Imagine if you will, our patriarch, Lord George. Bored of roaming the grounds of his country estate, and so hot foots it to London. But where is his space? Somewhere he feels at home and understood. Perhaps he spends his days based in the conservative environs of St James’s.
James’s Palace or the court of St James was the place where gentlemen came to be seen and mix with the royal household hoping for an important role or to make that important connection. Clubs started here to allow gentlemen to have somewhere to stay and to mix with other gentlemen. At the beginning of the new age of the 20th Century, this was still the most aristocratic area where men came to network, smoke, drink and catch up with friends.
St James’s clubs and houses are solid, respectable and reassuringly expensive. They represent the link to the past. The Tudor palace of St James’s is now the centre of royal operations and provides apartments to the various members of the extended royal family. Its tumultuous past has luckily gone and it truly represents the establishment. As we walk along Pall Mall, the houses and clubs are closed to those who are not in the know and in the right power circles. You will never spy someone out of place in this area. The back of the houses, the mews, the courts are where the servants and the tradesmen do their work and they will rarely be seen in the grand backdrop of Pall Mall or St James’s Street.
For those lucky enough to be able to promenade in the area, look up. Every house is a variation on another. Note the size and grandeur of the windows at a time when making glass on this scale was prohibitively expensive and see the doorways, wide enough for even the most well-fed aristo to pass through comfortably. The snuffers for torches, the metal foot scrapers and the half-moon shaped windows above the door are details that tell you of a time when lighting was poor and even the most genteel couldn’t avoid the horses! Off the main streets, you can enjoy the garden squares providing space, greenery and relics from a bygone era.