Kensington Park Road, London, W11. Photo ©RogerDean 2014
Travels In London – Charles Morley, 1916:
WESTMINSTER SCHOOL AND ASHBURNHAM HOUSE
[Our guide] was soon showing me and my friends through the porter’s lodge, in which the living rooms had clearly formed part of some vaulted chamber, but were now partitioned off into a suite of comfortable apartments. Some folk might have regarded them as dark and chill, for the windows were high up in the thick walls, and the ribbed stonework of the roof looked grim and stern. In the dark winters, at the shadowy eventide, when the gates are shut and the cloisters no longer echo with the footsteps of the stranger, then I think this mediæval chamber must be a somewhat formidable abode; yet the portress laughed when I asked her if she ever saw any ghosts. The building forms part of the grey row of ancient stone houses which you see on entering Dean’s Yard; in these lived the Prior in older days, and other dignitaries and officials of the monastery. The canons and other reverend members of the Abbey’s Chapter have taken their place, as you see from the small brass plates on the doors; and I suppose even in the old time these ancient rooms were the porter’s lodge, with perhaps waiting-rooms for the many callers, apart from the guest-room arrangements which were the appurtenance of every abbey according to its observance of the sacred laws of hospitality. But I am never likely to see a more curious domicile than this, and though some might deem it a trifle funereal, being victims of the modern spirit and hankering after ventilation and washable tiles and electricity and machine-made fittings, I confess I envied our hostess her conventual seclusion, so fitting for the nourishment of the historic spirit and the contemplation of the past.