The Story of Mayfair: 1945 to 1990 – From ballrooms to boardrooms
Just as WWI and the Depression decimated the wealth of both the new and old money of Mayfair, WWII helped to end its role as a leading residential address. After 1945, with the offices of the City of London largely destroyed by bombing, some 1.2 million sqft of Mayfair residential property was converted to residential use. In addition punishing levels of post-war taxation, meant that many families were forced to relocate to Belgravia, Chelsea and even Pimlico. All the inward investment, wealth and advances in Mayfair since 1851 seemed to have been totally wiped out by 1945 with the riches of Empire drained away fighting two world wars.
By 1960 a third of Mayfair’s total floorspace was being used for business and by 1970 just a third of Mayfair’s property stock was residential. By the late 1980s the decline in the residential population of Mayfair since 1945 was estimated to be as high as 90 per cent.
During the oil boom of the 1970s, whilst newly wealthy Gulf Arabs and Asian Royals did buy some property in Mayfair, many acquired properties in more residential dominated locations including Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Holland Park and Regent’s Park. Mayfair was clearly no longer London’s top residential address.