Keeping our Summer Check List in mind and the idea of a slow summer, some outings have involved simply going to look at one of London’s quirkiest buildings.
Standing in a quiet square sandwiched between South Kensington tube station and the Victoria & Albert Museum is a rather unusual block of flats. Number 5 Thurloe Square, nicknamed ‘the Thin House’, is thought to be one of the narrowest homes in the capital. Looking at the block from the south-west corner of the square, the house looks ridiculously narrow. However, it’s somewhat of an optical illusion as the building is actually triangular, which widens as you move further east. The building is just 6′ at its narrowest point, growing to 34′ at its widest.
With the arrival of what we now fondly call the Tube, the Metropolitan District Railway bought numbers 1-11 Thurloe Square in order to accommodate the new District Line, but in the end, only five houses (numbers 1-5) on Thurloe Square were demolished in 1867. In 1868, South Kensington station opened, providing services on the Metropolitan and the Metropolitan District Railway lines.
In 1899, Thurloe Square was surveyed by Charles Booth for his poverty map. Notably, the houses on the south of the Square overlooking the railway were labelled ‘middle class’, while the remaining residences were ‘upper middle and upper class, wealthy’.
While not listed, the artists’ studios are still an impressive piece of real estate today.
In 2016, a top floor artist studio apartment covering just 600 square foot in 5 Thurloe Square went up for sale for £895,000.
- Nearest station: South Kensington.
- Numbers 1 and 3 do not exist in the present day square.
- NB: This building contains private residences and is not open to the public.