Belgrave Square is located immediately south-west of Hyde Park Corner, approached by
Grosvenor Crescent. To the north is Wilton Crescent, to the south is Upper Belgrave Street, to the east Montrose Place and to the west Belgrave Mews West. The property is situated on the north side of Belgrave Square. It is widely considered to be one of the best locations in Belgravia, convenient for the widest possible range of amenities and recreational facilities in prime central London. The Square Gardens, which contain a tennis court, are beautifully maintained and contain large lawned areas, judiciously interspersed with flowering shrubs and trees. Residents enjoy the use of the gardens, subject to conditions.
The property is a Grade I listed Georgian building dating back to C.1826. It was constructed
using Portland stone and finely finished with a white stucco-rendered façade to designs by
Thomas Cubitt and his architect, George Basevi Jnr. The building is approached by a number
of steps leading to a portico-styled entrance, and then on to the magnificently vast entrance
hall. The building is arranged over 6 floors (served by a lift) and includes a terrace on the
ground floor and an extensive balcony on the first. A mansard roof with dormer windows and
pillar detailing expanding from the first floor through to the second floor complete the façade
of this truly remarkable building, which boasts many outstanding features, most notably a
very imposing double drawing room located on the first floor, which enjoys views over one of
the most beautiful garden squares in London.
The building is full of character and clearly one of both Cubitt’s and Basevi’s greatest designs.
As the building is positioned on the northern side of the square, it was exhibited, along with
the eastern side, at the Royal Academy in 1826.
Belgravia was originally laid out and built by Thomas Cubitt under a special Act of Parliament passed in 1826. Belgrave Square now stands on the site of what was once an open, rural expanse known as the Five Fields. It was part of the Ebury Farm, which came into the Grosvenor family in the 17th century through the marriage of Mary Davies to Sir Thomas Grosvenor.
One historian described how Cubitt set about the task of building Belgravia: “The clay he removed and burned into bricks, and by building upon the substratum of gravel he converted this spot from the most unhealthy to one of the most healthy in the metropolis in spite of the fact that its surface is but a few feet above the level of the River Thames at high water during spring tides”.
No.2 Belgrave Square first appears in records in 1829, the last full year of the reign of George IV. The first Grosvenor Estate lessee was James Goding (c.1765-1845), who was thought to be a brewer. When James Goding left the house, No.2 Belgrave Square was passed to his nephew, also called James Goding (1789-1856) a wealthy brewer.
Before 1879, 2 Belgrave Square became the London town-house of the Marquess of Hamilton, afterwards 2nd Duke of Abercorn, who for 20 years had sat in Parliament as Conservative member for Donegal.
By 1888, 2 Belgrave Square had been taken by Edward Balfour the eldest surviving son of John Balfour of Balbirnie, Fife, who followed no occupation other than that of Justice of the Peace, preferring to live on the rent-rolls of his Scottish estates. When Edward Balfour moved to No.48 Belgrave Square in circa 1893 the Grosvenor Estate lease of No.2 was acquired by a Northumberland landowner named Nathaniel George Clayton (1833-1895) and Isabel his wife. Mrs. Clayton was still living here in her widowhood in 1899.
Before 1906, 2 Belgrave Square was purchased by the British soldier and Conservative politician, Ernest George Pretyman (1860-1931). Pretyman the son of the Rev. Frederic Pretyman, Canon of Lincoln Cathedral and the great-grandson of George Pretyman Tomline, a prominent late 18th century cleric. Ernest inherited a large fortune from ‘Colonel’ George Tomline, his father’s first cousin.
Educated at Eton, then at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, he entered the Royal Artillery in 1880 and served until 1889. From 1895 to 1906 he sat in Parliament in the Conservative interest for Woodbridge, Suffolk; and from 1908 to 1923 for Chelmsford, Essex. He shared No.2 Belgrave Square with his wife, Lady Beatrice Adine (1870-1952).
In May 1935 Pretyman’s executors offered 2 Belgrave Square for sale through the agency of ‘The Times’. By the following November it had been acquired by Lady Dance. Grace Dance was the daughter of Charles Spong of Aylesford, Kent, and the widow of Sir George Dance whom she had married in 1898. Lady Dance continued to occupy this house until the middle years of the Second World War when she left London to avoid the bombing.
On 12th May 1953 No.2 Belgrave Square was opened by the then Duke of Gloucester. Since that time the property has established itself as the centre for the Latin American and Iberian regions in the UK, hosting talks, seminars, art exhibitions and cultural events, and glittering dinners. As a non political, not for profit organisation, it addresses economic, business, political and cultural issues relevant to the UK and the countries of these regions. In doing so it works closely with the British government and the embassies of the Latin American and Iberian countries in the UK. At No 2 Belgrave Square, it established the UK’s largest collection of books on the peoples and cultures of these nations.
The property is located in the City of Westminster and is Grade I listed. It is also located within the Belgravia Conservation Area. The current planning use class is B1, although there is potential
to convert to a single family dwelling, as this was the building’s original use, subject to the receipt of all the necessary consents.
TENURE: A new FRI (Full Repairing & Insuring) lease for an effective term of 125 years for no rent, but excluding any rights under leasehold reform legislation.
In particular, the purchaser will not have a statutory right to claim the freehold under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The purchaser will have possession under a 20 year Initial Lease, and the benefit of an agreement for the 125 year lease to be transferred to it. The price will be payable in full on the grant of the 20 year lease. The term of the 125 year lease will start on the date of the Initial Lease. The 20 year lease will be subject to a supplemental deed under which the purchaser will agree to carry out works to sensitively convert the property to residential use within three years (subject to extension for fire or matters beyond its control), with a refundable development bond or other security. On satisfactory completion of the works (or if later two to three years after the building has become a house again) the 125 year lease will be transferred to the purchaser.
Save for a mortgagee enforcing its security, the purchaser will not be able to transfer or underlet the property until completion of the works. There will be a similar prohibition on a change of control of the purchaser through a sale of shares in the purchaser or another holding company.
Property disclaimer: Details provided and maintained by SAVILLS, Sloane Street. Countrylife.co.uk makes no warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of these details.
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