The final instalment of Spotlight On...!
The area once known as Five Fields, when it was nothing more than a swampy marshland infamous for robbers and bandits, was developed by Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, in the early 19th Century. The area takes its name from one of the Duke of Westminster's subsidiary titles, Viscount Belgrave. The village of Belgrave in Cheshire being two miles from the Grosvenor family's main country seat of Eaton Hall.
Following this dramatic change in the landscape, the area has attracted many noteworthy residents and become one of the wealthiest districts in the world. Prime Ministers Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain; Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, novelist Ian Fleming and Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, a great swathe of Silver Screen alumni including Vivien Leigh, Joan Collins, Sir Michael Caine, Elizabeth Hurley, Sir Lawrence Olivier; and models, Elle Macpherson and Poppy and Cara Delevingne.
Mozart wrote his first ever symphony at 180 Ebury Street, aged just eight years old. He was heavily influenced by Johann Christian Bach, son of Johann Sebastien, who was living in Belgravia at the time.
Writer Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series lived on Ebury Street, while Bond actors Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore have also called Belgravia home in the past. One of the series’ most notable villains was played on screen by Sir Christopher Lee, who was born in Belgravia.
Eaton Square, one of three garden squares built by the Grosvenor family, is named after the historic Cheshire manor of Eaton, on which is situated Eaton Hall. No 1 was the former house of Baron Robert Boothby, Private Secretary to Winston Churchill.
Belgrave Square, the grandest and largest of the garden square, is the centrepiece of Belgravia. It was laid out by the property contractor Thomas Cubitt.
These two squares are linked by Upper Belgrave Street, a wide one-way residential street graced with a series of very grand and imposing white stuccoed buildings. Number 9 once home to Alfred Lord Tennyson and No 36 is used as the permanent residence for the Belgian ambassador.
Chester Square, the smallest and most recent of the garden squares, is named after the city near to Eaton Hall, and was home to former Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Lady Thatcher, who lived here in her retirement.
Wilton Crescent was created by Thomas Cundy II, the Grosvenor family Estate surveyor. It is named after the 2nd Earl of Wilton, second son of the 1st Marquess of Westminster. The crescent has been home to many prominent politicians, ambassadors and civil servants over the last 200 years.
Lowndes Square is home to some of the most expensive properties in the world. Russian businessman Roman Abramovich bought two stucco houses in 2008, which he then merged into one very grand house, with a total of eight bedrooms.
Boisdale’s on Eccleston Street, a lively Scottish restaurant offers live jazz every evening, as well as a cigar terrace and whisky bar for patrons.
The Grenadier pub on Wilton Row, was built in 1720 as the home to the Foot Guards Regiment before becoming a licensed premise in 1818. It is well-known as the Duke of Wellington’s Officers Mess and was even frequented by King George IV at this time.
On the busy corner of Piccadilly and Berkeley Street, a coffee house was transformed in 1897 into the hotel we know today and formally became known as The Berkeley hotel. At this time, the hotel quickly became popular with debutantes and their suitors. Being equally popular with their parents who trusted staff to keep an eye on their daughters’ reputations.
A traditional hotel, that keeps up with modern trends, in recent years customers can design the car of their dreams at Ferrari Atelier on the ground floor.
Want to escape the busy streets? High on the 7th floor, beyond the hotel’s secret garden, is rooftop pool, tiled in iridescent white and gold mosaic, beneath a sliding roof, retractable when outside temperatures permit.
The milliner Philip Treacy has spectacular shop on Elizabeth Street. Treacy won a place on the MA fashion design course at the Royal College of Art in London, and graduated in 1990 with first class honours. In 1989 he took one of his hats to the fashion editor, Michael Roberts and style editor, Isabella Blow, of Tatler magazine. Blow asked Treacy to make a hat for her to wear for her wedding and invited him to live with her and her husband Detmar in their home, from which Treacy started working. He has designed hats for various films, including the Harry Potter films and is a popular choice for celebrities, as well as the Royal Family. He designed the controversaion fascinator worn by Princess Beatrice of York to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Just over thirty-five years ago, a family’s farmland was turned into a sustainable organic farm, primarily to feed themselves well better…this grew into one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK, known as Daylesford.
The farm shop on Pimlico Road offers fresh, seasonal produce, artisan cheese and breads, organic meat, and café.