Observatory Gardens is a leading luxury residential property in Kensington with a rich history.
The former residence of the Phillimore family, the property was purchased by Sir James South in 1827. An astronomer, Sir James built an observatory in the gardens and renamed his new home Observatory House. A plaque can be found at the property commemorating this historical use.
The current Observatory Gardens was laid out in 1870 and completed in 1883, by a South Kensington builder, Thomas Cawley. The block was built in red brick with painted stone and cement detailing, in keeping with other buildings in the neighbourhood.
During World War II, a German Junker bomber crashed-landed on Campden Hill Road (at the junction with Observatory Gardens). The crew escaped but were promptly arrested by the locals.
Outwardly, Observatory Gardens appears unaltered from Victorian times, though appearances in this case are deceptive. During the war and post-war period, Observatory Gardens suffered serious damage and became very dilapidated. In the mid-1990s, the existing Observatory Gardens structure was demolished, with the exception of the original facade. Today, behind that fully restored façade, luxury homes with underground parking are home to the current residents of Observatory Gardens.