Onslow Square During WWII

Onslow Square During WWII

During the war, like many other squares, Onslow Square was put to use in civil defence and trench shelters were dug for the general population. Accommodation in these shelters was also made available to ARP and salvage workers clearing up after bombing raids.

The LCC post-war bomb damage map shows that 25-31 Onslow Square (on the eastern side) were damaged beyond repair and it was reckoned that the central gardens had suffered more than average damage - from digging, bombing, the destruction of trees, the use of vehicles and the planting of allotments. Most squares had of course lost their railings , and these were only replaced piecemeal after the war. Onslow Square's cast iron railings were eventually reinstated in the late 1950's.

The same view of the Square today

The same view today

The terrace at 25-31 remained a bombsite until the early 60's when what is now No 25 was erected as a facsimile of the stucco style of building. However it now contained 12 purpose built flats. 27 next door was rebuilt a year or two later but any pretence of reproducing the stucco style was abandoned and its aim was to create as many flats as possible on the footprint of the original building.This architectural solecism was further aggravated by creating a facade 'in the modern style' in concrete and brick, which had a distinctly municipal look to it. This was alleviated in the Noughties when the RtM committee at 25-27 refaced the building in a streamlined deco style less at odds with its neighbours. The freeholders were not involved in the improvement of this corner of the square but did take the opportunity to create some rentable parking spaces on the forecourt.

Photos © IWM (D 21308) & IWM (D 21309)

Onslow Square During WWII

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Protecting residents' interests in Onslow Square, South Kensington

All contemporary photography on this website © Roger Baresel