2 Chelsea Embankment (Dawliffe Hall) and associated railings


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
2 Chelsea Embankment, London, SW3 4LG


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Statutory Address:
2 Chelsea Embankment, London, SW3 4LG

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Kensington and Chelsea (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Town house, built around 1881-1885, architect unknown. Altered in 1894 by George Campbell Sherrin. Extended to the rear in 1896 and in the late-C20.

Reasons for Designation

2 (Dawliffe Hall) Chelsea Embankment, built around 1881-1885 and altered in 1894 by George Campbell Sherrin, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a particularly fine example of a high-status late-Victorian metropolitan townhouse with high quality detailing and materials, altered by a noted London architect; * for its good surviving interior with high quality detailing and an interesting plan form.

Historic interest:

* as an example of a late-Arts and Crafts influenced interior designed for a wealthy client.

Group value:

* with the other listed town houses along the Chelsea Embankment.


Documentary evidence suggests that number 2 Chelsea Embankment was built between 1881 and 1885. The architect is not currently known. By 1893 the building had been acquired by the Honourable Richard Strutt (1848-1927), third son of the Second Baron Rayleigh, consequently coming to be known as Rayleigh House. Strutt made a number of significant alterations to the house. Externally, a planning application for a projecting porch and full-height window bay proposed in 1893 by Strutt’s architect, George Campbell Sherrin, was rejected but an amended application for a less prominent porch and bay was approved in February 1894. The projecting porch was not built but the stonework was applied as a frontispiece to a recessed porch. The extent of Sherrin’s internal alterations are conjectural but probably included the Jacobean style plasterwork in the main sitting room and bedrooms. The main hall and staircase were probably original to the house as built but some alterations were clearly made around 1894 including the decorative timber chimney-piece and probably the introduction of the organ on the minstrels’ gallery. Around 1896, the house was extended to the rear, again probably by Sherrin.

By 1906 Strutt had built a house at 39 Tite Street (now demolished) which may have been the site of a stable/coach house for Rayleigh House and he appears to have moved here by 1922. By 1949, 39 Tite Street and 2 Chelsea Embankment were in separate ownership. The name of number 2 was subsequently changed to Dawliffe Hall and was purchased by the Netherhall Educational Association in 1967. Consent for its conversion to a women’s hostel was granted in 1968 and it was transferred to the Dawliffe Hall Educational Foundation in 1980. A number of alterations subsequently took place including extensions at first and third floor levels to the rear of the building and the sub-partitioning to the majority of rooms to create en-suite bathrooms or WCs.

The architect, George Campbell Sherrin (1843-1909) was born in Essex and articled to Henry Edward Kendall in 1859. From 1893 he was an architect for the Metropolitan Railway, building almost a dozen stations and, most notably, designing the arcade at South Kensington Underground Station, London (1905-1906 – Grade II). Other notable buildings designed by Sherrin include Spitalfields Market, London (1885-1893 - Grade II), Victoria Station Arcade, London (1909-1911 - Grade II) and the Kursaal amusement park building, Southend (1898-1899 – Grade II), his major work outside London.


Town house, built around 1881-1885, architect unknown. Altered in 1894 by George Campbell Sherrin. Extended to the rear in 1896 and in the late-C20.

MATERIALS: red brick laid in English bond with Portland stone dressings. Clay tile and Welsh slate covered roofs.

PLAN: rectangular in plan, of four storeys plus basement and attic with a two-storey plus basement extension to the rear. Internally the main feature is a ground-floor, double-height, ‘Great’ hall located at the north-east of the original range, with other principal rooms occupying the south-east of the building. Other rooms are arranged off axial corridors located along the west side of the building.

