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Mayfair (originally called The May Fair) is an area of central London, by the east edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster. 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.
Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today.
- 1618: Date of the oldest cottage in Mayfair. It was destroyed in the Blitz in late 1940. A plaque in Stanhope Row, near Shepherd Market, marks its former site.
- Until 1686: The May Fair was held in Haymarket. Mayfair was part of the parish of St Martin in the Fields
- 1677: Sir Thomas Grosvenor, 3rd Baronet married Mary Davis, heiress to part of the Manor of Ebury; thus the Grosvenor family gained 40 hectares (100 acres) of Mayfair.
- 1686: The May Fair moved site to where Shepherd Market is now.
- Mid 17th century to mid 18th century: Most of the Mayfair area was first built on as a fashionable residential district, by a number of landlords, the most important of them being the Grosvenor family, which in 1874 became the Dukes of Westminster.
- 1724: Mayfair became part of the new parish of St George Hanover Square, which stretched to Bond Street in the south part of Mayfair and almost to Regent Street north of Conduit Street. The northern boundary was Oxford Street and the southern boundary fell short of Piccadilly. The parish continued west of Mayfair into Hyde Park and then south to include Belgravia and other areas.
- 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.
- 19th century: The Rothschild family bought up large areas of Mayfair.
The district is now mainly commercial, with many offices in converted houses and new buildings, including major corporate headquarters, a concentration of hedge funds, real estate businesses and many different embassy offices, namely the large US consulate taking up all the west side of Grosvenor Square. Rents are among the highest in London and the world. 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. Buildings in Mayfair include both the Canadian High Commission and the United States embassy in Grosvenor Square, the Royal Academy of Arts, The Handel House Museum, the Grosvenor House Hotel, Claridge's and The Dorchester.
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.
The old telephone district of MAYfair (later 629) changed east of Bond Street to REGent (later 734).
Mayfair has become an attractive location away from the City of London for private banks, hedge funds and wealth managers. The Egyptian Education Bureau is in Chesterfield Gardens. EasyGroup's head office is in Mayfair.
Mayfair also boasts some of the capital's most exclusive shops, hotels, restaurants and clubs. Just alongside Burlington House is one of London's most luxurious shopping areas, the Burlington Arcade, which has housed shops under its glass-roofed promenade since 1819.
The City of Westminster operates the Mayfair Library as a local library.
Streets and squares
- Albemarle Street
- Berkeley Square
- Berkeley Street
- Bond Street
- Brook Street
- Brown Hart Gardens
- Bryanston Square
- Charles Street
- Cork Street
- Curzon Street
- Dover Street
- Grafton Street
- Grosvenor Square
- Hanover Square
- Harrowby Street
- Hill Street
- Hyde Park Corner — road junction at the south west corner
- Marble Arch — road junction/plaza at the north west corner
- Mount Street
- Old Park Lane
- Park Lane — western boundary
- Piccadilly — southern boundary
- Piccadilly Circus — road junction/plaza at the south east corner of Mayfair
- Regent Street — eastern boundary
- South Molton Street
- Savile Row
- Shepherd Market
- South Audley Street
Below is an incomplete list of notable past residents of Mayfair.
