The horrors of WWI and the Great Depression, gave huge blows to both the aristocracy and the plutocrats who found that they could no longer afford to run their vast luxurious homes. As a result, during the 1920s and 1930s some 25 vast mansions and palaces in Mayfair, and additional smaller townhouses, in all over £2 billion worth of property at current values, was ruthlessly torn down and replaced by hotels, offices and modern apartment buildings. The aristocracy and even the plutocrats were forced to dramatically “downsize”, moving into flats or smaller houses, and selling off their artwork and cutting down on their staff, hangers-on and rich-man’s toys.

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