Established in 1694, the King's Road served as a private route connecting St James's Palace and Hampton Court, exclusively accessible to royalty, courtiers, and the elite. This grand construction solidified the area's exclusivity, paving the way for King's Road to become one of London's most prestigious and fashionable destinations.
However, it was during the swinging 60s that King's Road truly came into its own. The street became a haven for art, fashion, and music, spearheaded by the influential British designer, Mary Quant. Independent boutiques sprang up, captivating the world with the latest fashion trends and musical movements. King's Road became a global hotspot, attracting artists, musicians, and free spirits from near and far.
The street became a haven for art, fashion, and music, spearheaded by the influential British designer, Mary Quant.
The 70s witnessed the arrival of Vivienne Westwood and the punk movement, ushering in a new era of fashion and music. Musicians flocked to King's Road, with legends like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones gracing its sidewalks. Notably, Led Zeppelin even established his record label, Swann Song Records, at number 484 in 1974. The street resonated with the rebellious energy of the time, becoming an emblem of counterculture and self-expression.
A notable landmark of the era was the Chelsea Drugstore, located at the site now occupied by McDonald's. Opening its doors in 1968, the drugstore embraced the concept of American-style malls, offering a blend of music, fashion, food, drink, and even a pharmacy. It became a hub for the local community, a place where residents could discover the unconventional and embrace the spirit of King's Road. Although the Chelsea Drugstore closed its doors in 1971, its legacy continues to shape King's Road's unapologetically unique approach to retail.