EXTERIOR: the principal (south) elevation onto Chelsea Embankment is of red gauged brick with fine lime putty pointing, laid in English bond. Dressings and banding are of Portland stone. The frontage is of two bays with a shaped gable and fenestration is of mullion and transom windows with metal casements with leaded lights. The eastern bay is taken up by a canted bay window, added when the building was altered in 1894, rising from the basement to the third-floor. The angles of the bay have alternating flush quoins and it is topped by a stone balustrade. The arched stonework entrance in the western bay is reached via a bridge over the basement light well and has an inset porch. The arch is set within an aedicule with fluted pilasters with Ionic capitals. The entablature bears the name ’DAWLIFFE HALL’’ in bronze lettering and above is a relief panel depicting the coat of arms of the Barons of Rayleigh with lush foliage and ribbons incorporating the family motto: ‘TENAX PROPOSITI’ (tenacious of purpose). The porch has an entrance with a moulded stone surround flanked by paired narrow side lights with curvilinear ironwork security grilles. The lintel bears a cartouche with the date ’1894’ and above this another cartouche has a monogram with the initials ‘MD’. The four-panelled hardwood double doors have glazing to the upper sections.

The rear (north) elevation of the main building is of four bays in red brick laid in Flemish bond with a large 20-light mullion and transom window to the hall. The regular fenestration to the second and third-floors consists of replacement uPVC casements in square-headed openings with gauged brick lintels. The western two bays are occupied by successive later extensions, the earlier in red brick and the later in yellow stock brick.

INTERIOR: the entrance hall has a black and white chequered marble floor, timber panelling, plaster dentil cornice and a fireplace with surround of black marble with a tiled hearth surround. The front room is accessed from the entrance hall and has late-C16 style dado-height hard wood panelling with a row of carved decorative panels, probably introduced from another building. There is a fireplace with a timber surround.

At the north end of the entrance hall is a screen in the form of a serliana with a three centred arch and moulded keystone supported on veneered columns with Scamozzi Ionic capitals. Beyond, a panelled corridor, entered through double-doors, with glazed lead-light upper panels, gives onto a colonnade of identical columns, on the west side of the double-height main hall. The colonnade is continued on the first-floor with Doric columns defining a gallery which extends round the south side of the hall to create a minstrels’ gallery with a decorative organ case with carved timber panelling. The hardwood balustrade has bulbous splat balusters and a moulded handrail. The gallery is reached via a dog-leg staircase at the north-west corner of the hall.

The panelled main hall has a stone, 20-light, mullion and transom window with leaded lights and heraldic stained glass in the north wall. The main fireplace, in the east wall, has a timber fire surround with carved panels dated ‘1881’ and with Richard Strutt’s initials. On the south side of the hall the space under the minstrels’ gallery has been infilled to create a reception office. The floor retains its timber floor and the ceiling is divided into compartments by moulded timber beams creating a large matrix of coffered panels.

In the northern extension of the ground floor is a later oratory with timber panelling, dentil cornice and canted bay windows with metal casements with leaded lights.

On the first floor, the front room, originally the sitting room, has modern moulded plasterwork panelling but the neo-Jacobean plasterwork to the ceiling and frieze probably date from the 1894 remodelling. The fireplace has been removed. The room has an elaborate viewing window in the upper part the north wall with a decorative apron, frame and cornice. The window is a double casement with multi-pane leaded lights and allows views into the almost double height room from the second-floor mezzanine of the main central staircase.

The principal rooms on the upper floors are those at the front of the building. These have some later partitioning in order to create bathrooms but retain features such as original fireplaces and plaster cornices and friezes. The room on the fourth floor has the same late-C16 style panelling as on the ground floor room and a fireplace with Delft -style blue-and-white tiled surround.

Openings from the main staircase landing have original mahogany doors. A lift shaft, adjoining a secondary stair on the east side of the building, has a lift car of 1930s date by Aldous and Campbell Ltd.

The basement largely retains its original plan but most original features have been lost other than an original fireplace to the east wall of what was probably a servants hall / dining room. This room also has parquet flooring, moulded timber skirting and dado rail.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the bridge to the entrance across the basement light well has white marble steps with solid parapets to the flanks of Portland stone with chamfered coping and piers bearing the number '2’. Adjoining the eastern pier are ornamental iron railings above a chamfered stone plinth. These have spear-head tops and decorative openwork panels with paired urn finials.


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: London 3 North West, (1991), 574
Weinreb, B, Hibbert, C, Keay, J, Keay, J, The London Encyclopaedia - Third Edition, (2008), 156
CgMs Heritage, Statement of Significance for Nos 1 & 2 Chelsea Embankment, London (April 2019)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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