The London trade in microcosm-the changing face of Mount Street

Mount Street in more recent times. The architecture remains but the focus of the street has changed forever.

Mount Street in more recent times. The architecture remains but the focus of the street has changed forever.

You'll have to take my word for it as this is the best image I can find, but most of the shops here, pictured in 1976, are antique dealers.

You’ll have to take my word for it as this is the best image I can find, but most of the shops here, pictured in 1976, are antique dealers.

Located off of Berkeley Square and between Grosvenor Square and Piccadilly, Mount Street is an idyllic location that has long been described as the heart of what estate agent Peter Wetherell still describes as the Mayfair village. Looking at the immaculate rows of late Victorian shop fronts, now largely filled with fashion retailers, clothiers and the like it is easy to forget that this one street alone used to provide the addresses of an extraordinarily high number of dealers at the Grosvenor House Fair.

Nowadays the exceptional general dealer Kenneth Neame and the Asian art specialist A J Speelman remain the only dealers with ground floor shop fronts in the street (though others do operate by appointment from 1st floor premises) but in the past the street was visited by every serious wealthy collector as a matter of course. As the project continues and more data is gathered then a more complete picture of the sheer numbers of dealers in the street will emerge but my own list comprises the following:

Barling of Mount Street (Oriental art)

R L Harrington (English furniture and related objects)

The dealer R L Harrington at 120-121 Mount Street in 1961

The dealer R L Harrington at 120-121 Mount Street in 1961

John Keil (English furniture dealer with premises in Knightsbridge and, in times past, Bristol and Bath)

Stanley J Pratt (antique fireplaces and accessories)

Trevor (English furniture)

Stair and Co (one of the pre-eminent English furniture dealers-see Mark’s earlier post)

Pelham Galleries (English and French furniture plus Chinoiserie decoration)

H Blairman and Sons (Regency and later furniture and decorative arts)

John Sparks (Oriental art)

Mansour Heskia (rugs and carpets)

Alistair Sampson (early English pottery and country furniture)

Mount Street Galleries (still exists but different scope-the emphasis has switched from furniture to contemporary art)

Patrick Jefferson (English furniture and associated objects)

Walter Waddingham (English furniture)

Gerard Hawthorn (Oriental art)

Marks Antiques(Antique silver and Faberge)

Bruford (jewellery and silver)

Quite a selection I’m sure you’ll agree.

Hopefully the images give something of a flavour of this remarkable street but if you were lucky enough to see the area in its antiques heyday and have images to share then please get in touch.

Nowadays the largest concentrations of dealers in London are in Kensington Church Street, Portobello Road and the Fulham Road. With South Audley Street (at the end of Mount Street and another traditional heartland of the trade) also beginning to attract  fashion brands the Mayfair trade will never quite be the same again. My advice would be to visit whilst you still can, even if just to window shop. There are still some remarkable pieces to see here and who knows-you may be a part of the trade’s fight back against the multinational giants.

Chris Coles,

Project volunteer.

The last paragraph says it all. An undated entry for the street kept in the Westminster Archive.

The last paragraph says it all. An undated entry for the street kept in the Westminster Archive.

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