Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1000807
Date first listed: 01-Oct-1987
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District: City of Westminster (London Borough)
National Grid Reference: TQ 28378 80796
Early C18 town square, redeveloped in the C19 and C20.
Grosvenor Square was completed by 1725 for Sir Richard Grosvenor. The first garden layout is attributed to William Kent, c 1725 (Chancellor 1907), with a formal arrangement of shrubs around a central, square grass plot, with an equestrian statue of George I by Van Nost, erected in 1726. Rocque's plan of 1741-5 shows the garden railed with wooden palings and the statue at the centre of the grass plot with flower beds around.
This layout was simplified in the early C19 (Horwood, 1813) by the removal of the smaller intersecting paths, which were replaced by lawn. The perimeter walk and the four main paths to the central feature were retained and symmetrical shrubberies were planted on the lawns. In the mid C19 the C18 elm trees were replaced by plane trees along the main paths. By the early C20, the statue of George I had been replaced by an octagonal shelter.
The layout was redesigned in 1947-8 by B W L Gallanaugh, FRIBA, in order to accommodate a statue by Sir William Reid Dick of Franklin D Roosevelt, the President of the United States of America during the Second World War. The Gallanaugh scheme incorporated a low yew hedge surrounding the garden, and a wide north/south path, leading north to the statue. The mature plane trees were retained, further planes and cherries were planted, and the path system was replaced by a series of winding paths to either side of the main north/south path. The garden has been managed as a public open space since the late 1940s.
The present (2003) layout is largely derived from the 1948 scheme, which was modified in the 1970s.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Grosvenor Square, c 2.5ha, is laid out on level ground and is located in Mayfair, Central London, in the grid of streets to the south of Oxford Street, east of Park Lane, west of New Bond Street, and north of Piccadilly. The oval garden is enclosed by a holly hedge and a late C20 chain-link fence, and has entrances in the four corners and in the centre of the south side. The gardens are surrounded by the road and buildings of the square, which are on a rectangular plan. Most of the buildings in the square were rebuilt in the mid C20 and include the American Embassy to the west, the Europa Hotel to the north, and the Britannia Hotel to the south. The surviving earlier buildings include No 38 (C18 origins, listed grade II*), No 9 (C18 origins, listed grade II), and No 4 (mid C19 origins, listed grade II). Roads enter the square from the north-west (North Audley Street and Upper Brook Street), north-east (Duke Street and Brook Street), south-west (South Audley Street and Upper Grosvenor Street), and south-east (Grosvenor Street and Carlos Place).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The garden is surrounded by a holly hedge and is largely laid to lawn, with mature plane trees, and scattered trees and shrubs including ailanthus, malus, and thorn. In the centre of the north side of the garden is the statue of Franklin D Roosevelt (1948, listed grade II), with a life-size bronze on a corniced stone pedestal. This is set in an elongated oval area of stone paving with a fountain on either side of the statue, designed by Gallanaugh. To the south of the statue is an area of paving, with a large bed to either side, bordered by yew hedging and backed by pleached limes. From the beds a broad, stone-paved path runs south to the southern entrance, lined by wooden benches. At the southern end of the path is a memorial to the Eagle Squadron of June 1940, with a bronze eagle (Dame Elizabeth Frink 1985) on a tall stone plinth, which faces north to the Roosevelt memorial. From the centre of the garden, four paths lead diagonally in each direction to the corners of the garden. Further paths wind between these, forming a continuous path around the garden. On the east side of the garden is a small shelter.
E B Chancellor, The History of the Squares of London (1907), pp 23-41 E Cecil, London Parks and Gardens (1907), p 221 A I Dasent, A History of Grosvenor Square (1935), pp 16-25 B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 1 The Cities of London and Westminster (3rd edn 1973), pp 583-6
Maps Plan of the Grosvenor Estate, 1723 [in Chancellor 1907] J Rocque, Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster and Borough of Southwark and the country near ten miles around, surveyed 1741-5, published 1746 R Horwood, Map of London, 1792-9, 2nd edition 1813 by William Faden Stanford's Library Map of London and its Suburbs, 1877
OS 60" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1867 2nd edition published 1894 3rd edition published 1919
Description written: February 2000 Amended (CB): January 2003 Register Inspector: LH Edited: August 2003
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 1800
Legacy System: Parks and Gardens
This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.
End of official listing