Grosvenor Square is the large centre piece to the Grosvenor estate that owns most of Mayfair. Development on the square began in the early 18th century under the auspices of Sir Richard Grosvenor who was known as “the great builder”. About 50 large houses were built around the square – initially nearly all occupied by MPs – and almost all of them have since been demolished. The square’s gardens were originally intended for use by the square’s residents, but this large open space is now a park open to all.
The square’s connections to the USA are obvious – with a statue of Franklin D Roosevelt in the square and the large, imposing US Embassy at the western side. The US Embassy has caused the square to be an occasional scene of protest, with an anti-Vietnam War demonstration turning violent in 1968.