About the area – Mayfair

Mayfair is one of the most exclusive areas in the heart of London. It borders onto Hyde Park to the west, Oxford Street to the north, Piccadilly and Green Park to the south and Regent Street to the east.

Mayfair is perfectly located for shopping and entertainment. Famous establishments within close proximity include Savile Row, Burlington Arcade, the Ritz Hotel and the West End theatre district. New and Old Bond Street, known for fine jewellery, antiques and clothing is also nearby. This is also home to Sotheby’s, one of Mayfair’s oldest and most respected auction houses.

A short his­tory: the area of May­fair was first devel­oped around 1686 and became the site for the annual May Fayre (a 15 day cel­e­bra­tion from May Day and thought to have started in the days of Edward I to mark St James Day), a com­bi­na­tion of mar­ket, enter­tain­ment and mer­ri­ment, and very pop­u­lar annual event. How­ever, the com­bi­na­tion of ‘merry-makers’ and res­i­dents meant there were reg­u­lar calls for it to be banned for ‘unsavoury and lewd’ hap­pen­ings and was even­tu­ally was closed at the order of Queen Char­lotte in 1708.

With the May Fayre gone, the area rapidly became the Lon­don base of the aris­toc­racy. Shep­herd Mar­ket, the site where the fair used to take place, was devel­oped in the mid-1700’s cre­at­ing the area’s paved alleys, a two-storey mar­ket, the­atre and duck pond.
After the First World War, the area went into decline. The aris­toc­racy could no longer afford the great houses or find the ser­vants needed to run them, and many were con­verted into flats or became pri­vate clubs.

Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, a short­age of office space as a result of bomb­ing in the City forced the local author­ity to issue 50-year per­mits which granted the man­sion owner’s per­mis­sion to use the prop­er­ties for com­mer­cial pur­poses, which con­se­quently changed the char­ac­ter of the area for most of the rest of the cen­tury. Today, how­ever, May­fair is still one of the best addresses in London.