No.4 Hamilton Place’s surprising history

September 18, 2019

Clients tell us one of the main reasons they book their conferences, meetings, parties and dinners at our historic London venue is because our spaces have stories to tell. Not only do our venue’s period features create an environment in which even our most discerning of guests can feel inspired, the building’s unique interiors often provide topics for conversation amongst visitors looking for a conversation starter.

If you’re looking to hold your next event somewhere exceptional, delve a little deeper into the fascinating history of our beautiful building. We’re certain you’ll discover a place in which you’ll be proud to host your function.

Design and build

The street, Hamilton Place, was named after James Hamilton, a ranger of Hyde Park who was gifted the small plot of land when Hyde Park (just a stone’s throw away) was walled. The road had been left outside the new boundary. The houses that were constructed on the land were modest in size – nothing like the grand edifices associated with the address today – and by end of the 18th century, were in a ruinous condition. Hamilton’s lease had come to an end and architect Thomas Leverton designed a new building on the site (and its now demolished neighbours) in 1807.

Famous residents

Leverton’s client was the 2nd Earl of Lucan who acquired the lease to the building in 1810. Since then the building has had an interesting and varied procession of residents, including the Duke Of Wellington, Lord Granville and the then Viceroy of India, Lord Northbrook (previously Thomas George Baring). The last private owner of No.4 Hamilton Place was Leopold Albu – a well-known millionaire who had made his fortune in South Africa from diamond mining, financial investments and oil. He took over the lease of No.4 Hamilton Place in 1903 and rather than spend money on renovating the now slightly run-down building, he chose to entirely re-build it.

New beginnings

Four years later, architect A.N. Prentice had completed his vision for the new building at a total build cost of £50,000. He chose to decorate all of the rooms in the stunning Louis XVI style – details which guests today can still enjoy in many of the rooms. Mr Albu’s death in 1938 gave way for the current tenants at No.4 to acquire the lease, which in 1939 was taken over by The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).

Recent changes

In 1957, the opportunity came for No.4 to purchase land from No.5, giving the venue the chance to build on the property’s garden. A lecture theatre was built and opened in 1960 (it was subsequently refurbished and re-opened as the Bill Boeing Suite in 2003) and a fifth floor was added to the building.

Many of the rooms have been re-assigned and renovated by the RAeS and named after famous figures and companies in the aviation industry. These spaces include the beautiful Argyll Room and the contemporary Airbus Business Suite. In order to secure its future at No.4 Hamilton Place, the RAeS purchased the freehold of the building from the Crown Estates back in 2003. When the venue is not being used for association business, the spaces at No.4 are hired out for private use for parties, dinners, conferences and meetings.

No.4 Hamilton Place making history today

The Argyll Room’s sympathetic restoration caught the eye of location scouts for Downtown Abbey and the space was used as the Embassy Club in an episode of the TV series. The same space was also used to host the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The event was headed by then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Events

The venue team at No.4 Hamilton Place understand how important it is to not only provide a beautiful space in which organisers can host their events, but also to deliver high end AV facilities and high-end catering. So, if you’re looking for a historic London venue with all the modern convenience of a purpose-built space, then you’ve come to the right place. Give the team a call on 020 7670 4314 to discuss your next project.

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