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Grosvenor Estate


Past & Present grosvenor estate: past & present

Foreword from Grosvenor’s Estate Surveyor We are delighted to see this comprehensive

in a fast-moving world. We are guided by

history of the estate and our thanks go to

our history, but not constrained by it, and

Chesterton Humberts for their diligence

are constantly looking for ways to improve

and efforts in putting it together. It is a

the quality of life on the estate; whether it

welcome addition to the records of

is by finding new ways to work with local

London’s development.

government to improve the public realm, introducing innovative environmental

Grosvenor’s purpose in Britain & Ireland

measures, or welcoming new businesses

is to create great places where people want

to our retail and office portfolio.

to live, work and relax. To do this we try to achieve a balance of homes, offices and shops

It is, however, the people who live and work

which serve both the local community and

here, who define the distinctive character of the

the many visitors to the areas in which we are

community and its place in London’s history,

active.The experience gained over 300 years

as this remarkable roll-call of illustrious names

in London has been put to use in other cities,

demonstrates. We see our role as being stewards

including Edinburgh, Cambridge and Liverpool,

of this wonderful area of London. Our task at

as well as elsewhere in the world, but it is the

Grosvenor is to ensure that the estate remains

London estate, in Mayfair and Belgravia, that

an environment in which individuals, and the

remains at the heart of our business.

communities that they live in, can continue to make their mark on London’s history.

Our heritage is immensely important to us. It provides a sense of continuity in the community informed by our long-term approach, which is something that we believe is important

Nigel Hughes the estate surveyor Grosvenor

2 grosvenor estate: past & present

An introduction from Robert Bartlett The look, the feel and the essential character of

Chesterton Humberts has had the honour and

large parts of central London have been created

distinction of working closely with Grosvenor

and shaped by a small number of estates, one of

over a number of years and, during this time,

the most prominent of which is the Grosvenor

has formed a relationship of which we are


very proud. I am therefore delighted to introduce this history of the estate, which

Stretching from Eaton Square to Grosvenor

gives a fascinating insight into how some of

Square and incorporating addresses which are

London’s most prestigious addresses came into

famous the world over, the Grosvenor Estate

being and a look at a few of the historical figures

has its roots in the 17th century, but its continual

and personalities that have called this part of

contributions to areas such as Mayfair and

London home.

Belgravia have never stopped and are as clearly visible today as I’m sure they will be in the years ahead.

Robert Bartlett chief executive officer Chesterton Humberts

3 grosvenor estate: past & present

Introduction Grosvenor Estate

4 grosvenor estate: past & present

The Grosvenor Estate in London

history also places it firmly at the

streets and properties in the capital.

over the last three centuries. The

covers some of the most prestigious

Covering a large portion of Mayfair, along with Belgravia and formerly Pimlico, it has a history dating

back to the 17th century and has

seen the transformation of the early

heart of the history of London

following pages give an overview of some of the highlights of the

history of this extraordinary estate in London.

fields and gardens into some of

the most valuable real estate in the world. Its architectural and social

5 grosvenor estate: past & present

Early history of the London Grosvenor Estate For a time, during the reign of Edward the

The manor of Eia continued with the Abbey

Confessor, the manor of Eia or Eye was held

of Westminster until the Dissolution of the

in the name of Harold, son of Ralph, Earl

Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1540. It was

of Hereford and nephew of the King. By the

at this time that Henry enclosed Hyde Park

time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, the

to create a deer park. During the reign of

manor was held by William the Chamberlain,

Elizabeth I, in 1585, Sir Thomas Knyvett, a

at which time it was confiscated. William the

Groom of the Privy Chamber, obtained a lease

Conqueror then granted Eia to his close friend,

for the Manor of Ebury (a large section of the

Geoffrey de Mandeville. At this time it covered

manor of Eia) for 60 years. By 1623, James I

1,090 acres, from today’s Oxford Street and

had sold the freehold to John Traylman and

Bayswater Road down to the Thames, and from

Thomas Pearson for over £1000, who then

the River Westbourne (near today’s Lancaster

passed it to Sir Lionel Cranfield, Earl of

Gate) across to the River Tyburn (now flowing

Middlesex. Cranfield was a London mercer

underground). In the late 11th century, de

(a silk and fabric merchant) who became

Mandeville granted the manor to the Abbey

Surveyor General of Customs in 1613 and

of Westminster.

Lord Treasurer in 1621. However, but in 1624 he was charged with corruption and fined £50,000, and spent two weeks in the Tower of London. He sold the lands to Hugh Audley in 1626 for £9,400.

6 grosvenor estate: past & present

Hugh Audley & Alexander Davies Hugh Audley was the son of a prosperous

Alexander aimed to improve the estate with

mercer. He became Clerk in the Court of Wards

building development. He purchased additional

and Liveries in 1619 and rose to become Keeper

land in Millbank from his brother and also built

of the Records of the Court in 1644. He was

himself a house, later named Peterborough

also a clever businessman and money lender,

House, as well as planning a riverside terrace

which greatly contributed to his wealth and

of small houses, now known as Grosvenor Road.

allowed him to buy up land across the country.

However, he over-stretched himself and was

Audley changed his will many times and by the

forced to borrow money in order to make the

time of his death in 1662, the final version left

scheme work. But in 1665,at the age of just 30,

most of his London estate to his great nephews,

Alexander suddenly died of the plague, leaving a

two brothers, Thomas and Alexander Davies.

21 year-old wife and an 18 month-old baby girl,

Thomas was a successful bookseller, who was

Mary. Alexander died intestate, so his fortune

later knighted and became Lord Mayor of

was divided, with his wife inheriting one third


for her lifetime and his daughter inheriting the remaining two thirds.

7 grosvenor estate: past & present


lady constance

3rd Marquess of Westminster created Duke of Westminster


hugh lupus

3rd Marquess of Westminster created Duke of Westminster

hon katherine cavendish 1857 - 1941

1825 - 1899

lady sibell lumley


victor alexander Earl of Grosvenor

1855 - 1929

constance cornwallis-west 1855 - 1929


lord henry

1853 - 1884

1861 - 1929


dora erskine-wemyss d.1894

hugh richard arthur (bendor)

3rd Duke of Westminster

Succeeded 1899

1894 - 1963

lord hugh william


1884 - 1914


lady mabel crichton 1882 - 1944

Succeeded 1953

2nd Duke of Westminster 1879 - 1953

edward george hugh Earl Grosvenor 1904 - 1909

sally perry 1910 - 1990


gerald hugh

robert george

4th Duke of Westminster

5th Duke of Westminster

Succeeded 1963

1910 - 1979

1907 - 1967

The Dukes of Westminster

natalia phillips 1959 -



hon viola lyttelton 1912 - 1987

gerald cavendish 6th Duke of Westminster

Hugh Lupus Grosvenor was made the first Duke of Westminster in 1874. This was the only Dukedom bestowed by Queen Victoria to a non family member during her reign.

lady tamara 1979 -

lady edwina 1981 -

hugh richard louis

lady viola 1992 -

Earl Grosvenor 1991 -

8 grosvenor estate: past & present

Mary Davies & Sir Thomas Grosvenor After her father’s death, Mary became a highly

had, the marriage not been proven bogus after

sought-after bride with many a suitor after the

four years of legal disputes. The marriage was

wealth that she would bring to a marriage. The

eventually annulled in 1705, but not before the

12 year old Mary eventually married 21 year

mental state of Lady Mary had declined. She

-old Sir Thomas Grosvenor, Baronet of Eaton

was later declared insane and was cared for by

(1655 – 1700), in Chester in 1677, at which

trustees until her death in 1730. Her eldest son,

time the London estate covered around 100

Sir Richard, died in 1732 and was succeeded by

acres in Mayfair and around 400 acres in what

his brother, Sir Thomas, who died the following

is now Belgravia and Pimlico. Mary continued

year. The family estate then passed to the

to live in London with her mother until she

youngest son of Sir Thomas and Lady Mary, Sir

was 15 years old, at which time she joined her

Robert. It was these three brothers who were

husband at Eaton Hall in Chester. By this time,

responsible for the development of Mayfair, in

her mother had remarried Mr Tregonwell and

particular, Sir Richard who became known as the

continued to live in Millbank.

‘great builder’.

After the death of her husband in 1700, Mary

This is the start of the Grosvenor Estate as we

Davies, Lady Grosvenor, became the subject

know it today.

of unscrupulous gold-diggers. In 1701, she was married off to her chaplain’s brother, Edward Fenwick, who would have obtained her fortune,

page 10-11 Map of the Grosvenor Estate as in 1723 (Drawn by estate surveyor Thomas Cundy 1822) – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

9 grosvenor estate: past & present

10 grosvenor estate: past & present


11 grosvenor estate: past & present


12 grosvenor estate: past & present

Grosvenor Square elevation – Colen Campbell 1725 – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

Early building in Mayfair At the turn of the 18th century, the Mayfair

allowed for the granting of building leases.

Richard Andrew, Barlow laid out the grid

section of the Grosvenor family’s London estate

By 1720, Sir Richard was putting in place the

pattern of streets.

was known as ‘The Hundred Acres’. In the east

grand plan for the Hundred Acres with the

it stretched from the River Tyburn along South

centrepiece planned as the grandest square in

Along with the wide avenues and the grand

Molton Lane and Avery Row, west along the top

London, Grosvenor Square. He brought in

Grosvenor Square, Sir Richard also made

of Berkeley Square to Park Lane, up to Oxford

Colen Campbell, described as architect to the

allowances for services for his new wealthy

Street and then east to the top of today’s Davies

Prince of Wales, to advise on the layout of the

tenants, with smaller surrounding streets for

Street. Prior to the start of development in

square. In August 1720, Sir Richard appointed

shops, taverns, coffee houses, and tradesmen’s

Mayfair, Sir Thomas Grosvenor was succeeded

Thomas Barlow as Estate Surveyor, recorded as

and servants’ houses. By 1747, most of the streets

by his eldest son, Richard, 4th Baronet, in 1700,

both a carpenter and master builder. Previously,

had been laid out, except for the north- west

who, became Mayor of Chester and MP for

in 1715, Barlow had been agent for Lord

corner near the Tyburn gallows (near today’s

Chester in 1715.

Scarborough and is believed to have laid out

Marble Arch) which remained empty. Although

Hanover Square and the surrounding area. He

the streets were completed, many houses were

Development across Mayfair was slow, primarily

is also known to have been responsible for some

still to be built and building was ongoing from

due to the restrictions around the inheritance

of the buildings in New Bond Street and for

the 1720s through the 1780s.

of the estate from Hugh Audley. It was only

shaping the street map of Mayfair as we know

in 1711 that a private Act of Parliament

it. Along with the Grosvenors’ estate manager,

13 grosvenor estate: past & present

Grosvenor Square Grosvenor Square lies at the heart of the

never quite fulfilled due to some houses being

By the early 1730s, all of the houses were

Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair and was pivotal

constructed in a different design by Thomas

completed and Grosvenor Square was commonly

to the grand plans of Sir Richard Grosvenor.


referred to as the grandest square in London.

Covering six acres, it is the second largest

From the very beginning, it was seen as one

London square (after Lincoln’s Inn Fields)

The structure of the lease agreements meant

of the best addresses and became home to

and ever since its completion, it has been one

that many houses were constructed according

some of the wealthiest and most high-profile

of the most sought-after addresses in London.

to individual taste and many were only

names of the 18th century. In July 1725, The

The development was managed by Robert

completed when finance and tenants allowed.

Daily Journal said “Grosvenor Square, which

Andrews, son of the previous estate manager

Thirty different builders were involved and,

for its largeness and beauty will far exceed

Richard Andrews. The aim was to create one of

although the Grosvenor Estate monitored

any yet made in and about London” and in

the finest unified Palladian facades, in particular

construction, there was no imposed architectural

London in Miniature (1755) it was called “the

the eastern side of the square, designed by

design. The completed houses were four-storeys,

most magnificent square in the whole Town”.

