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The foundations of the Cadogan Estate were established in 1717 when Charles, 2nd Baron Cadogan (1685-1776) married Elizabeth Sloane, daughter of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) who had purchased the Manor of Chelsea in 1712.

At this time it included 11 houses, a selection of tenements and 166 acres. Chelsea in the early 18th century was a rural retreat, described as ‘a town of palaces’ that was close to London yet offered ‘sweetness of air and pleasant situation’. Sir Hans Sloane was an eminent physician, antiquarian and collector who planned to retire to Chelsea and accommodate his extensive collection in the Manor House.

In 1737 he added further to his estate by purchasing Sir Thomas More’s former home, Beaufort House (and 10 acres). Sloane died in 1753 without male heirs, his estate being divided between his two daughters; one part passing into the Cadogan family, the other to the Stanley’s of Paulton. Sloane’s great collection, too large to be housed at Chelsea, was bequeathed to the nation and formed the founding collections at both the British, and later the Natural History Museums.