Open House Festival

The American Other in London


Former US Embassy - Eero Saarinen, 1960

Leicester Square Tube, Charing Cross Road, St Martin's Court

Ever since the United States gained independence, Americans have been showing up again and again. This tour is about their influence on the UK from before the Revolutionary War to American heiresses marrying for titles to WWII to today.

Getting there


Leicester Square


Charing Cross


176, 29, 24



Meeting Point - Outside Leicester Square Tube Station Exit (Next to Wyndham Theatre), WC2H 0DA

It ends on Oxford Street near Bond Street Tube Station.

History Covered in The American Other Walk

1616-17 – Pocahontas comes to London with English husband

1738 – Future George III born in St James Square at Norfolk House

1757-1775 -- Pre-Revolutionary War - Ben Franklin in London for 18 years on Craven Street

1760 – George III begins his reign

1775-81 – American Revolutionary War

1785 -- John Adams lives in Grosvenor Square as first American ambassador

1808 – Aaron Burr in self-exile in England; lives on Craven Street

1824 – Ira Aldridge migrates to England for acting opportunities

1833 – Slavery Abolition Act passes & Aldridge plays Othello at Covent Garden

1842-45 – Republic of Texas embassy on St James Street

1849 – Herman Melville lives on Craven Street during time he was a sailor

1874 – Jenny Jerome marries Randolph Churchill

1880-1920 – American heiresses (dubbed Dollar Princesses) marry into aristocracy

1895 – William Waldorf Astor builds Two Temple Place

1906 – Waldorf Astor marries Nancy Astor given Two Temple Place & Cliveden as wedding gifts

1909 – Harry Gordon Selfridge opens Selfridge’s on Oxford Street

1919 – Nancy Astor becomes Member of Parliament

1936 – Edward VIII abdicates to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson

1941-45 – US enters the War following Pearl Harbor; Eisenhower made Supreme Allied Commander and oversees Operation Overlord from Grosvenor’s Square & St James’s Square

1949 – Actor/director Sam Wanamaker looks for Globe Theatre

1949-69 – Correspondence portrayed in the book 84 Charing Cross Road between Frank Doel and Helen Hanff – ‘Everyone finds the England they come look for’

1969-83 –Stanford University leases Cliveden as their overseas base

1997 – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre opens

2006 – Ben Franklin House opens

2014 – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse opens next to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

2018 – American actress Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry; Meghan Markle and her mother stay at Cliveden the night before the wedding.

2021 – First American Royal Princess Lilibet Diana born to the Duke & Duchess of Sussex

The Guide - Lisa Lu of Eclectic Tours -

Eclectic Tours is led by Lisa Lu. Holder of a Golden Key Badge as a trained tour guide from Open City/Open House London, Lisa is an American who has lived in London for almost 15 years. She holds a MA in Shakespeare Studies from King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in New York and Chicago and has a background in theatre and film. Her interests are varied – even eclectic – as reflected in the range of tours. For information on more tours, please go to:

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