Colen Campbell, to appear as one grand palace

constructed with red brick and stone details,

Records show that of the first 51 ratepayers, 16

front. However, the man responsible for the

pedimented doorways and patterned fanlights,

were peers, 35 were titled and 19 were MPs, and

construction, John Simmons, did not fulfil these

and were described as having ‘overall similarity

it was even rumoured that George II thought

original plans. The completed terrace was built

in design which made for a pleasing harmony’.

of buying a house in the square for the Prince

as one complete side, but not to the designs

The houses were also larger than any of those

of Wales.

of Campbell. On the northern side, builder

constructed in other London squares and soon

-developer, Edward Shepherd also attempted

became the centre of London society and

a unified facade in 1728, but this too was


Grosvenor Square west side (from North Audley Street) c.1931 – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate page 22-23 A View of Grosvenor Square, London 1741 – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

14 grosvenor estate: past & present

15 grosvenor estate: past & present

Eighteenth century ‘feudal grandeur, fashion, taste and hospitality’ In Londonium Redivivum (1802) by J.P.

No.7 was formerly the home of Viscount

Nos.10-12, are now the site of the Marriott

Malcolm Grosvenor Square was described

Weymouth and in 1827 it became the home

Hotel on the corner of Duke Street. No.13 was

as “the very focus of feudal grandeur, fashion,

of Thomas Grosvenor, 2nd Earl of Wilton, the

the home of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess

taste and hospitality”. Over the 300 years of

second son of the 1st Marquess of Westminster.

of Westminster, followed by his brother, Thomas

the history of Grosvenor Square it has been

In 1926 it became the home of Lady Cunard,

Grosvenor, 2nd Earl of Wilton. The 1st

home to an inordinate number of well-known

who, during World War II, gave up her house

Marquess of Westminster also lived at Nos.15

residents - too many to mention here - but

and went to live in the Dorchester Hotel, which,

and 16, originally built as one double-sized

below is an overview of some of the notable

at that time was home to many of London’s

house. It was later divided into two houses and

early residents.

elite who would take shelter in the ladies

No.15 was the home of Captain Thistlethwaite

Turkish baths during bombing raids.

and his wife, who later, with the help of Prime

In 1740, No.1 was the home of Charles

Minister William Gladstone, opened a mission

Colyear, 2nd Earl of Portmore, son of the

No.9 Grosvenor Square is the only Georgian

for fallen girls at her home until the 1880s.

former mistress of James II, but by 1743 it

house remaining in the square today. In 1785,

The last resident of No.16 was the Dowager

was occupied by the 2nd Duke of Buccleugh,

after the American War of Independence, it

Duchess of Westminster, widow of the 1st Duke,

who later shocked society by marrying a

became the home of the First Minister to the

who lived in the house until 1940 when it was

washerwoman. During the late 1790s and

British Court, John Adams, making it the first

destroyed by bombing.

early 1800s No.2 was occupied by William

American Embassy in London. Adams returned

Beckford, author of Vathek (1786) at which

to America in 1788 and in 1797 he became

No.19 was the home of the Earls of Thanet

time his guests included Sir William and Lady

the second President of the United States.

and it is believed that Mozart and his sister

Emma Hamilton, along with Admiral Lord

performed here, and that part of the interior

Nelson. No.4 Grosvenor Square was formerly

Between 1729 and 1742, No.12 was the home

was designed by Robert Adam. In 1926, it

the largest of the original houses, complete by

of John Aislabie, former Chancellor of the

became the home of conductor, Sir Thomas

1729, but ten years later the builder chose the

Exchequer and the man many people blame

and Lady Beecham. No.26 is notable because it

unusual method of raffling the house. For 200

for the burst of the South Sea Bubble. In 1868

was remodelled by celebrated architect, Robert

years it was home to just two families, including

it became the home of politician and writer,

Adam and was described as one of four of his

the former Prime Minister Charles Watson-

Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, and

greatest London houses. In 1851, the house

Wentworth, the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham.

then later to bankers John Pierpont Morgan

passed to the 14th Earl of Derby, three times

In 1931 it became the Italian Embassy.

( J.P. Morgan) senior and junior. These houses,

Prime Minister, before being demolished in 1861.

16 grosvenor estate: past & present

No.35 was the home of radical politician John

mistresses, created the Duchess of Kendal and

and friend of Turner, who was instrumental in

Wilkes, who was held in the Tower of London

Countess of Darlington. They acquired rather

the establishment of the National Gallery.

for his principles, expelled from parliament and

uncomplimentary nicknames: The Duchess,

spent close to two years in prison. He later rose

who was rather skinny, was nicknamed ‘The

A number of ambassadors have also lived in

to become Lord Mayor of London and today is

Maypole,’ and the Countess, who was rather fat,

the square, including the 4th Earl of Rochford,

attributed as being the main proponent of the

was nicknamed ‘The Elephant and Castle’. The

Ambassador to Spain, Sardinia and Paris and the

freedom of the press. In 1781, No.37 became

Duchess of Kendal was one of the first residents,

Secretary of State; Francis Seymour Conway,

the home of Mr and Mrs Thrale, good friends

moving to No.43 on the south side in 1728.

1st Marquess of Hertford, who had been

of Samuel Johnson, who visited the Thrales

the Ambassador in Paris and rose to become

during this time. No.40 Grosvenor Square was

Other residents include: former prime ministers,

Lord Chamberlain in 1766; and the 3rd Duke

the home of former Prime Minister Charles

Lord North, 1st Earl of Guilford and Augustus

of Dorset, Ambassador in Paris before the

Grey, 2nd Earl Grey.

Henry Fitzroy, 3rd Duke of Grafton; the

Revolution between 1783 and 1789.

Dowager Duchess of Marlborough and her son Two of the earliest residents of Grosvenor

Lord Randolph Churchill, Chancellor of the

Square were two notorious characters

Exchequer and father of Winston Churchill; Sir

of the early 18th century - George I’s

George Beaumont, 7th Baronet, amateur artist

History of Derby House Derby House was Robert Adam’s great

influenced by French design and Adams

masterpiece on Grosvenor Square. Built in

designed the apartments to feel like a French

1728, it was later inherited by 19 year-old

hotel. A contemporary noted his designs were

Lord Stanley who engaged Adams to renovate

‘an attempt to arrange the apartments in the

the building. Adams introduced a thoroughly

French style, which is best calculated for the

modern layout, including a central staircase,

convenience and elegance of life.” The house

circular and oval apartments and a sequence

was demolished by Sir Charles J Freake in

of straightforward, symmetrical rooms.

1861 and was completely rebuilt.

By the 1770s, British architects were being

17 grosvenor estate: past & present

18 grosvenor estate: past & present

19 grosvenor estate: past & present

Waterloo House – No.44 Grosvenor Square No.44 Grosvenor Square has a rather special

Thistlewood with a group of around 24 other

history in the life of the square. The house

conspirators, and they met to plan their attack

was first occupied by Oliver St George in

in Cato Street, near Edgware Road. However,

1728, but by 1804 it had become the home

the plan was foiled and the Bow Street Runners,

of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

the early unofficial police force, were waiting for

and President of the Council, Dudley Ryder,

the gang outside the house in Cato Street.

1st Earl of Harrowby. At that time it was customary for members of the Cabinet to meet

No.44 continued as the home of the Harrowby

together in members’ houses, and on the 21st

family long after these two historic events, with

June 1815, the Cabinet, including the Prime

the last Dowager Countess of Harrowby the last

Minister Lord Liverpool, was having dinner

to leave in 1908. By the 1960s, when panelling

at No.44 and the Duke of Wellington’s aide-

was being removed, a large early 18th century

de-camp, Major Henry Percy came running

mural was discovered, similar to one by William

into the dining room to announce the victory

Kent in Kensington Palace. However, despite

at the Battle of Waterloo. From that time on

these historic connections and architectural

the house was commonly known as Waterloo

features, the house was demolished in 1968


and it became the site of the Britannia Hotel, today’s Millennium Hotel.

Five years later, it was almost the site of another dramatic episode. The plan, now known as The Cato Street Conspiracy, was to overthrow the government by killing the Prime Minister and all of the members of the Cabinet gathered for dinner at Lord Harrowby’s house on 28th February 1820. The plot was led by Arthur No.44 Grosvenor Square section and plan – Survey of London: Volume 40

20 grosvenor estate: past & present

21 grosvenor estate: past & present

Architectural & social change Throughout the 19th century, Grosvenor Square

of flats in the south east corner, which was

continued to be one of the most sought after

completed in 1927. By the 1930s, a complete

addresses in London. The houses continued

transformation of the square was underway

to be solely residential with records showing

and the large Georgian terraced houses were

that between 1855 and early 1880s, the average

demolished and replaced with neo-Georgian

household consisted of 13 or 14, of whom 10

flats. However, the rebuilding was designed

or 11 were servants. However, one significant

by the French architect Fernand Billerey to

change was the shift of residents to include

architechtually unite all of the buildings on

successful ‘tradesmen’ or businessmen rather

the square.

than solely aristocratic families. Some early ‘trade’ residents included the brewer Sir Henry

Prior to the outbreak of war in 1939, Grosvenor

Meux; engineer Sir Charles Palmer; and ship

Square was still the home of many titled

owner and inventor of the marine turbine,

residents, including Katherine, Duchess of

Charles Wilson, later Lord Nunburnholme.

Westminster; Lord Illingworth, the Marquess

Other prominent residents coming from a

of Bath; Lord Charles Montagu and Viscountess

business background included South African

Tredegar. It was in Grosvenor Square during

mining magnates, Jack Barnato Joel and Sir

the early 1930s that it is believed the Prince of

Lionel Phillips.

Wales, later Edward VIII, went to a party held by Lady Furness and was introduced to Mrs

The popularity of Grosvenor Square also led

Wallis Simpson.

many of its wealthy owners to transform their houses with the changing tastes of the time, making sure they were at the height of fashion. This began during the 19th century, but it was in the 1920s that the Duke of Westminster decided on a grand redevelopment of Grosvenor Square and started the rebuilding with a block

22 grosvenor estate: past & present

World War II & the American influence The northern, western and southern sides of

The heavy American occupation of Grosvenor

square that the greatest redevelopment took

the square were only partly rebuilt when war

Square gained it the nickname of ‘Eisenhower

place: the Georgian houses were demolished in

was declared in 1939. The American Embassy

Platz’. Grosvenor Square was heavily bombed in

1957 and the new American Embassy, designed

was already located at No.1, but when they

1941 when a number of houses were struck and

by the Finnish architect, Eero Saarinen, was

entered the war they moved to new buildings in

many burnt out. It became the worst affected

constructed in its place. The former American

the square. General Eisenhower’s headquarters

area across Mayfair. After the war, many of

Embassy, at Nos.1-3, became the Canadian

were on the north side at 19-20, along with the

the houses had fallen into disrepair or received

High Commission in 1960.

naval mission and many other military offices.

bomb damage. It was along the west side of the

The central gardens The central gardens have been transformed

were chosen as the site for a memorial to

Diplomatic Gates erected, in 1984 to celebrate

a few times since the construction of the

former American president, Franklin D.

the 1783 Treaty of Paris; The Eagle Squadron

square. The earliest layout was planned as

Roosevelt, which was unveiled by his wife

memorial, unveiled in 1986 to commemorate

a formal garden by John Alston and it was

Eleanor Roosevelt in 1948, with management

the pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain; a

originally enclosed by a low brick wall. The

passing from Grosvenor to what is now the

statue of General Eisenhower, unveiled in 1989;

most prominent early feature was a statue of

Department of Culture Media and Sport. At

a statue of former president Ronald Regan,

King George I, gilded and dressed as a Roman

this time the gardens were re-laid in a formal

unveiled in 2011; and, in September 2003, a

Emperor on horseback, but this was removed

pattern with pathways. During the late 20th

memorial garden for those who lost their lives

in the early 19th century. The central gardens

century the centre of Grosvenor Square

in the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.

