|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2012)|
Tucked away between Piccadilly and Curzon Street in the borough of Mayfair, Shepherd Market is a square developed in 1735-46 by Edward Shepherd. Mayfair itself is named after the fifteen-day May Fair that took place on the site in the 17th and 18th centuries and was banned in 1764 because of fair revellers’ relentless boisterousness and disorder.
A local architect and developer, Edward Shepherd, was commissioned to develop the site after the fair's banning, and work was completed in the mid-18th century. It boasted paved alleys, a duck pond, and a two-storey market topped by a theatre. The theatre was opened in the month of May and attracted a much higher class of visitor than the noisy, unruly fair.
During the 1920s, Shepherd Market was a fashionable address for some of London's most refined inhabitants. The writer Michael Arlen rented rooms opposite The Grapes public house and used Shepherd Market as the setting for his bestselling 1924 novel The Green Hat. The book went on to become a hit Broadway play and a film starring Greta Garbo.
The village-like area around Shepherd Market still has something of a lively reputation. It was round the corner at 9 Curzon Place that Cass Elliot (Mama Cass) of The Mamas and Papas died in July 1974 and, in 1978, where Keith Moon, drummer with The Who, died of an overdose. Shepherd Market was also where the deputy Conservative Party chairman and author Jeffrey Archer met the prostitute Monica Coghlan in the 1980s. And more recently, at the Mirabelle restaurant on Curzon Street, where actors Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis spent £17,000 on a meal for two (including £11,000 on a single bottle of burgundy).
Next to Shepherd Market is Half Moon Street, where resided Bertie Wooster, a model (albeit fictional) upper-class Mayfair resident, and his faultless manservant Jeeves (they of P.G. Wodehouse fame) and where, in 1763, James Boswell, newly arrived from Edinburgh, took lodgings and wrote his defamatory diary.
Curzon Street is home to Crewe House, originally built by Edward Shepherd. Now housing the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is one of the few eighteenth-century Mayfair mansions still extant.
Shepherd Market is better known today for its boutiques, restaurants, and Victorian pubs. This pedestrian-friendly area offers a variety of places to shop and eat. Many shops here sell traditional British craftsmanship, including jewellery, fine art, and bespoke luggage.
The nearest underground station is Green Park.