Adelphi, London

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The Adam Brothers' Adelphi (1768–72) was London's first neoclassical building. Eleven large houses fronted a vaulted terrace, with wharves beneath.
11 Adelphi Terrace
Current view of the remaining building at 11 Adelphi Terrace, the furthest left house of the original buildings when viewed from the river.

Adelphi /əˈdɛlfi/ (from the Greek adelphoi, meaning "brothers") is a district of the City of Westminster in London.[1] The small district includes the streets of Adelphi Terrace, Robert Street and John Adam Street.[1]

Adelphi Buildings[edit]

A prospect of London by Alexander Nasmyth, 1826. The Adelphi buildings can be seen to the left of Waterloo Bridge.
The art deco Adelphi building from the 1930s, located at 1-10 John Adam Street

The district is named after the Adelphi Buildings, a block of 24 unified neoclassical terrace houses occupying the land between The Strand and the River Thames in the parish of St Martin in the Fields, which also included a headquarters building for the "Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce" (now generally known as the Royal Society of Arts). They were built between 1768–72, by the Adam brothers (John, Robert, James and William Adam), to whom the buildings' Greek-derived name refers. The ruins of Durham House on the site were demolished for their construction. The nearby Adelphi Theatre is named after the Adelphi Buildings. Robert Adam was influenced by his extensive visit to Diocletian's Palace in Dalmatia, and applied some of this influence to the design of the neoclassical Adelphi Buildings.[2][3] Many of the Adelphi Buildings were demolished in the early 1930s and replaced with the New Adelphi, a monumental Art Deco building designed by the firm of Collcutt & Hamp; buildings remaining from the old Adelphi include 11 Adelphi Terrace (formerly occupied by numismatic specialists A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd) and the Royal Society of Arts (which has expanded to incorporate two of the former houses). Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop was located here in the 1940s.

London School of Economics (LSE)[edit]

The famous London School of Economics (LSE) was initially located in Adelphi, London before it decamped and moved to its current Clare Market address. At the LSE's new Clare Market location, King George V set the foundation stone of the Old Building, near the centre of the campus. During WWII, the LSE moved once again to Cambridge University until 1945 to avoid the bombing campaigns. While at Adelphi location, the LSE was located in Number 10 Adelphi Terrace and its scholars and student were active in the surrounding neighbourhood and community.

Notable residents[edit]

in media[edit]

The Adelphi building was used for some scenes in ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot episode The Theft of the Royal Ruby .[5]


Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′33″N 0°07′21″W / 51.50917°N 0.12250°W / 51.50917; -0.12250