It is appropriate that Grosvenor has played a direct part in the revitalisation of Mount Street because it was Hugh Lupus Grosvenor – the 1st Duke of Westminster, and a noted patron of English architecture – who was directly responsible for the way Mount Street looks today.
Named after a civil war fort (Oliver’s Mount) in what is now Grosvenor Square, Mount Street was redeveloped on the instructions of the 1st Duke. The original Georgian buildings were not up to scratch and included a parish workhouse (where 103 now stands) for 600 paupers. The 1st Duke arranged for the workhouse, which was woefully overcrowded, to be moved to a new site at Buckingham Palace Road.
Hugh Lupus Grosvenor favoured the Queen Anne revival style, which led to the adoption of the Arts & Crafts movement architecture and red brickwork of MountStreet in the redevelopment of the 1880s and 1890s.
Read more about the history of Mount Street.
It is the architecture that sets Mount Street and South Audley Street apart from much of the rest of Mayfair and gives it its own style. The Survey of London: Volume 39 observes: “The great success of the 1st Duke’s rebuilding was undoubtedly Mount Street, a thoroughfare whose élan and cheerful homogeneity are unique and not just on the estate but in the whole West End.”
The degree to which the 1st Duke involved himself in the redevelopment is obvious not only in the red brickwork, which he insisted upon, but also in the architecture of The Audley Public House at the west end of Mount Street. Originally called the Bricklayer’s Arms, the Duke had it rebuilt and renamed to make it more “salubrious”. So salubrious that Michelle Obama and her children were reported to have dropped in for fish and chips on a recent visit to London.
The ‘new Mayfair’
The transformation of Mount Street is recent. It began with the hugely celebrated reopening of Scott’s, the restaurant once again world famous as a favourite haunt of celebrities. It was helped further by the repositioning of the restaurant and refurbishment at The Connaught hotel. But the real catalyst for change was the opening of a pioneering new store by internationally recognised fashion designer Marc Jacobs at 24-25 Mount Street, in what had previously been an antique shop. It was a radical move to open away from the accepted ‘luxury streets’ that captured the attention of the fashion industry.
In just a couple of years, Marc Jacobs was joined in ‘new Mayfair’ by Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin, Jenny Packham, Harry’s of London, Lanvin and beauty brand Aesop. A new Marc by Marc Jacobs store has now opened in South Audley Street and Browns opened its first shoe shop at 59 Brook Street. These new, and sometimes edgy, brands sit alongside some of Mayfair’s oldest names: Purdey, William and Son, Jo Hansford, Hayward, Alfred Dunhill (which has moved from Jermyn Street to Davies Street), and Nicky Clarke.
Stephen Webster (creative director of Garrard- the world’s oldest jewellery house), added sparkle to Mount Street when he opened his store in summer 2009. Webster is a three-time winner of the coveted British Luxury Jeweller of the Year title and in 2008 was named UK Jewellery Brand of the Year. Mount Street is also home to a number of notable brands including Nicholas Kirkwood, Loewe, Goyard, Mackintosh, Celine, Jessica McCormack, Oscar de la Renta and Azzaro.
For detailed Mount Street stores and restaurants visit http://www.mountstreetmayfair.co.uk/
Click here for a street view of Mount Street.
Click here for the Retail map of Mount street