Morpheus London has recently been appointed to design and brand the conversion of an iconic central St James’s property, restoring and sympathetically modernising a heritage building. With this exciting new project added to our portfolio, Morpheus London takes a further look at the evolution of St James’s over time and the recent transformation of this area to a super prime residential location once more.
St James’s – aka ‘clubland’ – is a small district of London contained by four of the capital’s most famous thoroughfares. Eponymously named for a Lepers hospital that stood on the site of the Palace, the area really started to take shape in the late 1600’s when Charles II granted Henry Jermyn the rights to develop the area. Using well renowned architects, over time the location transformed from parkland into a highly desirable residential area, with its grid like layout centred around the main square.
This master planned development is what gives St James’s its character now and indeed what attracted its first celebrated residents. The early establishment of White’s Club in 1693, London’s first private members club, meant that more would follow and soon the location became synonymous with them. Indeed with such establishments catering towards the gentleman of the time, commerce in the area also became geared around men’s attire and has remained this way to this day.
On Jermyn Street one still finds a host of bespoke shirt and shoe makers and even a statue of Beau Brummell, the iconic clothes horse of the Regency Period. And so St James’s remained until the mid-1940’s, when its central location and a post WWII demand for conveniently located office space saw the nature of its buildings change from the residential to the commercial.
St James’s has it all; fine restaurants, local parks and Royal Palaces, grand hotels and its own distinct gentlemen’s fashion trade. All that is, except for a residential market comparable to the likes of Mayfair or Belgravia. As we would say in the trade, the area “lost its original design intent”. Just as St James’s saw rapid change in the 1940s, so I see the area quickly evolving again now to recapture some of it residential history. As an integral part of this change, Morpheus are working on several projects in the area, including the aforementioned, which mirrors the evolution of St James’s domestic property history; an office to residential reversion, reinstating the building’s original use. It will be projects such as this that attract people to make St James’s their home again, and quite rightly so, it is an area that deserves to be lived in.
Alex Isaac, Head of Design
Fig.1 St James’s park
Fig.2 © the artist Photo: George Darrell, courtesy: White Cube
Fig. 3 Sean Connery being fitted out in Savile Row
Fig. 4 Clarence House, credit: The Crown Chronicles
Fig. 5 Kate Moss in Calvin Klein’s Obsession advert at the auction at Christie’s in St James’s, ph Mario Sorrenti
Fig. 6 United Kingdom Royal Horse Artillery, credit: The Washington Post
Fig.7 credit: Christie’s images
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