The area takes its name from one of the Duke of Westminster's subsidiary titles, Viscount Belgrave. The village of Belgrave in Cheshire is two miles from the Grosvenor family's main country seat of Eaton Hall.
The land was acquired when Sir Thomas Grosvenor married Mary Davies, who was heiress to the Five Fields which included the then marshland that was to become Belgravia, in 1677. It was in the early 1820’s that the change began. London was experiencing a housing boom, and nearby Buckingham House, at the order of King George IV, was remodelled into regal Buckingham Palace. Riding high on the success of his family’s Mayfair redevelopment a century earlier, Robert Grosvenor, the 1st Marquess of Westminster, engaged the help of surveyor Thomas Cundy and master builder Thomas Cubitt, and the 40 year building project began.
Belgravia is characterised by grand terraces of cream stucco houses, and has a number of garden squares, the largest being Eaton Square. It was one of London's most fashionable residential districts from the beginning. The area now also has a mix of destination and community retailers, luxury hotels, high end restaurants and local cafes. Many embassies are located in the area, especially in and around Belgrave Square, but it is still a relatively quiet district close to the hustle and bustle of Central London.
After World War II, some of the largest houses ceased to be used as townhouses for the country gentry and aristocracy. Some, such as in Eaton Square, were converted into apartments, while others such as in Belgrave Square were converted to other uses including embassies, charity headquarters and professional institutions. In the early 21st century, some of these former houses are now being converted back into residential use.
Belgravia has its own shopping areas with the majority being smaller specialist personal businesses rather than the chain stores we are all used to. Elizabeth Street, Pimlico Road and Motcomb Street offer varied and interesting shopping, with restaurants and gastro pubs. Orange Square has a farmers’ Market most Saturday mornings and a number of pubs are secreted in the many mews. The proprietors of the business and pubs and are all part of the community and give the area and its residents the delight of living in a village, in the heart of London.
BELGRAVIA NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM
Membership is free
The Belgravia Forum is an not for profit statutory body that forms a local neighbourhood plan for Belgravia, London.