Shepherd Market, W1J
Road in/near Mayfair, existing between 1735 and now
Print-friendly version of this page Shepherd MarketMayfair (originally called The May Fair) is an area of central London, by the east edge of Hyde Park. Mayfair boasts some of the capital's most exclusive property of all types.
was developed between 1735 and 1746 by Edward Shepherd from an open area called Brook Field
Through Brook Field, the river Tyburn flowed. A May fair was held there.
Edward Shepherd was an architect and he was commissioned to develop the site. It contained a duck pond, paved alleyways and a two-storey market topped by a theatre.
It was associated with prostitution since the eighteenth century.
By the 1920s, Shepherd Market
was a rundown area but became popular with writers and artists. Michael Arlen rented rooms opposite ’The Grapes’ pub and used the area as the setting for his best-selling 1924 novel ’The Green Hat’. This prompted Anthony Powell to move into the area in 1926.
’Mama’ Cass Elliot died at flat 12, 9 Curzon Place in Shepherd Market
on 28 July 1974. Keith Moon of The Who died at the same flat on 7 September 1978.
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Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today. In 1764, the May Fair was banned at Shepherd Market because the well-to-do residents of the area disliked the fair's disorderliness, and it moved to Fair Field in Bow in the East End of London.
The district is now mainly commercial, with many former homes converted into offices for major corporations headquarters, embassies and also hedge funds and real estate businesses. There remains a substantial quantity of residential property as well as some exclusive shopping and London's largest concentration of luxury hotels and many restaurants. Rents are among the highest in London and the world.
The freehold of a large section of Mayfair also belongs to the Crown Estate.
The renown and prestige of Mayfair could have grown in the popular mind because it is the most expensive property on the British Monopoly set. Victor Watson, the head of Waddingtons at the time, and his secretary Marjory Phillips, chose the London place names for the British version — Ms Phillips apparently went for a walk around London to choose suitable sites.