Grosvenor Square 1545

Mayfair, England, Greater London

Brief Description

Grosvenor Square covers about 2.5 hectares. Originally constructed by Sir Richard Grosvenor in the early-18th century as a private square, it quickly became a public open space. Redevelopment took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most of the buildings around the square date from the mid-20th century. The square is enclosed by a holly hedge and a late-20th century chain-link fence.

History

The first garden on the site was laid out by William Kent in around 1725. The layout was simplified in the early-19th century and redesigned in 1947-8 to accommodate a statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt. This layout has largely been retained, though it was modified in the 1970s.

Visitor Facilities

This area is a public park.

Terrain

Level.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

An early 18th century town square, redeveloped in the 19th and 20th centuries.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Grosvenor Square, c 2.5ha, is laid out on level ground and is located in Mayfair, Central London, in the grid of streets to the south of Oxford Street, east of Park Lane, west of New Bond Street, and north of Piccadilly. The oval garden is enclosed by a holly hedge and a late C20 chain-link fence, and has entrances in the four corners and in the centre of the south side. The gardens are surrounded by the road and buildings of the square, which are on a rectangular plan. Most of the buildings in the square were rebuilt in the mid C20 and include the American Embassy to the west, the Europa Hotel to the north, and the Britannia Hotel to the south. The surviving earlier buildings include No 38 (C18 origins, listed grade II*), No 9 (C18 origins, listed grade II), and No 4 (mid C19 origins, listed grade II). Roads enter the square from the north-west (North Audley Street and Upper Brook Street), north-east (Duke Street and Brook Street), south-west (South Audley Street and Upper Grosvenor Street), and south-east (Grosvenor Street and Carlos Place).

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The garden is surrounded by a holly hedge and is largely laid to lawn, with mature plane trees, and scattered trees and shrubs including ailanthus, malus, and thorn. In the centre of the north side of the garden is the statue of Franklin D Roosevelt (1948, listed grade II), with a life-size bronze on a corniced stone pedestal. This is set in an elongated oval area of stone paving with a fountain on either side of the statue, designed by Gallanaugh. To the south of the statue is an area of paving, with a large bed to either side, bordered by yew hedging and backed by pleached limes. From the beds a broad, stone-paved path runs south to the southern entrance, lined by wooden benches. At the southern end of the path is a memorial to the Eagle Squadron of June 1940, with a bronze eagle (Dame Elizabeth Frink 1985) on a tall stone plinth, which faces north to the Roosevelt memorial. From the centre of the garden, four paths lead diagonally in each direction to the corners of the garden. Further paths wind between these, forming a continuous path around the garden. On the east side of the garden is a small shelter.

REFERENCES

E B Chancellor, The History of the Squares of London (1907), pp 23-41

E Cecil, London Parks and Gardens (1907), p 221

A I Dasent, A History of Grosvenor Square (1935), pp 16-25

B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 1 The Cities of London and Westminster (3rd edn 1973), pp 583-586

Maps

Plan of the Grosvenor Estate, 1723 [in Chancellor 1907]

J Rocque, Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster and Borough of Southwark and the country near ten miles around, surveyed 1741-1745, published 1746

R Horwood, Map of London, 1792-9, 2nd edition 1813 by William Faden

Stanford's Library Map of London and its Suburbs, 1877

OS 60" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1867

2nd edition published 1894

3rd edition published 1919

Description written: February 2000

Amended: January 2003

Edited: August 2003

Features
  • Statue
  • Description: Statue by Sir William Reid Dick of Franklin D Roosevelt.
  • Latest Date:
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: Mature plane trees.
  • Path
  • Description: There is a series of winding paths to either side of the main north/south path.
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This area is a public park.
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

Grosvenor Square was completed by 1725 for Sir Richard Grosvenor. The first garden layout is attributed to William Kent, about 1725 (Chancellor 1907), with a formal arrangement of shrubs around a central, square grass plot, with an equestrian statue of George I by Van Nost, erected in 1726. Rocque's plan of 1741-1745 shows the garden railed with wooden palings and the statue at the centre of the grass plot with flower beds around.

This layout was simplified in the early 19th century (Horwood, 1813) by the removal of the smaller intersecting paths, which were replaced by lawn. The perimeter walk and the four main paths to the central feature were retained and symmetrical shrubberies were planted on the lawns. In the mid 19th century the 18th century elm trees were replaced by plane trees along the main paths. By the early 20th century, the statue of George I had been replaced by an octagonal shelter.

The layout was redesigned in 1947-1948 by B W L Gallanaugh, FRIBA, in order to accommodate a statue by Sir William Reid Dick of Franklin D Roosevelt, the President of the United States of America during the Second World War. The Gallanaugh scheme incorporated a low yew hedge surrounding the garden, and a wide north/south path, leading north to the statue. The mature plane trees were retained, further planes and cherries were planted, and the path system was replaced by a series of winding paths to either side of the main north/south path. The garden has been managed as a public open space since the late 1940s.

The present (2003) layout is largely derived from the 1948 scheme, which was modified in the 1970s.

Associated People

People associated to Grosvenor Square

Contact
References

References