Did you know… The Duke of Westminster and his family, the Grosvenors, own 300 acres of land around Mayfair and Belgravia. His personal wealth of £5.5 billion made him the richest man in Britain, until the arrival of Roman Abramovich.
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Grosvenor Square is both the finest square in Mayfair, and the second largest in London – after Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
It was built by Sir Richard Grosvenor in 1725, who was jealous of the success of Hanover Square a short walk away. It soon attracted wealthy residents, and even a few fine Prime Ministers: Henry Addington, Lord North and the Marques of Rockingham.
Grosvenor Square is also famous for another reason – it is where the United States has its embassy. The entire western edge is filled up by their imposing concrete structure, topped off by a huge swooping eagle.
The area has been known as ‘Little America’ ever since the first US Ambassador, and future US President, John Adams, moved to No.9 Upper Brook Street in 1785. The US Army made No.20 its headquarters during World War Two, and you can see grand statues of Presidents Roosevelt and Eisenhower.
It was the scene of a huge riot in the mid-sixties when 80,000 people came to protest about America’s involvement in the Viet Nam war. The building itself looks out of place amongst the period housing, and gun cops and concrete blocks do not enhance the mood.
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