For something that looks seemingly normal from the outside, 18 Stafford Terrace is one of Kensington’s biggest attractions. It’s a late Victorian townhouse and former home of Edward Linley Sambourne. As an illustrator and cartoonist for Punch magazine, Sambourne’s family home provides an insight into his life and serves as a wonderful example of aesthetic style and decor.
The Grade II listed building is now a museum and is open to the public for self-guided visits on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2-5:30 pm. Visitors will need to purchase an admission ticket with adult prices at £9, concessions are £7 and under 18s are free to enter. There are several customised tours that you can pre-book online to give you a deeper understanding of life in a Victorian home.
Recognised as the best surviving model of a late Victorian middle-class home, 18 Stafford Terrace was occupied from 1875 by Sambourne, his wife Marion, their two children and numerous live-in servants. The interior has been left intact and the features of the house remain largely untouched. Sambourne’s son, Roy, kept the house as it had been after the death of his parents and it was Roy’s granddaughter, Anne, who founded the Victorian Society in part to preserve the house.
Later sold to the former Greater London Council, it was then transferred to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 1989. 18 Stafford Terrace is filled to the brim with exotic and oriental objects to demonstrate Aestheticism. Unusual decoration such as sunflower stained glass windows, Chinese porcelain and William Morris wallpaper make focusing on just one detail impossible.
Not only does the house showcase extraordinary Victorian objects, there is also an archive of personal documents dating back to 1815 from the Sambourne family. These include various letters, photos, diaries and memorabilia. As you look through the house, you’ll be able to make personal connections e and see what it was like to live in that era. There are also references to Sambourne’s work, such as a collection of model photos that he used for Punch illustrations inspiration.
18 Stafford Terrace has featured in a range of films and television programmes. The famous Victorian townhouse served as the interiors of Mrs Vyse’s home in the film ‘A Room with a View’ and also appeared in film ‘Maurice’. More recently, it featured in television dramas ‘Arthur & George’ and ‘Life in Squares’.
After you’ve explored 18 Stafford Terrace, we would love to see you at Aubaine for some amazing French food.
Next up: Holland Park