changed dramatically in the 20th century, with

became the location for a number of memorials

a complete redesign. After World War II, they

connected to the United States, including the

Grosvenor Square today By 1960, there were only a few original houses

to be one of the most prestigious addresses

the spirit of grand architectural and social

remaining in the square, including Waterloo

in London and although there are fewer

occupation that Sir Richard planned almost

House, although this was sadly demolished

residential homes and more commercial

300 years before.

in 1967. Today, Grosvenor Square continues

and diplomatic offices, the square maintains

23 grosvenor estate: past & present

Grosvenor Street   Grosvenor Street was laid out for building

aristocracy. Along with most of Mayfair, many

house became a temporary escape for the Prime

between 1720 and 1725, at the same time as

houses along Grosvenor Street have been rebuilt

Minister, Herbert Asquith, and his wife Margot

Grosvenor Square. However, Sir Richard was

or re-fronted, but for almost 300 years, this

after his resignation in 1916.

disappointed in his original scheme, where he

street has been a popular address and home

hoped Grosvenor Street, the broadest street

to a long list of notable characters from the

In 1909, Sir Edgar Speyer brought together

on his estate, would lead along a long vista

nobility, as well as high-ranking military,

Nos.44 and 46 and hired the Grosvenor Estate’s

from Park Lane and Upper Grosvenor Street

churchmen and foreign ambassadors. Early

architect Detmar Blow along with Fernand

to St George’s Hanover Square. Sadly, this

18th century residents included the Countess

Billerey to merge the two houses beneath a

vista crossed over to the neighbouring Conduit

of Hertford in 1740; Lord North in 1740;

new Portland stone frontage. The Duke of

Mead Estate, with the Grosvenor estate ending

Marquess Cornwallis in 1793 and Miss Vane,

Westminster specified that the two houses

at the River Tyburn (just west of New Bond

the mistress of Frederick, Prince of Wales.

should be separable in the future, which meant

Street). The building of St George’s Hanover

that the house was given two staircases, one in

Square began in 1721 and was consecrated in

No.6 Grosvenor Street, close to Avery Row

a carved Gothic style and the other an oak copy

1725. However, Sir Richard had no control over

on the eastern end, is believed to have once

of the Scala dei Giganti in the Doge’s Palace

the layout and building on the Conduit Mead

been the site of a hospital for victims of the

in Venice. During the early 20th century, the

Estate and Maddox Street at the far end of

plague. The first occupant of No.16 Grosvenor

house was the location for music recitals by

Grosvenor Street. This was originally also part

Street, from 1725 to 1738, was the son of the

Strauss and Debussy at Lady Speyer’s famous

of Maddox Street and was built narrower and

first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, the

musical soirees. The house later became the

with a kink, blocking the view of the church

2nd Earl of Orford. From 1837 to 1859 No.16

American Women’s Club and then the Japanese

from the Grosvenor Estate.

was the headquarters of the Royal Institution

Embassy until 2000.

of British Architects and then, between 1912 In 1735, Grosvenor Street was described as

and 1924, it was the home of Lieutenant-

No.50 was the home of generations of the

a ‘spacious well-built street, inhabited chiefly

Colonel George Keppel, whose wife Alice is

Earls of Radnor and the last private resident

by People of Distinction’. By 1736, 22 of the

most remembered as the former mistress of

was Lord Peel in 1928. No.58 was the home of

74 houses were occupied by members of the

Edward VII. It was during this time that the

the Marquess of Aberdeen, Governor-General

24 grosvenor estate: past & present

of Canada, who made extensive alterations

and James Adam, the famous architect brothers,

between 1900 and 1908 before selling it to the

lived at No.76 Grosvenor Street between

Chairman of University College Hospital, Sir

1758 and 1772 and in 1825, the same house

Herbert Samuelson. No.59 was the home of

was occupied by the founder of Singapore, Sir

Admiral Earl St. Vincent, who fought in the

Stamford Raffles.

Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. It was also the home of the Speaker of the House

A large amount of alterations were undertaken

of Commons, Lord Ullswater, and between

in Grosvenor Street during the Victorian

1909 and 1914 was the home of a banker,

period, but it was primarily at the turn of the

Ralph Lambton, who built a racquet, court

20th century that extensive rebuilding and

in the mews behind.

conversions took place. Many houses were converted into office spaces or completely

In 1730, No.60 was the home of the actress,

rebuilt for commercial purposes. Having said

Mrs Nance (Anne) Oldfield. Charles Churchill

this, Grosvenor Street still retains a number

is believed to have been her illegitimate son by

of Georgian buildings, including thirteen

General Charles Churchill and Charles junior

Grade II and two Grade II* listed buildings.

later inherited the house and died there in 1812. No.70 was the home of Prime Minister, the 3rd Earl of Bute, in 1748-1752, and since 2000 has been the home of Grosvenor’s office. No.75 Grosvenor Street was originally the home of Sir Henry Hozier, whose daughter Clementine, later to become the wife of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was born here in April 1875. The house was rebuilt in 1914. Robert

25 grosvenor estate: past & present

26 grosvenor estate: past & present

Upper Grosvenor Street Upper Grosvenor Street was also laid out for

Navy during the latter years of World War I

Like other streets in Mayfair, Upper Grosvenor

building at the time of Grosvenor Square, with

and between 1919 and 1927 served as First Sea

Street began to be rebuilt and altered during

building leases granted to a total of 21 different

Lord. No.20 was the home of the son of Queen

the 19th century and again in the 20th century,

tradesmen between 1727 and 1735. One of the

Victoria, Prince Arthur of Connaught. After

especially with the development of the

early residents was the former Governor of New

World War II, the Duchess of Argyll moved

Grosvenor House Hotel on the corner of Park

York, William Tryon, who lived at No.8 from

to No.48 and during the 1950s and 60s, she

Lane. Today, Upper Grosvenor Street has 15

1759 to 1764. Between 1903 and 1910, No.15

continued to entertain lavishly and was one of

Grade II listed properties.

was the home of Admiral of the Fleet, David

the last Mayfair socialites to maintain a private

Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty, who commanded the

house in Mayfair, departing in 1978.

Prince Arthur: first Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850–1942) Named after his godfather, the Duke of

in the recruiting of soldiers for the First World

Wellington, Connaught was Queen Victoria’s

War. Drawing on his own military experience,

favourite son. In 1868 he was commissioned

he conflicted with the Canadian government

into the Royal Engineers where he excelled

when he drew public attention to the fact that

and was the last British prince to command

the Canadian-made Ross rifle was prone to

a significant formation in battle. In 1911

jamming in battle conditions. Connaught spent

Connaught was made governor-general of

his retirement in Bagshot Park, Surrey and his

Canada, where he played an important role

villa in France.

Upper Grosvenor Street - Courtesy of City of Westminster Archives Centre

27 grosvenor estate: past & present

Brook Street Brook Street was laid out with Grosvenor

No.68 was the home to another Prime

Square between 1720 and 1725 and refers

Minister, William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of

to the ‘brook’ of the River Tyburn. In 1735,

Chatham, in 1757. Today, No.69 is The Savile

Robert Seymour, in Survey of the Cities

Club, and when it was purchased in 1927, it was

of London and Westminster, said Brook

still described as ‘one of the principal mansions

Street was “for the most part nobly built and

in Mayfair’.

Born in Seattle, Washington, Hendrix is

it was said that it was a “calm retreat of nobility

Prominent Mayfair architect, Edward

guitar players. He was given his first guitar by

and persons of great landed property”.

Shepherd, whom ‘Shepherd Market’ is named

inhabited by People of Quality”, and in 1807

after, lived at No.72 from 1726 until 1729. Sir

James Marshall ( Jimi) Hendrix (1942–1970)

regarded by many as the greatest ever electric his father and being left-handed he would play it upside down. After touring The States with artists including Little Richard, he formed his

No.23 Brook Street is famously remembered

Winton Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph

as the home of musician Jimi Hendrix in

Churchill, lived at No.72 from 1915 to 1917.

own band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames.

Brook Street, at No.25, was George Frederick

Large sections of Brook Street have been

where he reformed as The Jimi Hendrix

Handel in 1723. Handel remained in the

converted into offices since the turn of the

house for 36 years and it was here that he

20th century, but it still retains a number

composed Messiah in 1741.

of interesting architectural features.

1968/9. One of the earliest inhabitants of

No.66 Brook Street, which was originally built as one with No.53 Davies Street, was built by Edward Shepherd for Sir Nathanial Curzon who lived in the house from 1729 through to his death in 1758. The houses then

In the mid 1960s he choose to come to London Experience. On his return to the USA in 1969 he played at the historic Woodstock, famously ending his set with a version of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’. Hendrix died of a drugs overdose in London on the 18th September 1960 and was buried in his home town of Seattle.

were once again reunited over 100 years later by Detmar Blow and until 2000 formed part of Grosvenor’s office. Today they are Grade I listed.

28 grosvenor estate: past & present


For a number of years the lower section of

The high quality of service and accommodation

During the 1920s, the hotel was redecorated in

Brook Street towards Bond Street was

at the hotel continued under the new

a distinct Art Deco style, with designs by Basil

populated with hotels. Today however, the

management, when it became known as

Ionides, as well as a new entrance and extension

most significant survivor is the world-famous

Claridge’s. It was sold in 1881 and again in

to the east, completed in the 1930s by Oswald

Claridge’s on the corner of Davies Street.

1895 to the Savoy Company, who set about

Milne. The hotel was updated once again in the

Claridge’s was first opened as a hotel in 1815

transforming and modernising the now classic


by French chef Jacques Mivart and was known

hotel. The old houses were pulled down and

as ‘Mivart’s’. From the very beginning, the aim

the new red-brick Queen Anne style building

was to offer high-quality accommodation

was built to the designs of C.W. Stephens, who

for the Mayfair clientele, including foreign

was also responsible for the Harrods building

royalty, and even the Prince Regent had a suite

in Knightsbridge. The interiors were also by

of rooms reserved for him. Mivart continued

Stephens, along with Ernest George and Yates.

successfully for 40 years until he sold the hotel

The new Claridge’s reopened in 1898 with a

to William Claridge.

staff organised by Cesar Ritz.

World War II Claridge’s During World War II, Claridge’s became a

the bed so that the heir to the throne could

refuge for many exiled royal families, including

literally be born on home soil. The hotel has

the Queen of the Netherlands and the Kings

also been visited by many members of the British

of Greece, Norway and Yugoslavia. In 1941

Royal Family, including Queen Victoria and

Crown Prince Alexander was born in room

Prince Albert, as well as Queen Elizabeth II.

212 of Claridge’s, after Churchill ceded it to

Claridge’s was popular with celebrity guests,

Yugoslavia for the day. Legend has is that a

including Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Bing

spadeful of Yugoslavian earth was placed under

Crosby, and remains so today.