- Robert Adam (1728–1792) Scottish Architect – No 13
- William Ewart (1817–1889) Irish Politician & Manufacturer – No 14
- Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) Scottish inventor of the telephone and hearing aid, performed first long distance call from No 33
- John Gilbert Winant (1889–1947) American Politician – No 7
- Irving Allen (1905–1987) Polish Film & Theatre Producer – No 3
- W H Davies (1871–1940) Welsh Poet, dubbed the 'Tramp Poet' – No 13
- Leslie Henson (1891–1957) English Comedy Actor – No 4
- William Petty, Earl of Kerry (1811–1836) British Politician - No 9, Lansdowne House
- Harry Gordon Selfridge (1864–1947) American department store founder – Blue Plaque
- Horace Walpole (1717–1797) British 'Man of Letters', Politician & Novelist – No 11 Berkeley Square (He also lived at No 22 & No 5 Arlington Street, St James's)
- Bernard Sunley British Philanthropist & Businessman – Lived at & formed charity at No 20 – Green Plaque
- George Canning (1770–1827) British Prime Minister in 1827 – No 50 – Blue Plaque
- Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive of India (1725–1774) British Soldier & Statesman – No 50 – Blue Plaque
- Benita Hume (1906–1967) English Actress – No 9
- Robert Baldwin Ross (1869–1918) English journalist, close friend and executor of Oscar Wilde – No 7, Mayfair Chambers
- Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970) American Musician – No 23 – English Heritage Blue Plaque
- George Frederic Handel (1685–1759) Anglo-German composer – No 25 – English Heritage Blue Plaque
- John Beresford Fowler (1906–1977) English Interior Designer – No 39
- Jeffry Wyattville (1766–1840) English Architect – No 39 – Blue Plaque
- Frankie Howerd (1917–1992) English Comedy Actor – No 46
- Valentine Ackland (1906–1969) English Poet – No 54
- Colen Campbell (1676–1729) Scottish Architect – No 76 – Blue Plaque
- Ronald Firbank (1886–1926) English Novelist – No 78 (He also lived at No 40, Clarges Street)
- William Withey Gull (1816–1890) English Physician, suspected in the Jack the Ripper murders – No 74
- Robert Bentley Todd (1809–1860) Irish Physician – No 74
- Kay Hammond (1909–1980) English Actress – No 40
- Frances Carson (1895–1973) American Actress – No 13
- Harold Fielding (1916–2003) English Theatre Producer – No 13
- Queen Elizabeth II (1926–) - born at No 21 (since demolished)
- Edward Marsh (polymath) (1872–1953) English Civil Servant – No 30
- Detmar Blow (1867–1939) English Architect – No 3
- Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet & Novelist – No 9
- Archibald Primrose (1847–1929) British Prime Minister 1894–1895 – No 20
- Ian Fleming (1908–1964) English author of 'James Bond' novels, journalist, and naval intelligence officer – No 21, Hays Mews
- Beau Brummell (1778–1840) English Socialite, Dandy– No 4 – Blue Plaque
- Anthony Eden (1897–1977) British Prime Minister 1955 to 1957– No 4 – Blue Plaque
- W Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) British Novelist & Playwright – No 6 – Blue Plaque
- Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800–1859) English Poet, Politician & Historian – No 3
- Sir Austin Bide (1915–2008) British Industrialist – Clarges House, No's 6–12
- Edmund Kean (1787–1833) English Theatre Actor – No 12 (demolished?)
- Elizabeth Carter (1717–1806) English Poet – Nos 20 & 21
- Charles James Fox (1749–1806) British Statesman – No 45 – Blue Plaque
- William Bowman (1816–1892) English Surgeon – No 5
- Robert Liston (1794–1847) English Surgeon – No 5
- Eliab Harvey (1758–1830) British Navy Officer – No 8
- Alexander Crichton (1763–1856) Scottish Physician – No 17
- Sir John Moore, 1st Baronet (1718–1779) British Navy Admiral – No 18
- Peter Sellers (1925–1980) English Comedy Actor – Had a flat in Glendore House 1964–1968
- Harry Nilsson (1941–1994) American Musician – No 9 (Flat 14)
- Cass Elliot (1941–1974) American Musician died in Nilsson's flat – No 9
- Keith Moon (1946–1978) English Musician died in Nilsson's flat – No 9
- Nancy Mitford (1904–1973) English Novelist & Essayist worked at No 10 – Blue Plaque
- Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881) British Prime Minister – No 19 – Plaque?
