|Namesake||Earl of Connaught|
|Maintained by||Westminster City Council|
|Location||City of Westminster, London|
|Nearest Tube station||Marble Arch|
|Known for||The residence of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie.|
Connaught Square in Westminster, London, England, was the first square of city houses to be built in the Bayswater area. It is named after the Earl of Connaught who had a house nearby. The current appearance of the square dates from the 1820s. The square is just north of Hyde Park, and to the west of Edgware Road. It is also within 300 m (984 ft) of Marble Arch, and the western end of Oxford Street.
Connaught Square's architecture is primarily Georgian. Redevelopment was initially planned in the early 18th century and the first of its 45 brick houses was built in 1828 as part of the Hyde Park estate by Thomas Allason.
Residents of Connaught Square hold an exclusive summer party in the central communal garden every year. The garden square is maintained by the owners of the adjoining properties who contribute to its upkeep, and in return are issued keys to the garden. Such gated gardens are a particular feature of this area of London. The horses of the Royal Artillery regularly do their early morning rides down Connaught Street.
In October 2004, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie purchased a house on the West side of Connaught Square, for a reported £3.5million. In many ways Blair's house is similar to 10 Downing Street, having even been used as a replica for the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury during the filming of the TV series "The Alan Clark Diaries". It has been speculated that part of the house is to be converted into offices for a future Blair Foundation. The houses on the west side back onto Archery Close, a very quiet, dead end picturesque mews street. Beyond Archery Close is St George's Field, built on the site of the burial ground of St George's, Hanover Square.
There is now a considerable police presence around the Blairs' residence, with at least four officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's Diplomatic Protection Group present at the house at any one time. With Blair's resignation in 2007, there has been controversy over security arrangements in the square, specifically over the cost of providing high-level security 24 hours a day.
Other famous residents have included:
- #5 - Nigel Balchin - author
- #14 - Marie Taglioni - ballerina (resident from 1875 until 1876)
- #15 - Fanny Kemble - actress, author, playwright and poet (resident from 1877 to 1879)
As well as houses, the square also contains other enterprises including a very small primary school and doctor’s surgery. There is also a garage specialising in classic cars on Connaught Street to the north of the square. To the west on Connaught Street are the shops of Connaught Village and the Chinese restaurant which was the location of dealings during the Bruce Grobbelaar football corruption scandal.
In fiction, Lionel Holland lives at 242 Connaught Square in the film "Kind Hearts and Coronets".
Nearest tube stations
- Marble Arch
- Edgware Road (Bakerloo Line)
- Edgware Road (Circle, District and Hammersmith & City Lines)
- "London: The Biography" by Peter Ackroyd (Vintage 2001) ISBN 0-09-942258-1
- The house that Tony bought, BBC News, 1 October 2004.
- "Connaught Square, London". londondirectory.co.uk.
- Your £2m a year bill to guard Tony Blair Daily Mail. Published 6 October 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
- Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me - Blair's moving in The Independent (London). Published 16 May 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
- The great Connaught Square Revolt: Residents anger over Blair's new home, Daily Mail (London), 23 June 2007.
- Your £2m a year bill to guard Tony Blair Daily Mail (London). Published 6 October 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
- Chancellor, Edwin Beresford (1907). The History of the Squares of London. Kegan, Paul, Trench, and Trubner & Co. p. 317.