1827

Seth Smith, Thomas Cundy I

Length Closure Ratio (B): 8.6:1

Width Closure Ratio (B): 2.9:1

Green: 150 ft. x 450 ft. (27.4 x 94.8 m)

Ratio Width to Length (Face to Face): 1:2.9

Face to Face: Width: 168 ft. (51.2 m)

Face to Face: Length: 500 ft. (152.4 m)

Height A: 52 ft. (15.8 m)

Height B: 58 ft. (17.7 m)

1813 Wyatt Plan

Wilton Crescent was the first section of the great Grosvenor Estate to be developed in Belgravia. A general master plan had been drawn for the area that would become Wilton Crescent and Belgrave Square by the Estate’s surveyor, William Porden, as early as 1795, but there were numerous problems including a heavy clay soil and low elevation. Another plan was drawn by Wyatt in 1813, but the northern section was crudely resolved, and the First Earl Grosvenor continued to be hesitant to move forward. Almost simultaneous with George IV’s decision in 1821 to move his primary residence into nearby Buckingham Palace, the new Estate Surveyor, Thomas Cundy I, devised a brilliant crescent resolution to the northern section, and the Second

Cundy 1821 Plan showing Wilton Crescent and Belgrave Square 

Earl Grosvenor, who had succeeded his father, felt the timing was much improved and chose to move forward in earnest.

Cundy’s layout created a soft crescent 500 feet long at its maximum extent, somewhat similar to Wood’s Lansdown Crescent in Bath but with a bit more curve. The outside roadways then proceeded southward to form the west and east flanks of what would become Belgrave Square. William Howard Seth Smith, a prominent builder, apparently built in 1825-26 the street infrastructure for most of the crescent as well as most of the houses, no doubt coordinating with Thomas Cubbit who was working on most of the larger Belgrave Square

Wilton Crescent NE Range

improvements to the south. Seth Smith connected the crescent to Hyde Park by way of Wilton Place the following year.

The resulting park at Wilton Crescent is intimate, and foreshadows fine crescents that later emerged within Belgravia and Kensington. From a development point of view, the shape allows maximum frontage to the surrounding homes, and the scale is adequate and human. Even though the long dimension at the apex exceeds comfortable viewing, the embracing form of the crescent and the narrow depth reinforces the sense of intimacy and neighborhood.

Wilton Crescent Interior

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