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.
176, 29, 24
It ends on Oxford Street near Bond Street Tube Station.
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
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: eclectic-tours.com
religious, mixed use
Three centuries of Quakers in Westminster. Opened in 1883, with front doors added in the 1920s. It was bomb-damaged in 1941 and rebuilt in 1956. Grade II listed registered place of worship, it contains a peaceful meeting room and 1950s wood panelling and fittings.
W. W. Lee and J. A. Tregelles, 1883
Discover the architecture of the National Portrait Gallery, designed in 1896 by Ewan Christian and now transformed by Jamie Fobert Architects. Please meet at the Ross Street Entrance. Drop-in 16 & 17 September at specific times listed below. But please note that spaces are extremely limited and tour places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Ewan Christian, 1896
religious, concert/performance space, restaurant/bar
One of Britain's finest churches, built in the Italian Baroque tradition and beautifully restored in 2008. Sustainable features include new heating and management systems and lightwell. RIBA Award Winner 2009. Civic Trust Award Winner 2010.
James Gibbs, 1726
Drop in / Guided tour
The first purpose-built new-build community centre to be built in the heart of Soho for generations, located within the renowned Phoenix Gardens. Winner: RIBA London Award. Designed by RIBA London Architect of the Year Winner.
Office Sian Architecture + Design, 2018
Built for the United Universities Club, 1-4 Suffolk Street is now home to the University of Notre Dame and its G.K Chesterton Collection. Visitors will be able to enjoy both this Edwardian listed building and the unique collection within.
Reginald Blomfield, 1906
The tour charts the evolution of Covent Garden-incorporating the piazza, the wholesale produce market, social residential areas and supporting neighbourhoods - highlighting the social and commercial highs, lows and challenges.
institution/profession, library, museum
HQ of professional and examining body for UK optometrists occupying two terraced houses, No. 41 (Flitcroft c1730 with later additions) and No. 42 (rebuilt by Tarmac plc, c1989) including Council chamber, print room, library and museum.
Henry Flitcroft, 1730
historical house, institution/profession
A very good example of Georgian/Adam architecture. Restoration 2012 of Great Room (James Barry paintings), Benjamin Franklin room. 2019, restoration and installation of 1754-2018 mural in the new Long Gallery.
Adam Brothers, 1774
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