29 grosvenor estate: past & present

Upper Brook Street Upper Brook Street was laid out between

but in 1937, it was replaced with a new

1721 and 1725, although not all houses were

building. No.18 was the home of the sculptress,

completed until 1759. Upper Brook Street has

Anne Seymour Damer, between 1799 and

maintained a high level of exclusivity and in

1828, who later inherited Strawberry Hill

1760 there were 14 titled residents. Some of the

from Horace Walpole.

early residents included Lord George Gordon, who is most famous for being the instigator

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many of

of the Gordon Riots in 1780, and George

the homes were re-fronted or rebuilt and, like

Grenville, Prime Minister from 1763-1765.

other streets in Mayfair, were converted to

Between 1930 and 1932, No.9a was the home

offices, several of which are Grade II listed.

of three times Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin,

Park Lane Park Lane was not always the prestigious

view towards Hyde Park as it was surrounded

address that we know it to be today. Originally

by a high brick wall. The removal of the

called ‘Tyburn Lane’, prior to the removal of

gallows made way for new development in

the Tyburn Gallows in 1783, it was infamous

the north west corner of the estate, as well as

for the rabble that headed to the executions.

for a transformation of the houses along Park

This meant that people did not want their

Lane which were redesigned with the popular

houses associated with the unruly crowd and

Regency balconies and bay windows, making

early houses turned their back on Park Lane

the most of the view of Hyde Park.

and faced Park Street or Dunraven (formerly Norfolk) Street. There was also not much of a

30 grosvenor estate: past & present

31 grosvenor estate: past & present

Park Lane - Palatial homes Along with the transformation of individual

elder brother of William Pitt the Elder. For

1960. On the other side of Avenfield House is

houses, Park Lane became established as a

a time the house was occupied by the Prince

No.117, believed to have been rebuilt in around

prime location for aristocratic mansions, firmly

Regent’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, and

1822 and again, after war damage, in 1949.

establishing its reputation as a desirable address.

her husband Prince Leopold, later King of the

One of the first houses, built in 1769 while

Belgians. It later passed to Lord Grenville and

On the corner of Upper Brook Street and

the gallows still sat close by, was Somerset

then to Sir Charles Mills. It continued in the

Park Lane, Brook House was constructed

House. The house was constructed for Viscount

Mills family until the early 20th century before

relatively late in 1867. It was constructed for

Bateman by John Philips. From 1789 to 1797,

being demolished in 1913 and is now also part

Lord Tweedmouth, banker and MP, by Thomas

it was the home of Warren Hastings, former

of the site of the London Marriott Hotel.

Henry Wyatt. In the early 20th century it

Governor-General of India, and then up until

became the home of Sir Ernest Cassel, who

1808, was the home of Lord Rosebury. At this

Between North Row and Green Street is a

redecorated the house to create a grand staircase

time, it was sold to the 11th Duke of Somerset,

row of six surviving early houses, much altered

in Italian marble and a dining room to seat 100

who renamed it ‘Somerset House’, and it stayed

since they were built. No.138, to the north, was

guests. It passed to Sir Ernest’s granddaughter,

in the Somerset family until 1890 when it was

originally two smaller houses and was rebuilt

Lady Mountbatten, in 1925 but was demolished

sold to publisher, George Murray Smith. The

as one house in 1831. The neighbouring houses,

in 1931 to make way for a block of flats where

house was demolished in 1915 and today is

now recorded as Nos.20-23 Dunraven Street,

Lord and Lady Mountbatten had a penthouse

the site of the London Marriott Hotel on the

have also been altered. No.22 (also No.131

flat. This 1930s building was replaced with a

corner of Oxford Street.

Park Lane) was first built in 1758 and later

new Brook House in 1993-8.

remodelled by Sir John Soane in 1801. On In 1773, Camelford House was built next to

the southern corner of Green Street, No.128

Dudley House, No.100 Park Lane, is the only

Somerset House, near today’s North Row, for

Park Lane is another survivor, overshadowed

surviving aristocratic house remaining along the

Thomas Pitt, 1st Baron Camelford, MP and

by the neighbouring Avenfield House, built in

northern stretch of Park Lane. It was completed

32 grosvenor estate: past & present

in 1829 for Viscount Dudley and Ward, later

with No.94 in 1823-5 by builder Samuel

The baronial hall was demolished in 1863 and

first Earl of Dudley, to the designs of William

Baxter and the home of Prime Minister

the remainder of the house became the home

Atkinson. It was later enlarged and altered by

Benjamin Disraeli. In 1827, the house was

of author and politician, Sir Edward Bulwer-

Sir Charles Barry and continued in the Ward

the home of MP Wyndham Lewis and his

Lytton, and shortly before its demolition it

family for close to 200 years. It was severely

wife Mary Anne. Lewis died suddenly in 1838,

was the home of Lady Palmerston.

bomb damaged during World War II but it

leaving the house to his wife, who, the following

managed to survive. In the late 1960s, Sir Basil

year, married Benjamin Disraeli. It was here

The last 19th century house on the Grosvenor

Spence converted the house, along with the

that Disraeli wrote a number of his books and

Estate along Park Lane, Aldford House, was

mews behind, linking it to the main building

the couple lived happily. Disraeli became Prime

built in 1894 for Alfred Beit, a South African

by a cast iron bridge. From 1970 it was used as

Minister in 1868 and moved to Downing Street,

gold magnate. The house was designed by

offices, but in the early years of the 21st century

but they retained their house on Park Lane

Eustace Balfour and Thackeray Turner, but

it returned to residential use.

until Mary died in 1872.

the house lasted less than 40 years as it was demolished in 1929 to make way for a block

Nos.93-99, in-between Upper Brook Street

Breadalbane House was built in 1766 for

and Upper Grosvenor Street is a rare pre-20th

Robert Petre, 9th Baron Petre, by James Paine

century section of Park Lane. First constructed

and survived until 1877. It was famous for its

in 1727-1733, the houses were first known as

medieval-style ‘baronial hall’, complete with

‘King’s Row’ and later ‘Grosvenor Gate’, and

gilded hammerbeam roof, believed to have

originally had a pub at either end. In the 19th

been built to entertain Queen Victoria and the

century, the houses were rebuilt creating the

King of Portugal. The house later became the

unique bow shaped frontages looking towards

home of successive Marquesses of Breadalbane,

Hyde Park. Of particular note is No.93, rebuilt

and acquired the name Breadalbane House.

of flats, also named Aldford House.

33 grosvenor estate: past & present

Grosvenor House The most prominent house on the Grosvenor

After the death of the Duke of Gloucester,

The house continued in the Grosvenor family

Estate part of Park Lane was Grosvenor House.

Lord Grosvenor bought Gloucester House in

until the early years of World War I, when

However, it was not built for the Grosvenor

1806 for £20,000 and, after alterations were

the 2nd Duke of Westminster offered the

family, but was originally constructed in 1732

made, the Grosvenor family moved to the new

house to the government for war time use

for Walter Chetwynd, Viscount Chetwynd. The

‘Grosvenor House’ in April 1808. The house

as a hospital for officers, while he moved to

house was situated away from Park Lane with

was altered and redecorated a number of times

Bourdon House in Davies Street. After the

the entrance facing towards Upper Grosvenor

during the 19th century, most particularly by

war the Duke continued at Bourdon House

Street, gardens down towards Mount Street

Thomas Cundy and his son in the 1820s and

where he remained until he died in 1953.

and stables along Park Lane. In 1763, the house

1840s, including the grand entrance with a

Grosvenor House was becoming too large

became the home of the Duke of Cumberland,

stone screen of eight columns, lamp posts and

and expensive to maintain and by 1925 it was

younger son of George II, who is most

metal gates topped with pediments bearing the

decided to redevelop the site as a hotel with

remembered for his involvement in the Battle

family crest. New galleries were added to house

former Grosvenor Estate surveyor, Edward

of Culloden where he gained the name ‘Butcher

the renowned Grosvenor art collection, which

Wimperis, along with renowned architect, Sir

of Culloden’. After Cumberland died in 1765,

included paintings by Rembrandt and Rubens,

Edwin Lutyens.

the house became the home of the Prince

as well as works by Reynolds, Velazquez and

William, Duke of Gloucester and brother of

Gainsborough. During the late 19th century,

George III, and became known as Gloucester

the house was the location for many garden

House. The Duke continued to live in the

parties, balls and dinners.

house until his death in 1805.

34 grosvenor estate: past & present

Grosvenor House Hotel In 1926, the grand Grosvenor House was pulled

a speech from the hotel. The Great Room was

down and the Grosvenor House Hotel and flats

transformed into a large dormitory for Air Raid

appeared in its place. In the basement of the

Precaution (ARP) wardens. In the summer

hotel was the unique novelty attraction of a

of 1940 it became a special annexe to the US

large ice-rink, which soon became one of the

immigration department and in 1943 became

most popular attractions for young socialites

the main mess for American officers in London.

and was where Queen Elizabeth II had skating

A Home Guard platoon was formed by 38 of

lessons. However, by the late 1930s it was

the hotel’s reduced staff, which often had drills

dismantled and became ‘The Great Room’

on the roof, where a miniature rifle range had

(although the pipes for the ice rink are still

been installed for firing practice.

underneath the floor). During World War II, The Grosvenor House Hotel played a key role as a home for exiled leaders of occupied Europe. The Dutch Cabinet made the hotel its wartime headquarters and on Bastille Day in 1941, General de Gaulle gave

35 grosvenor estate: past & present

36 grosvenor estate: past & present

Park Street Park Street is the longest street on the

well-known residents. In fact, every house was

Grosvenor Estate and, for a short time, was

at one time or another occupied by a notable

known as Hyde Park Street. It was built over

member of government, the military, the arts

a period of almost 50 years, from the 1720s

or nobility. Statesman and historian, George

through to the 1770s, but was largely rebuilt

Otto Trevelyan lived at No.31 between 1870 and

between 1890 and 1930. Large sections of the

1872; Thomas Hughes, MP and author of Tom

western side of Park Street were demolished

Brown’s School Days, lived at No.33 (where

with the redevelopment of Park Lane and

the Grosvenor House Hotel is now situated)

replaced with large apartment blocks. Much

between 1861 and 1870 and then at No.80 from

of the eastern side was rebuilt in the late 19th

1871 to 1885. In 1785, No.62 was the home of

and early 20th centuries. Many of these houses

the catholic widow, Mrs Fitzherbert, and was

were built in Queen Anne Style, along with

where she secretly married the Prince of Wales

influences from the Arts and Craft movement.

(later George IV).

These are typified by the use of red brick, terracotta, stone detailing and steep roofs. Some early house examples survive on the eastern side, most notably Nos.66-78, between Upper Grosvenor Street and Upper Brook Street, constructed in 1729. Some early 19th century houses also survive at Nos.84-90 and Nos.58-62. The result of this mixture of rebuilding is a great variety of architectural styles stretching from the 1720s through to the 1930s. Park Street has been the home of a many

64 Park Street – The White Bear 1890s – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

37 grosvenor estate: past & present

South Street c.1890 – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate page 44-45 South Audley Street – Courtesy of the City of Westminster Archives Centre

South Street South Street was first laid out for building

No.10 was demolished in 1929, but a plaque is

between 1730 and 1739, although most of

placed on the building that replaced her house.

these early houses have now disappeared and

In 1880, next door at No.12 was Earl Lucan

been redeveloped. Since it was constructed,

– the commander of the disastrous Charge of

South Street has been the home of many

the Light Brigade at Balaclava, the survivors of

famous names, including the Duke of Orleans

which were attended by Florence Nightingale.

at No.2 from 1788 to 1793. He voted in favour of the execution of his cousin, Louis XVI but

Across the road at No.15 lived Catherine

was himself guillotined in November 1793.

Walters, ‘the last great Victorian courtesan’.

Much later, from 1902 to 1927, the same house

She moved to South Street in 1872 (although

was the home of the widow of the 1st Duke of

one source states 1883) where Gladstone and

Westminster, Katherine. No.8 was the home of

Bertie, the Prince of Wales, were still regular

the 1st Marquess Cornwalllis, who was forced

visitors. She remained in the house until she

to surrender to George Washington after the

passed away in 1920.

