Newton's residence in Kensington, London

Bullingham mansions Due to his declining health, Newton leased a house in Kensington in 1725. At that time London had not extended so far west and Kensington was still in the countryside (He also retained his previous house at 35 St Martin's Street.) Due to the country air he was ``visibly better'', as his neice's husband, John Conduitt, recorded.

The house was part of Orbell's Buildings on the west side of Kensington Church Street. These buildings were demolished in 1894 and Bullingham Mansions built on the site which survive to the present day (see photograph.) This street goes northwest from Kensington High Street, a little to the east of High Street Kensington underground station, on the Circle and District lines. The Mansions are built around two courtyards, one leading off Kensington Church Street (as shown) and the other behind this, off Pitt Street.

At the time of their demolition, Orbell's Buildings (in fact a single structure) were divided into Newton House and Bullingham House, and surrounded by a substantial garden. There is no good evidence indicating where Newton lived, but traditionally (and confusingly) Bullingham House has had a stronger claim. This part of the building probably stood where the courtyard in the photograph is now.

Newton told Stukeley the falling apple story at Kensington on 15th April 1726.

In 1727, Newton succumbed to his fatal illness, a bladder stone, and died in his Kensington home after two weeks of great suffering on 20th March. Conduitt recorded that the pain of his wife's uncle and hero ``rose to such a height that the bed under him, and the very room shook with his agonys, to the wonder of those that were present. Such a struggle had his great soul to quit its earthly tabernacle!'' Conduitt's hyperbole aside, few would question Newton's genius or fail to spare a thought for so cruel a death.

No plaque records Newton's residence here, although the appartment building to the south of Bullingham Mansions is called Newton Court.

© 1994-1999 Andrew McNab. Back to