Second World War
On the 9th October 1940 (though the exact date may be in doubt) an incendiary bomb landed on the roof of ‘Shrimpton’s Garage’ in Alpha Place. It was successfully extinguished by wardens and fire-watchers.
Alpha Place is a street running from Chelsea Manor Street to Flood Street. Hill House preparatory school currently has premises at the junction with Flood Street. For many years Alpha Place was the location of the offices of the London Electricity Board which was a significant employer for people living in the Borough as well as for school-leavers seeking employment.
The LEB buiding was subsequently redeveloped into what is now Chelsea Terrace Apartments.
In the early part of the 20th century ‘Alpha Garage’ was well known as a place for renting space for cars.
RBKC archivist and librarian Dave Walker revealed the acquisition by donation to the council of an Alpha Place scrap-book in 2017 which photographically narrates the history of electricity and power development on the site. See: ‘The Alpha Place: electricity at: https://rbkclocalstudies.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/the-alpha-place-electricity/
Walker explained: ‘There was a comparatively small electricity generating station in Manor Street in Chelsea, on the corner of Alpha Place, built in 1904-06 and demolished in 1928.
13 Oct 1896 Location: Chelsea Electricity Supply Company, Flood Street, Chelsea. Image embed from Historic England. (Construction on the site was carried out by builders Holliday & Greenwood for whom the photograph was taken. This site is probably part of the generating station that was designed by Alfred Roberts and constructed between 1896-1901.)
A more modern sub-station replaced it which remained there until the site was redeveloped for housing in the early years of this century (21st).’
The redevelopment of the LEB building into a six story building consisting of 15 luxury apartments was by ‘Project Orange’ and here are some links to the property development taking place in the 21st century:
‘Project Orange was appointed as Interior Architects, in collaboration with CZWG, on this new build luxury residential development. The location, on the site of a former electricity sub-station, is a prime site in the heart of Chelsea.’ See: http://www.projectorange.com/projects/view/alpha-place
Grosvenor and the Mountcity Group purchased the site in early 2012. See: http://www.mountcity.com/alpha-place/
The development does include one block of what is currently described as ‘social housing’ administered by the Peabody Trust and collection of ’13 Flats spread over 4 storeys of one block consisting of 4 x 1 bed, 2 x 2 bed and 7 x 3 bed apartments.’ .See: Alpha Place Flats SW3 https://www.peabody.org.uk/community/neighbourhoods/kensington-chelsea/alpha-place/aboutat
Another facility in Alpha Place with some community and history interest in ‘cubs, scouts, brownies and girl guides’ is the Scout Hut run by the Parish St Luke’s and Christ Church. This was redeveloped in 2015. See: https://chelseaparish.org/halls-and-facilities/the-hut/
Special thanks to Karen White and Chris Pain whose families lived in Chelsea during World War Two and Malachy John McCauley, also brought up in Chelsea, who have very kindly encouraged and assisted my research. Special thanks to Marja Giejgo for editorial assistance. Research and archive facilities from Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council library services, The Imperial War Museum and National Archives at Kew.
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