Country houses for sale

Gallows, solicitors…and a Prime Minister: The history of Connaught Square

Today, Connaught Square is most popularly known as the home of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, however, this fine Georgian square has been the home of many other notable residents. Still today it is praised for its archetypal Georgian terraced houses and quiet central gardens within just a few minutes from Hyde Park. Chesterton Humberts currently have a six bedroom house for sale within this highly sought-after address.

The area of Hyde Park has remained in the hands of the church since the medieval period and originally covered around 500 acres, including the entire area from Marble Arch to Lancaster Gate and north to the Paddington Canal. The area near today’s Marble Arch, was formerly known as Tyburnia due to its association with the infamous ‘Tyburn Tree’ or Tyburn gallows, the main public execution site from 1388 to 1783, which formerly stood close to the junction between Edgware and Bayswater Roads. The name ‘Tyburn’ originates from the river Tyburn that used to run from Hampstead through Marylebone to Oxford Street and south to the Thames.

By the late 18th century there were very few buildings across the Hyde Park Estate and it was only in 1795, when the Bishop of London obtained powers to grant building leases that large-scale building could begin. He commissioned estate surveyor, Samuel Pepys Cockerell (great great nephew of diarist Samuel Pepys), to create a plan for the estate, with Connaught Square one of the earliest sections to be erected. The name ‘Connaught’ originated from George III’s nephew and son-in-law, Prince William Frederick, who in 1805 succeeded as Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and Earl of Connaught.

Connaught Square was the first square built across the Hyde Park Estate, laid out for building in 1821 and most houses completed by 1828 by architect Thomas Allason. The architecture in Connaught Square is typical of the house style in the late Georgian period, using dark brick and white stucco features. These homes also feature original fan lights and have altered very little externally since they were built almost 200 years ago. Connaught Square has been the home of a number of notable residents, including ballerina Marie Taglioni, who lived at No.14 in 1875-76, and at No.5, author Nigel Balchin and later DJ, Paul Oakenfold. Today, Connaught Square is home to TV presenters Claudia Winkleman and Nina de Roy, along with former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his family.

This house, currently on the market with Chesterton Humberts has long been a comfortable family home. A few years after its completion, it was the home of William and Isabella Johnson, with the 1851 census recording William, 69 years old, and ‘on retired list of the civil department of the Ordnance’ and Isabella, 55 years old and from Jamaica. The Johnson’s had six live-in servants at this time. By the time of the 1861 census William had passed away and Isabella was in the house, recorded as ‘proprietor of funds’ with four live-in servants.

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By the 1870s, the house had become the home of George and Ellen Faithfull. The 1871 census records 52 years old George was an ‘attorney and solicitor’ and Ellen was 29 years old and from ‘East India Bengal’. George and Ellen continued in the house for close to 30 years. George passed away in 1897, but the 1901 census reveals widowed Ellen ‘living on own means’ with three live-in servants. Ellen was still living in the house after 40 years and the 1911 census shows that she was in the 13-roomed house with a cook, parlour maid and house maid.

Today, the house offers six bedrooms, with a large roof terrace and a lift, an additional self contained basement flat and of course access to the beautiful communal gardens.

* 6 bedroom property for sale, Connaught Square

For more on the history of Stafford Terrace visit The House Historian’s blog