Connaught Place, W2

Road, existing between 1807 and now

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Road · The Underground Map · W2 ·
October
23
2017

Connaught Place is a street near to Marble Arch.


Tyburnia was a name used in the early 19th century for the area - the first part of the Paddington Estate to be built up. It was adopted presumably because ’Tyburn’ was already well known, as a reference to the gallows at Tyburn tree. In the 1870s the name was confined to a fashionable area, bounded on the west by Westbourne and Gloucester terraces, north of Lancaster Gate.

The first building agreement was made in 1807 between the trustees for the beneficial lessees of the Paddington Estate and John Lewis, surgeon, of St. George’s, Hanover Square. Lewis took a lease for 98 years from 1806 of land with a frontage of c. 400 ft. along the Uxbridge road and one of 360 ft. along Edgware Road to the corner of Upper Seymour Street West, a proposed continuation of Marylebone’s Upper Seymour Street. A range of substantial dwellings of the first class facing Hyde Park was to be built by 1812, with second- or third-rate houses along the south side of Upper Seymour’ Street West and mews between in Edinburgh (later Connaught) Place.

Aristocratic patronage was assured from the start. Lewis’s first lease referred to a projected Connaught Street and Edinburgh Mews (built as Stanhope Place and Connaught Place), named after George III’s nephew and son-in-law Prince William Frederick who in 1805 had succeeded as duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and earl of Connaught. The duke apparently had the first house facing Hyde Park, no. 1 Connaught Place, built for Lady Augusta De Ameland, who had married his royal brother-in-law, the duke of Sussex, without parliamentary sanction.

Lewis had built the house by the end of 1807, when Lady Augusta took a 96½ years’ lease, and the 12 other houses of Connaught Place by 1812.

Lady Augusta was one of four residents listed for 1811 and one of ten for 1819, when the others included the earl of Lindsey, Viscount Barnard, Sir Charles Coote, Bt., Sir Robert Wigram, Bt., and the bishop of Exeter. Her house was later occupied by her son Sir Augustus D’Este (1794-1848) and by 1855 nos. 1 and 2 Connaught Place had been united as Arklow House, named after the duke of Sussex’s Irish barony of Arklow. No. 7 (Connaught House) was a residence of Caroline, princess of Wales, in 1814, when her daughter Princess Charlotte briefly sought refuge there. The mansions enjoyed the same prospect as St. George’s Row, where the actress and writer Elizabeth Inchbald lodged from 1810 to 1816 at no. 5 and then at no. 1, in a position claimed as the finest in London.

The tall stuccoed houses of Connaught Place had their principal rooms overlooking the park and were entered from a private road behind. That layout was used by Cockerell some 15 years before Nash adopted it for York Terrace, facing Regent’s Park, and was later to be repeated farther west along the Uxbridge road.

Connaught Place and Mews were lit with gas in 1819.

The head offices of the Premier League and Experian are now located here, as is the Matlock Bank, Mayfair Conference Centre, The Victory Services Club, and various marketing and sales companies such as Jacobs Consultancy, Spencer Stuart, and ZS Associates.

A blue plaque at number 2 records the residence there of Lord Randolph Churchill from 1883 to 1892.

Idina Sackville was living in Connaught Place in 1914.


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