The Story of Mayfair: 1660s to 1720s – From mud to mansions
Mayfair was originally unwanted, nameless, muddy fields – the River Tyburn swamps – situated to the West of what was then central London (Whitehall, Soho, Covent Garden and the City). Mayfair got its name in 1686 when King James II granted Royal permission for a fair to be held on the site of what is now Shepherds Market in the first two weeks of May. At this time Soho, Whitehall and the City were the addresses of choice for the wealthy aristocracy.
It was not until 1710 and 1719, that Sir Richard Grosvenor and the Earl of Scarborough (Mayfair’s two original landowning and developer families) built Grosvenor Square and Hanover Square respectively, and started Mayfair’s building process than continues until the present day, so that by 1720, the former fields were transformed into a vast building site.