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The Grosvenor Estate (Belgrave Square, Chester Square, Eaton Square and Wilton Crescent): Site on English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, for Register Entry see http://list.english-heritage.org.uk
Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, Chester Square (q.q.v.) and Wilton Crescent were on land formerly known as Five Fields on the Grosvenor Estate's holdings in Belgravia. In 1677 the family had acquired c.121 hectares of land within the Manor of Ebury, but this area remained undeveloped and largely used for market gardening until the early C19th, due to its predominantly marshy nature. In 1821 Lord Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, commissioned his surveyor, Thomas Cundy, to revise an earlier unexecuted scheme produced by Thomas or James Wyatt in c.1812, for draining and developing the site immediately to the north of John Nash's remodelled Buckingham Palace (q.v.). Cundy's plan, which added Wilton Crescent to the planned Belgrave and Eaton Squares, was completed in 1825 and building leases were then sold, with the main developer being Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855). The overall plan comprised a series of squares and crescents connected by a spine road on the main axis and a subsidiary axis. Under the original agreement, Lord Grosvenor was responsible for the enclosing and planting of the gardens but not for the considerable site works necessary before any planting could begin. Cubitt solved the problem of the marshy ground by bringing earth excavated from St Katherine's Dock near the Tower of London in order to raise the height of the ground. Belgrave Square was the first square to be laid out early in 1826, followed by Wilton Crescent in 1827. Eaton Square, also begun in 1827 was not completed until 1853. Chester Square was the fourth square to be laid out but although it was planned in 1828 it was not begun until 1835.
Wilton Crescent was named for the 1st Earl of Wilton, who was the father-in-law of the 1st Marquess of Westminster. The terraces were built by Thomas Cubitt and W H Seth-Smith, and were refaced in stone in the early C20th by Balfour & Turner; their area railings have Arts and Crafts detailing. In 2004, Wilton Crescent Garden won 1st prize in its category in the London Garden Society competition. In c.2005 the Garden Committee embarked on a replanting programme, and today the garden is planted in a white theme. Wilton Crescent Garden was awarded a Highly Commended in the London Garden Squares Competition in 2010.
Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993), p.965; Jones & Woodward, p. 165; Harold Clunn, the Face of London (c1950), p.372; Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 6: Westminster', (Yale University Press, 2003)