I recently researched a house on one of the oldest streets in Chelsea – Cheyne Row. Most famously it is known for the former residence of writer Thomas Carlyle, but I was sent to research a more recent house formerly home to the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth.
The house along Cheyne Row was part of a terraced row completed in 1849 by builder developer, John Todd. It was first known as No.12 and Mr Todd chose to make it his own home.
At the time of the 1851 census, Mr Todd was 34 years old and recorded as ‘builder’ employing 24 men. He was in the house with his 33 year old wife, Ann, and their six children aged between one month and ten years old. John Todd was a successful builder in the area as ten years later, at the time of the 1861 census, he was living in a larger house in Milner Street and he was ‘employing 72 men and 10 boys’.
By the late 1860s through to the 1880s, the house along Cheyne Row had become the home of John Todd’s eldest son, Alfred, an assistant decorator and an insurance agent. Although, at the time of the 1881 census he was recorded as a draughtsman.
It was in 1889 that the house along Cheyne Row became a Salvation Army Training Depot headed by preacher, philanthropist and founder, William Booth.
However, the cadets in the Salvation Army did not live quietly in Chelsea. The Times newspaper reports a number of occurances in 1889 of police incidents related to the residents of Cheyne Row. These included ‘wilfully obstructing the public footway with preaching’ and another causing a nuisance with ‘loud singing and clapping of hands’. Another incident involved Captain Arthur Reynolds and 14 other members of the army involved in ‘disorderly conduct, causing a crowd to assemble, and refusing to disperse…whereby the thoroughfare was obstructed and a breach of the peace rendered probable.’ The house did not remain a training depot for the Salvation Army for long, as by 1894-5 the London directory records that the house had become ‘St Vincent’s Orphanage’ with mistress, Sister Mary Francis.
The house later became the home of German author, Gustav Glaser and renowned children’s author and publisher, Frederick Joseph Harvey Darton.
To read the complete history of the house along Cheyne Row go to – The history of No.33 Cheyne Row
For more details on the property for sale with Chesterton Humberts go to – Cheyne Row