in 1967 Image:Fitzroy Square View.jpg, A sculpture by Naomi Blake in Fitzroy Square Garden Fitzroy Square is a Georgian square in
London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the Nor ...
. It is the only one in the
central London Central London (also known less commonly as London city centre) is the innermost part of London, in England, spanning several London borough, boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of Central London for s ...
area known as Fitzrovia.


The square, nearby Fitzroy Street, and the Fitzroy Tavern in Charlotte Street have the family name of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, into whose ownership the land passed through his marriage. His descendant Charles FitzRoy, 1st Baron Southampton developed the area during the late 18th and early 19th century. Fitzroy Square was a speculative development intended to provide London residences for aristocratic families, and was built in four stages. Leases for the eastern and southern sides, designed by
Robert Adam Robert Adam (3 July 17283 March 1792) was a Scottish neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer. He was the son of William Adam (1689–1748), Scotland's foremost architect of the time, and trained under him. With his o ...
, were granted in 1792; building began in 179410 Fitzroy Square
and was completed in 1798 by Adam's brothers James and William. These buildings are fronted in Portland stone brought by sea from
Dorset Dorset (; Archaism, archaically: Dorsetshire) is a counties of England, county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority, unitary authority areas ...
. The
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions. It produced a brief period of Fren ...
and a slump in the London property market brought a temporary stop to construction of the square after the south and east sides were completed. According to the records of the Squares Frontagers' Committee, 1815 residents looked out on "vacant ground, the resort of the idle and profligate". Another contemporary account describes the incomplete square:
The houses are faced with stone, and have a greater proportion of architectural excellence and embellishment than most others in the metropolis. They were designed by the Adams, but the progress of the late war prevented the completion of the design. It is much to be regretted, that it remains in its present unfinished state.
The northern and western sides were subsequently constructed in 1827–29 and 1832–35 respectively, and are
stucco Stucco or render is a construction material made of Construction aggregate, aggregates, a binder (material), binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, ex ...
-fronted. The south side suffered bomb damage during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
and was rebuilt with traditional facades to remain in keeping with the rest of the square.

Present day

The square was largely pedestrianised in the 1970s, as part of a scheme designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and undertaken as part of environmental improvement works. In 2008 the square was upgraded by relaying most of the surface at a single level, removing street clutter such as bollards, and further restricting vehicular access. The square is at the heart of the Fitzrovia Conservation area (United Kingdom), conservation area and is the subject of the Fitzroy Square conservation area appraisal and management strategy adopted by the London Borough of Camden in March 2010.

Notable buildings

The square has a number of notable buildings, many with distinguished connections marked by blue plaques. Numbers 1, 1A, 2–8 and 33–40 are grade I listed buildings. * No. 6 holds the office and library of The Georgian Group. * No. 7 was the home of Charles Lock Eastlake, Sir Charles Eastlake, first director of the National Gallery. * No. 8 was the home of the painter James McNeill Whistler. * No. 9 was the home of chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann (1818–1892). * No. 11 for varying lengths of time housed the offices of publishers Cresset Press, Merlin Press, and Allison and Busby in the latter 1960s. Later it was the home of novelist Ian McEwan. * Nos. 13–14 were home to St Luke's Hospital for the Clergy (1904–2009). * Nos. 16-18 were formerly the headquarters of the charity Scope (charity), Scope. * No. 19 belonged to the architect James Lockyer (architect), James Lockyer who died in the house in 1875. It was then the base for the "International School" run by Louise Michel in the 1890s. Later it was the home of Bloomsbury Group artist Duncan Grant (c. 1909). * No. 20 is the headquarters of the Rugby League International Federation. * No. 21 was the home of English statesman and Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Lord Salisbury. It is now occupied by the High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique, London, High Commission of Mozambique. * No. 23 is the Embassy of Liberia, London, Embassy of Liberia. * No. 25 was the site of a police raid in 1927 on the basement flat, rented by the gay dancer Bobby Britt, who was convicted of keeping a disorderly house and sentenced to 15 months' hard labour. * No. 27 was the home of theatre critic and occasional Shaw collaborator William Archer (critic), William Archer. * No. 28 was the headquarters of the Magistrates' Association until 2017. * No. 29 was the home of George Bernard Shaw from 1887 until his marriage in 1898; and later of Virginia Woolf from 1907 to 1911. * 33 Fitzroy Square, No. 33 housed Roger Fry's Omega Workshops, Omega Workshop, creating avant-garde furniture from 1913 to 1919. * No. 34–35, owned by Guy Ritchie, was controversially squatted as the London Free School in 2011. * No. 37 was the home of the artist Sir William Quiller Orchardson from 1862, an address he shared for three years with John Pettie. Later it was the home of the artist Ford Madox Brown and childhood home of his grandson, the writer Ford Madox Ford.

Notable residents

In addition to those above: *General Francisco de Miranda lived at nearby 58 Grafton Way (1802–10). On the corner of 40 Fitzroy Square is a statue of him, a copy of a work by the Venezuelan sculptor Rafael de la Cova. *Epidemiologist William Farr (1807–1883) established his first medical practice in Fitzroy Square. *William Nisbet (physician), William Nisbet (1759–1822), Scottish physician and medical writer, practised in Fitzroy Square after 1801. * Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp lives there. * The thriller writer Reg Gadney lived there with his restaurant critic wife Fay Maschler. * Until recently the clothing designer Linda Bennett owned a Grade I listed house in the Square. * The Welsh comedian, writer and television personality Griff Rhys Jones is a resident. * Chad Gould, English-Filipino footballer, lives there.

Culture and media

The square is described in William Makepeace Thackeray's ''Vanity Fair (novel), Vanity Fair'' as the "Anglo-Indian district", where many retired officials of the civil service in India resided. It was a filming location for the BBC's Emma (2009 TV serial), 2009 adaptation of Jane Austen's novel ''Emma (novel), Emma''. Christopher R. W. Nevinson, C. R. W. Nevinson painted a view of Fitzroy Square from the window of society hostess Eliza Davis, Mrs Aria, evidently looking east from the Conway Street corner of the square. On the south-west side of the square's central gardens is a fibreglass sculpture created by Naomi Blake to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Until April 2011, No. 11 was the long-term home of author Ian McEwan, who set much of his 2005 novel ''Saturday (novel), Saturday'', and the home of its leading character, brain surgeon Henry Perowne, in the square. Novelist Jacqueline Winspear gives her 1920s detective Maisie Dobbs an office in Fitzroy Square. The TARDIS stands in Fitzroy Square for the duration of the 1966 ''Doctor Who'' series ''The War Machines''. The Monty Python team had an office at No. 20 between 1973 and 1974. The 2017 film ''Phantom Thread'' was set and filmed primarily in a home on Fitzroy Square.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEo1PtLrGUw

See also

*List of eponymous roads in London *Squares in London


External links

* A 360 degree view from Urban7

{{Coord, 51, 31, 22.61, N, 00, 08, 24.37, W, type:landmark, display=title Squares in the London Borough of Camden Grade I listed buildings in the London Borough of Camden Grade I listed houses in London Fitzrovia Garden squares in London Communal gardens