Welcome to Corringham

 

The Uffington Hotel
(1920 - 1961)

Rebuilding and conversion continued in the early 1900s as the leases for the original buildings in the area expired. Flats appeared in Porchester Terrace, replacing some of the original villas. Large apartment blocks, called Queen's Court and Princess Court, were built in Queen's Road. Barrie House and Lancaster House were constructed in Lancaster Gate.

16 Craven Hill Gardens had become the residence and practice of Dr Sinclair GP. Number 13 was a private home. In August 1919 Westminster Council received planning applications to combine numbers 14 and 15 into a hotel, and to include the top two floors of Dr Sinclair's house. The GP kept the lower floors of number 16.

The front of the Uffington Hotel in 1932

The back of the Uffington Hotel in 1932

Uffington Hotel advert
(The Times, November 5th 1936)

Westminster Council approved the planning applications in May 1920. Separating walls were knocked through at various floor levels and soon the Uffington Hotel was open for business. It had over twenty bedrooms and could accommodate about 45 guests. The Uffington Hotel claimed to be "noted for comfort and cuisine" and offered four meals daily from £3 3s, hot and cold water, and a private garden - the same one Corringham still enjoys today.

In 1931 the London Squares Preservation Act came into force. The Craven family still owned the freehold of Craven Hill Gardens. In 1933 Caryl Walter Craven, a distant relative of William, 3rd Baron Craven, who had originally acquired the land, signed an agreement with the London County Council that the garden would be preserved.

The leases for 13 Craven Hill Gardens and for the Uffington Hotel at numbers 14-16 expired in 1939. Perhaps that is why the hotel was requisitioned during the Second World War to be used as a Civil Service hostel. The London Bomb Damage Map of 1946 shows that the hostel survived the bomb raids unscathed. Although, according to a newspaper article in The Times of 1950, the buildings "could be restored without undue difficulty" to a private hotel, the same article reports that hotelkeepers were not keen to invest.

Around this time the Craven family decided to sell the freehold of the land on which Corringham now stands - land that had been their property since 1733. The new freeholder was a Ms Wimbush.

In 1951 Ms Wimbush let the properties to the London Hostels Association. Westminster Council approved the continued use of 14-16 Craven Hill Gardens as a hostel for a limited period of 21 years. Number 13 was added in 1951, and Dr Sinclair's former GP practice at number 16 was incorporated in 1952 - 1953.

Many modern blocks appeared in Bayswater in the early 1950s. Buildings damaged during the war were replaced, and when in 1957 the Church Commissioners sold their land in the area, property developers were keen to invest. The Hallfield Estate was built as public housing on an area badly damaged during the war. Its apartment blocks and its widely praised school by Denys Lasdun and Lindsey Drace in partnership with Tecton were an attempt to realise Le Corbusier's idea of a city in a park. Eastbourne Terrace was entirely rebuilt by C. H. Elsom, whose office blocks of 1957-9 have been acclaimed as "a gaunt bit of plain speaking", forming a sequence as unified as that of the stuccoed ranges to the west.

In 1960 the freeholder of the Uffington Hotel decided that she wanted to replace the old hostel with a modern block of flats, which were to be let on 99-year leases. Property developer Lionel Simmons of Hector Properties Investments agreed with Ms Wimbush that he would demolish the old buildings and construct "48 high class residential maisonettes" on the same location. In August 1961 the Paddington Magazine reported that "demolition work has started on 13-16 Craven Hill Gardens".