History of Wright’s Dairy, Chelsea

Chelsea sometimes gets described as a ‘village’ and if you know where to look you can certainly find some nice historic reminders.

If you look up along the King’s Road in Chelsea you can spot some cows heads staring back at you. So what’s the history?

Wright's Dairy, Chelsea | Look Up London

Wright’s Dairy

Founded in 1796, Wright’s Dairy was one of the first in Chelsea, established on the site known as Cook’s Ground which can be seen on the 1746 John Rocque map below.

Image from layersoflondon.org

Looking at the rural surroundings above, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine the reported 50 cows who grazed on the land.

You can still see the name of Cook’s Ground on the 1828 C and J Greenwood map but today the streets are called Glebe Place, Glebe referring to land owned by the church.

Image from www.layersoflondon.org

As Chelsea developed Wright’s Dairy moved their headquarters to Church Street (now Old Church Street) and you can see the early 20th century buildings

Wright's Dairy, Chelsea | Look Up London

They are covered with fabulous tiled details which are worth a closer look

Wright's Dairy, Chelsea | Look Up London

Look up and you can also see a magnificent cow head on the building fronting Old Church Street.

Wright's Dairy, Chelsea | Look Up London

As well as the red brick extension.

Wright's Dairy, Chelsea | Look Up London

There’s a few more of these to spot along the King’s Road. This one below is at 69 King’s Road and remembers another shop.

You can also find another cow’s head at 352 King’s Road.

Wright's Dairy, Chelsea | Look Up London

Wright’s Dairy was bought by United Daries which subsequently became part of Unigate in 1959, now part of the Irish conglomerate Greencore.

Intriguingly, the courtyard building had a second life as a recording studio in the 1960s. Bought by two sound engineers Geoff Frost and John Wood, they chose the former dairy because its slate-lined walls would act as a nice bit of up cycled sound-proofing.

Wright's Dairy, Chelsea | Look Up London

When they opened in 1964 as Sound Techniques Ltd they enjoyed success with visits from Pink Floyd, T-Rex, Elton John and The Who! You can read more about it here

Today, perhaps inevitably, it’s been split into various flats worth a few million each. 


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Chelsea’s full of little wonders and one of the most unusual is the Moravian Burial Ground. Read more here

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1 Comment

  • Jane Burnett

    Reply

    Given enough time to wander, it has been easy for me to find evidence of some of the villages that eventually became part of the metropolitan area. It is something that I love about London (and my home town of Toronto, Canada) that some of the original character of these places still exists. So interesting to read your blog, Katie, and learn more about this part of Chelsea!

    September 28, 2023 at 12:43 am

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