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.
Location map and local interesting places
- 7] The Building Centre
- 8] Wiener Library
- 9] The British Museum
- 10] Brunei Gallery, SOAS
- 11] Pollock's Toy Museum
- 12] Cartoon Museum
- 13] Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
- 14] Grant Museum of Zoology
- 15] Wellcome Collection
- 16] Fitzrovia Chapel
- 17] All Saints, Margaret Street,
- 18] Roman Catholic Church of St Charles Borromeo