Berkeley Square

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This article refers to a town square in London. For other meanings of Berkeley or Berkeley Square, see Berkeley (disambiguation).

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Berkeley Square Template:IPAc-en is a town square in the West End of London, in the City of Westminster. It was originally laid out in the mid 18th century by architect William Kent. The square is named after the noble Gloucestershire family of the same name whose London home, Berkeley House, had stood nearby until 1733, and had served as their London residence when they were away from their ancestral Gloucestershire home Berkeley Castle.

Description

Whilst Berkeley Square was originally a mostly residential area, there now remains only one residential block on the square - number 48. A residence in Berkeley Square is highly sought after, and residences do not come up on the market very often. The limited supply and great demand has created a market where a residence in Berkeley Square commands higher prices on the property market than similar residences in equivalently affluent neighbourhoods.

The square features a sculptural fountain by Alexander Munro, a Pre-Raphaelite sculptor, made in 1865. The surrounding London Plane trees are among the oldest in central London, planted in 1789. Gunter's Tea Shop, founded under a different name in 1757, is also located here.

The buildings around the square include several by other notable architects including Robert Adam, who designed Lansdowne House (since 1935 home of the Lansdowne Club) in the southwest corner of the square on Fitzmaurice Place.

28 Berkeley Square is home to one of London's most exclusive private member's clubs, Morton's Club. Membership is by having a proposer invite you (and that is a current member) in addition to your form being sent to the Membership committee for approval.

50 Berkeley Square is the most infamous allegedly "haunted house" in London. The house is currently occupied by Maggs Brothers Antiquarian Booksellers.

Famous residents

Residents of Berkeley Square have included:

  • John Byng (1741), Vice-Admiral, Royal Navy. Byng's home was decorated by architect Isaac Ware.
  • Horace Walpole lived at no. 11 1779 until his death in 1797.
  • George Canning, UK Prime Minister (1827) — at no. 50
  • Winston Churchill lived at no. 48 as a child
  • Robert Clive of India — bought no. 45 in 1761 and committed suicide there in 1774.
  • Sarah Child Villiers, Countess of Jersey (Lady Jersey), one of the famous patronesses of Almack's and leaders of the ton during the Regency era; heiress to the Child & Co. banking fortune — at no. 38.

Fictional residents

  • A famous fictional resident of Berkeley Square is P.G. Wodehouse's character Bertie Wooster, who lives in a flat there along with his valet Jeeves, not far from the Drones Club.
  • Harry Flashman, the vicious bully of Tom Brown and anti-hero of the Flashman Papers, had a marital home here with his wife Elsperth.
  • Cathy Lane, Patty Lane's "identical cousin", is said to have lived here in the theme song to The Patty Duke Show.
  • Tomlinson, of Rudyard Kipling's poem of the same name, owns a house on Berkeley Square.
  • Peter Standish, a character from the play Berkeley Square written by John Balderston, about a Yankee who lives in a house on the square and is transported back to the 18th century. The play was produced as a movie in 1933, with Leslie Howard, and 1951 and on television in 1959.
  • In the 1949 comedy film Kind Hearts and Coronets, Lady Agatha D'Ascogne is made to fall to her death in Berkeley Square to accommodate a clever poetic parody.
  • Lady Emily Ashton, created by author Tasha Alexander, lives primarily in her Berkeley Square residence during the Victorian period.
  • Tomlinson, the fictional character who was the subject of a satirical poem by the same name that was written by Rudyard Kipling in 1891.

Business

John Aspinall's Clermont Club was located in Berkeley Square.

Current businesses include:

Transport

Berkeley Square can be easily reached from Green Park tube station on the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Victoria lines, and Bond Street tube station on the Central and Jubilee lines. London Buses route C2 also passes through the square.

Berkeley Square is also one of the most popular locations for the Elektrobay charging points supplied by Elektromotive, with requests for additional charging points to be installed.

See also

  • Lansdowne House
  • "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" — a 1940 song written by Manning Sherwin and Eric Maschwitz, associated in England with singer Vera Lynn or in America with the Glenn Miller Band, and a 1979 film directed by Ralph Thomas.
  • Berkeley Square, the 1933 film starring Leslie Howard
  • The Ghosts of Berkeley Square, 1947 film starring Robert Morley and Felix Aylmer
  • Berkeley Square, a 1998 TV mini-series produced by, and shown on, the BBC.
  • 50 Berkeley Square, a building described as The Most Haunted House in London.
  • The Fleming Collection, a large private collection of Scottish art held in the square.
  • List of eponymous roads in London

References

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Sources
  • 'Berkeley Square, North Side', Survey of London: volume 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings) (1980) at British History Online (date accessed 5 July 2009)
  • 'Berkeley Square and its neighbourhood', Old and New London: Volume 4 (1878) at British History Online (date accessed 5 July 2009)

External links

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