Green Street Area: Lees Place, Shepherd Close and Shepherd's Place

Pages 196-198

Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1980.

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Lees Place, Shepherd Close and Shepherd's Place

Lees Mews (now Place) was named after Robert Lee or Lees, who was the first proprietor of the Two Chairmen tavern which stood at the north corner with North Audley Street and who also had premises in the mews itself. (fn. 1) Besides the usual coach-houses and stables a number of small houses were built in the mews, some of them grouped around three narrow courts or passages opening out of its north side. One of these, on the site now occupied by the flats called Lees Court, was called Shepherd's Place after John Shepherd, plasterer, who was responsible for much of the building that took place there in the 1730's and early 1740's. (fn. 2) Confusingly, Shepherd's Place is now the name given to the passage directly opposite between Lees Place and Upper Brook Street which was originally called Shepherd's Court, also after John Shepherd, the builder of several small houses along it. (fn. 3)

No. 1 Lees Place

No. 1 Lees Place was built in 1908 to designs by Wimperis and Best as stabling for No. 1 Upper Brook Street, then being rebuilt as a speculation by John Garlick. For the elevation towards the mews Wimperis proposed 'something better than usual as Mr. Garlick's flats in North Audley Street [at No. 42] will look out upon it'. (fn. 4) The resulting three-storey façade in red brick with stone or cement dressings is a good deal more elaborate than the average stable-block elevation. Pilasters on each side of the stable doors rise to second-floor level and carry a steeply raking open-based pediment which frames a large lunette window.

No. 2 Lees Place

No. 2 Lees Place, which has a red-brick neo-Georgian upper storey above a ground-floor garage and entrance, is a conversion or rebuilding of the coach-house and stables belonging to No. 2 Upper Brook Street, and probably dates from c. 1923 when a new long-term lease of the separate mews premises was granted. (fn. 5)

No. 3 Lees Place

No. 3 Lees Place was built as a coach-house and stables with a coachman's quarters above in 1888–9 for Samuel Lewis of No. 23 Grosvenor Square to the designs of J. T. Wimperis and W. H. Arber (fn. 6) (Plate 52c, 52e: see also Plate 50c in vol. XXXIX). In 1932 the premises were converted into a dwelling house for the first Viscount Furness by H. Douglas Kidd and the exterior was considerably altered (fn. 7) (Plate 50d in vol. XXXIX).

No. 4 Lees Place

No. 4 Lees Place is a spacious mews house of 1930 by Frederick Etchells for the Hon. Evelyn Fitz-Gerald. The crisp neo-Georgian elevation is of three main storeys plus basement and attic, five bays wide with the three middle bays advanced slightly and crowned by a pediment (Plate 52c). The entrance, also pedimented, is approached by a broad flight of steps with curving iron rails to each side. The Architectural Review in an article aimed at devotees of the modern movement remarked, 'No shame need be attached to the pediments'. The main rooms were arranged around an internal courtyard to make maximum use of available light in this northward-facing plot. The builders were E. D. Winn and Company. (fn. 8)

No. 5 Lees Place (Mayfair Cottage)

No. 5 Lees Place (Mayfair Cottage) is a two-storey house of '1920's rural' appearance with bay windows and leaded panes quite alien to the general building traditions of the Mayfair area. A plaque on the front is inscribed '1723 Mayfair Cottage Restored 1970', but even if there are vestiges of the stabling erected here for No. 5 Upper Brook Street under a building lease granted to David Audsley, plasterer, in 1730 (fn. 9) (not 1723), very little of the original structure can remain. In 1912 the front was required to be rebuilt under a dangerous structures notice and the opportunity was taken to convert part of the premises into a garage. (fn. 10) In 1930 alterations were made to the façade and the garage eliminated. (fn. 11) Further alterations and conversions were made in 1934 and 1935. (fn. 12) The private courtyard in front was originally a stable yard of double-plot width shared with the coach-house and stables at No. 4 and had a joint entrance to the mews, David Audsley, who was also the building lessee of No. 4 Upper Brook Street, (fn. 13) no doubt contriving this unusual arrangement.

No. 8 Lees Place

No. 8 Lees Place was built in 1934 as a house incorporating a self-contained maisonette on the Shepherd's Place frontage to the designs of Humphry Deane and Darcy Braddell. The building has since been converted into flats. Although unified by similar materials—red brick, Portland stone and 'Lombardic' roof tiles—there is a difference in the treatment of the house from the maisonette which is clearly expressed in the elevations, the house being more conventionally neoGeorgian, while the maisonette is more modern in idiom (Plate 52b). The contractor was the building firm of Harry Neal and the carving of the keystones of the first-floor windows was by W. Aumonier and Sons. (fn. 14)

Nos. 10–12 (consec.) Lees Place and 5–15 (odd) Shepherd's Place

Nos. 10–12 (consec.) Lees Place and 5–15 (odd) Shepherd's Place were built in 1890–1 by the Artizans', Labourers' and General Dwellings Company as workingclass flats with ground-floor shops to the designs of F. T. Pilkington. (fn. 15) The narrowness of Shepherd's Place required that this should be a low building with a maximum height of four storeys, but in other respects it is generally similar to the company's earlier block at Nos. 20 and 22 Lees Place opposite (Plate 52a).

