Park Lane, London
Originally a country lane running north-south along what is now the eastern boundary of Hyde Park, it became a fashionable residential address from the eighteenth century onwards, offering both views across Hyde Park and a position at the most fashionable western edge of London. It became lined with some of the largest privately owned mansions in London, including the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor House (replaced by the Grosvenor House Hotel) and the Holford family's Dorchester House (demolished in 1929 and replaced in 1931 with The Dorchester), and the Marquess of Londonderry's Londonderry House on the corner of the lane and Hertford Street, the site of which is now occupied by the Metropolitan Hotel.
On a corner with Oxford Street, Somerset House (No. 40), built in 1769-70, was successively the town house of Warren Hastings, a former Governor-General of India, the third Earl of Rosebery, and the Dukes of Somerset.
In the 1960s the Lane was widened to three lanes each way either side of a central reservation. This required the demolition of a number of houses at Hyde Park Corner which had previously formed a line east of Apsley House in Piccadilly. It also meant claiming land previously in Hyde Park to make room for the multi-lane carriageway. The result was substantially to diminish the appeal of Park Lane as a residential address, since it became one of the busiest and noisiest roads in central London, retaining little or none of the pastoral atmosphere that once made it popular. The widening of the road distanced the houses on the east side of Park Lane from Hyde Park itself, access to which is now by underpass.
At the south end of Park Lane, on the west side, gates in honour of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (widow of George VI) have been erected, bearing motifs in a freely modern interpretation from her coat of arms.
Length and location
Park Lane is about three quarters of a mile (1.2 km) in length, and runs north from Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch, along the length of the eastern flank of Hyde Park. To the east of the road is Mayfair.
Despite the traffic noise the road is still upmarket, featuring five-star hotels (such as The Dorchester, Grosvenor House Hotel and InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel) and showrooms for several makes of sports car.
The road forms part of the London Inner Ring Road and is part of the London congestion charge zone's boundary. When the zone was extended westward in February 2007, Park Lane was designated as one of the "free through routes", on which vehicles could cross the zone during its hours of operation without paying the charge. The western extension was removed on 4 January 2011.
Park Lane owes much of its fame to its being the second most valuable property in the London edition of Monopoly. It was at the zenith of its social status when the London version of the Monopoly board was first produced in 1936, and before it became a noisy multi-lane motorway. On the board, Park Lane forms a pair with Mayfair, the most expensive property in the game. In reality, Park Lane marks the western boundary of Mayfair.
2007 car bomb
On 29 June 2007, a car bomb was defused in an underground car park on the street.
The London Hilton on Park Lane was also subject to an IRA bomb planted in the hotel lobby on 5 September 1975 which killed 2 people.
- No.25: Philip Sassoon a British politician, art collector and social host. This house was said to have been on the corner of Great Stanhope Street, London.
- No. 28: Richard Sharp, known as "Conversation Sharp", merchant, critic, MP. This house was said to have been on the corner with Upper Grosvenor Street and later re-numbered to be '23':
- No. 41: Fred Astaire, Adele Astaire, Brother-sister actor/dancing act leased a flat here, along with their mother, Ann Astaire when playing the West End production, 'Stop Flirting,' in 1923.
- No. 93: Benjamin Disraeli, prime minister
- No. 99: Moses Montefiore, philanthropist
- No. 100, Dudley House: Joseph Robinson, mining magnate
- No. 140: Keith Clifford Hall, contact lens pioneer
- Aldford House: Dame Anna Neagle, actress
- Grosvenor House and Garden: Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, richest man in England, race horse owner, philanthropist.
- Londonderry House: Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry, cabinet minister and very wealthy Irish aristocrat
- Somerset House (No. 40): Warren Hastings and the 11th and 12th Dukes of Somerset
- Hyde Park Residence  (No. 55): Chika Sylva-Olejeme, peace crusader, founder International Peace Institute
- Fraudster Sidney Stanley occupied an apartment there during the 1940s.
- Shirley Porter, Tesco heiress and Tory politician, set up home on Curzon Square in 2006 after 12 years of self-imposed exile in Israel
- No. 55 and 60: Mohamed Al-Fayed, owner of Fulham F.C., former owner of Harrods
- No. 99a Blake and Mortimer, They live in Park Lane, London
The nearest tube stations to Park Lane are Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line, which is near the street's southern end, and Marble Arch on the Central Line, which is located near the northern end of the street.
- Park Lane Hotel
- Park Lane Mews Hotel
- The Dorchester
- Marriott London Park Lane
- London Hilton on Park Lane
- 'Park Lane', in Survey of London: volume 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings) (1980), pp. 264-289, accessed 15 November 2010
- Philips, Carol (2004-11-24). "New animal war memorial unveiled". Horse & Hound Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- Greater London Authority (November 2008). "Way To Go!: Planning for better transport". Retrieved 2008-11-06.[dead link]
- Knapman, D. - 'Conversation Sharp - The Biography of a London Gentleman, Richard Sharp (1759-1835), in Letters, Prose and Verse'. Page 270. (Private Publication, 2004) British Library.
- "Search Blue Plaques". English Heritage. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "Central London Bus Map". Transport for London. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "Central London Night Bus Map". Transport for London. Retrieved 2008-11-06.