To stroll around Chelsea is to walk in the footsteps of kings and queens, writers and revolutionaries, politicians and painters, thinkers and thespians. Noted in the Doomsday Book, Chelsea was a Middlesex village, when Thomas More, a high-flying lawyer, needed a new and sumptuous place to live.
Chelsea quickly became the "village of palaces" as older ennobled families moved in, but it was Charles II who set the seal on Chelsea's ascendancy when he enclosed an old farm track as the straightest route from Whitehall to Hampton Court Palace.
Only bearers of a solid copper pass bearing the imprint of the monarch could use what naturally became known as the King's Road. Not until 1830 were the general public allowed to travel on the highway.
With the opening of the old wooden Battersea Bridge in 1772, Chelsea was prised open to the world, and the Embankment was created in 1874. A stream once flowed into Chelsea Creek called Stanford Creek.
It crossed Fulham Road at Stanford Bridge, which in time would mutate to Stamford and be the chosen term for an athletics stadium built in 1877. In 1904 the ownership of the ground changed to the Mears brothers, who leapt at the chance to form Chelsea Football Club.
Chelsea kept its boho beat until recent times. For hippies and punks it became a mecca - devotees of both counter-cultures flocked to the Kings Road to buy clothes at Nigel Weymouth's ‘Granny Takes A Trip’ and Vivienne Westwood's ‘Sex’. Mick Jagger, like Keith Richards a resident of Cheyne Walk, sang of going "down to the Chelsea drugstore to get your prescription filled".
But money speaks louder than art, and the artists have gone, replaced by the few who can afford to live here.