Mayfair as it is today has largely come about through the foresight and development of just a few families.
The largest Mayfair estate is the Grosvenor Estate. Not long after the Great Fire of London, the 13 year old Mary Davies was married to Sir Thomas Grosvenor, aged 21. Davies has inherited large expanses of land in the area, and Grosvenor was himself rich and had large amount of money which could be used to pay for development.
Their union brought 100 acres of Mayfair land into the hands of the family, and their oldest son, Sir Richard, set about a building programme with gusto when he came of age in 1700. He laid out many well designed streets, and Grosvenor Square became the centrepiece of his plans, with large townhouses built to attract a fashionable set. With such an impressive portfolio, is it any surprise that to this day the head of the Grosvenor Estate, the Duke of Westminster (with that title being bestowed in 1874), remains one of the richest men in the UK.
Berkeley House was built by the Lord Berkeley of Stratton in 1665. The impressive house was built in Piccadilly with a sweeping garden that stretched way back into what we know as Mayfair today, and backed on to open fields. Berkeley's widow, Lady Berkeley, accepted representations to trim down the garden - with it being made narrower to accept the building of Stratton Street and Berkeley Street at its sides. The house itself was sold to the William Cavendish - the Duke of Devonshire - in 1697, and it burned down in 1733.
In the Berkeley Fields behind the house, work began to lay out Berkeley Square in 1738. Initially Berkeley Row was built, and then rows opposite and to the sides were added to create a square, of sorts.
Like Berkeley House, Burlington House was a large Piccadilly facing property with gardens stretching back into Mayfair. Developments on the land included the creation of Savile Row, Cork Street and the construction of the Burlington Arcade. Burlington House remains standing and is home to the Royal Academy of Arts.