Berkeley Square

Coordinates: 51°30′35″N 0°8′45″W / 51.50972°N 0.14583°W / 51.50972; -0.14583
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Berkeley Square, 2007
Berkeley Square in 1830.
Berkeley Square, 2005
Hares by Sophie Ryder, Berkeley Square

Berkeley Square /ˈbɑːrkli/ is a garden square in the West End of London. It is one of the best known of the many squares in London, located in Mayfair in the City of Westminster. It was laid out in the mid 18th century by the architect William Kent, and originally extended further south. The garden's very large London Plane trees are among the oldest in central London, planted in 1789.



Like most squares in British cities, it is surrounded largely by terraced houses, in this case grand townhouses. Originally these were the London residences of very wealthy families who would spend most of the year at their country house. Only one building, number 48, remains wholly residential.[a] Most have been converted into offices for businesses typical of Mayfair, such as bluechips' meeting spaces, hedge funds, niche headhunters and wealth management businesses.

The buildings' architects included Robert Adam but 9 Fitzmaurice Place (since 1935 home of the Lansdowne Club, earlier known as Shelb(o)urne then Lansdowne House — all three names referring to the same branch of one family) is now on the south corner's approach ("Fitzmaurice Place"). The daring staircase-hall of No.44 is sometimes considered William Kent's masterpiece.[1] Gunter's Tea Shop, founded under a different name in 1757, used to trade here.

Approach ways include Berkeley Street, Curzon Street, and Hill Street.


The gardens of Berkeley Square are Grade II listed (are in the initial category) on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[2] They are plain from the horticultural point of view, with grass and paths, but dominated by a group of London Plane trees around the gardens, planted in 1789,[3] the year of the French Revolution.

In 2008, one of the trees was said to be the "most valuable street tree in Britain" by the London Tree Officers Association, in terms of its size, health, historical significance and the number of people who live near to it.[4] One in the south-west corner is a Great Tree of London.[5]

The square features a sculptural fountain by Alexander Munro, a Pre-Raphaelite sculptor, made in 1865. The fountain was donated by the third Marquess of Lansdowne, and replaced a statue of George II which was removed in 1827.[6] On the eastern side is a bronze sculpture of Velasquez' Reina Mariana by Manolo Valdes.


The square was originally the bottom of the large garden of Berkeley House on Piccadilly, subsequently Devonshire House. In 1696, John Berkeley, 3rd Baron Berkeley of Stratton, sold the house and much of the garden to William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire, but retained a significant area at the bottom, including the site of Berkeley Square.

The square is among those[b] that demonstrate non-waiver of (no later agreement to forego) restrictive covenants. In 1696, with express intent to bind later owners, Berkeley undertook not to build on land retained very directly behind the house, so preserving the view from the rear of the ducal residence. The southernmost portion saw either a breach and passage of 20 years without claim (the limitation period of deeds) or a release of covenant agreement struck up – it was until about 1930 legally required green space, namely gardens of 9 Fitzmaurice Place.[7] They became the new south side of the square.

Famous residents[edit]

Residents have included:[8]

At Lansdowne House, formerly on the square:

Fictional residents[edit]


Berkeley Square is a typical prime Central London distance from:-

London Buses route 22 passes through the square.

Berkeley Square hosts vehicle charging points supplied by Elektromotive.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Numbering is from 1 to 57 but many are missed; one building is named with no numbering, Berkeley Square House
  2. ^ Analogous to locus classicus case concerning Leicester Square, a pillar of this English law, Tulk v Moxhay


  1. ^ Sykes, 104–111
  2. ^ Historic England, "Berkeley Square (1000516)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 22 March 2018
  3. ^ "Berkeley Square | Westminster City Council". Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  4. ^ "Plane lovely: The most valuable tree is identified in Berkeley Square". Evening Standard. 21 April 2008.
  5. ^ The Great Trees of London. Time Out Guides Ltd. 2010. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-84670-154-2.
  6. ^ Gardens (en), Parks and. "Berkeley Square, Mayfair - London". Parks & Gardens. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  7. ^ 'Berkeley Square, North Side,' in Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings), ed. F H W Sheppard (London: London County Council, 1980), 64–67, accessed 21 November 2015, online
  8. ^ "Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood | British History Online". Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Finch, Lady (Cecilia) Isabella [Bell] (1700–1771), courtier". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/68377. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  10. ^ a b Archived 22 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine—50 Berkeley Square, The Most Haunted House In London, accessed 2008-02-08.


  • "Berkeley Square, North Side", Survey of London: volume 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings) (1980) at British History Online (date accessed 5 July 2009)
  • "Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood", Old and New London: Volume 4 (1878) at British History Online (date accessed 5 July 2009)
  • Sykes, Christopher Simon. Private Palaces: Life in the Great London Houses, Chatto & Windus, 1985

External links[edit]

51°30′35″N 0°8′45″W / 51.50972°N 0.14583°W / 51.50972; -0.14583