At nearly one-third of a mile long, Eaton Square is in fact an oblong arranged around six private garden squares covering two-and-a-half hectares of Belgravia. But there is much more to living in Eaton Square than its prime London location.
The majority of the imposing but elegant buildings behind jet black railings and Grade II* listed white stucco facades – many of which have mews to the rear – have been meticulously remodelled to create some of the most spacious apartments available in London.
While a number of the townhouses built between 1827 and 1855 retain their original dimensions, the most desirable of the 380-plus homes in Eaton Square have been converted into lateral apartments that span across the width of several of the original houses.
Where is Eaton Square?
Started during the housing boom that followed the Napoleonic wars, Eaton Square was established as the closest residences to the King’s Court at Buckingham House (later to become Buckingham Palace) and the Houses of Parliament.
Divided by the King’s Road, it is surrounded by the upmarket neighbourhoods of Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Mayfair.
At the east end of the square is St Peter’s Church, host of celebrated classical concerts in spring and autumn, while nearby streets contain some of the capital’s most renowned Michelin starred restaurants, fashionable boutiques, acclaimed galleries, specialist delicatessens and luxury hotels.
A short history of Eaton Square
Eaton Square is part of the Grosvenor Estate and takes its name from Eaton Hall in Cheshire, the principal home of the Duke of Westminster.
Its origins can be traced back to an Act of Parliament, which was passed in 1826 allowing Lord Grosvenor – who owned most of the land that now makes up Belgravia and Mayfair – to drain the “open and rural space known as the Five Fields and build a new and elegant town connecting London and Chelsea”.
Designed by master builder Thomas Cubitt as part of his work to develop Belgravia – which takes its name from the Cheshire village of Belgrave where Eaton Hall is found – Eaton Square’s location made it the perfect stopping off point on route to the King’s Road, then used as a private road by royalty heading for Kew or Hampton Court.
This made Eaton Square the place to live if you wanted the ear of the monarch and its first residents were the acquaintances of and advisers to King George IV.
Blue plaques in Eaton Square
Eaton Square has a long list of well-known former residents. Blue plaques bearing the names of former Prime Ministers Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain, actress Viviene Leigh, Austrian statesman Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, philanthropist George Peabody – best known in Britain for his work delivering housing for the poor – and former foreign secretary Edward Wood 1st Earl of Halifax can be found on buildings surrounding the square’s gardens.
James Bond’s fictional home was also in Eaton Square, while past real-life residents also include Bond actor Sean Connery, screen star Rex Harrison, Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands plus the Bolivian and Belgian embassies.
But contrary to popular reports, Chelsea Football Club manager Jose Mourinho never lived in Eaton Square. He lived in a £4m rental property in Eaton Terrace, which overlooks Eaton Square.
Super-prime homes in Eaton Square
After the Belgium government relocated its embassy from 105 Eaton Square in 2000, the former diplomatic residence underwent a major refurbishment.
Former Del Monte boss Vivian Imerman commissioned his interior designer daughter Bianca Ladow — known as the female Candy — to turn the 10,700 sq ft property into a money-no-object billionaire’s residence.
When the Grade II* listed Regency home went back on the market for £70m in 2013, it was reported that it had a 41ft swimming pool with gold leaf tiles under a gold panelled ceiling, a spa with jacuzzi, gymnasium, steam room and sauna, a cinema room and a winter garden with a sliding glass roof.
The property, which was built in 1827, also includes a mews house to its rear that has been converted into a leather-lined garage for four cars with a staff flat above.
Living in Eaton Square
The Grosvenor Estate still owns the freehold of most of the properties in Eaton Square and directly manages the majority with constant reinvestment in both the buildings and the gardens.
The six private gardens around which the homes on Eaton Square are arranged are for the sole benefit of its residents. Each garden has its own character and purpose, including an all-weather tennis court and two reserved for dog walking.
The gardens, which were designed by Cubitt and architects William Howard Seth Smith and Charles James Freake, are also used for private exhibitions. Most recently, work by sculpture and sundial designer David Harber has been on display.
The Grosvenor Estate not only employs professional gardeners to look after the lawns, flora and fauna in Eaton Square, uniformed porters can be seen on the steps of the properties awaiting the arrival of residents and their guests, while trained security personnel keep a subtle but watchful eye on comings and goings.
Properties in Eaton Square range from 60 sq m one-bed apartments to 1,200 sq m houses available for rental and sale on long and short leases. For more information on buying or renting in Eaton Square, contact Best Gapp.