Grosvenor Crescent, SW1X



Place Name

Richard Grosvenor (January 27, 1795 – October 31, 1869), become the 2nd Marquess of Westminster, in 1845. Richard, the eldest of the eldest Robert Grosvenor’s sons, continued with the work his father had started, further securing the Grosvenor-family’s fortune. In 1818 he followed in the family tradition of becoming MP for Chester, siting on the Whig benches. He is said to have “devoted himself… to the improvement of his London property”, and added to his properties in Dorset and Cheshire; he was described as being a “model landlord” building farms, schools and, “numerous” cottages. He also commissioned Shaftesbury Town Hall for the people of the town. He continued the family interest in horse racing and country pursuits. He gave generously to charity, and built and restored churches. Perhaps as a result of his father’s own disrupted childhood, both his parents had affairs, Grosvenor’s parents had instilled in him and their other children “high moral principles”, and these stayed with him throughout his life. He has been described as “of austere character and unswerving devotion to duty as family man, politician and landlord” His obituary in The Times says “he administered his vast estate with a combination of intelligence and generosity not often witnessed”. In 1819 he married Lady Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, younger daughter of George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquess of Stafford (later 1st Duke of Sutherland). This union was evidently a happy one, they had 13 children, ten of whom survived into adulthood. Their second son Hugh Lupus Grosvenor succeeded him as 3rd Marquess; he was later created Duke of Westminster. Lord Westminster died at Fonthill House, Fonthill Gifford in Wiltshire, his wealth was recorded as being under £800,000 (equivalent to £78,620,000 today). Before development this road was still being used as pasture or possibly for industry, with its clay being used for brick building, a brick kiln features on John Rocque’s 1746 map. In 1766 the site was occupied by Tattersalls, horse auction mart, founded in London by Richard Tattersall, founded in 1724. The first permanent premises were near Hyde Park Corner, then in the outskirts of London. Tattersalls became a rendezvous for sporting and betting men, including the prince of Wales (later King George IV). The auction ring features prominently in Richard Horwood’s Plan (1792 – 1799). It doesn’t feature in John Lockie’s Topography of London published in 1810. The name Grosvenor is derived from Hugh Le Grand Veneur (literally Master Huntsman), a member of a Norman French family that came over with William the Conqueror in 1066. Initially, Hugh was called Hugh Lupus. Lupus was overweight, and his townsmen gradually changed his title from Le Grand Veneur  to Le Gros Veneur – meaning  the Fat Huntsman, a title he evidently took pride in.

 

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