Among the London districts, Chelsea has always held a special charm for residents and visitors alike - spacious and gracious with the River Thames as background, but with a unique history of artists, bohemians and good causes. Twelve chapters tell episodes from this history, based on buildings that mark the stages of change, connecting what can seen on the street with the hidden histories of architects, patrons and the diverse people who have made their lives in and around them. These range from Chelsea Old Church through the churches, military establishments, theatres, restaurants, housing and shops.
The spaces between buildings can be as important as the buildings themselves, and Chelsea has had the benefit of landowners with long-term interests in improving the experience of residents and visitors, creating in recent years some exemplary regeneration projects that can act as models for un-obtrusive management of change.
Alan Powers has a lifelong interest in architecture and made it his specialism in an art history degree at Cambridge. While happy to look at work of any period, he has made the twentieth century his subject, enjoying the controversies about different design styles and contributing to saving important buildings through his work with the Twentieth Century Society. Born a Londoner, he likes the analysing the ingredients that create the flavours of different districts over time. He has taught in a number of architecture schools, including the Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture and currently at the independent London School of Architecture, and he leads group tours for ACE Cultural Tours. The current book has stemmed from an earlier book project, Cadogan and Chelsea: the Making of a Modern Estate, 2017