Belgravia is situated in the heart of London, bordered by Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Pimlico. It is today one of the most desirable addresses of London, with its late Georgian estate of terraces, crescents, excellent location, town/country vibe, amazing surroundings and world-famous garden squares.
Belgravia today hosts lively street and garden parties in the summer and a series of acclaimed classical concerts in the autumn and spring. It is one of London’s most exclusive residential districts with specialist boutique shops, up-market restaurants, gastro-pubs, delicatessens, cafés and art galleries. Belgravia is also a culturally rich neighbourhood, with a commitment to public art, and is home to numerous art galleries and site-specific art installations.
Being a mostly exclusive residential district, Belgravia is also known as a central London enclave for billionaires with its Chester Square topping the London’s most-expensive streets list in 2009 and 2010. As one of the wealthiest districts in the world, Belgravia is known for its high class and famous residents, including:
- Sports: Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, who owned a 30,000 square feet property in Lowndes Square and former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho lived near Eaton Square.
- Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first ever symphony at 180 Ebury Street in 1764 when he was just 8 years old. Symphony No 1 in E flat major was composed as young Mozart travelled Europe with his father, and was heavily influenced by Johann Christian Bach, son of Johann Sebastien, who was also living in Belgravia at the time. Belgravia also hosted famous composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber who is one of only fifteen people to have won an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy and Tony.
- Four James Bond notables: Writer of James Bond novels Ian Fleming and leading actors of 2 James Bond movies Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore lived in Belgravia while Sir Christopher Lee, playing the villain in the 1974 movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was born in Belgravia
- Other actors and TV celebrities: Joan Collins, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Lillie Langtry, Sarah Brightman, Nigella Lawson and Elizabeth Hurley
History of Belgravia
Until the 17th century Belgravia was part of an area called Five Fields, with around 500 acres of swamp, pasture and orchards. The possession of the area north of the Thames passed into the Grosvenor family in 1656, when the daughter and sole heiress of Alexander Davies, Esq., of Ebury Farm, married Sir Thomas Grosvenor, the ancestor of the present Duke of Westminster. The Grosvenors, who still own the estate, vowed to put the Five Fields to new use, and the following centuries saw it flourish into one of London’s most desirable addresses.
In 1824, Lord Grosvenor appointed the new master builder of London, Thomas Cubitt, in search of an answer for the problem posed by the inhospitable nature of the land. Mr. Cubitt had devised his own solutions for removing the clay of the marsh, burned it into bricks to later use in the construciton of the district and dumped tons of earth dug out of the banks of the Thames for the building of the new St. Katharine Dock into this former swampland.
Grosvenor’s vision for the land included classic Regency-style streets, squares and crescents, all aligned to overlook leafy private gardens and within a few years, together with the work ethic and clever ideas of Thomas Cubitt elegant new terraces of white stucco and a whole new neighborhood would rise to form the Belgravia district.