Curzon Street

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Curzon Street
Looking westwards along Curzon Street - geograph.org.uk - 1089822.jpg
Looking westward along Curzon Street
Former name(s)Mayfair Row
Length0.3 mi[1] (0.5 km)
Postal codeW1
Nearest Tube stationLondon Underground Green Park
west end A4202
51°30′22″N 0°09′05″W / 51.5060°N 0.1515°W / 51.5060; -0.1515
east endFitzmaurice Place
51°30′30″N 0°08′41″W / 51.5082°N 0.1448°W / 51.5082; -0.1448

Curzon Street is located within the exclusive Mayfair district of London. The street is located entirely within the W1J postcode district; the eastern end is 200 metres (660 ft) north-east of Green Park underground station. It is within the City of Westminster, running approximately east to west from Fitzmaurice Place past Shepherd Market to Park Lane.

The street is thought to be named after George Howe, 3rd Viscount Howe;[2] however, it was not until after his death that the title of Earl Howe was taken by someone with the last name Curzon. Before this time, it was called Mayfair Row.

History[edit]

Curzon Street has been home to various notable members of the peerage. In 1748, a house was built in the street for the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, called Chesterfield House.[3] The house was demolished in 1937, and the site redeveloped as an apartment block. Adjacent to Chesterfield House were smaller dwellings that have served as the London residences for a number of members of the peerage, including Lord Hothfield, the Duke of Grafton, the Earl Verney, Lord Leconfield, Lady Blessington, Alfred de Rothschild, Lord Blythswood and the Earl of Inchcape.[4] Also to the east is Crewe House, formerly known as Wharncliffe House, rebuilt in 1750[4] and named after the Countess of Wharncliffe in the late 19th century.[5] It is now the Saudi Arabian Embassy.[6]

On the opposite side of the street, until 1894, stood Curzon Chapel (formerly Mayfair Chapel),[7] first erected in 1730.[4] Near to this was the smaller Keith's Chapel, the location before the Marriage Act 1753 of various clandestine marriages, including the marriages of the Duke of Chandos and Mrs Anne Jeffrey in 1744, Lord Strange and Mrs Lucy Smith in 1746, Lord Kensington and Rachel Hill in 1749, Sewellis Shirley and Margaret Rolle, widow of the second Earl of Orford in 1751, the Duke of Hamilton and Miss Gunning in 1752, and of Lord George Bentinck and Mary Davies in 1753.[4]

Other inhabitants of Curzon Street have included the art collector Edward Solly (at no. 7, 1821–44), Benjamin Disraeli until his death in 1881, Lord Macartney until his death in 1806, Member of Parliament George Selwyn in 1776, Prince Pierre Soltykoff and Earl Percy.[4]

Leconfield House, at the corner of South Audley Street with an address on Curzon Street, became the home of the UK security service (known as MI5) in 1945, and remained so until 1976.[8] Various activities were also conducted by MI5 at addresses on South Audley Street. In 1978, MI5 also occupied facilities at 1-4 Curzon Street, known as "Curzon Street House", for use by the registry, administration and technical services departments; that site was redeveloped in 1996.[8]

In Chesterfield Gardens, which is a cul-de-sac off Curzon Street, the second home office of the two offshore commercial stations known as Radio Caroline was established during 1964; later that year the sales office of Radio London was opened at number 17 Curzon Street, to be followed across the street at number 32 by the establishment of offices serving Radio England and Britain Radio. The introduction of the Marine Offences Act, which became law after midnight on 14 August 1967, forced the closure of all of these offices.

In the 1970s, American songwriter Harry Nilsson owned a two-bedroomed apartment (number 12) at 9 Curzon Place (now Curzon Square).[9] Both Cass Elliot of the Mamas & the Papas and Keith Moon of the Who died in the flat within four years of each other, each aged 32.[9]

1 Curzon Street is a modern office building. The fifth floor was home to AIG Financial Products, the division that "nearly destroyed" the US insurance company and has been described by reporter Peter Koenig as the "epicenter" of the global financial crisis of 2008.[10]

G. Heywood Hill Ltd, mentioned by Nancy Mitford in her letters, most particularly in those compiled for the book The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952–73, remains open for trading.[11]

In literature[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Driving directions to Curzon St". Google. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  2. ^ History of Mayfair
  3. ^ Details of an engraving at the City of London website
  4. ^ a b c d e Mayfair, Belgravia and Bayswater (2007) by Geraldine Edith Mitton
  5. ^ Stanford's Map of London, 1862–1871
  6. ^ Aerial view of Curzon Street at multimap.com
  7. ^ List of London Chapels at Genuki
  8. ^ a b "The Secret Architecture of London". Geocities. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b Dawn Eden (29 April 1994). "One Last Touch of Nilsson". Goldmine Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
  10. ^ Shaylor, Jay; Pearle, Lauren; Babarovic, Tina (10 March 2009). "AIG's Small London Office May Have Lost Big". ABC News. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  11. ^ Heywood Hill Archived 17 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′23″N 0°08′59″W / 51.5065°N 0.14982°W / 51.5065; -0.14982