Nestled in the heart of London, Mayfair is a borough steeped in history, luxury, and elegance. Mayfair's story is one of transformation, from open fields to a bustling hub of high society and commerce. Join us on a journey through time as we delve into the captivating history of Mayfair.

1677: The Grosvenor legacy begins

Sir Thomas Grosvenor

Our journey commences in 1677, with the marriage of Sir Thomas Grosvenor to Mary Davies. Mary's dowry included vast tracts of undeveloped land near the Thames, laying the foundation for what would become Mayfair. The Grosvenor family's wealth and influence grew over the centuries, shaping the landscape of Mayfair as we know it today. Remarkably, much of Mayfair remains under the ownership of the Grosvenor Group, a testament to their enduring legacy.

1686: The birth of Shepherd Market

Shepherd Market

In 1686, the annual 'May Fair' found a new home in what is now known as Shepherd Market. Originally held in open fields near St. James's, this vibrant event attracted crowds with its array of fairground attractions, rope dancing, and bare-knuckle fighting. For 15 days each year, Londoners flocked to Shepherd Market, infusing the area with energy and excitement.


Berkley Square, Mayfair 

The early 18th century saw the development of Mayfair's iconic squares. Hanover Square, named after King George I, marked the beginning of this architectural transformation. Soon, Grosvenor and Berkeley Squares followed suit, becoming emblematic symbols of Mayfair's elegance and grandeur. Additionally, St. George's, Hanover Square, emerged as a sanctuary for matrimony, hosting weddings of notable figures including, Lady Hamilton and Prime Ministers Benjamin Disraeli and H.H. Asquith.


By 1764, the once-thriving 'May Fair' had lost its lustre. Faced with decades of quarrels, fights, and drunken brawls, local residents petitioned for its abolition. Their efforts were successful, marking the end of an era for Mayfair's most famous event. However, the spirit of celebration lived on in the district's luxurious gatherings and social engagements.

The 19th century

The Royal Academy

The Exhibition at The Royal Academy, London

The 19th century witnessed the rise of Mayfair as a cultural and commercial hub. The opening of Burlington Arcade in 1819 introduced London to one of its earliest covered shopping arcades, attracting patrons with its opulent offerings. Meanwhile, the relocation of the Royal Academy of Arts to Burlington House in 1837 solidified Mayfair's reputation as a centre for creativity and refinement.

The 20th century

Down Street tube station

The 20th century brought with it a new chapter in Mayfair's illustrious history. In 1886, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt exchanged vows with Edith Kermit Carow at St. George's, Hanover Square, adding a touch of American glamour to Mayfair's aristocratic lineage. Meanwhile, iconic landmarks such as Down Street tube station and Berkeley Square became synonymous with the district's charm and character.

As we reflect on Mayfair's rich tapestry of history, we are reminded of its enduring allure and timeless elegance. From the humble beginnings of a marriage dowry to the opulent squares and cultural institutions that define its landscape, Mayfair stands as a testament to the indelible legacy of the Grosvenor family and the vibrant spirit of London's high society.