About the square

Grosvenor Square through the years

Evolution has been an integral part of Grosvenor Square’s character. We want to celebrate its history, while making sure that it meets the needs of a modern city and can be enjoyed for years to come.

1720

Grosvenor Square is commissioned by Sir Richard Grosvenor for the estate and residents of the Square. It is created by Grosvenor’s Estate Surveyor, Thomas Barlow.

1725

Grosvenor Square quickly became the place to see and be seen. John Alston created his ‘wilderness worke’ featuring a densely wooded mound, shrubs, and flowers with a statue of George I in the centre.

1774

Architect George Richardson tames the wilderness. The new design divides the gardens into quarters and plants some of the first formal shrubberies in London.

1785

John Adams, the first U.S. Minister to the Court of St. James’s (and future US President), lives in the Square.

1810s

The Square’s layout is simplified by removing intersecting paths and replacing them with lawns.

1840/50s

There are some significant changes to character of the Square. The gilt statue of George I is removed and replaced by a gazebo and the original Elm trees are felled and replaced by London planes. The plane trees in the Square today are further replacements, and were planted as part of the refurbishment after WWII.

1939-45

The Square is disfigured by numerous air raid protection measures during WWII.

1946

The Roosevelt Memorial Act is passed, and the gardens become public – open for the enjoyment of all.

1947-48

The layout of the Square is radically altered by architect B.W.L. Gallannaugh, including the removal of over 60 trees and a new system of meandering paths around the perimeter.

1960

24 Grosvenor Square, the former home for the American Embassy, is completed. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the building is now listed.

1985

The memorial to the Eagle Squadron, designed by Elizabeth Frink, is erected in the Square.

2003

Opening of the September 11 Memorial Garden to commemorate the 67 Britons who lost their lives in the attack on America.

2017

The American Embassy vacates the Square. The redevelopment of the building will create, for the first time, an active frontage on Grosvenor Square.

2018

The management of the Square is returned to Grosvenor.

What is next for Grosvenor Square?

2020

Click here to have your say and help us build a new bright future for Grosvenor Square.