Famous Faces on Cheyne Walk, Chelsea 2) George Eliot
For the last 300 years, Cheyne Walk has been home to numerous faces from the worlds of music, politics, art, and literature. And at number 4 lived the famous author George Eliot.
George Eliot, legendary author of Adam Bede and Middlemarch whose real name is Mary Anne Evans, moved into her Cheyne Walk home on 3rd December 1880 with her husband, John Cross.
Just three weeks later on 22nd December 1880, George Eliot died of kidney disease after catching a chill from attending a concert, leaving Cross to mourn: “I am left alone in this new House we meant to be so happy in”.
Although the couple only resided there for less than a month, 4 Cheyne Walk is still thought of as her London home and is best known as such. A blue plaque commemorating the novelist’s life can still be found on the property.
Eliot was drawn to the house largely, it seems, for its “outlook on the river and meadows beyond”, thinking the Thames was “very picturesque” at that point, and describing the house itself as “quaint”.
More recently, Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former Mayor of New York, has paid around £16million for the riverside Chelsea mansion where George Eliot once lived.
The Cheyne Walk property now features seven bedrooms, a baroque ceiling – painted by Sir James Thornhill, who also did the inside of St Paul’s dome – a spiral central staircase, some huge internal pillars and a huge garden.