Thought to be the smallest public open space in London, Pickering Place
is perhaps most famous for being the location of the last public duel in England.
The courtyard still contains original gaslights and has an unspoilt Georgian feel. In the 18th century this square was notorious for its gambling dens, bear baiting and duels. Rumour has it that Beau Brummel, close friend to King George IV, once fought here.
Berry Brothers and Rudd, located here, is thought to be Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, having traded from the same shop for over 300 years. Berry’s was established in 1698 by the Widow Bourne, whose son-in-law, James Pickering built Picking Court as it was then known in 1731.
was the final location for the embassy of the Republic of Texas. The Republic of Texas then covered modern-day Texas as well as parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming and existed from 1836 to 1846 when it was annexed by the United States.
Other residents have been the author Graham Greene who kept a set of rooms overlooking the courtyard and Lord Palmerston who lived here for a time, a stone bust commemorates the former Prime Minister’s property.
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Entrance to Pickering Place
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St James’s is an exclusive area in the West End of London.
|VIEW THE ST JAMES’S AREA IN THE 1750s|
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.
|VIEW THE ST JAMES’S AREA IN THE 1800s|
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.
|VIEW THE ST JAMES’S AREA IN THE 1830s|
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.
|VIEW THE ST JAMES’S AREA IN THE 1860s|
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.
|VIEW THE ST JAMES’S AREA IN THE 1900s|
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.
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St James’s was once part of the same royal park as Green Park and St James’s Park. In the 1660s, Charles II gave the right to develop the area to Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St Albans, who proceeded to develop it as a predominantly aristocratic residential area with a grid of streets centered on St James’s Square. Until the Second World War, St James’s remained one of the most exclusive residential enclaves in London. Famous residences in St James’s include St James’s Palace, Clarence House, Marlborough House, Lancaster House, Spencer House, Schomberg House and Bridgewater House.
St James’s is the home of many of the best known gentlemen’s clubs in London. The clubs found here are organisations of English high society. A variety of groups congregate here, such as royals, military officers, motoring enthusiasts, and other groups.
It is now a predominantly commercial area with some of the highest rents in London and, consequently, the world. The auction house Christie’s is based in King Street, and the surrounding streets contain a great many upmarket art and antique dealers.
Office space to rent in St James’s is the most expensive in the world, costing up to five times average rents in New York, Paris and Sydney.
The area is home to fine wine merchants including Berry Brothers and Rudd, at number 3 St James’s Street. Adjoining St James’s Street is Jermyn Street, famous for its many tailors. St James’s is home to some of the most famous cigar retailers in London. At 35 St James’s Street is Davidoff of London, 19 St James’s Street is home to J.J. Fox and 50 Jermyn St has Dunhill; this makes the area a Cuban cigar haven.
The iconic English shoemaker Wildsmith which designed the first ever loafer was located at 41 Duke Street, St, James’s. It is now currently located at 13 Savile Row.
The area has a good number of art galleries, covering a spectrum of tastes. The White Cube gallery, which represents Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, had originally opened in Duke Street, St James’s, then moved to Hoxton Square. In September 2006, it opened a second gallery in St James’s at 25–26 Mason’s Yard, off Duke Street, on a plot previously occupied by an electricity sub-station. The gallery is the first free-standing building to be built in the St James’s area for more than 30 years.