NT House "Carlyle's House" at 24 Cheyne Row

24 Cheyne Row
Mike Laslett
24 Cheyne Row
Mike Laslett
Damer Dawson bird bath, Chelsea Embankment, looking north east
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
Damer Dawson reinstatment bird bath
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

Margaret Damer Dawson

Hidden in the quiet back streets of Chelsea at 24 Cheyne Row is the home of Thomas & Jane Carlyle. Mike just happened to be passing when he spotted this plaque upon the wall of a property a little further down the road at number 10 commemorating Margaret Damer Dawson.

Thomas Carlyle

A twist of fate turned Carlyle into a star of the 19th-century literary world.  Suddenly this was the place to be. Dickens, Ruskin, Tennyson and many more were frequent visitors.

William Makepeace Thackeray said:

‘Tom Carlyle lives in perfect dignity in a house in Chelsea with a snuffy Scotch maid to open the door and best company in England ringing at it!’

Carlyle married Jane Welsh in 1826. Apparently he became increasingly alienated from his wife. Carlyle’s biographer James Anthony Froude published (posthumously) his opinion that the marriage remained unconsummated. Upon Carlyle’s death on 5 February 1881 in London, interment in Westminster Abbey was offered but rejected due to his explicit wish to be buried beside his parents in Ecclefechan. His final words were,

‘So, this is death. Well!’

In the west section of the garden there is Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm’s statue of Thomas Carlyle of 1882 near which is the base of the memorial to philanthropist and campaigner Margaret Damer Dawson (1873-1920) with carved dove.

Interesting neighbours? Hardly. Margaret was born at 1 York Road, Hove, Sussex on 12 June 1873 and died in 1920.

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

Many thanks to Carolyn Starren, Editor Chelsea Society, for sending us these marvellous photographs.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea WW1 exhibition will be held from June 2 to June 15 2014 on the race track at Duke of York’s Square, King’s Road, Chelsea.

The exhibition will be featuring the life of Margaret Damer Dawson especially her anti-vivisection work.




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