St James’s is an exclusive area in the West End of London.
Carlton House Terrace consists of a pair of terraces - white stucco-faced houses on the south side of the street overlooking St. James’s Park.
The land on which Carlton House Terrace was built had once been part of the grounds of St James’s Palace, known as "the Royal Garden" and "the Wilderness". The Wilderness was at one time in the possession of Prince Rupert of the Rhine and was later called Upper Spring Garden.
From 1700 the land was held by Henry Boyle, who spent nearly £3000 on improving the existing house in the Royal Garden. Boyle was created Baron Carleton in 1714. On his death the lease passed to his nephew, Lord Burlington, and thence in 1732 to Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II. After Frederick’s premature death in 1751, his widow Augusta continued living in the house. After her death in 1772, the house devolved to her son - George III - who in turn granted it to his eldest son, George, Prince of Wales. The Prince spent enormous sums on the property, running up huge debts. The house became a rival Court to his father. When the Prince became King George IV in 1820, he moved to Buckingham Palace
George IV ordered Carlton House to be demolished in 1826. Architect John Nash proposed six terraces of houses along the north of St James’s Park. Only two were built and these became Carlton House Terrace. Nash planned to link the two with a large domed fountain between them, but the idea was vetoed by the King. The Duke of York’s Steps took the place of the fountain and in 1834 the Duke of York’s Column was erected at the top of the steps.
The terraces are unusual for expensive Regency housing in that they have no mews to the rear to maximise the views of the park. The service accommodation was placed underneath in two storeys of basements.
In the 20th century the Terrace came under threat of demolition and redevelopment, due to a lack of demand for large central London houses. Plans were drawn up for the scheme but there was such an outcry which persuaded the Crown Commissioners not to proceed.
was severely damaged by German bombing during the Second World War and rebuilt.
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.