Chester Square is an elongated residential garden square[a] in London's Belgravia district. It presents with sister squares: Belgrave and Eaton Squares the garden squares directed to be built by the Grosvenor family when allowing the development of the main part of this semi-rural part of Westminster, being known thenceforth as Belgravia, in the 19th century; the family's trust has retained minor but overarching legal interests in the land, after long-leasing instead of selling as freehold the houses, that is have kept the reversions of most of Belgravia and Mayfair. The square is named after the city of Chester, the market town nearest Eaton Hall, the ancestral home of the Grosvenor family.
The whole except №s 80a, 81, 81a, 82, 83 and 83a (so №s 1–13 and 14–23, 24–32, 37–39, 42–45, 45a, 45b, 65–76 and 77–80, 80a, and 84–88 and the Mews Arch) is listed Grade II for architectural merit.
St Michael's Church
The Anglican church of Saint Michael in Chester Square was built in 1844 along with the rest of the square, and consecrated two years later. The Ecclesiologist magazine criticised the opening, saying it was "an attempt - but happily a most unsuccessful one - to find a Protestant development of the Christian styles". The church is in the late Decorated Gothic style, with an exterior of Kentish Ragstone. The architect was Thomas Cundy the younger.
- Roman Abramovich, Russian oligarch and owner of Chelsea FC
- Matthew Arnold, poet and critic
- Tony Curtis, actor, had a house here when he was filming The Persuaders! early 1970s.
- Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews, film director and his actress wife, lived here for a few years in the early 1970s after their departure from Hollywood
- George II, King of the Hellenes, bought a lease on a house at № 45 shortly before his return to Greece in 1946
- Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, pop musicians, lived here in 1966-67
- Nigella Lawson, celebrity chef and food writer; daughter of Conservative former Cabinet Minister Lord Lawson
- Sir John Liddell, doctor and director-general of the Royal Navy medical department, lived at № 72 until his death in 1868
- Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, American-born violinist and conductor
- Edward Ford, private secretary to Queen Elizabeth II, lived at № 16 during the 1950s
- Margaret Thatcher, former British Conservative Prime Minister, lived at № 73 until shortly before her death in 2013
- Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, had her headquarters at № 77 during the Second World War
- Major Conrad Norman, Senior Gunnery Officer Royal Artillery Woolwich, Dunkirk survivor, officer in charge of British coastal gun emplacements in the Second World War, lived at № 56 from 1946 until 1951
- Gideon Mantell, an obstetrician, geologist, and palaeontologist, whose attempts to reconstruct the structure and life of the Iguanodon began the scientific discovery of dinosaurs, lived until his death at № 19.
- Rev. Can. W H Elliott, a broadcaster on religious matters for the BBC, and known as "the Radio Chaplain", was vicar of St Michael's in the mid-20th century.
Footnotes and References
- 840 feet by 150 feet plus three short approach ways, one of which has extreme numbers 82 to 88 opposing 80a to 81a. The landmark square including roads thus measures 2.89 acres (building to building), of which the green area is 1.25 acres less bisecting Eccleston Street (0.07 between the greens).
- Walford, Edward (1878). 'The western suburbs: Belgravia', Old and New London. pp. 1–14. Retrieved 2009-12-03.
- Historic England, "1–13 Chester Square (1357284)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2016
- Historic England, "14–23 Chester Square (1219270)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2016
- Historic England, "24–32 Chester Square (1066274)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2016
- Historic England, "37–39 Chester Square (1066275)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2016
- Historic England, "42–45 Chester Square (1219286)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2016
- Historic England, "65–76 Chester Square (1219297)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2016
- Historic England, "Nos 77 to 80 (consec), 80a and Mews Arch, Chester Square (1066276)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2016
- Historic England, "84-88 Chester Square (1219312)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2016
- "Chester Square". London Gardens Online. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Historic England, "Chester Square (1001675)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 16 February 2016
- Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. The London Encyclopaedia (1992 ed.). Macmillan. p. 770. ISBN 0-333-57688-8.
- Faithfull, Marianne (1995). Faithfull. Penguin. p. 182. ISBN 0-14-024653-3.
- Wilson, Alyson. "Church History & Guide" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.