Grosvenor Square: An American History

The U.S. Embassy will be moving from Grosvenor Square to Nine Elms in the London Borough of Wandsworth, just over the river from Westminster, in 2017. One of our diplomats at the Embassy, Deb MacLean, was curious to see how long a presence the U.S. has had in Grosvenor Square.

She was aware that there has been an Embassy on the square since 1937, but she was surprised to find out that there has been some kind of U.S. connection to the Square since it was first developed in the 1720s!

One interesting piece of information she found was that John Adams, 2nd U.S. President (1797-1801) and the first U.S. Ambassador to Britain (1785-1788) was also a close neighbor in Grosvenor Square to Lord North who was the Prime Minster (1770-1782) at the time of the American Revolution.

Deb began to search for other U.S. connections to the square to reflect  the continuing U.S.- UK Special Relationship we have today. To demonstrate this important connection, she talked to a group of students from the Burntwood Academy for Girls at the Benjamin Franklin House, which was a fitting place to give the talk, as Benjamin Franklin was a friend to John Adams and would have known Lord North too. Not only did Deb talk about the early years of America but she also spoke of the U.S. presence in the square during the Second World War, which at that time was sometimes nicknamed Eisenhower Platz or Little America.

Though the Embassy will be leaving the square in 2017, there will always be an American presence, with several important monuments being situated in or around the square. Hopefully, with time Nine Elms will be added to this Special Relationship.

If you would like Deb MacLean to come to your school to talk about the U.S. historical connections to the UK as reflected in Grosvenor Square, please email the Embassy at: weblond@state.gov

Deb MacLean giving a talk on Grosvenor Square
Deb MacLean of the US Embassy London, talking to school children on the US connections to Grosvenor Square