The History of Grosvenor Estate in London
In 1677, Heiress Mary Davies, wife of Sir Thomas Grosvenor, inherited 500 acres of land north of the Thames and west of the city of London. Today this land makes up Mayfair, Belgravia and Pimlico and is internationally known for being some of the most expensive and desirable neighbourhoods in London.
Historically the Grosvenor family were extremely affluent, with the freehold of mines and minerals in North Wales fueling their fortune.
Grosvenor Group Limited is now an international property group with its headquarters in London and it is operated on behalf of its owners the Duke of Westminster and his family. Their development and investment portfolio also includes indirect investments in sectors such as residential, office, retail, industrial and hotels.
In 1720, led by Sirs Richard, Thomas and Robert Grosvenor, the development of the Mayfair Estate began.
Despite facing challenges such as bankrupt builders, the development in Mayfair was completed by 1770 and was said to be a success, even then attracting some of the wealthiest individuals in society.
Today, Mayfair is well known as a luxury district with elegant Georgian townhouses, boutique hotels and epicurean restaurants. World-famous retailers such as the tailors along Savile Row are mixed with modern art galleries and high-end shopping outlets along the famous Bond Street.
The development of Belgravia commenced in 1820. Starting as a swamp area, Belgravia is now considered a prime example of urban planning by master builder Thomas Cubitt.
Following World War II, Belgravia has become synonymous with embassies and it now houses 17 foreign embassies in the area. Small high-end boutique stores line the local streets and there are several well-known luxury hotels in the area.
Around the same time as the development of Belgravia, the south side of the swamp was being developed into what is now known as Pimlico.
As Belgravia was considered more of a high-class residential area, Pimlico was established as more of a professional area and a centre for political activity, given its proximity to the Houses of Parliament. It was also the location for several charitable housing projects funded by the Grosvenors. In the 1950s Pimlico was sold off and is no longer considered part of the Grosvenor Estate.
Looking to the future, The Grosvenor Group continue to invest not only in these areas but across London and the world. Their aim is to deliver lasting commercial and social benefits to local communities, with programs that incorporate sustainability, accessibility and tackle climate change.
Our London’s Great Estates series are a collection of informative and educational mini clips sharing the history and future aspirations of these estates. London’s privately owned estates represent hundreds of acres of land across Prime Central London, so they will be pivotal to the development of London going forward.