Wednesday 10 July 2024

History, architecture and timber windows in Mayfair, London

Mayfair was a largely rural area until the early 18th century.  However, it was the location for an annual May Fair until 1764, which is where its name is derived from.

In the early 1700s the Grosvenor family began to develop the land with new high-quality houses. This included the buildings in Hanover, Berkeley, and Grosvenor Square.

Over half of the initial 227 Georgian homes that were built had owners with titles, such as Dukes and Earls.

During the mid-late Victorian period, wealthy businessmen moved to the area.  By this time some of the Georgian properties were in a poor state and several Georgian properties were pulled down and replaced by lavish Victorian mansions.

By the end of the 18th century the majority of Mayfair had been built on with houses for the upper class, with Mayfair increasingly becoming one of the most sought-after addresses.

After WW1, several luxurious homes were replaced by hotels and offices as people looked to downsize.  Mayfair remained a prominent business area for several years.  However, recently many of the old office buildings have started being converted back into residential use.

Apsley House

Designed by Robert Adam in the neoclassical style, Apsley House was built in the 1770s.  It is also known as ‘Number 1 London’ as it was located opposite a turnpike with toll houses, meaning it was the first house that you reached, on the north side of Piccadilly, when entering London (source).

In 1817 the house was brought by the then Duke of Wellington, who carried out various renovations, including a three-storey extension to the northeast of the property.  Apsley House now also had a 28-metre-long gallery where the Duke could entertain and display his growing collection of paintings.

In 1853, the 2nd Duke decided to open the building to the public, on a ticketed basis.

The 7th Duke then decided to offer the house to the nation, alongside several items of the art collection.  In 1947, the Wellington Museum Act was signed.  Part of the house would be converted to use as a museum, while part of it remained a family residence.

Various restoration work was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s to restore the interior to reflect the occupation of the 1st Duke and in 2004 English Heritage took over the responsibility for maintaining the building.

The Grade I listed house still has several Georgian style sash windows.

Brown’s Hotel

In 2022, Brown’s Hotel celebrated 190 years and it is believed to be London’s oldest hotel.

It was originally a ‘private hotel’ only catering for upper class guests personally known to the Brown family or those met through a letter of introduction.  It was only by the late 20th century that the hotel became more public facing.

The hotel began at 23 Dover Street, before expanding over the years to also include 21, 22, and 24 Dover Street and Albemarle Street.  The hotel has also been sympathetically restored at several points in its history, including a £24 million renovation project in 2004-2005.

Today the hotel is made up of eleven Georgian townhouses.

Bourdon House

Bourdon House is a Grade II* listed building at the junction of Davies Street and Bourdon Street.  The building still has beautiful timber Georgian style sash windows.

It was originally built between 1723 and 1725 as a private residence.  The house is believed to have been named after Captain William Bourdon, who lived in the property until 1727.  It was then extended in 1737 and 1760, with much of the interior dating from this period.

Bourdon House was then renovated again in the mid-late 1800s, including adding a fourth storey.

The building remained a private residential home until 1957, when it was converted into an antique shop.  Today it is home to a luxury menswear store.

Timber Windows in Mayfair, London W1

Mayfair is located within Westminster City Council in the W1J, W1K, and W1S postcodes.

Georgian properties can be spotted across Mayfair, with many buildings in the Mayfair area having traditional timber sash windows.

Mayfair is located within a Conservation Area, helping to ensure that the area retains its traditional character.  This means that if you have a property in Mayfair, there will be some restrictions on the type of work that can be done.

At The Sash Window Workshop, we have extensive experience working in Conservation Areas and specialise in high quality, traditional timber windows and doors.  We regularly work in Central London, having done over £650k worth of work in the W1J, W1K, and W1S postcodes alone.

To obtain a free, no obligation, visit and quotation for your windows or external doors, contact us today on 01344 868 668.

London Accoya Sash Windows

Wooden London Casement Window