Deputy Head Concierge Graham, from sister hotel The Capital, shares with us a brief snippet of Knightsbridge history.
This particular part of Knightsbridge history begins in 1771 when the builder, Henry Holland, and his son, Henry Jr., the architect, persuaded the heirs of Sir Hans Sloane to lease them 89 acres of land to establish one of the first towns in the London area. This town became known as Hans Town and was an independent district until Belgravia was developed in 1820.
From the beginning of the development, Holland Jr. always intended on building his own house. He designed and built Sloane Place on 3 acres, which later became known as The Pavilion – reflecting his work for the Prince of Wales’ Brighton Pavilion. Although it was his intention to develop the whole area in his own style, subleases were allowed (often for past associates) who developed the houses as they wanted. Unfortunately, this brought about houses of disrepute and the area became a slum. The area around what is now the NCP Car Park in Rysbrack Street/Pavilion Road/Stackhouse Street was originally a group of houses called “Wonder What Place” – one can only imagine!
The boundary of Hans town is marked by bollards [above] stating 1819, and this date reflects the attempt by Earl Cadogan to sell 99-year leases with the agreement that the plots be redeveloped to get aristocracy to move into the area. However, the development of Belgravia, which was always intended to have grand, stuccoed-type buildings to rival those in Mayfair, didn’t allow the area to improve until the success and growth of Harrods became apparent.
There are but a few original buildings still standing – 33 & 34 Hans Place, for example [above] – (and these have been extended upwards) as most were replaced with a style that became known as Pont Street Dutch, a cross between Dutch and Queen Ann Style, featuring ornate brickwork and decorative bay windows.
So, if you are staying at The Levin and want more information about Knightsbridge history, please pop in for a chat with Graham.