Adam and Eve Mews, W8

Place Name

The name of Adam and Eve Mews perpetuates the memory of one of Kensington’s most ancient inns, which faced the main road here from at least the 17thCentury until 1972, when its licence was given up. The earliest known details go back to the 1760s when carpenter, the appropriately named, John Bacchus of Tufton Street, owned the land. In 1765 the lease for nearly two acres of copyhold land which included the inn was put up for auction. With the development of the district west of the Adam and Eve after 1818 came inevitable improvements. In 1822–3 William Twining, victualler, with Henry and William Judson, ironmongers, built a house east of the inn and a row of cottages behind in the upper part of the garden. In the late 1840s the buildings along the frontage here were all in use as shops. More change came in June 1875 when many of the leaseholders buying the freeholds for development. In March 1876 they sold them to William Willett, a  builder, for £23,500. Willett had borrowed £24,000 to meet his costs, and another £6,000 two years later. At this time Willett had yet to earn his reputation as one of the foremost of London’s speculative builders. His previous commitments had been confined to Hampstead, but he was about to start operations at Cornwall Gardens not far away. In 1880 he submitted his plans and at first it was to be called Palace Stables, but this soon changed to Adam and Eve Stables or Yard and finally to Adam and Eve Mews. Willett developed the land over the next two decades although the inn was rebuilt by Alfred Baker of Hammersmith and moved to the east side of the opening into the mews. Like many others the inn’s name probably came from the Medieval Mystery and Mortality plays that would be staged in the court yards of inns on holy days. More often than not they began with Genesis, the first chapter of the Bible, featuring the creation story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

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