Laurel Road, SW13

Place Name

Named after the property, The Laurels, that stood on the east side of Barnes Green until sometime around 1930, after a short spell as a boys’ school, having previously been a girls’ school. It was built about 1705 and became the home of John Nightingale, a Lombard Street banker. Later it was leased as a summer retreat to Sir Henry Halford, president of the College of Physicians and doctor to three monarchs, George IV, William IV, and Queen Victoria. It later became the final Barnes home Sir Henry Hugh Hoare. When he died in 1845 the property was sold along with the stables, a coach house, a brick granary, a garden house, and a hot house, all contained within 22 acres of land. The last private tenant was Henry Alexander, a solicitor with intrestes in the development of South Kensington. In 1885 the grounds were sold for building development. The road was built in 1896. The house name Laurels remains a popular one, referring to the leaves of bay trees, which are seen as a symbol of victory and honour after wreaths of laurels were presented to winners in the Pythian Games. The games were held at Delphi in honour of Apollo, the Greek God who made himself a laurel wreath after his true love, Daphne turned into a bay tree.


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