Plaques route 3 -Wood station to Maida Vale station
Route 3 St Johns Wood station – Maida Vale station
Turn right out of station and cross traffic lights, turn right and walk to the end of Eyre Court and on side wall facing the Finchley road is the plaque to
Oscar Kokoschka CBE 1886 – 1980 Eyre Court
Painter lived here
Oscar Kokoschka was an Austrian artist, poet and playwright, particularly noted for his expressionistic portraits and landscapes. He studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Vienna where he developed an original style of innovative oil painting anchored by earlier traditions, and in 1926 visited London where he painted the Zoo in Regents Park, and began a series on the River Thames, the artery of life. He had an affair with Alma Mahler and although they broke up after a few years he never stopped loving her. Having fled to Prague to escape the Nazis he then had to flee to England with his girl friend Olda, thirty years younger than himself. They lived in Boundary Road and in 1941 married in an air raid shelter that was being used as a makeshift registrars office because of the air raids. He taught at the Anglo French Art Centre in St John’s Wood and received the CBEin 1959. He lived at Eyre Court from 1946-1953.
Retrace footsteps back to Grove End Road and walk down until second turn to right into Loudoun road and left into Langford Place until you reach No 16 on the right
Dame Laura Knight DBE RA RWS 1877 – 1970
Harold Knight RA 1874 – 1961 16 Langford Place NW8 Painters lived here
Laura Knight was a painter in the figurative realist tradition, working in oils, water colours and etching. She specialised in paintings of the theatrical and ballet world, and of marginalised communities like gypsies and circus performers, and was a war artist in the Second World War, notably painting the Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg trial which showed a ruined city in flames behind the court scene. As she wrote, “In that ruined city death and destruction are ever present. They had to come into the picture, without them, it would not be the Nuremberg as it now is during the trial, when the death of millions and utter devastation are the sole topics of conversation wherever one goes – whatever one is doing”.
She met Harold Knight when they were both at art school; they married in 1903 and became central figures in the artists’ colony at Newlyn in Cornwall. In 1915 she painted a self- portrait with a nude figure which was a challenge to the ban on women students attending life classes. In 1923 they began living in Langford Place, purchasing their house (and two others next door) in 1937. In 1929 she was created a Dame and in 1936 became the first woman elected to the Royal Academy since 1769.
Harold Knight was a professional portrait painter and was a conscientious objector in the First War when his work as a farm labourer took a toll on his health. He too became a Royal Academician. In 1937 they purchased their house (and two others beside it) in Langford Place.
Continue along road until you reach no 14
John Adams Acton 1830 – 1910
14 Langford Place
He studied in Rome under sculptor John Gibson and then returned to England for a successful career. He added Acton – the place of his birth – to his surname to avoid confusion with a successful artist of the time. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy until 1892, with busts of Gladstone, Disraeli, Charles Dickens and the Earl of Shaftesbury among many others.
Walk to end of road until you reach Abbey Road, turn right and at traffic lights turn left into Marlborough Place. Three houses down on the right is No 38
Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS FLS 1825 – 1895 38 Marlborough Place Biologist lived here
Huxley was an English biologist (in fact he invented the term biology) and comparative anatomist, known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Huxley’s famous debate with Samuel Wilberforce was a key moment in the wider acceptance of evolution and and his own career.
Huxley was undecided about natural selection, but despite this he was wholehearted in his public support of Darwin. His fine anatomical work was to be overshadowed by his energetic and controversial activity in favour of evolution, and by his extensive public work on scientific education, both of which had significant effects on society in Britain and elsewhere. He was noted for his happy home life, with seven lovely children, and their home in Marlborough Place was open to all comers on Sunday evenings.
Retrace steps and cross Abbey Road into the continuation of Marlborough Place and on the left is No 28 where the plaque is on the front garden wall
Alexis Soyer (1810 – 1858)
A French chef, Soyer became the most celebrated cook in England. Escaping from France during the 1830 Revolution, he worked for the Duke of Cambridge’s household where his brother was head chef. From 1837 – 1850 he was chef at the Reform Club, and designed the innovative kitchens there, which became so famous that they were open for conducted tours by the public. He managed to feed 2000 members and their guests on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Coronation. During the Irish famine he ran free soup kitchens in Dublin to help the starving poor and then during the Crimean War he joined the troops – originally at his own expense – to improve the feeding of the army. He trained regimental cooks for every regiment and invented the Soyer stove which is still used by British soldiers.