No. 14 Lees Place

No. 14 Lees Place, a neat, red-brick, neo-Georgian mews house of two main storeys and a tall attic, is the result of the virtually complete rebuilding in 1930 of the earlier stable building on the site. The architect was Frederick Etchells. (fn. 16)

Nos. 20 and 22 Lees Place

Nos. 20 and 22 Lees Place, originally called Shepherd's Place Buildings, are two blocks of artisans' dwellings separated by a building of totally different character at No. 21. No. 22 is now known as Lees Court (Plate 52a). The two plots were made available to the Artizans', Labourers' and General Dwellings Company in 1887 but the lease of the intervening site did not expire until 1896, and although the company anticipated acquiring this plot no promise was made to it. (fn. 17) F. T. Pilkington designed the dwellings which are high (five storeys) for their mews location, and although he strove for architectural effect by an extensive use of dressings (including pedimented and shaped window surrounds to the topmost windows), the use of a maroon colour for these dressings (perhaps executed in Lascelles' dyed concrete) against the background of red brick and tile produces a sombre, institutional effect, marginally relieved now by the whitewashing of the ground floor. The appearance of these blocks has not been enhanced by the loss of the pediments and finials from the gables and the demolition of the upper parts of the flank walls and their rows of chimney-pots.

No. 21 Lees Place

No. 21 Lees Place, which has a lively red-brick elevation of three main storeys crowned by two Dutch gables, was built as stabling in 1897–8. During the building of the working-class dwellings on each side the residents of Green Street had complained about the loss of light and air to their houses and when the lease of this intermediate plot expired in 1896 the Duke of Westminster decided not to allow it to be used for more artisans' dwellings. Instead the site was offered to William Cubitt and Company, who were about to rebuild Nos. 55–59 (consec.) Green Street at the rear. Their architect was H. O. Cresswell, who also designed the houses in Green Street. (fn. 18)

No. 23 Lees Place

No. 23 Lees Place was formerly a coach-house belonging to Hampden House, No. 61 Green Street, and was probably built shortly after 1822 when the second Viscount Hampden acquired a lease of the site. (fn. 19) Some alterations were made in 1869, (fn. 20) probably by J. Macvicar Anderson, and further alterations have since been made to provide a separate dwelling.

Nos. 1–3 (consec.) Shepherd Close

Nos. 1–3 (consec.) Shepherd Close were built in 1933–5 to the designs of W. E. Masters; the builders were Pitchers of Hornsey. (fn. 21) This group of neo-Georgian houses, each of two main storeys with a tall attic, was erected on part of the extensive curtilage which formerly belonged to No. 6 Upper Brook Street. A new private courtyard was laid out and is entered from Lees Place to the east of No. 8. The main elevations of the houses face this courtyard, called Shepherd Close, and the rear elevations abut on the east side of Shepherd's Place.

Nos. 1 and 3 Shepherd's Place

Nos. 1 and 3 Shepherd's Place are spacious neoGeorgian houses, each of five bays and three storeys with an attic above a generous basement, which were built in 1937–8 to the designs of Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie as part of a rebuilding scheme which included the adjacent Nos. 9, 10 and 10A Upper Brook Street; the builders were Gee, Walker and Slater (fn. 22) (Plate 52a).


  • 1. GLB VI/171 (variations); X/262 (variations): R.B.: G.L.R.O.(M), LV(W) 49/40–6.
  • 2. M.D.R. 1735/2/45; 1739/1/371.
  • 3. GLB VIII/219–21.
  • 4. GBM 35/200.
  • 5. G.O., lease particulars books.
  • 6. Ibid., lease plans and correspondence of 1888–9: B.N. 14 March 1890, p. 391.
  • 7. B.A. 69733: D.S.R. 1932/106.
  • 8. The Architectural Review, vol. LXXII, Sept. 1932, pp. 96–8: D.S.R. 1930/311.
  • 9. GLB VIII/225.
  • 10. GBM 39/339.
  • 11. B.A. 66093.
  • 12. D.S.R. 1934/580; 1935/1173.
  • 13. GLB VIII/224.
  • 14. B. 28 Feb. 1936, pp. 422, 438–41.
  • 15. GBM 24/291, 365.
  • 16. B.A. 66304.
  • 17. GBM 23/167–8, 413–14.
  • 18. Ibid., 26/122, 546–8.
  • 19. Ibid., 8/507; 11/84–5.
  • 20. Buckinghamshire R.O., P/m 9/1–8.
  • 21. B.A. 25499: D.S.R. 1933/988–90.
  • 22. G.O., drawings by Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie for this site: B.R. 111219: D.S.R. 1937/1371–4.