Battle of Yorktown in 1781. From 1830 to 1848, No.18 South Street was No.10 South Street was the home of the

the home of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount

celebrated Florence Nightingale for 45 years,

Melbourne, Prime Minister in 1834 and again

from 1865 until 1910. She had also rented at

from 1835 to 1841; Beau Brummell lived at

No.8 for a year previously, and spent time in

No.22; in 1903, Sir Alex Douglas-Home, who

houses in Chesterfield Street and Park Street.

became Prime Minister in 1963, was born at

In 1860 on doctors’ orders she took to her bed

No.28; and No.30 was the home of Joan Collins

and was to spend the next 20 years as an invalid.

during her first marriage to Ron Kass.

This did not prevent her continuing her mission and she worked relentlessly until her death.

38 grosvenor estate: past & present

39 grosvenor estate: past & present

40 grosvenor estate: past & present

41 grosvenor estate: past & present

North Audley Street North Audley Street was laid out between

On the eastern side is St Mark’s Church,

1724 and 1725 and named after Mary Davies’

constructed in 1825 as a Chapel of Ease to St

ancestor, Hugh Audley, who originally owned

George’s, Hanover Square. Designed in classical

the manor of Eia in the 17th century. Unlike

style by Sir John Deering, it was later internally

the other streets surrounding Grosvenor Square,

redesigned by Sir Arthur Blomfield, while

most of the early houses were occupied by

retaining the exterior with the large stone Ionic

tradesmen. The close proximity to Oxford

pillars. It ceased to be a parish church in 1974

Street meant that in the 19th and 20th centuries,

and today is an events centre, ‘One Mayfair’.

most of these early houses were swept away and replaced with blocks of flats, as well as offices, with shops below. The former No.1 North Audley Street, on the corner of Grosvenor Square, was the home of Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, in 1807. One of the first residents of No.12 was Field Marshal and MP Jean Louis Ligonier, who lived in the house from 1730 until his death in 1770. He joined Nos.11 and 12 together in 1744. The renowned art collector and industrialist, Samuel Courtauld, lived at Nos.11-12 between 1932 and 1947.

42 grosvenor estate: past & present

South Audley Street South Audley Street is one of the prime

than a year. In 1768, rioters in support of John

Founded in 1827 they moved to South Audley

shopping streets on the Grosvenor Estate in

Wilkes attacked Bute’s home, breaking the

Street in 1844. The shop was rebuilt across

Mayfair. It was laid out for building between

windows of Lady Bute’s room where she was

the site of Nos.17-21 in 1875 and has been

1725 and 1736 but, along with Mount Street,

sleeping. Lord Bute continued to live in the

described as probably the best commercial

was largely rebuilt during the late 19th and

house until he passed away in 1792.

example of the Queen Anne revival on the

early 20th centuries. However, some early

Grosvenor Estate.

Georgian houses do survive on the southern

The lower eastern side of South Audley Street

stretch between South Street and Hill Street.

also features surviving 18th century houses,

The other prominent building along South

Nos.71-75, along the west side, were designed

Nos.9-16; most notably No.9, on the corner of

Audley Street is the Grosvenor Chapel facing

by Edward Shepherd. No.71, on the corner of

Hill Street, built in 1736. In 1931, the Duke of

Aldford Street. Built in 1730 it was originally

South Street, features a grand Georgian exterior

Westminster arranged for this house to be the

known as Audley Chapel. A number of famous

that has changed very little since it was first

home of the world-famous French designer,

people were buried in the chapel vaults and the

built in 1736, and neighbouring No.72 was the

Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel.

burial grounds behind (now the Mount Street

home of the Comte d’Artois, later King Charles X of France, from 1805 until 1814.

Gardens), including MP John Wilkes; the 4th Today, South Audley Street is dominated by

Earl of Chesterfield; poets, Ambrose Phillips,

the red brick rebuilding of the late 19th century

David Mallet and William Whitehead; Lady

No.75, on the corner of Deanery Street, marks

and is synonymous with a number of prestigious

Mary Wortley Montague; and Greek scholar

the southernmost point of the Grosvenor estate.

retailers. On the western side is James Purdey

and poet, Elizabeth Carter. The cemetery was

In 1754 it became the home of John Stuart,

& Sons, founded in 1814 and renowned as the

closed in 1854 and transformed into a public

3rd Earl of Bute, who extended the house to

gunmakers to kings and the aristocracy for

garden in 1889. During World War II, the

the north. At this time the house also became

generations. They moved to the newly built

Grosvenor Chapel was a popular refuge for

known as ‘Bute House’. Bute rose to become

No.57-60 South Audley Street in 1881. On

American servicemen based nearby.

tutor to George III and was appointed Prime

the other side of the street, at No.19, are china

Minister in 1762, but stayed in the role for less

and glass merchants, Thomas Goode & Co.

43 grosvenor estate: past & present

Carlos Street before redevelopment 1910 – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

Mount Street The name Mount Street originates from the

‘paupers’ by the 1880s. It was demolished in

taverns and tradesmen were replaced with

name of ‘Mount Field’ where the Civil War

1886 to make way for new development.

antique dealers and high quality retailers and,

earthwork known as ‘Oliver’s Mount’ was

to the west of South Audley Street, only private

constructed. The street was laid out for building

In 1811, the poet Shelley eloped with the 16

houses were built. It was not only the alteration

during the 1720s but, unlike the prestigious

year old Harriet Westbrook from one of the

in the residents, but the transformation of

street we see today, it was originally dominated

Mount Street coffee houses. However, five years

the architectural appearance from the simple

by small, narrow houses populated primarily

later Harriet, now married to Shelley, drowned

Georgian brick houses to the bold red brick

by tradesmen, as well as taverns and coffee

herself in the Serpentine in Hyde Park after he

and terracotta Queen Anne and Neo-French

houses. The parish workhouse was situated

left her for Mary Wollstonecraft.

Renaissance styles favoured by the Duke. In

where No.103 is today, meaning that, combined

2011, Grosvenor re-created the public realm

with the location of St George’s burial ground,

Towards the end of the 19th century, Mount

in Mount Street centred on the water feature,

Mount Street had rather more humble origins.

Street was completely transformed. The 1st

‘Silence’, by the Japanese architect philosopher

The parish workhouse was built in 1725 for 200

Duke of Westminster instigated a large

Tadao Ando.

people, but was enlarged twice and housed 600

rebuilding programme and the coffee houses,

Carlos Place Carlos Place was originally named Charles

Wedgwood porcelain firm; art critic and author,

originates from the family of Queen Victoria’s

Street and ran directly south from Grosvenor

John Ruskin; and in 1884, No.9 was the home

consort, Prince Albert. The hotel was rebuilt

Square through to Mount Street. It was first

of Oscar Wilde before he moved to Chelsea

between 1894-6 and during World War I was

laid out in 1727 but was later rebuilt in 1892

with his wife.

renamed The Connaught after Queen Victoria’s

curving between Grosvenor Square and

son, the Duke of Connaught, in response to the

Berkeley Square, when it was renamed Carlos

Carlos Place is most noted as the location of

Place. Carlos Place has been the home of a

the Connaught Hotel on the corner of Mount

number of famous residents, including Josiah

Street. It was first built as the Coburg Hotel

Wedgwood, the founder of the world-famous

in 1815 by Francis Grillon and the name

prejudice against Germanic names.

44 grosvenor estate: past & present

45 grosvenor estate: past & present

46 grosvenor estate: past & present

Bourdon House elevation – Survey of London: Volume 40

Bourdon House Much rebuilding has taken place along Davies

than we see today, having been extended during

Duchess continued on until 1957. It was, for a

Street, both in the 19th and 20th centuries, but

the 1900s. Much of the facade facing Davies

while, the London home of the current Duke,

it still retains one the finest Georgian buildings,

Street is the original building.

before becoming the home of Mallett’s antique

and one of the first built on the Grosvenor estate

dealers. The house was built in the Palladian

in Mayfair. Situated on the corner of Bourdon

At the turn of the 20th century the house was

style and features a carved stone pediment,

Street to the north of Berkeley Square, Bourdon

occupied by the Earl and Countess of Essex,

sash windows and a prominent brick wall

House was built in around 1723 for Justice

but during World War I, when the 2nd Duke

surrounding a paved court yard, with a wrought

of the Peace for Middlesex and vestryman,

of Westminster had loaned Grosvenor House

iron gateway. The interior retains original 18th

William Bourdon. It is also unique as being

to the government for the war effort, it became

century features, including wood panelling and

built as a detached house rather than a terraced

the home of the Duke. After the war, the Duke

the staircase. Today, it is the location of Alfred

row, and when it was being constructed it would

chose to remain at Bourdon House, and after

Dunhill and is Grade II* listed.

have been surrounded by fields and market

the demolition of Grosvenor House it became

gardens, giving it the impression of a country

his permanent home. The Duke remained in

house. However, when completed it was smaller

the house until he passed away in 1953 and the

47 grosvenor estate: past & present

Davies Street Davies Street was named after Mary Davies,

it was competing with the already established

Streets on the west side of Davies Street, is

heiress to the manor who married Sir Thomas

St George’s Market (on the corner of Gilbert

named after the former Three Kings Tavern,

Grosvenor. When first laid out, the northern

and Davies Street) and never really succeeded,

which formerly sat at the entrance to the

stretch of Davies Street was originally narrower

and was demolished in 1860. Davies Street was

yard from the 1720s until it was demolished

and bent to be parallel to South Molton Row,

extended straight through to Oxford Street and

in 1818. It is noted for its archway with a low

following an old pathway known as Shug Lane.

the site of the old market was replaced in 1889

pyramidal roof and ornate cupola with a clock.

The first lease was granted in July 1721 to

by John Bolding & Sons, sanitary engineers and

It is understood that the estate surveyor only

Thomas Barlow. Much of the area was a mixture

manufacturers. The new red brick and terracotta

allowed the clock on the condition that it did

of small houses and trade, including food shops

building, in a Renaissance style, was designed by

not strike. Nos.24-25 Davies Street, between

and pubs.

Wimperis & Arber.

Mount Street and Mount Row, was the former location for the gunsmith, Joseph Manton,

At the top of Davies Street, where today’s

No.53, joined with No.66 Brook Street, was

who ran a shooting gallery regularly attended

Gray’s Antique Market is situated, was

the Grosvenor Estate Office, until 2000. Three

by exclusive gentlemen clients, including the

Grosvenor Market, built in 1785. However,

Kings Yard, between Grosvenor and Brook

poet Byron.

Duke Street was laid out during 1724 but, along

became the Cathedral of the Ukranian Catholic

designed by C. Stanley Peach and opened in

with other parts of the estate, was largely rebuilt


1905. To compensate for the loss of the gardens,

Duke Street during the late 19th century. On the corner of

the paved area on top was laid out as an Italian

Weighhouse Street is the King’s Weighhouse

Between Duke Street and Balderton Street

garden and opened in 1906. After closing to

Church, designed by Alfred Waterhouse in

is the Duke Street Electricity Substation,

the public in the early 1980’s, the area was re-

1888. Constructed in red brick with terracotta

featuring the imposing Baroque style pavilions

opened by Grosvenor in 2007 and is now the

dressings, along with a tripartite entrance, the

in Portland stone at either end. Built on the site

subject of a major public realm improvement

church was completed in 1891. In 1965 it

of the Duke Street Gardens, the substation was


48 grosvenor estate: past & present

Aldford, Dunraven & Green Streets Aldford Street was laid out for building between

the 1750s, but was rebuilt during the 1870s and

with new, larger houses to attract new tenants.

1730 and 1739. It was originally named Chapel

1880s. It has been home to a number of famous

Since that time, there has been a number of

Street but renamed in 1886 after the village of

names, including the actress Lillie Langtry,

prominent residents, including the Canon of St

Aldford on the Grosvenors’ estate in Cheshire.

who lived at No.19, and was where the artist

Paul’s Cathedral and founder of the Edinburgh

It is most renowned as being the former home

James McNeill Whistler decorated part of the

Review, the Reverend Sydney Smith at No.59;

of celebrated wit, man of fashion and friend of

house. No.17 Dunraven Street was the home

and from 1931 until the late 1940s, the

the Prince Regent, Beau Brummel. He lived at

of celebrated author P.G. Wodehouse between

Princess Royal and her husband, the 6th Earl

No.13 in 1816, but in 1818 was forced to flee

1924 and 1934.

of Harewood, at No.32.

to France because of unpaid debts. It is believed the poet Shelley also lived at No.23 in 1813.

