is celebrating more than 200 years of being the corner shopping
spot for the rich and famous.
Over the years it has developed its strong reputation as
one of London’s most fashionable and distinctive streets,
housing some of the best known names in London fashion, interspersed
with trendy restaurants, jewellers and speciality shops.
From princesses to pop stars, duchesses
to divas, kings to knaves, Beauchamp Place is a Mecca for
Beauchamp Place truly has something to offer everyone.
From those who are fashion conscious, to those who want
to enjoy a leisurely lunch at their favourite eaterie,
San Lorenzo - possibly the most famous restaurant in the
To list the many celebrities
who have been attracted to the street would be a never-ending
task. Indeed it is hard to think of another single street
in the whole world so beloved by its famous clients.
Diana, Princess of Wales, would often take delight in charming
startled shopkeepers in the street with a surprise incognito
shopping visit after lunch in San Lorenzo.
Diana shopping on Beauchamp
Legend has it that the first actual residents
of the street, in 1800, were French officers taken prisoner
in the Napoleonic war.
As was customary in those days their families in France
sent money to support them but as this income dwindled
they began trading as patissiers, jewellers, milliners,
dressmakers and hairdressers.
As the front rooms of the homes were gradually converted
into shops, they created the essentially continental ambience
of the street which lingers on through the passing decades.
Whatever the truth in the legend, Beauchamp Place has
grown up with a distinctively French flavour to it.
Originally Grove Place, the name changed to Beauchamp
(pronounced Beecham) Place in 1885.
In Victorian times the street was associated with many
secret liaisons, spicy adventures and romances involving
nobility and gentry of the day. Gentlemen playing cricket
at the original Oval cricket ground at the southern end
of the street courted saucy young French Mademoiselles
who lived and worked as dressmakers in Beauchamp Place.
Although Beauchamp Place remains as famous, fascinating
and fabulous as it has always been, it is surprisingly
accessible in this day and age. An oasis of calm and charm,
set apart from the hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge,
it still has the air of the genuine true-blue English eccentric.
As couture designer Bruce Oldfield puts it:
‘You have to make people feel comfortable, Beauchamp
Place is user-friendly, my shop is not on the grand scale
like Bond Street or Sloane Street’.
Bruce opened in the street in the 1970s
but in spite of becoming famous for his Royal commissions,
he’s still on hand to meet his clients.
Caroline Charles rented a first floor
room in Beauchamp Place in 1965, to run ‘a little
couture business’. That ‘little couture business’
expanded internationally, but her heart (and her headquarters)
remains firmly in Beauchamp Place. As Caroline Charles
‘The emotional ties with the street are very strong
– the daughters, their mothers and their mothers
before have all found us here’