Former US embassy in London up for sale for £11m

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·3-min read
Grosvenor Square. Photo: Wetherell
Grosvenor Square. Photo: Wetherell

The former US embassy in London is on the market for the first time in more than 50 years, with an eye-watering price tag of £11m ($14.5m).

The Westminster plaqued 2,418 square-foot two-bed apartment was once the official London residence and offices of American ambassador Walter Hines Page.

The Grosvenor Square pad occupies the entire fourth floor of the grand brick and stone Neo-Georgian apartment building at 5 Grosvenor Square.

It has a large double-volume 43’4 foot reception room which spans the entire width of the building, with five windows offering panoramic views over the 6.1 acres of Grosvenor Square gardens and is on the market with estate agent Wetherell.

The building at stands on the site of two former London townhouses which in 1901-02 were redeveloped by Mayfair builders Patman & Fotheringham, under the auspices of Grosvenor estate surveyor Eustace Balfour, to provide lateral apartments, with a new floor added to the property and the interior fitout done by Harrods in 1904.

Entrance of the apartment. Photo: Wetherell
Entrance of the apartment. Photo: Wetherell

The new residents of these luxurious pieds-à-terre included Consuelo, Dowager Duchess of Manchester, Sir Walpole Greenwell and the 12th Earl of Home.

Between May 1913 and October 1918 half of the building served as the London residence and offices of Page (1855-1918), the United States ambassador to the Court of St James’s.

Page was vice-president and partner of Doubeday, Page & Co, the largest publishing business in the English speaking world, printing books, magazines and periodicals. Page also wrote for the New York Post and The Atlantic magazine.

In 1882 Page had shrewdly befriended Woodrow Wilson, when Wilson was just a lawyer with political ambitions, with Page championing Wilson in his newspaper articles and magazines. In March 1913 President Woodrow Wilson rewarded this loyalty by appointing Page to the post of US ambassador to the UK.

Walter Hines Page. Photo: Wetherell
Walter Hines Page. Photo: Wetherell

The original embassy at 4 Grosvenor Gardens needed refurbishment, so the US government took a lease on 5 Grosvenor Square and it became Page’s base in London. This began the long presence of the American embassy in Grosvenor Square which continued up until 2017.

Although Page was lobbied heavily by Prince Lichnowsky, the Kaiser’s ambassador to London, to help keep America out of the First World War, Page took an unabashedly pro-British stance and wrote articles in the New York Post and The Atlantic supporting America joining the war.

In March 1917 a heavy Zeppelin raid on London triggered an outraged ambassador Page to write a detailed report to President Wilson and Congress about “German barbarism”; a month later the president and US Congress declared war on Germany.

In October 1918 Page became ill and was forced to resign his post as American Ambassador. Today a Westminster plaque on the building commemorates that it was once the London residence of Walter Hines Page as United States Ambassador who lived there between 1913-1918.

Photo: Wetherell
One of the two bedrooms. Photo: Wetherell

In the historical house, the principal bedroom suite has a dressing area with built-in wardrobes, and a main bathroom with freestanding feature bath and walk-in shower with steam room capability.

The guest bedroom suite has its own ensuite shower room and built in wardrobes. The bedrooms offer views over Mayfair down Brook Street towards Claridges, New Bond Street and Regent Street.

Reception area. Photo: Wetherell
Reception area. Photo: Wetherell

Peter Wetherell, founder & chairman of Wetherell said: “Once dominated by diplomatic buildings, Grosvenor Square is currently being returned to its residential origins, with buildings being converted into luxury apartments and new hotels, this transformation will make the square the best residential address in central London.”

One of the bathrooms. Photo: Wetherell
A bathroom in the apartment. Photo: Wetherell

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