1677 - 2014
The family and the land - 1677
The Grosvenor family history stretches back almost 1,000 years, to the time of William the Conqueror.
However, the origins of our property business lie in the land in London that came into the Grosvenor family in 1677 with the marriage of Mary Davies and Sir Thomas Grosvenor - 500 acres of swamp, pasture and orchards to the west of the City, of which 300 acres remain with the family today forming Grosvenor's London estate.
Mayfair, London - 1720s
'Mayfair' took its name from the fair held there in May until well into the 19th century. In 1720, the family began developing the land into a fashionable residential area, centred on Grosvenor Square.
The area's character continued to evolve through subsequent redevelopment. In the 19th century, shops, and later, embassies and diplomatic residences moved in. During the 20th century, it saw the westerly migration of office users from the war-damaged City of London. Today, almost the whole of Mayfair, which now contains a cosmopolitan mix of commercial and residential property, is included in a statutory Conservation Area.
Belgravia, London - 1820s
'Belgravia', which lies south west of Mayfair, was originally part of the 'Five Fields' - open land between Hyde Park and the Thames. The end of the Napoleonic Wars and the conversion of nearby Buckingham House into a palace for George IV prompted the Grosvenor's to develop it. In the 1820s, the family's surveyor, together with master builder Thomas Cubitt, oversaw the creation of an elegant estate in the classic Regency style of squares, including Belgrave Square, streets and crescents overlooking private gardens. The vast majority of Cubitt's work survives and almost the whole of Belgravia is included in a statutory Conservation Area, now encompassing housing, commercial and institutional headquarters, and, on the periphery, modern offices.
International expansion – 1950s
During the second half of the 20th century, Grosvenor began to apply its estate management skills of investment, development and asset management elsewhere in the world.
Our business expanded, successively, into the Americas (from the 1950s with a development at Annacis Island, Vancouver, our first international project), Australia (from the 1960s)Asia Pacific (from the early 1990s) and Continental Europe (later that decade). Many projects were undertaken in partnership with other investors, leading us gradually into fund management.
Corporate structure - 2000
Grosvenor's corporate governance has evolved with the maturing of the Group. In April 2000, when we moved into new London offices, we adopted a corporate structure as a Group of regional businesses and published our first full Annual Report and Accounts. In 2005, our international fund management business was formalised as a discrete entity. In 2011, we brought all our indirect investments in property together, creating the present tripartite structure of direct proprietary activities; indirect proprietary activities; and fund management.
Today, we have 17 offices in 11 countries and assets in 16 countries.
Ownership – 2015
Grosvenor remains privately owned. Our Shareholders – the Trustees of the Grosvenor Estate – hold the shares and assets for the benefit of current and future members of the Grosvenor family. The family is headed by the 6th Duke of Westminster, who is Chairman of the Trustees.