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Grosvenor Square (pronounced Grove-ner) in Mayfair is best known for its American associations.
The small public park is surrounded by neo-Georgian buildings turned into flats and embassies except for the American Embassy on the west side which was built in 1960 to a design by Eero Saarinen. The American Embassy, however is to relocate to new premises in Nine Elms in the London Borough of Wandsworth. The new building will be finished by 2017.
John Adams, Second US President
The American associations began in 1785 when John Adams, the second US President, was appointed as American Minister to the Court of St James’s. He lived in 9 Grosvenor Square, the house standing on the corner of Brook and Duke Streets. The house is marked by a brass plaque erected by the Colonial Dames of America in 1933. Several other US ambassadors lived in houses in the square and in what is now the Canadian High Commission.
The Square’s gardens have been restored and has many impressive memorials to famous Americans. It is a favourite place for London office workers to spend their lunch breaks, sitting in the sunshine chatting or quietly reading.
In the 20th century the square was the World War II HQ of General Eisenhower and the garden was turned into a Women’s Auxiliary Airforce base for a ‘blimp’ (balloon) known as ‘Romeo’. The square was also home to Admiral Stark’s American naval mission.
Dwight D Eisenhower Statue
Opposite the building that housed General Eisenhower’s headquarters during World War II is a bronze statue of Dwight D Eisenhower. The citizens of Kansas City raised this memorial to their famous President and General. On one side of the plinth is a quotation from Eisenhower when Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in 1944, and on the other a quote from when he was US President in 1953.
The main monument, the Roosevelt Memorial was the British people’s gift in recognition of the great sacrifices made by Franklin D Roosevelt and the American people during World War II. The funds were raised within six days of calling for public subscriptions. The bronze statue by Sir William Reid Dick was unveiled on 12 April 1948 by Eleanor Roosevelt in the presence of the Royal Family, Clement Atlee and Sir Winston Churchill.
The Eagle Squadron Memorial
The memorial is a tapering shaft of Portland stone surmounted by a bronze sculpture of the American Bald Eagle. The sculptor was Dame Elizabeth Frink whose work can also be seen in Paternoster Square, St Paul's Cathedral.
In the early days of World War II (1940) Squadrons number 71, 121 and 133 of the Royal Air Force Fighter Command consisted of 244 American volunteer airmen and were known as the Eagle Squadrons. The Eagle Squadrons so distinguished themselves in battle that they were invited to join the famous Biggin Hill wing (see Biggin Hill RAF Chapel in this website). The Hearst Corporation sponsored this monument to the American Eagle Squadron pilots and it was unveiled on 12 May 1986.
September 11 Memorial Garden
The latest memorial to be erected in Grosvenor Square is the September 11 Memorial Garden. The British Government has created a peaceful summerhouse and garden as a permanent memorial to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001.
The garden is planted with white roses which have a special significance for the families of the UK victims. At the memorial service in Westminster Abbey, each family laid a white rose outside the Abbey in an Act of Remembrance.
TfL Fare Zone 1 Transport for London Journey Planner
To find the best way for getting to Grosvenor Square, visit the TfL Journey Planner.
- By Underground
|Bond Street Station||Central and Jubilee lines (approximately a 6 minute walk)|
- By Bus
We suggest that you use the TfL 'Journey Planner'.
Google Maps - Grosvenor Square