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Bayard's Watering Place
( - 1733)

The name Bayswater originates from Bayard's Watering Place, first recorded in 1380 as a place where horses were refreshed on their way out of or into London. At this watering place a stream called the Westbourne passed under the Uxbridge Road, which is now known as the Bayswater Road. The stream ran south along the current Gloucester Mews West, Upbrook Mews and Brook Mews North into Hyde Park. A look at a current map of London shows that Bayard's Watering Place was close to where the Royal Lancaster Gate Hotel now stands.

There were several variations of the name Bayard's Watering Place. The form Bayswater occurred as early as 1659.

Bayswater in the 1600s was a small hamlet, probably part of Westbourne Green further north. It consisted of a few houses with outbuildings and stables. At its eastern edge, near the watering place, was an inn called The Crown - currently the Royal Lancaster Gate Hotel. Another inn was recorded nearby in 1730, called the Saracen's Head and now known as The Swan.

Map of Upton Farm (1729)
Map of Upton Farm (1729) (click for larger image)

In 1710, Robert Pollard was the owner of the old buildings of Bayard's Watering Place and 6 acres of land in what had once been common fields of Westbourne Green. He sold them to Thomas Upton and his wife Jane in 1725, and they started a farm. The Upton Farm fields, at the heart of Bayswater, stretched approximately from the current Queensway in the west to Craven Terrace in the east, and from the current Bayswater Road in the south to Bishop's Road (now called Bishop's Bridge Road) in the north. The Upton Farm buildings were set back from the highway at the end of a tree-lined lane. The farmland was let to a number of farmers in narrow rectangular strips.

The current Queensway was then a narrow lane, and the main thoroughfare to Westbourne Green further north. In about 1751 the inn on its corner with the Uxbridge Road, originally called the Oxford Arms, was renamed the Black Lion Inn, and the lane became known as Black Lion Lane. The Black Lion pub still exists.

Further west along the Uxbridge Road was a settlement on both sides of the road known from the 17th until the 19th century as Kensington Gravel Pits. It is now called Kensington and Notting Hill Gate.