If you ever pass through St. James Park underground station take a detour down Queen Anne’s Gate and admire these magnificent buildings.
Queen Anne’s Gate is an enchanting Georgian road. Many of the buildings are Grade I listed and are well known for their Queen Anne architecture. It was originally built by William Paterson (a banker) in the beginning of the 18th century (1704-05), originally forming two separate openings, with Queen Square to the west and Park Street to the east.
Queen Square was built first followed by Park Street. Residents from Queen Square were uneasy at the thought of the road being used as a cut through for carriages to avoid the traffic of busy King Street, the Sanctuary and Tothill Street that a subscription was collected for the building of the wall to avoid the residents having the peace of their square disturbed. The dividing wall between the two streets was demolished in 1873 to form the present Queen Anne’s Square.
A Grade I-listed statue of Queen Anne stands on a pedestal alongside the north wall of No. 15 Queen Anne’s Gate. It portrays the queen wearing a brocaded skirt and bodice and an open cloak with the insignia of the Order of the Garter; on her head is a small crown and in her hands she holds an orb and sceptre.
Past & Present Residents
- 14, home for many years to T. P. O’Sullivan & Partners.16, a Grade I listed house that was the former home of John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, and of William Smith where there are commemorative blue plaques in both names. The restoration of the house won a Georgian Group award. It is now owned by Troels Holch Povlsen.
- 24, home to the politician Sir George Shuckburgh-Evelyn from 1783–88, and the judge Sir Edward Vaughan Williams, from 1836 until his death in 1875.
- 34, formerly the home of Edward Tennant, 1st Baron Glenconner, and from 1962-2013, home to St Stephen’s Club, a private member’s club.
- 36, head office of the National Trust, until about 2004.
The side formerly known as Park Street belonged to Christ’s Hospital. Christ’s Hospital owned these buildings right up until the early 90s. Queen Square was originally the freehold estate of Sir Theodore Janssen, one of the directors of the South Sea Company in 1720, and when the South Sea crash came Queen Square was seized and sold to to make reparations to the investors ruined in the crash.
Queen Anne’s Gate runs from Old Queen Street in the east to a cul-de-sac in the west. It runs parallel with Birdcage Walk to the north and Petty France, Broadway and Tothill Street to the south. Carteret Street joins Queen Anne’s Gate on its southern side.
Originally Park Street had its only exit by way of Carteret Street on the south, but in 1758 in order to provide a way out to Dartmouth Street, the Governors purchased the lower portion of a house in that street for the purpose of forming an archway between the two streets. In 1829 further property in Dartmouth Street was purchased, and in the following year, the archway was taken down.
The description of Queen Square in 1708 was “a beautiful Square, of very fine Buildings”, 300 years later we can still say the same and more.