The Great Aviaries of Castle Lane
VI Castle Lane sits in the historic Birdcage Walk Conservation area, but what’s the significance of this location and how does this link to the past make the development such a good investment for the future?
Nestled between St James’ Park and Westminster is a district known as the Birdcage Walk Conservation Area. This distinctive parcel of London, consisting of small brick townhouses in Georgian and Queen Anne styles, embodies the values of intimacy, peace and domestic bliss that encapsulated the 19th Century.
Birdcage Walk – which runs along the south side of St James’ Park – was where King James kept his grand host of exotic birds. The king had a certain predilection for these creatures, and kept them in large aviaries lining the street. It is from this that the area gets its name.
The king also kept a menagerie of other exotic animals in St James’ Park, which he had drained and landscaped to accommodate this. Included among them were a camel, a pair of crocodiles, and an elephant. In the post-restoration surge of London building activity under Charles II, both the park and the aviaries were expanded.
These aviaries, now of epic proportions, were a great draw. The renown diarist Samuel Pepys recalled the “great variety of fowl which I never saw before”. Similarly, Mr Jesse admired “the romantic aspect, the irregularity of the ground, the trees which overshadowed it and the view of the venerable Abbey”, commenting that “the swell of the ground in the middle [had] an admirable effect on the vista” that was “exceedingly pleasant”.
Charles II was evidently very fond of his avian treasures. This was so much so that he named one of the park gates for his Keeper of the Birds, Edward Storey. Storey Gate can still be found at the south-east end of the park, and used to be one of its main entrances. The birds continued to reside on the street until well into Charles’ reign.
For a long time, Birdcage walk was a private road. Until 1828, it was open only to the royal family and the hereditary Lord Falconer, The Duke of St Albans. All others had to pass on foot.
The conservation area still retains an air of exclusivity. A few streets over from Bird Cage walk sits VI Castle Lane, a luxury development that recently celebrated its formal launch. The property comprises 28 apartments and 3 townhouses, all boasting boutique designer features and finished to the highest standard. On top of this, a 24-hour concierge service is dedicated to the needs of its residents, meaning you too can live like a royal (but without the crocodiles!). All this can be found a flutter away from Victoria station and a host of elegant restaurants and bars, not to mention some of the city’s most treasured parks and landmarks.
So if you’re looking for an upmarket apartment and want to live somewhere historically prestigious, make your nest at VI Castle Lane
VI Castle Lane’s show apartment is now open; contact Strutt & Parker (020 7318 4677) or Knight Frank (020 3826 0673) to arrange a viewing. Alternatively, view the development and register your interest at http://www.vicastlelane.com/