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Albemarle Street


Albemarle Street

View of Clarendon House, now demolished. Albemarle Street runs through the centre of the site of the house.

Albemarle Street is a street in Lord Byron, whose publisher John Murray was based here, and Oscar Wilde, a member of the Albemarle Club, where an insult he received led to his suing for libel and to his eventual imprisonment. It is also known for its art galleries and the Brown's Hotel is located at 33 Albemarle Street.


  • History 1
  • Notable residents 2
  • Galleries 3
  • Location 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Albemarle Street was built by a syndicate of developers headed by Sir Thomas Bond. The syndicate purchased a Piccadilly mansion called Clarendon House from Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle in 1684, which had fallen into ruin due to neglect caused by the dissolute duke's spendthrift ways. It was sold for E20,000, a fifth less than the duke had paid for it only nine years previously despite the land values in the area increasing in the intervening period. The house was demolished and the syndicate proceeded develop the area. At that time the house backed onto open fields and the development of the various estates in Mayfair was just getting underway. The syndicate also built Old Bond Street, Dover Street and Stafford Street.[1]

Albemarle Street was the first one-way street created for the purpose of better traffic flow in London. The decision was taken after a series of lectures by Humphry Davy at the Royal Institution caused gridlock in the capital because of the horrendous queues formed by horsedrawn carriages bringing in the eager audience. Albemarle Street was made a one-way street to avoid further incidents of such congestion.

Notable residents

Southward view of Albemarle Street, from the Grafton Street junction.

Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer (1661–1724), a leading minister of Queen Anne, had a house in Albemarle Street where he died in 1724.

Victor Spencer, 1st Viscount Churchill (1864–1934), a Page of Honour to Queen Victoria and British peer, was born at 32 Albemarle Street.

Anne Lister (1791–1840), a notable Victorian lesbian, stayed at 29 Albemarle Street in rooms owned by Hawkins, who also had premises in Dover Street.[2]

The Albemarle Club was originally in Albemarle Street and relocated to Dover Street nearby before its closure. Oscar Wilde was a member. In 1895, the Marquess of Queensberry left his calling card for Wilde with the infamous note "For Oscar Wilde, posing as a somdomite" (sic). This led to Wilde's failed libel action and subsequent criminal prosecution.

The publisher Lord Byron's letters were destroyed in the fireplace on the first floor after his death. Sir John Betjeman, the poet and broadcaster was another Murray author.

Frenchman Alexander Grillion opened Grillion's Hotel at No. 7 in 1803. Louis XVIII stayed here in 1814, before his return to France.[3] It was also the meeting place of Grillion's dining club. The Royal Thames Yacht Club was later based here.

The Royal Institution in Albemarle Street (c.1838).

The Royal Institution is located at 21 Albemarle Street and forms an imposing backdrop on the street with its row of classical columns on its frontage. The building has been greatly enlarged and redeveloped since 1799 when the Institution was founded, and is now a Grade I listed building. Because of the Institution's popularity (through its scientific lectures), Albemarle Street became London's first one-way street to avoid traffic problems.[4]

The naturalist evolutionary "new reformation" in naturalism who supported the ideas of Charles Darwin and became increasingly influential in late 19th century science.

Rev. [5]


Northward view of Albemarle Street, from the Stafford Street junction.

The street is host to a number of art galleries. These include:

  • Connaught Brown, 2 Albemarle Street
  • The Archeus Gallery, 3 Albemarle Street
  • Marlborough Fine Art, 6 Albemarle Street
  • Phillips de Pury & Company, 25–26 Albemarle Street
  • Mazzoleni Art, 27 Albemarle Street
  • The Grosvenor Gallery, 37 Albemarle Street
  • John Martin of London, 38 Albemarle Street
  • The Belgravia Gallery, 45 Albemarle Street
  • The Albemarle Gallery, 49 Albemarle Street
  • Faggionato Fine Arts, 49 Albemarle Street (first floor)
  • W. H. Patterson Fine Arts, 19 Albemarle Street


To the south-east, the street adjoins Piccadilly. Running parallel with Albemarle Street to the south-west is Dover Street and to the north-east are New Bond Street and Old Bond Street. The nearest tube station is Green Park.

See also


  1. ^ Bebbington, Gillian (1988) [1972]. Street Names of London. Batsford. p. 238.  
  2. ^ Anne Lister in London 1819-1839
  3. ^ Geraldine Edith Mitton (1903). Mayfair, Belgravia, and Bayswater. 
  4. ^ James, Frank. "Making traffic history - Albemarle Street". The Royal Institution of Great Britain. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Ernö Goldfinger / Designing Modern Britain — Design Museum

External links

  • information

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