Return to Abbey Road, turn right and then right into Blenheim Road and walk uphill until you reach No 13 on the right
Sir Charles Santley 1834 – 1922 13 Blenheim Road
Singer lived and died here
Sir Charles was a distinguished baritone opera and oratorio singer with a bravura technique who had a long and versatile vocal career. He led the cast in the first Wagner opera, the Flying Dutchman, to be performed in London in 1870. He retired from opera during the 1870s in order to concentrate on the concert circuit and lived at Blenheim Road until his death, having spent many years in St John’s Wood, in Upper Hamilton Terrace and Carlton Hill
Continue to Loudon road turn left and left into Carlton Hill to No 6 on right
Charles Voysey 1857 – 1941 6 Carlton Hill
Architect and designer lived here
Charles Voysey was an English architect and furniture and textile designer in the Arts and Crafts style and was one of the first to understand the significance of industrial design. In 1891 he ran his practice from his home in 11 Melina Place, next door to the influential architect Edward Schroeder Prior who was Slade Professor of Art and founder of the Cambridge School of Architecture, and moved to Carlton Hill in 1894.His domestic architecture drew heavily on the vernacular tradition and he had many commissions for complete houses between 1900- 1910 where he not only designed the house but all the fixtures and carpets, wall papers and fabrics.
Continue along to Abbey Road, turn right and then turn right into Clifton Hill. On the left is No 42
Melanie Klein 1882 – 1960 42 Clifton Hill
Psychoanalyst and pioneer of Child Analysis lived here
Born to Jewish parents in Vienna, by 1919 Melanie Klein had begun work on analysis of children, the first person to work in this area, publishing The Development of a Child in 1921. She came to London in 1925 and became a leading light of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, where her play techniques attracted attention. and she published The Psychoanalysis of Children in 1932. She moved to Clifton Hill and although she was a professional rival of psychoanalyst Anna Freud, she gave Anna’s brother Ernest Freud his first commission in England when she asked him to rework the interior of no 42 in Bauhaus style.
Return to Abbey Road then cross road and into extension of Clifton Hill until you reach no 95 opposite Clifton eating house
Sir William Reid Dick KCVO RA 1878 – 1961 Clifton Hill Studios 95a Clifton Hill Sculptor worked here in Studio 3 1910 – 1914
Sir William was a Scottish sculptor who had been apprenticed to a stonemason and attended drawing classes at night. In 1907 he graduated from the Glasgow School of Art and having become acquainted with Sir George Frampton’s sculptures decided to go to London to perfect his craft and originally lived at 1 St Johns Wood Studios in Queens Terrace. He served in the RAMC throughout the First World War and afterwards created many War Memorials- for example to the RAF on the Embankment; he also sculpted the memorial to Roosevelt in Grosvenor Square and Lady Godiva in Coventry. He also lived at 31 Grove End Road, which later became the home of Sir Thomas Beecham.
Continue along Clifton Hill, cross over Greville Road to end of T Junction to No 114
William Powell Frith RA 1819 – 1909 114 Clifton Hill
Painter lived and died here
William Powell Frith was born in Yorkshire and was encouraged by his father to go to London and join the Sass Academy, a preparatory training ground for the Royal Academy to which he managed to gain entry. In 1840 he had his first picture exhibited at the RA. He was influenced by his friends, Charles Dickens and painter David Wilkie, to branch out into large composite pictures, where he often used friends and relations as models as well as professionals. His first great success was Ramsgate Sands, which was bought by Queen Victoria for 1000 guineas. Derby Day came a few years later, where he made use of photographs for his characters, and Paddington Station in 1862.
He had 12 children with his wife, to whom he was devoted, as well as seven more children by his mistress living a mile away. After his wife’s death he married his mistress and all became public knowledge. His popularity faded in the 1880s, which he blamed on the new impressionist movement.
Walk back to Greville road, turn left and left again into Greville Place to No 4b
Gilbert Bayes RA 1872 – 1953 4b Greville Place
Sculptor lived here 1931 – 1953
Bayes studied under Sir George Frampton and was a follower of New Sculpture, focussing often on architectural sculpture and with an interest in colour. His Queen of Time at the Oxford Street entrance of Selfridges is worked in bronze. He made the processional cross for the church of St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace and was commissioned by the St John’s Wood Art School to design the Orchardson medal. At Lord’s cricket ground in 1933 he carved a frieze at the entrance in Portland Stone to represent sportsmen and women dressed for different games like tennis, golf, cricket, swimming, rowing and football under the carved quotation “ Play up, play up and play the game”
Continue until you arrive at Maida Vale A5. Turn left, continue until Carlton Hill, turn left past an old cattle trough and drinking fountain. Turn right into Hamilton Terrace and on the left is No 146
Michael Noakes (1937 – 2018) and Vivien Noakes (1937 – 2011) 146 Hamilton Terrace
Michael Noakes was a portrait painter who has been President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters,and chairman of the Contemporary Portrait Society. He won a platinum disc for his sleeve design for the record Portrait of Sinatra, the only painter ever so honoured. Vivien Noakes was a biographer, whose writings included a biography of Edward Lear, an editor and critic; she also wrote a survey of literature of the First World War. Together they wrote the Daily Life of the Queen, an artist’s diary of a year with the Queen.
Continue along Hamilton Terrace until you reach St Mark’s Church, cross at traffic lights to go right down Abercorn Place, cross Maida Vale and walk a few yards down Elgin Avenue to Maida Vale station on left, amidst various cafes.
Time 57 minutes 4.74 km /3 miles