Green Street was built between 1725 and 1757 and named after the builder, John Green,

Dunraven Street was formerly known as

who in 1737 died by falling down a well in

Norfolk Street, but was renamed in 1939 after

Upper Grosvenor Street. The early houses

a former resident, the 4th Earl of Dunraven

were predominately home to tradespeople but

and Mount-Earl. It was first developed during

during the 1820s, large parts were redeveloped

George Bryan (Beau) Brummell 1778 – 1840 Brummell, a friend of George IV, was the most

with him and he was forced to flee to France to

famous of the Dandies and rumours about his

escape his massive gambling debts. He continued

flamboyant lifestyle were rife. It was claimed

to live the highlife and was nicknamed the “King

that he took five hours to get dressed and that

of Calais”, but eventually found himself living on

his boots were cleaned with Champagne. His

handouts in Caen, where he died in March 1840

extravagant lifestyle would eventually catch up

aged 62.

49 grosvenor estate: past & present

Nineteenth century redevelopment During the late 19th and early 20th centuries,

During the late 19th century, the 1st Duke

worked extensively on philanthropic efforts,

many houses on the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair

of Westminster began a large rebuilding

including animal welfare and temperance

were rebuilt or re-fronted to bring them up

programme across the estate. Over a period

– between 1869 and 1891 he reduced the

-to-date with the latest architectural styles.

of 30 years from 1869, Mount Street, Duke

number of pubs in Mayfair from 47 to eight

This period also brought in new owners and

Street, Aldford Street, large sections of South

(only five remain today) and specified that

occupants who were keen to demonstrate their

and North Audley Streets, as well as Park

they be built to look like private residences. He

success, as well as impress their neighbours with

Street, Carlos Place and most of South Street

also promoted better housing for the poor and

new balconies, balustrades, external decorations

and Green Street, were all rebuilt. The Duke

built a number of flats for artisans in Mayfair,

and porticos.

favoured the bold red brick Queen Anne Style

in particular to the north near Oxford Street.

which dominates these streets today. He also

Artisans development

50 grosvenor estate: past & present

51 grosvenor estate: past & present


52 grosvenor estate: past & present

Early Belgravia: Five Fields Today, Belgravia is known for its exclusivity,

houses in Ebury Street constructed in 1720, it

a notoriously dangerous area, frequented by

fashionable shopping and luxurious houses, but

remained undeveloped until 1825, when more

thieves and criminals. The lack of lighting and

the early history of the area couldn’t have been

houses were built along Knightsbridge to the

buildings meant it was a popular haunt for

more different. In the 16th century, Belgravia

north and Grosvenor Place to the east.

highwaymen and footpads (thieves on foot),

was simply known as Ebury Farm and covered

with many stories recorded about robberies and

430 acres of meadows and pastureland and

Up until the early 19th century, the land behind

murders. The open fields were also a popular

was primarily marshy ground unsuitable for

Knightsbridge, Sloane Street and Grosvenor

destination for duels. The only road to cross the


Place was still open fields and marsh land

area was the King’s private road and where the

known as ‘Five Fields’. The name originated

road crossed the river was a bridge known as

The area formed part of Mary Davies’

from the way tracks and paths divided the

‘Bloody Bridge’ due to the number of attacks and

substantial inheritance from her father,

area into separate sections. During the day,

murders that took place there. The infamous

Alexander Davies, and became part of the

the fields were used for market gardening,

fields were also used for cock-fighting, as well

Grosvenor Estate upon her marriage to Sir

apparently well-known for asparagus, as well

as bull and bear-baiting.

Thomas Grosvenor in 1677. Although some

as watercress from the banks of Westbourne

buildings began to appear on the outskirts of

River, and grazing animals and hanging out

the area in the 18th century, with the oldest

washing. However, at night, Five Fields became

53 grosvenor estate: past & present

Cubbitopolis The name Belgrave originates from Belgrave

Five Fields date from around 1812 when the

in Cheshire, the family seat of the Grosvenor

estate surveyor, James Wyatt, drew up plans for

family. However, the name ‘Belgravia’ was

the area, but the first building agreements were

invented from the fact that Belgrave Square

only made in 1821, which was well-timed with

sat within the heart of the new grand building

the recently renovated Buckingham House for

scheme by Cubitt. The area has also been called

George IV by John Nash.

‘Cubittopolis’ and to this day, it is seen as one of Thomas Cubitt’s greatest achievements.

On 18th March 1825, an agreement was made

However, this does distract from the fact

between Lord Grosvenor and Thomas Cubitt

that many other architects and builders were

for the development of most of the estate, apart

involved in the development of Belgravia.

from a few specific areas which were given to Seth Smith, Joseph Cundy and a few other

Of course, Thomas Cubitt held a lot of

smaller builders. In 1826 it was Cubitt, with the

responsibility for the building of Belgravia,

approval of the Grosvenor Estate, who obtained

but estate surveyors from the Cundy family

the Grosvenor Place and District Improvement

were also heavily involved, as were architects,

Act, with 36 Trustees responsible for paving,

Seth Smith and George Basevi. In fact, the first

lighting, policing, drainage etc.

plans for building on the Grosvenor Estate in

54 grosvenor estate: past & present

Thomas Cubitt - Master Builder Thomas Cubitt was born in 1788 in Buxton,

One other key feature of Cubitt’s legacy in

near Norwich, to William, a carpenter, and

Belgravia was his ingenious way of overcoming

Agnes Scarlett. Cubitt followed in his father’s

the problems with the swampy ground. Firstly,

footsteps and trained as a carpenter, after which

Cubitt dug up the top layer of clay and used it

he undertook a year long voyage to India as

to make bricks and, secondly, used earth taken

a ship’s carpenter. Upon his return, at the age

from the recently excavated St Katherine’s

of 21, he made his way to London in order

Dock to level the ground and allow for the

to seek his fortune and, with his brother, set

foundations of houses to be built on gravel.

up a building business on Grey’s Inn Road that was able to supply all of the building

In 1819 Cubitt married Mary Anne Warner

trades, as well as the architectural designs for

with whom he had 12 children. He was often

a house. Along with his brothers, William and

referred to as an architect, but insisted on

Lewis, the Cubitts took care of land drainage,

being called a builder. He became known

sewerage, roads, lighting and gardens, as well

as ‘the emperor of the building trade’, but

as the construction of the houses and mews.

continued living a modest lifestyle, refusing a

The Cubitts employed their own tradesmen –

title from Queen Victoria. He was well liked and

bricklayers, masons, carpenters, plumbers and

respected: “Mr Cubitt has done so much for the

painters and decorators – and became well

improvement of London, he has ever shown so

known for good workmanship and efficiency,

much solicitude for the large body of operatives

further establishing them as the high quality

employed by him, and he is so estimable in

builders of the age.

every relation of life ..” (The Builder 1851).

Cubitt’s first big venture was the development

Thomas Cubitt died at Denbies House near

of Bloomsbury for the Duke of Bedford but it

Dorking in 1855, leaving an estate worth £1

is the work resulting from the 1825 agreement

million in one of the longest wills on record.

made with Lord Grosvenor for which he is best remembered.

55 grosvenor estate: past & present

56 grosvenor estate: past & present

Belgrave Square Belgrave Square is the centrepiece of Cubitt’s

George Basevi. Basevi is remembered as being

the largest terraced houses in London: four

development and where the name of ‘Belgravia’

Sir John Soane’s finest pupil, as well as the

storeyed, stuccoed and featuring Corinthian

originated. Lord Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of

cousin of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli,

pillars or pilasters and elaborate stucco

Westminster, commissioned Thomas Cubitt to

and for his untimely death, falling from

decoration in the course above the attic.

oversee the development of his estate, but in

scaffolding at Ely Cathedral in 1845.

However, while giving the impression of a

Belgrave Square the development was handled

grand uniform appearance, the facades are not

by the Haldimand Syndicate. George and

The building of the terraces took place from

William Haldimand, along with Alexander

1825 until 1828, although building in the

Louis Prevost took over much of the building

square was still ongoing into the 1830s. At

of the terraces of Belgrave Square with architect

the time of completion, Basevi’s designs were

identical and there are slight variations in each.

Four Corners The four corners of Belgrave Square were

In the north western corner, No.12 was leased

It has since been altered a number of times

uniquely laid out for separate large villas.

to Earl Brownlow, who employed Sir Robert

and is now the home of the Spanish Ambassador.

Three of the plots were leased to tenants who

Smirke to design the house. It later became

In the south eastern corner, No.37, known as

employed their own architects, although the

the home of the Earl of Ancaster and today

Seaford House, was leased to the 3rd Earl of

fourth villa, in the north east, was abandoned

is the home of the Portuguese Ambassador.

Sefton, who employed Philip Hardwicke to

with the building of Grosvenor Crescent.

No.24, in the south western corner, was leased

design his house. It was constructed by Cubitt

However, No.49, on the angle of Grosvenor

to a Brighton developer, Thomas Kemp, who

and completed in 1846. It later became the

Crescent, slightly compensates for the loss. It

employed H.E. Kendall to design his house.

home of Lord de Walden, who renamed it

was designed by Cubitt for Sidney Herbert,

The house, later known as Downshire House,

Sefton House after an ancestor. Today it is

1st Baron Herbert of Lea, and completed in

was completed in 1834 but Kemp was forced

the Royal College of Defence Studies.

the late 1840s. It later became the home of the

to let it rather than live in it himself, and in

Duke of Richmond, and today is the residence

1837 it became the home of Viscount Hill,

of the Argentine Ambassador.

Commander-in-Chief of the British Army.


View of the East Side of Belgrave Square 1827 – Courtesy of City of Westminster Archives Centre

grosvenor estate: past & present

Distinguished residents of Belgrave Square Since its completion, Belgrave Square has

aristocrats. In fact, there were so many notable

been a highly sought-after address in London.

residents it is difficult to record them all here,

Almost immediately, houses were taken by

but below is a selection of illustrious names

high-ranking politicians, military men and

who have lived in Belgrave Square.

Charles Grey

Kitty Stephens

Little is known of Charles Grey’s early history.

Kitty Stephens was one of the most famous and

He attended school in Marylebone and Eton,

popular singers of her generation. She was born

Duchess of Kent (1786 – 1861)

before attending Cambridge. Grey went on

at 85 Park Street where her talent was spotted

to have a distinguished political career and

at an early age. She trained under Gesualdo

Born in Coburg in 1786, she married Edward,

was a member of the Whig Party. As Prime

Lanza for five years before becoming a pupil

Minister he oversaw the reformation of the

of Thomas Welsh. She started her career on

British government and was among the primary

£12 per week and at her pinnacle commanded

architects of the 1832 Reform Act. He is perhaps

£2500 over the winter season. Kitty had a

now better known for his personal life. In 1794

number of famous suitors, including Lord

he married Mary Elizabeth, daughter of the

Milton and the Duke of Devonshire. At the age

1st Baron Ponsonby, who bore him 11 children.

of 34, in 1838, she married the octogenarian 5th

Grey had a serious of affairs throughout his

Earl of Essex. He died in 1839, but the countess

lifetime and most famously with Georgiana,

lived for a further 43 years and continued to live

Duchess of Devonshire, with whom he had an

on Belgrave Square until her death in 1882.

illegitimate daughter, Eliza Courtney. She was raised by his parents, as his sister.

