Virginia Woolf

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The 22 Hyde Park Gate Story

Virginia Woolf, novelist, essayist, biographer and critic, was born at 22 Hyde Park Gate on January 25, 1882, to Julia Jackson Duckworth Stephen and Sir Leslie Stephen. It is here that Virginia and her artist sister, Vanessa Bell, lived and were home-schooled by their father, a distinguished man of letters who edited Cornhill Magazine and the Dictionary of National Biography. These three eminent personages earned 22 Hyde Park Gate the distinction of being the only building in London to display 3 Blue Commemorative Plaques! It is from this address that the Stephen children wrote and published the family newspaper, Hyde Park Gate News.

Situated near the bottom of Hyde Park Gate cul-de-sac, stately white-washed Number 22 sits back from the street affording the pedestrian a complete view of this special historic house. Built sometime during the mid nineteenth century by Joshua Flesher Hanson, the Victorian structure known then as 13 Hyde Park Gate South featured 3 stories and a basement. Two more stories added in the 1920's are punctuated by a terra cotta tile depicting a fruit bowl presenting itself as a jewel in the graceful Dutch-inspired curvaceous crown of the front façade.

Thick plaster walls and hardwood floors exist throughout the interior. Retaining its original highly-detailed cast iron balustrade and wooden handrail the building presents a handsome staircase that joins the first three levels.

Period wrought iron spear point fencing and matching gate graciously enclose the garden. The new decorative wrought iron canopy with the detailed basketwork finial over the entryway was a 2004 addition.

Once a single family home, 22 Hyde Park Gate exists today as 6 flats, one of them occupied by Jasmyne King-Leeder. She and her artist friend, Jo-Anne Echevarria-Myers, have collaborated to illustrate and produce an impressive series of cards reproduced from original paintings executed in Windsor Newton Watercolours on paper.

 

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