How much do you know about the area or city you live in?
I have lived in London all of my life and to be honest, I don’t know it as well as I should.
In my defence, London is a huge city. Even for a Londoner, it’s difficult to know where all places are, let only actually going to every square inch. But when I hear people say they have been to this area or that place I think how have I not hear about it?
Now is the time to discover more of my city
One way I will be tackling this task is to go on walks. I recently found a book series by Steven Millar ‘London’s Hidden Walks’. There are a few volumes available and I thought it would be the perfect companion for my exploring adventure.
Mayfair walk is the first in volume 1 so that’s where I have started. The plan is to use the book as a guide to discovering and learning new things. I will photograph the places of reference, but not necessarily all in the book. I will keep an eye out for other interesting things I find along the way. It will be difficult to photograph everything. For example, I encountered many vans, cars, people and construction work right in front of the thing I wanted to photograph. Typical!
One final point before the I start the walk, do not attempt to do this during a cold day in autumn or winter. Unless you can photograph and flick through a book with gloves on, your hands will be just a bit cold!
Ready to walk?
Eros. No, wait, Anteros!
This walk starts in Piccadilly Circus at the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, built in 1893. We’ve all seen the statue of Eros however it is actually meant to represent Anteros, the god of selfless and mature love. The organising committee did not accept this choice of Anteros, by the sculptor Sir Alfred Gilbert. So the statue is commonly known to represent Antero’s twin, Eros the god of frivolous and romantic love.
South Regent Street
Albany apartment block.
Once occupied by George III’s son Prince Frederick, Duke of York (the grand old duke of York from the children’s nursery rhyme).
Royal Academy of Arts
The oldest art school in England. Founded 1768.
Opened in 1819 where it consisted of 72 small two-storey units.
The Royal Arcade.
12 Albermarle Street. Built 1879.
Third Church of Christ Scientist.
Opened in 1911 this was the third church to be founded in London as a branch of The Mother Church, First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.
Named after Edward Shepard who developed the original street plan in 1735. Between 1686 and 1708 a fair was held for fifth-teen days every May (hence the name “Mayfair”).
Christ Church Mayfair.
The original Christ Church Down Street was erected in 1865.
Down Street Station.
Open on the Piccadilly line between 1907 and 1932. Winston Churchill stayed here on occasions during the war when Whitehall cabinet war rooms were not available. He liked staying here as it offered good insulation from the bombing noise above.
Sir George Cayley plaque.
Sir George Cayley is regarded as the Father of Aerodynamics. His work was very influential in the lead up to the first powered flight by the Wright brothers in 1903.
Hilton Hotel, Park Lane.
Opened in 1963. In 1967 this is where the Beatles first met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
No. 1 Curzon Square.
Mama Cass Elliott, singer with the Mamas and the Papas died here in 1974. Four years later Keith Moon, drummer with The Who, died in the same bed.
One of Mayfair’s three squares.
Mount Street Gardens.
Location of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, completed in 1849.
Huge palm tree in Mount Street Gardens.
At number two Audley Square is a lamp post used by Russian Agents in the 1950’s during the Cold War. A small trap door at the lamp post rear was used to leave messages. The number 8 would be chalked if an operation was about to begin.
Built in 1730 for the Grosvenor Estate.
The second largest square in London is the location of the old US embassy building. At the opposite end of the square is a memorial garden for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Seating up to 900 people, this church was designed by Alfred Waterhouse the architect of the Natural History Museum.
Weighhouse MaE Deli.
The second MaE Deli opened by Ella and Matthew Mills.
One of London’s finest hotels opened in 1856. Cary Grant, Bill Crosby, Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn have all used Claridges and made it their London residence.
St Georges Church.
Henry Poole & Co.
Been in Saville Row since 1846, making clothes for Winston Churchill, Napoleon III and Charles Dickens.
Gieves and Hawkes.
One of Saville Row’s oldest tailors. Past customers include Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.
That concludes the walk of Mayfair. There were many interesting things I discovered. I found the old Down Street station and the lamp post to be the most engaging because they were unusual things to discover.
Get out there, wherever you are and do a walk for yourselves and you may find something new and interesting along the way.
Do you know Mayfair well?
Were there any places in Mayfair from this post that you have not seen before?
Have you done a walk in London before?
No need for postcards, feel free to leave a comment…