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Duke of Kent, the 4th son of George III in 1818. Her daughter (Queen) Victoria was born in 1819 at Kensington Palace and soon after, the Duke died of pneumonia, leaving the Duchess in dire straits and in fear that her daughter would be kidnapped by her royal relatives. The mother and daughter had a strained relationship and Victoria was forced to sleep in her mother’s chamber until her ascension to the throne. However, the last twenty years of her life were spent harmoniously at court and she is buried in a mausoleum at Windsor Home Park.

58 grosvenor estate: past & present

Twenty-first century Belgrave Square Along with many large houses and villas in

commercial use; in particular Belgrave Square

There are still some residential homes, including

central London, the effect of two World Wars,

is an extremely popular location for embassies.

three buildings that were divided into flats, and

higher taxes and death duties meant that few

In fact, there are said to be over 20 embassies

the number of buildings being converted back

could afford to live in these large houses any

in this area alone. Belgrave Square is also the

into houses has increased in recent years – there

longer. In the late 20th century, many of the

home of many Societies and Associations,

are now 10 in addition to the ambassadorial

houses were converted for institutional and

including the Royal College of Psychiatrists.


Eaton Terrace 1928-30 – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

59 grosvenor estate: past & present

60 grosvenor estate: past & present

Eaton Square The name ‘Eaton’ originates from the

Building in Eaton Square began in 1826 but

took a little longer to complete, with building

Grosvenors’ country seat, Eaton Hall in

was not completed until the 1850s. The variation

starting in 1830 and not finishing until 1847.

Cheshire. Eaton Square has a slightly unusual

in architectural detail on some of the homes is

The third terrace, also by Cubitt, was different

layout, being divided by the King’s Road. The

due to the length of time in construction and

again and constructed in an Italianate style.

King’s private road, formerly a small footpath,

the changing tastes in architecture from the

was created by Charles II for the sole use of

1820s to the 1850s.The three northern terraces

The southern terraces were built by Seth Smith

the King and his family travelling to Hampton

are by Thomas Cubitt and his brother Lewis,

and George Sutton. Seth started work in 1825,

Court Palace. Anyone else wishing to use the

with the earlier sections constructed closest to

but in 1840 he passed the development to

road required a token, which was presented to

St Peter’s Church between 1826 and 1830 in a

Charles James Freake, who is remembered

the toll booth at the junction with Grosvenor

simplified late Georgian style, with the exterior

for his building in South Kensington. He

Place. The entire stretch of the King’s Road,

in stock brick and stucco only on the ground

completed the western section, as well as

from Grosvenor Place to Fulham, was opened

and basement levels. The central terrace is in the

several sites in the central block.

to the public in 1830.

more familiar stucco with a continuous line of porches with fluted Doric columns. The terrace

St Peter’s Church On the eastern edge of Eaton Square is

few years it was devastated by fire and was

St Peter’s Church, the location for many

completely rebuilt in 1837. It was later enlarged

fashionable Belgravia weddings. It was

and remodelled by Sir Arthur Blomfield during

designed by Henry Hakewill and part of the

the 1870s. Misfortune struck again in 1988

early development, with Lord Grosvenor laying

when St Peter’s was once again almost entirely

the foundation stone in 1824. It was completed

destroyed by fire. It was restored by architects

three years later and consecrated by the Bishop

John and Nicki Braithwaite in 1991 with the

of London in June 1827. However, within a

original facade retained.


Eaton Terrace 1928-30 – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

grosvenor estate: past & present

Distinguished residents of Eaton Square Like Belgrave Square, Eaton Square has been

He was forced to resign from the Austrian

The 20th century brought great change to Eaton

the home of many distinguished residents. The

government during the revolutions of 1848

Square, particularly after the two World Wars.

first tenant to move in was William Whitbread

and took temporary refuge in London.

Under the 1939 Defence Regulations, many

of the brewing family, who was followed by

houses in Eaton Square were requisitioned by

others such as Lord Truro, who was Lord

Other notable residents have included the

the government during the war and for some

Chancellor, and Sir George Gray, a devoted

official residence of the Speaker of the House

time afterward. After the end of World War II,

servant and friend of Queen Victoria.

of Commons during the rebuilding of the

in 1946 and 1947, plans were then put in place

Houses of Parliament; and No.93 was the

to redevelop the square by converting most of

Former British Prime Minister, Neville

home of Stanley Baldwin, later Earl Baldwin

the houses into flats and maisonettes.

Chamberlain, lived at No.37 Eaton Square

of Bewdley, between 1920-3. Baldwin was three

from 1923 until 1935; while No.44 was home

times Prime Minister and also the cousin of

to Austrian statesman, Prince Klemens

Rudyard Kipling; No.114 was the home of

Metternich, Prince of Metternich-Winneburg-

Lady Baden-Powell. Eaton Square was also

Beilstein. When Foreign Minister, he was one

the home of renowned American philanthropist,

of the principal organisers of the Congress of

George Peabody, who is remembered for his

Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

social housing across London.

Vivien Leigh (1913-1967)

for which she won an Oscar, and became an

England in 1920 where she attended school

married in 1940, however, by the mid 1950s

Leigh was born in Darjeeling and moved to in Roehampton with fellow actress Maureen O’Sullivan. In 1932 she married barrister, Herbert Leigh Holman, with whom she had a daughter. She was cast in Fire over England in 1937, where she met and fell in love with the actor Laurence Olivier and in 1939 she was cast in her most famous role, Scarlett O’Hara,


international star. Leigh and Olivier were Leigh began to suffer the manic episodes which lead to the breakup of her second marriage. Although she continued to perform, she was plagued by ill health and died from tuberculosis in her flat in 54 Eaton Square in July 1967. That night the exterior lights of London’s West End theatres were darkened for an hour.

Eaton Square – Courtesy of City of Westminster Archives Centre

grosvenor estate: past & present

63 grosvenor estate: past & present

Upper Belgrave Street & Belgrave Place The streets off Belgrave Square have been

lived at No.12 Belgrave Street and the poet

as Upper Eccleston Street, but was renamed

highly sought-after and were a vital part of

Alfred Lord Tennyson, lived at No.9 in 1880.

in 1870. No.3 was the home of Lord Charles

Cubitt’s design for the Grosvenor Estate. Upper

No.13 was the home of George Fitzclarence,

Wellesley and is also believed to have been the

Belgrave Street, first known simply as Belgrave

eldest son of the ten children presented to King

home of the Duke of Wellington.

Street, was laid out by Thomas Cubitt in 1826,

William IV by his mistress, the actress, Mrs

with No.1 Belgrave Street said to have been

Jordan. Fitzclarence became a Lieutenant of

the first completed house in Belgravia. People

the Tower of London and later became Earl of

began to move in during the late 1820s, but

Munster in 1831, before committing suicide

it wasn’t until 1835 that the entire street was

in 1842. No.13 later became the home of Lord

occupied. In 1827, Thomas Cubitt himself

Harewood. Belgrave Place was originally known

64 grosvenor estate: past & present

Eaton Place Eaton Place was constructed to accompany

his first musical recital in London at No.99

nearby Eaton Square and has been

Eaton Place and in 1922, No.36 was the site

immortalised by the television programme

of the assassination of Field-Marshal Sir

Upstairs Downstairs, which clearly illustrates

Henry Wilson who was shot by two Irishmen

the type of household that would have existed

as he was getting out of his car. Eaton Place

in Belgravia during the 19th and early 20th

continued to be the home of many notable

centuries. Building development took place

residents, with many retired military leaders,

over a number of years, between 1828 and the

aristocracy and politicians.

1840s. Thomas Cubitt used a number of the houses in Eaton Place as his offices throughout the development of Belgravia. It has also been the home of scientist, Lord Kelvin, who lived at No.15. In 1848 the composer Chopin gave

Ebury Street Ebury Street sits on the southern border of

Ebury Street was the home of Mozart when

Belgravia, close to Victoria Station, and was

he was a child and was where he wrote his first

built across the former Ebury Farm in 1820.

symphony at the age of eight in 1764. The Irish

The street has seen many historic characters

writer, George Moore, lived at No.121, where

walking its pavements, including George III

he wrote Conversations in Ebury Street and

and his family, who walked along Ebury Street

Alfred Lord Tennyson lived at No.42 in 1847.

to the famous Chelsea Bun House. No.180

Eaton Square – Courtesy of City of Westminster Archives Centre

65 grosvenor estate: past & present

Motcomb & Kinnerton Streets Today, Motcomb Street is a small enclave of

houses with accommodation above, artisans’

shops in Belgravia. It was originally named

houses, small businesses and pubs. Today, it

Kinnerton Mews, but the name changed shortly

still retains a feeling of a small village. Earl

after completion in 1830. The north side of

Mountbatten of Burma, who was assassinated

Motcomb Street features the stucco front of

by the IRA in 1979, maintained a house at No.2

the ‘Pantechnicon’, built by Seth Smith to

Kinnerton Street from 1968 until his death.

designs by Joseph Jopling in 1830. It formerly

Studio Place, renamed in 1931, was built as

housed carriage showrooms, shops and extensive

College Place in 1844. It contains Bradbrook

warehousing, with a bazaar in the block opposite.

House which, until 1890, was a series of schools

The supposedly fire-proof warehouse behind

of anatomy. It was then converted into artists’

burnt down in 1874 and was replaced by a

studios, renamed Kinnerton Studios in 1893

shopping arcade and garden.

and then Bradbrook House in 1948. During World War I it was used as a hospital.

The Kinnerton Street area was developed from 1824 by Seth Smith and named after a village in Cheshire on The Grosvenors’ estates. The street was built as a service road, including coach

66 grosvenor estate: past & present

Living in Belgravia In the design for Belgravia, landowners did

today, the majority of the pubs in Belgravia are

not want shops to be seen, but rather, along

tucked away in the mews. Through traffic was

with pubs, they were banished to the mews and

also banned from the estate, which was enforced

smaller streets on the outskirts. Cubitt planned

by bars across Pont Street and the King’s Road,

for the area to be exclusively private houses but,

attended by barkeepers in top-hats, who were

unusually, Seth Smith deliberately created the

given strict instructions to turn back commercial

Pantechnicon in Motcomb Street, as well as

vehicles and unauthorised private carriages.

Halkin Arcade, which is now Waitrose. Still

The Wiltons Wilton Crescent and Wilton Place were

Today, Wilton Row is renowned for the

both built by Seth Smith between 1824 and

Grenadier pub, believed to be one of the most

1828. The name Wilton originated from Lady

haunted pubs in London and named for its

Eleanor Egerton, daughter of the 1st Earl of

close association with the former Foot-Guards

Wilton, who married Robert Grosvenor.

Barracks. Wilton Row, built by Thomas Cubitt, was first known as Wilton Crescent Mews and

Wilton Place was built on the site of an old

completed in the early 1830s.

cow yard from 1827. St Paul’s Church in Wilton Place was built in 1840-43 by Thomas Cundy, junior.

67 grosvenor estate: past & present

68 grosvenor estate: past & present

Chester Square Chester Square is one of the key squares of

Chester Square has also been home to

Belgravia. It was originally laid out as streets but

many illustrious residents including Mary

in 1828, Joseph Cundy, Seth Smith and another

Wollstonecraft, author of Frankenstein and

developer, Watkins, proposed a new layout as

wife of poet, Shelley, in No.24. No.26 was the

an oblong square. The name ‘Chester’ originates

home of John St Loe Strachey, son of Sir John

from the city of Chester, where the Grosvenors’

Strachey who rose to become a successful

country seat, Eaton Hall, is located. Building

journalist and editor of The Spectator from

began in around 1832, but was not completed

1898 to 1925. During World War II, No.77

until the 1840s. The south east and north east

was the location for the Secretariat of Queen

terraces were built by Thomas Cundy, probably

Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and it is also

to the designs of his brother Thomas Cundy II.

believed that the spy, Guy Burgess, lived in

The north west side was built by Seth Smith,

the square, staying with a friend.

with a mixture of plain stucco and more ornate Italianate designs. The square is dominated by St Michael’s Church, built by Thomas Cundy in a decorative gothic style. It was completed in 1846, but altered again in 1874.

