This short cul-de-sac leads off from Gower Street in central London, an area developed with upper middle-class homes, but now dominated by educational establishments.

Once all fields, in 1630 the developer, the Duke of Bedford, and his architect, Inigo Jones, introduced Palladian architecture to England in the form of a public square surrounded by grids of streets — a far cry from the muddle of randomness that dominated in the City of London.

Interrupted by Civil War, development resumed in 1660, and much of the area of Bloomsbury was developed within a century to the style we see today.

One of the grand squares built at the time was Bedford Square Garden, with a line of grand houses around it. Just to the north of Bedford Square is Gower Mews, originally a service road for servants and the horses owned by the grand occupants of Bedford Square.

Laid out as a long line of stables the end of the cul-de-sac was originally filled with large gardens, but by around the 1820s, those had been filled in with the development of the South Circle on Store Street.

As with most stables mews in London, the arrival of the motor car did away with the horses, and often the houses they were attached to were converted into offices, killing off the need for a garage — so the stables were converted into homes.

The entrance to this ‘cul-de-sac’ today is a narrow lane between two terraces on the west side of Gower Street which then widens to the Mews behind.

It’s a fairly typical well to do stables to posh homes conversion with 40 homes in two long lines, all very clean and polished, and in a few cases with potted plants outside.

The south side is mostly 19th century rebuilds, but the more modern block on the north side, was built in the 1930s and is known as Gower Mews Mansions, a name that neatly fits in with the upmarket image of Mews living.

One thing that’s not easy to spot, save from above is that the 1930s blocks all have roof terraces and above those, a green roof runs the full length of the Mews.

Incidentally, Gower Street, Mews, etc, are all named after the second wife of the fourth Duke of Bedford, Lady Gertrude Leveson-Gower, who was the daughter of the Earl of Gower. Being married to a duke does tend to give you naming rights after all.


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  1. parktown says:

    …and why Mews, what is the origin of this word for an alleyway?

  2. Wendy Robinson says:

    There is a really nice pub called the Duke of York just round the corner from the bottom end of this – but don’t tell anyone! Thanks for all your hard work Ian, this can’t be an easy time for someone like you who clearly loves getting out and about. Can’t wait to start getting your events list again soon when things get back to normal.

    • Wendy Robinson says:

      Sorry, getting mixed up with Doughty Mews, lack of fresh air must be getting to me.

  3. Gillian Mercer says:

    Thanks so much for the continuity Ian in this surreal situation.
    Keep well.

  4. Andy Taylor says:

    Back in the 80s when I was a bookseller I used to go what was called a “trade counter” for one of the big publishers, tucked away in Gower Mews. It was effectively a cash and carry mini-warehouse for their books, so if you didn’t want to wait for the often two week delivery times for books you could pitch up there and lug them back to the shop yourself. There were two guys there (they seemed elderly but probably only my age now!) in khaki warehouse coats, hammering out invoices with two fingers on a manual typewriter. For all I know they could still be there, forlornly waiting for another customer to turn up.

  5. JP says:

    A mate at school had a Red Setter called Jones.
    His father was an architect.
    In you go Jones he’d say.
    Architects huh?

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