- Francis Chantrey (1781–1841) English Sculptor – No 24
- Rufus Isaacs (1860–1935) English Politician. Jurist – No 32 – Red Plaque
- Ronald Firbank (1886–1926) English Novelist – No 33
- Cicely Courtneidge (1893–1980) English Actress & Comedienne – No 43
- Jack Hulbert (1892–1978) English Comedy Actor – No 43
- John Elliotson (1791–1868) English Physician – No 2, Bourdon House
- Hugh Grosvenor (1879–1953) 2nd Duke of Westminster – No 2, Bourdon House
- Beryl Grey (1927--) Ballerina – No 32, Claridge House
- May Fortescue (1862–1950) English Theatre Actress/Singer – No 29
- Samuel Whitbread (1764–1815) English Politician – No 35
Duke Street (also enters into Marylebone):
- Simon Bolivar (1783–1830) Venezuelan Revolutionary – No 4 – Blue Plaque
- William S Burroughs (1914–1997) American Novelist – No 8
- Edward Lear (1812–1888) English Poet & Writer – No 27 – Blue Plaque
- Alfred Milner 1st Viscount Milner (1854–1925) British Politician/Colonial Administrator – No 47
- Thomas Anstey Guthrie (1856–1934) English Novelist as F. Anstey – No 60
- P G Wodehouse (1881–1975) English Humourist, Writer, Novelist – No 17
- Tallulah Bankhead (1902–1968) American Actress & TV Host – No 1
- Amherst Villiers (1900–1991) English Automotive & Aviation Engineer – No 22, Farm House
- Sarah Siddons (1755–1831) Welsh Theatre Actress – No 8
- Gainsborough Dupont (1754–1797) English Artist – No 17
- Hilda Bayley (1888–1971) English Actress – No 21
- Jill Bennett (1931–1990) English Actress – No 22
- Lord David Cecil (1902–1986) English Biographer/Historian – No 24
- Alfred Lyttelton (1857–1913) British Politician, Footballer, Cricketer – No 4
- Alexander McQueen (1969–2010) British Fashion Designer – No 7
- Renee Vivien (1877–1909) British Poet who wrote in French – No 10
- Thomas Sopwith (1888–1989) British Aviation pioneer – No 46 – Blue Plaque
- Beatles British Pop Group. All 4 Beatles stayed at No 57 in 1963
- Leslie Mitchell (1905–1985) Scottish TV Broadcaster – No 20
- John Adams (1735–1826) 2nd President of the United States – No 9 – Engraved Brass Plaque
- Frederick Handley Page (1885–1962) English Aviation pioneer – No 18 (in Flat 3) – Blue Plaque
- Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (1801–1885) English Politician – No 24
- Kenneth Clark (1903–1983) English TV Broadcaster, Art Historian – Flat at No 32
- Sir Joseph Lockwood (1904–1991) British Businessman – Flat at No 33
- Woolf Barnato (1895–1948) British Racing Car Driver, one of the 1920s "Bentley Boys" – Flat at No 50
- Alice Keppel (1868–1947) British Society Hostess & lover of King Edward VII – No 16
- Sir Alexander Korda (1893–1956) British Film Producer – offices at No 21 & 22
- Cecil Kershaw (1895–1972) Rugby player for England – No 32
- Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern-Salomons (1851–1925) English Inventor – No 49
- Joseph Moses Levy (1812–1888) English Newspaper publisher, helped found The Daily Telegraph – No 51
- Anne Oldfield (1683–1730) English Stage Actress – No 60
- John Adrian Louis Hope, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow (1860–1908) Scottish Aristocrat, First Governor-General of Australia – No 66
- Sydney Smirke (1798–1877) English Architect – No 80
- Wendy Richard (1943–2009) English Television Actress – The Shepherd's Tavern – Blue PlaqueHertford Street:
- Sarah Miles (1941–) English Theatre and Film Actress - No 58
Transport and locale
Location in context
Nearest tube stations
- The former Down Street tube station is in the area, but no longer in use
Nearest railway station
- A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (song)
- Mount Street Gardens
- The Punch Bowl (Mayfair)
- Allens of Mayfair
- City of Westminster green plaques http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/leisureandculture/greenplaques/
- "grosvenor plc web-site". Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- "About Us." EasyGroup. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
- Muspratt, Caroline. "Cadbury swaps Mayfair for Uxbridge." The Daily Telegraph. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- "." Mayfair-London.co.uk. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Mayfair Library." City of Westminster. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
- London/Mayfair travel guide from Wikivoyage
- The Site of the original May-fair
- BBC News story: Reviving the Mayfair May Fair
- History of Mayfair
- St. Nicholas College of London