Kinnerton Street – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

69 grosvenor estate: past & present

St George’s Hospital – Lanesborough Hotel On the corner of Knightsbridge and Hyde

the old house was converted and extended, but

as a half-sovereign taken from Mr. Brunel’s

Park Corner is the grand Lanesborough Hotel,

by the 1880s it was clear that a new building

windpipe and money and knives taken from

formerly St George’s Hospital, which is on the

was required.

patients’ stomachs.

Viscount Lanesborough. The original house was

It was designed by William Wilkins, who was

St George’s Hospital continued at Hyde Park

built on the outskirts of London in 1719 when

also responsible for the designs of the National

Corner until 1980, when it relocated to Tooting.

this area was still countryside. Lanesborough

Gallery in Trafalgar Square. The new hospital,

The Grosvenor Estate then bought back the site

was most notably responsible for the gilding

built in a neo-Greek style with projecting wings

and in 1988 it was agreed the hospital would

of the upper gallery around the dome of St

and a large portico of four pillars facing Green

be converted into a new high class hotel, now

Paul’s Cathedral, at his own expense. He passed

Park, was built in 1827-29. The new building

known as the Lanesborough Hotel.

away in 1724 and by 1733 the house had been

not only included hospital wards, but also a

acquired by the governors of the Westminster

chapel, a museum, lecture room and private

Infirmary to convert into a hospital. Over time,

apartments. The museum held curiosities such

site of the former ‘country house’ of James Lane,

Tattersalls Behind St George’s Hospital, today’s

as ‘the corner’. It was founded in 1773 by

Lanesborough Hotel, was the famous Tattersall’s

Richard Tattersall, former training groom to

horse market, “so renowned through all the

the Duke of Kingston. By 1864, Tattersalls had

breadth and length of horse-loving, horse-

become completely surrounded by buildings

breeding, horse-racing Europe”. Tattersalls was

and streets and it was decided to relocate it

the destination point for buying and selling

further west to Knightsbridge Green, where the

horses across the country, as well as those for

Tattersall Tavern is the only real reminder of

Europe seeking out the best breeds for the

the former horse auctioneers in Knightsbridge.

nobility and gentry and was popularly known Ordnance Survey map showing Belgrave Square and surrounding areas 1869

70 grosvenor estate: past & present

71 grosvenor estate: past & present

Grosvenor Crescent & Grosvenor Place Grosvenor Crescent was laid out from 1837

Thomas Cundy the younger was responsible for

over the corner of Belgrave Square through the

much of the building between 1865 and 1871

grounds of the old Tattersalls horse auction mart

in a 17th century French Renaissance style.

but was not completed until 1860. The houses in the northern terrace were completed by Seth

The new houses along Grosvenor Place were

Smith and those on the south were by Cubitt.

soon taken up by wealthy residents, including Baron Sir Anthony de Rothschild of the

Grosvenor Place was one of the earliest parts of

banking family. No.17, built in 1875 by R.J.

Belgravia to be built on, with the first building

Waller became the Irish Embassy.

to the south, the Lock Hospital, built in 1746 when much of the surrounding area was covered

Since the turn of the 20th century, many of

in fields. It was originally built as an isolation

the houses along Grosvenor Place have been

hospital, in particular to cure females “suffering

converted for commercial or institutional use,

from diseases contracted by a vicious way of life�.

with large sections entirely rebuilt.

Grosvenor Place was laid out with houses from 1767, shortly after George III made Buckingham House a royal residence. The original 18th century houses were large detached villas, with a number of notable residents. However, by the 1860s and after Belgravia had become the centre of fashionable London, it was decided to redevelop Grosvenor Place.

72 grosvenor estate: past & present

Halkin, Chapel & Wilton Streets Halkin Street is dominated by Forbes House,

Chapel Street was named after the former

Wilton Street was built between 1819 and

formerly known as Mortimer House, a nine

chapel attached to the Lock Hospital, which

1825. No.8 was the home of Henry Gray, who

bay house built with yellow brick and hidden

was located here. It was first built up in the late

worked at St George’s Hospital and wrote the

behind a walled forecourt with trees. The

18th century, but only partly completed at the

anatomy textbook, Gray’s Anatomy that is

original part of the house was built in around

turn of the 19th century. Most notably, it has

still used by medical students today. The house

1810 by Sir Robert Smirke for the 5th Earl of

been the former home of Richard Jones, teacher

was also home to actress and stage performer

Oxford, but it was later extended in 1824 for

of elocution, who became known as ‘Gentleman

Miss Ruth Draper during 1936. Wilton Street

the future 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam and again in

Jones’. He was a highly sought after teacher for

was also the home of former Prime Minister

around 1912 for the 8th Earl of Granard, who

politicians, preachers and lawyers who needed

Edward Heath who moved to No.17 after

was responsible for the name of ‘Forbes’. The

assistance with their speech.

losing the 1974 election.

Caledonian Club was built in 1913 on the site of the Belgrave Chapel, which had been built by Sir Robert Smirke in 1811.

73 grosvenor estate: past & present


South Belgravia

74 grosvenor estate: past & present

Pimlico – Millbank During the 13th century, the southern area of

create a small community of farmers and

18th century, the area had become disreputable

Pimlico, part of the manor of Eia, was the site

gardeners. Much of the area became market

and with the increasing urban development and

of a moated manor house known as ‘La Neyte’,

gardens, providing fruit and vegetables for the

the building of Victoria Station in the 19th

home of the Abbot Berking, which formerly

London markets.

century, the gardens and entertainments were

stood near today’s Warwick Place. To the north

swept away.

was the home of the bailiff, Ebury Farm, near

The manor house was still recorded in 1614

today’s Chester Square and Ebury Square. After

but by the 1630s, the whole area had begun to

It was not until the 1840s that the full scale

a severe storm in 1362, La Neyte was rebuilt

change, with further houses constructed and the

development of “Mr Cubitt’s District” began.

by the ‘building Abbot’, Nicholas Littlington.

name of the area changing to ‘the Neathouses’.

Cubitt referred to the area as “South Belgravia”,

It was also during this period that the convent

It became a popular area of entertainment, with

but it would later be called Pimlico.

attached to the Abbey of Westminster increased

gardens and food and drink and Samuel Pepys

its income by building additional houses to

was a regular visitor. However, by the end of the

Grosvenor House Grosvenor House, also known as Peterborough

of Peterborough married his second wife, the

House, formerly sat to the south of today’s

celebrated singer Mrs Anastasia Robinson, in

Horseferry Road, very close to MI5

the house. A short time later, the Grosvenor

headquarters, Thames House. The house was

family set about rebuilding the house, and it

first constructed by Alexander Davies after he

remained on the bank of the Thames until the

inherited the Manor of Ebury and it was leased

early 19th century when it was demolished to

to the Earls of Peterborough by Sir Robert

make way for new streets and houses.

Grosvenor in the 1730s. In 1735 the 3rd Earl

75 grosvenor estate: past & present

Pimlico Wharf & the Grosvenor Canal In the 18th century, a large part of the southern

Grosvenor Canal by Thomas Cubitt in 1823.

part of a new housing development, Grosvenor

section of the estate was taken up by Pimlico

However, only a few years later in 1852, the

Waterside, and only the old lock gates remain

Wharf, created in 1725 to provide access

Chelsea Waterworks Company relocated to

along the embankment. The old waterworks

from the Thames to the Chelsea Waterworks

Surbiton and Pimlico Wharf was used as the

pumping station can still be seen along

Company, which formerly supplied water to

site for Victoria Railway Station. Today, the

Grosvenor Road.

much of London. It was transformed into the

remnants of the canal have been included as

76 grosvenor estate: past & present

Thomas Cubitt in Pimlico During the early 19th century, Pimlico was

acquired land on neighbouring estates, enabling

joinery and glass works, plaster and steel works,

largely industrial. To the east was the Hunter

him to plan road layouts that made the most

and facilities for making bricks and cement.

and Bramah steelworks, near today’s Denbigh

of the site rather than being limited by estate

Cubitt also used the latest steam-driven

Street, and to the west was Smith’s distillery.


technology but unfortunately, fire broke out

The original road to the distillery was known

in 1854 and vast sections of the works were

as Baker’s Lane, but was later renamed

Cubitt brought in huge amounts of soil to level

Distillery Lane, with the northern stretch

out the ground and balance the wet marshy

becoming Sutherland Street.

soil for building, as he did with neighbouring

Pimlico is not only famous for the long stucco

Belgravia. Along with building around a quarter

terraced houses, but also for the layout of

By the 1820s things were about to drastically

of the houses, Cubitt also monitored the designs

streets in grids and diagonals, which made the

change in Pimlico. Up until this time, much of

and building of other contractors, including

maximum use of space for building in-between

the riverside land was marshy (which was why

the 2nd Marquess of Westminster, to create the

ancient tracks and rights of way. Cubitt was well

it was so good for market gardening), making

uniform appearance that Pimlico is still famous

known for his high standards, but he also aimed

it unfit for building. However, its proximity to

for today. Cubitt would approve designs, or even

to offer the latest in house designs and as early

Westminster, along with the remodelling of

provide them from his own drawing office.

as the 1820s, even the smaller houses were built

Buckingham House in 1821 for George IV,

This control over the development also meant

with inside toilets and bathrooms. Building

created a new interest in the riverside area.

there were often strict covenants on the use of

across Pimlico continued throughout the mid

The development of Belgravia to the north

properties, which still exist.

19th century and by the 1870s, there was very

also changed attitudes to Millbank and Pimlico,

completely destroyed.

little open land left. This part of the Grosvenor

and the renowned builder Thomas Cubitt began

The immense quantity of new streets and

Estate, comprising some 66 acres, was sold by

to plant new developments. Cubitt purchased

houses meant that in 1839, Cubitt actually

the family in 1952. The funds supported a new

the remainder of the leases across the stretch

created a factory and building works on site,

investment in Vancouver, the beginnings of

of land south of today’s Lupus Street and also

near today’s Dolphin Square. The site had a

Grosvenor’s international property business.

Map of the Grosvenor Estate as in 1723 (Drawn by estate surveyor Thomas Cundy 1822) – Courtesy of The Grosvenor Estate

77 grosvenor estate: past & present

The Grosvenor Estate today The extent of the Grosvenor Estate in London has changed from its original form in the 17th century, but today it continues to be home to some of the most sought after addresses in London. The architectural legacy, along with the stories of former residents, means that it is one of the most fascinating parts of London, and its history is essentially a history of London. The Grosvenor Estate aims to retain its heritage while also creating ‘great places to live, work and visit’. Their recent work on regeneration and improvements, as well as preservation, means it is maintaining the quality of the estate as Sir Richard Grosvenor envisaged 300 years ago.

78 grosvenor estate: past & present

79 grosvenor estate: past & present

80 grosvenor estate: past & present

81 grosvenor estate: past & present

Chesterton Humberts: appreciating heritage With our own history dating back to 1805, Chesterton Humberts understands the importance of heritage. We appreciate the extent to which history can have an effect on an area and greatly value the history of individual houses and, as property experts, know that by understanding the history of a house or area, we can bring properties to life and better explain the context that they sit within.

melanie backe-hansen This history of the Grosvenor Estate was researched and compiled by specialist house historian and author of ‘The Secrets Behind Your Front Door’, Melanie Backe-Hansen. Additional support and research was provided by Rebecca Howe of our Westminster & Pimlico branch.

82 grosvenor estate: past & present

83 grosvenor estate: past & present

84 grosvenor estate: past & present

Grosvenor Estate History  

History of the Grosvenor Estate

Grosvenor Estate History  

History of the Grosvenor Estate