DiCamillo Companion

Gore House (Kensington House) (Kensington Gore House)

  • House & Family History: Gore House was the most easterly of a row of mansions built in the 18th century between Palace Gate and Knightsbridge. In the early 19th century it was the home of the noted philanthropist and parliamentarian William Wilberforce, famous for his campaign to abolish the slavery in the British Empire. In 1829, after the death of her husband, Lord Blessington, Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, moved into Gore House with her friend (and possible lover) Alfred d'Orsay, Comte d'Orsay. The two made the House one of the hot spots of literary and artistic London society. Among other famous guests, Prince Louis Napoleon, later Napoleon III, was a frequent visitor (Count d'Orsay was a passionate Bonapartist). In 1849 the Count went bankrupt and he was forced to leave London and return to Paris. The Dowager Lady Blessington sold almost all her possessions and followed him there, but died a few weeks after her arrival. In May 1851 the House was opened as a restaurant by chef Alexis Soyer to cater to the huge numbers of visitors who were expected to attend the Great Exhibition of 1851. After the exhibition closed, Gore House and its land were purchased by the Royal Commissioners and the House was pulled down; today the Royal Albert Hall stands on the site of Gore House. The doors in the Great Hall at Buxted Place, Surrey, came from Gore House. The term "Kensington Gore" is theatre slang for stage blood.

    Collections: There was a sale of the contents of Gore House in 1849.

  • Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: 18th century
    Designed: Interiors

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  • Title: Buildings of England: Sussex, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Nairn, Ian
    Year Published: 1973
    Reference: pg. 466
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0140710280
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Demolished

    Park Listed: Destroyed

  • Past Seat of: William Wilberforce, 1808-21. Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, and Count D'Orsay, 1836-49.

    Current Ownership Type: Demolished

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No