The Dreadnought Houses Along the Bayswater Quayside
The houses on Hyde Park Gardens were a most ingenious design development. Terraced houses had for years gained extra space by Back Additions. These so called Bye-law Houses were invented when the law insisted that every room in a house had to be lit by direct light. Previously rooms which led out of other rooms, with no direct light or ventilation, had been permitted. The Back Additions increased the floor area, gave three layers of rooms in depth with direct light and thus made the most of narrow street frontages.
In Hyde Park Gardens the 'back' of the houses was the main asset and the view of the Park could not be blocked by projections. The facade facing the Park is stepped, with one house a few centimetres beyond the next, but this is merely to break the otherwise flat surface and make the building architecturally more interesting. It does not add light. Instead, the 'Additions' were built at the fronts of the houses, in the access road.
These 'additions', which were the entrances to very expensive houses, had substantial projecting porticos and rooms above but, because they were open to view and not, like most back additions, hidden to all except railway travellers, these ones were carefully rendered in stucco, with classical details. As a result, when painted grey as they used to be, they looked like the stern ends of a fleet of boats moored at a quay and became known as the 'Battleship Houses'.