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Possibly laid down by Sir Christopher Wren, the plan bears Wren's signature, but the patent does not state whether it was submitted by the petitioners or whether it originated in Wren's office. This west London square was brought into being from the 1670s onwards. It very rapidly became the political and ambassadorial district of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, housing the Portuguese embassy among others.
The town house of the first Viscount Bolingbroke, much favoured by Queen Anne, was situated on the square. The statue of George II sculpted by John Nost in 1724 came from Cannons House in March 1753. William Pitt the Elder was born in the Square in 1708. There is confusion about whether the statue represents King George II of Great Britain, or King Charles II, as noted on the signage in Golden Square. Folklore states that the statue was accidentally won at auction, when the winning bidder raised his hand to greet a friend. The amount of money he paid was so low that he decided not to contest and gave the statue as a gift to the people of Golden Square.
The square features, albeit in a fictional context, in the third part of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, The System of the World. An important scene in A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh, takes place in a nightclub in the fictional Sink Street, off Golden Square. The Square also features in Confessions Of An English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey. It is there that he parts for the last time from Anne, the prostitute with whom he falls in love.
Golden Square also features in Charles Dickens' The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, as the square where Ralph Nickleby lives in a spacious house and has his "establishment". Dickens describes the square thus
Although a few members of the graver professions live about Golden Square, it is not exactly in anybody's way to or from anywhere. It is one of the squares that have been; a quarter of the town that has gone down in the world, and taken to letting lodgings. Many of its first and second floors are let, furnished, to single gentlemen; and it takes boarders besides. It is a great resort of foreigners. The dark-complexioned men who wear large rings, and heavy watch-guards, and bushy whiskers, and who congregate under the Opera Colonnade, and about the box-office in the season, between four and five in the afternoon, when they give away the orders,--all live in Golden Square, or within a street of it. Two or three violins and a wind instrument from the Opera band reside within its precincts. Its boarding-houses are musical, and the notes of pianos and harps float in the evening time round the head of the mournful statue, the guardian genius of a little wilderness of shrubs, in the centre of the square. On a summer's night, windows are thrown open, and groups of swarthy moustached men are seen by the passer-by, lounging at the casements, and smoking fearfully. Sounds of gruff voices practising vocal music invade the evening's silence; and the fumes of choice tobacco scent the air. There, snuff and cigars, and German pipes and flutes, and violins and violoncellos, divide the supremacy between them. It is the region of song and smoke. Street bands are on their mettle in Golden Square; and itinerant glee- singers quaver involuntarily as they raise their voices within its boundaries.
Absolute Radio and PPL are based at No. 1 Golden Square. The square is also the home to the London office of M & C Saatchi Group and its subsidiary companies, including M&C Saatchi, M&C Saatchi Mobile, M&C Saatchi Export, LIDA, TALK PR, Play*, Studio 36, and 5th Element. Both Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd are located at 25 Golden Square. Golden Square is a regular meeting point for pigeons, who feed from the leftovers of lunchers in the garden.
Digital Cinema Media (DCM) and the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) are both located at 12 Golden Square. Most of the cinema advertising in Britain is controlled from this beautiful building. DCM left Golden Square in December 2013 to take up a new building in Regent's Place.
Monmouth Dean occupies an office on the first floor of 10 Golden Square.
The poet Edmundo Daudi http://loveblender.com/blend/av.cgi?id=1988 has resided on and off at number 8 Golden Square since 1998, and has recently taken up permanent residency there again on August 15th, 2013.
- Golden Square Area (from the Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32)
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- Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660-1851, Rupert Gunnis