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History of The Milestone

Original Owner:
Anne Marie Lucena – Born in 1840 in Middlesex, England and Died in 1908

Additional Owners:
John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale (school owner) – Born in London, England in 1748 and Died in Batsford Park, England in 1830

The Story of The Milestone

Opposite Kensington Palace and with exceptional views across Kensington Gardens, The Milestone boasts one of the most regal locations in London. The Victorian building, with its striking red-and-white brick façade, is made up of two former terraced houses that are both listed on England’s National Heritage List. A distinguished London landmark, The Milestone takes its name from the old cast iron milestone that still stands in its original position beside the hotel.

In 1689, the original dwelling built on this site was occupied by Foot Onslow, a commissioner of excise under William III. His son, who was the speaker of the House of Commons at the time, sublet the property to George Davenport, an officer in the royal bodyguard. From 1756, this historic property was no longer a residential abode and was used as an educational academy, Catholic boarding house, and private asylum. In 1883, the property was redesigned into a Victorian mansion called Kensington House, which was constructed by notorious promoter, Baron Albert Grant – the founder of Leicester Square. 

In the early 20th century, Kensington House was the centre of an infamous scandal. The property was inhabited by Mrs Anne Maria Lucena and her 21-year-old daughter, who was married to soldier Henry George Coates Phillips. The young Major served in Malta and South Africa, where he engaged in sordid liaisons with local married women. News of his infidelities travelled to his wife and, during the couple’s divorce in 1906, the proceedings were widely reported in the media and the extent of the Major’s cruel behaviour became known to the country. In 1907, this London scandal came to a tragic climax when the Major turned up at Kensington House on New Year’s Eve with a revolver and shot his mother-in-law at point blank range. He then attempted to shoot his wife before turning the gun on himself. His ex-wife, Annie Elizabeth, never married again and died in 1959 at the age of 88.  

Throughout the 20th century, this mansion may not have been at the heart of any more scandals, but it was home to a number of notable inhabitants – including Count Peter Grigorevich Chernyshev, Russian Ambassador to London – until 1922 when the property passed into hotel use. Currently, The Milestone is proud to be a family-run hotel that exudes old world charm, housing beautiful rich furnishings, priceless antiques, and exquisite original art. A wonderfully prestigious hotel, all guests will feel as indulged and extravagant as their illustrious royal neighbours.