1677 - 2016
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 the 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, the northern part of this land, took its name from the fair held there each 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. Social housing was introduced around Brown Hart Gardens. During the 20th century, it saw the westerly migration of office users from the war-damaged City of London.
Belgravia, London - 1820s
Belgravia, which lies south-west of Mayfair, was originally part of the 'Five Fields' - open land between Hyde Park and the River 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, Thomas Cundy, the family's surveyor, created a masterplan for what was to become Belgravia. Together with master builder Thomas Cubitt, Cundy (and his successors as Estate Surveyor), oversaw the creation of an elegant estate in the classic Regency style of squares overlooking private gardens, streets and crescents.
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 with our first international project, a development at Annacis Island, Vancouver (from the 1950s), 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 and ownership - 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 2011, we brought all our indirect investments in property together, in one portfolio. Our present structure emphasises this distinction between 'direct' investment in property, on the one hand, and 'indirect' investment in property, on the other. This is shown clearly in our reporting documents - now an Annual Review, Annual Financial Statements and Annual Non-Financial Data Report. Our Shareholders - the Trustees of the Grosvenor Estate - hold the shares and other 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.
Today – 'Living cities'
Grosvenor remains privately owned, and we continue to be concerned about what we can do to make a lasting contribution to the communities and the environment in which we are active. Our 'Living cities' philosophy supports our strategy, guiding us to create, invest in and manage properties and places that contribute to the enduring success of cities.