Kensington Place conservation area was designated on 4 August 1995 and is situated to the north of Chepstow Road (A48) just east of its junction with the B4591.
It lies south of Woodland Park and approximately 1.5km east of the Town Centre conservation area and 0.5km west of Beechwood Park conservation area and comprises several distinct elements located mainly in Kensington Place, St. John’s Road and Chepstow Road with many of the buildings dating from circa 1850 - 1880.
Download a plan of the Kensington Place conservation area (pdf)
The most notable single architectural element is the long 2 – 3 storey Italianate terrace to the west side of Kensington place.
It has been suggested that the architect might have been R.G. Thomas who worked in Newport about this time, but there is no known evidence to confirm this.
Although eroded by unsympathetic alterations many of the original architectural features of this distinctive terrace survive, particularly the stuccowork, doors and fenestration.
Many of the original forecourts have been converted to use for car parking with the loss of the original boundary treatments which were mainly low stone walls with either cast iron railings or hedges.
St John’s Road
To the north of the 1850’s terrace is a likely Edwardian terrace in red brick which retains much original detail intact.
The properties in St. John’s Road (numbers 37 – 47) appear to be of a similar age but have lost all their original doors and fenestration.
Unlike many of the Victorian terrace the Edwardian houses mostly retain their original boundary walls.
St John the Evangelist Church
On the west side of Kensington Place are two listed buildings, one is the parish church of St. John the Evangelist designed by local architects Pritchard and Seddon and built circa 1859 – 66 to serve the rapidly expanding community of Maindee.
Situated towards the higher, north east corner of the conservation area and opposite the Edwardian terraced houses, the church is built in a strongly geometric style using Old Red sandstone with Bath stone dressings under a Welsh slate roof.
The church was extended in 1911 but the planned steeple was never built. Gargoyles on the tower are reputed to represent local personalities of the time!
Further south, on the west side of Kensington place, is a second listed building which is an Italianate villa originally known as The Lawn, but later The Lawns.
The postal address of this building is Kensington Grove, but it is accessed from, and visually prominent within, Kensington Place.
The Lawns is of a similar age (1870) and a broadly similar design to the terraced houses on the opposite side of the street although the scale of the building is much larger.
Built in brickwork and clad with rusticated Bath stone ashlar the building had prominent bays, large sash windows and a belvedere tower. Now badly damaged by fire the building is the subject of a Repairs Notice and an impending Compulsory Purchase Order.
The Lawns is set back from Kensington Place and sits within its own grounds. Between these grounds and the public pavement is a long narrow garden area which historically was the site of the ‘sun gardens’ for the 14 terraced houses opposite. This is said to be a typical Regency feature popular in places such as Bath and Bristol but rare in Wales.
173, 175 and 197 Chepstow Road are included within the conservation area boundaries.
173 / 175 is a pair of substantial houses, probably of the same date as 1- 14 Kensington Place and with much surviving original detail. This pair appears on the 1881 OS Map as ‘Gore Villa’ and ‘Drayton’.
173 is particularly well preserved, however 197 Chepstow Road has suffered from unsympathetic modern alterations and extensions which have greatly denuded its architectural contribution to the conservation area.
Situated in an elevated position on St. John’s Road beyond the junction with Kensington place this landmark building is visible from within the conservation area.
Listed grade ll this Italianate villa, complete with belvedere tower, was built circa 1854 for the Newport industrialist Thomas Spittle who owned the Cambrian Foundry. The building is currently used as offices.
Contact Newport City Council and ask for the conservation officer.