Fitzrovia Property, History & Transport
The street names of Fitzrovia derive from Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Charles II by his mistress, Barbara Villiers, later Duchess of Cleveland. He was later created Earl of Euston and Duke of Grafton. His wife Isabella inherited the Manor of Tottenham Court, and their descendents developed the area in the following centuries.
The architectural gem is Fitzroy Square, laid out by Charles Fitzroy in 1790s to designs by the famous Adam brothers. Unusually, the elegant Grecian terraces are entirely faced in stone.
At its height, Fitzrovia was the home of artists such as Sir Charles Eastlake and Ford Madox Brown, politicians such as prime minister Lord Salisbury and literary people including George Bernard Shaw. Probably the most famous resident, however, was the Psammead in the children’s stories of E. Nesbit, who was hidden in a house in Fitzroy Street.
In the 20th century the area declined, but recently Fitzroy Square itself has been pedestrianised and many of the houses restored as magnificent family homes. Charlotte Street is noted for its cosmopolitan mix of restaurants and Tottenham Court Road is a mecca for computer and hi-fi fans, as well as fine furniture with Heals and Habitat.
One of London’s best-known buildings, the Telecom Tower, stands at the centre of Fitzrovia, and the famous revolving restaurant at the top is planned to be brought back into operation in time for the 2012 Olympics.
Fitzrovia is also set to benefit from the redevelopment of the old Middlesex Hospital site into shops, offices and flats.