor is due to occupy the Palace. Emphasis will then swap as we stroll to the Palace of Westminster, looking as we go at the fascinating involvement of the suffragettes and how they shaped twentieth century politics.

Thursday 7 July and 4 August 5.30pm to 7.00pm

Rich and Poor

The walk will follow a route through the centre of Victoria to the far side of Pimlico, via Belgravia. We will look at the homes of the rich and famous in Eaton and Chester Square. We will visit where Mozart lived for a short period, where Chopin gave a famous recital. We will be visiting a house that featured in Upstairs, Downstairs, the classic TV series. Towards the end of the walk by contrast, we will see housing for the industrious poor and the delights of Orange Square. The walk will finish near to Sloane Square tube station.

Thursday 21 July and 11 August 5.30pm to 7.00pm

To book a free walking tour call inSW1 on 020 3004 0786 or email NICKI PALMER

For full details of these tours and to enlarge the map please click on it (takes you to the inSW1 website).

Pimlico Victoria & Belgravia Walking Tours

Pimlico Victoria & Belgravia Walking Tours

Where to Rent a Flat – Pimlico or Belgravia?

Pimlico, from Greenwood's 1827 map of London

Old Pimlico Map

Yesterday the Property Consultant and upmarket Estate Agent Cluttons issued a Press Release in which they state that Pimlico is fast becoming a haven for London buyers seeking centrally located homes for half the price of those a few minutes away in Belgravia (also know in most of my postings as “North Pimlico”). They report that houses in Pimlico are selling for approximately £750 – £1,000 per square foot, compared to £2,000 per square foot just a short walk away in sought-after Belgravia, a hotspot for international investors and the wealthy. Pimlico remains a pocket of reasonably priced homes in the centre of London, attracting young professionals such as lawyers and city workers who want a stylish, central location, domestic buyers seeking family homes have been priced out of central London, but Pimlico has so far avoided the ‘prime London’ label among international buyers and continues to offer excellent value for money.

Frankly Pimlico can do without press like this. It relies on being one of London’s secrets for it’s village atmosphere and value for money, and the last thing that we need is a load of international buyers after prime London at half the price. Once they discover that Pimlico is like Belgravia, but with real people, and great shops, restaurants and pubs then we are all doomed. Doomed I tell you doomed. Actually to be fair to Belgravia there are a couple of nice pubs tucked away in the mews, but it doesn’t have Pimlico’s utility.

Even if it was the same price I would prefer to live in Pimlico any day of the week, but keep it to yourself!

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July 2015

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