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Grosvenor Square
 The U.S. Embassy in London in Grosvenor Square (Embassy photo)

The U.S. Embassy in London in Grosvenor Square (Embassy photo)

The American Embassy

The American Embassy London was moved to 1 Grosvenor Square, the building which now houses the Canadian High Commission, in 1938.

The present Embassy, occupying the whole west side of the square, was designed by American architect Eero Saarinen and completed in 1960.  The design brief was for a building which would house all the major sections of the Embassy under one roof in a style which would blend with the existing architecture of Grosvenor Square. 

During the Second World War when the Chancery was on one side and General Eisenhower's headquarters on another, Grosvenor Square became popularly known as "Little America."

Ambassador John G. Winant (Ambassador from 1941-1946), living in an apartment above the Embassy during the Second World War, wrote of a garden very unlike that which can be seen today.

"In the Battle of Britain the lovely garden in the center of [Grosvenor Square] had been turned to more practical use. A group of W.A.A.F.'s and the blimp they called "Romeo" took shelter there. These W.A.A.F.'s were the first women's crew to man a blimp. They lived in low wooden huts which covered what were once flower beds around the parkway. Diagonally across from the Embassy, General Eisenhower later established his headquarters and Admiral Stark had a building next door which housed the naval mission. On the other side of the square were further military installations and offices occupied by the overflow from the Embassy itself."
A Letter From Grosvenor Square
Hodder & Stoughton, 1947

September 11 Memorial Garden

Ambassador William Farish and Tessa Jowell planting white roses in the memorial garden in Grosvenor Square on July 7, 2003. (Embassy photo)

Ambassador William Farish and Tessa Jowell planting white roses in the memorial garden in Grosvenor Square on July 7, 2003. (Embassy photo)

The September 11 Memorial Garden, a permanent memorial garden to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, was built by the British government in Grosvenor Square.

The memorial's official opening took place on September 11, 2003.    

The Eisenhower Statue

The Eisenhower Statue, dedicated January 23, 1989, stands just across the road from the buildings that General Eisenhower occupied as Commander in Chief of the Allied Force (June - November 1942) and Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force (January - March 1944). During World War II Grosvenor Square was the nerve center of the American Armed Forces in Great Britain.

Sculptor: Robert Lee Dean (1929 - )
Read more.

Roosevelt & Eagle Squadron Memorials

Britain's Memorial to Franklin Roosevelt

The Roosevelt Memorial was funded in 1946 entirely through the sale of a souvenir brochure to the British public. This was the brain child of The Pilgrims, a society dedicated to the enhancement of friendship and understanding between Great Britain and America. So enthusiastic was the public response to the subscription that the total sum required was reached and exceeded in a mere six days from the day that British Prime Minister announced the opening of the appeal on the radio. More than 160,000 separate donations had been received. The Duke of Westminster donated land in the center of the square for the memorial.

On April 12, 1948, the statue was ceremonially unveiled by Eleanor Roosevelt and dedicated by U.S. Ambassador Lewis W. Douglas in front of an audience including the Royal Family, the Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the Leader of the Opposition Sir Winston Churchill.

Sculptor: Sir William Reid Dick (1878 - 1961)  Architect: B.W.L. Gallanaugh (1900 - 1957).  Read more.

The Eagle Squadron Memorial

The monument to the American Eagle Squadron pilots of World War II was unveiled on May 12, 1986. The first Eagle Squadron was formed in September 1940 mostly from American citizens who had volunteered to join the Royal Air Force. The Eagle Squadron memorial, sponsored by Hearst Corporation, is a tapering shaft of white Portland stone surmounted by a bronze sculpture of the American Bald Eagle.
Sculptor: Dame Elizabeth Frink (1930 - 1993)

"They came not as warriors in search of conflict, but rather as crusaders in the cause of liberty. They became brothers in arms to their British colleagues..."
Ambassador Charles Price

Plaque on John Adam's former home, Grosvenor Square, London

Plaque on John Adam's former home, Grosvenor Square, London

John Adams' House

The United States has been associated with Grosvenor Square in London's Mayfair since the late eighteenth century when John Adams, the first United States Minister to the Court of St. James's and the second President of the United States, lived from 1785 to 1788 in the house which still stands in Grosvenor Square on the corner of Brook and Duke Streets. The house is marked by a plaque erected by the Colonial Dames of America.
Read more.

Later residents of Grosvenor Square included Ambassador Walter Hines Page who lived at 6 Grosvenor Square, and Ambassador John G. Winant who lived above the Embassy complex when it was sited at 1 Grosvenor Square

The Diplomatic Gates

Logo of bicentennial of the Treaty of Paris

Bicentennial of the Treaty of Paris

The Diplomatic Gates in Grosvenor Square, a gift of the National Comittee for the Bicentennial of the Treaty of Paris, were dedicated on 10 May 1984 to commemorate the bicentennial of the Treaty of Paris and to honor those diplomats of Great Britain and the United States of America who have persevered in the tradition of John Hartley, Richard Oswald, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, John Adams, and Henry Laurens by labouring steadfastly in the work of peace.

The Diplomatic Gates were a gift of the National Committee for the Bicentennial of the Treaty of Paris to the people of Great Britain. They were erected through the auspices of the UK Department of the Environment under the guidance of Mr. Peter Butler. The directing architect was Mr. A. John Kaye and the gates were built by Mr. A. F. Rolt of the Ornamental Ironwork Workshop. The inscription was designed by Mr Neil Simmons.

You can obtain an overview of the dedication ceremony (PDF, 10 pages) and the remarks given by Joan R. Challinor, Chairman, the National Committee for the Bicentennial of the Treaty of Paris (PDF, 3.5 pages).

Ronald Reagan Statue

The bronze Ronald Reagan statue at Grosvenor Square

The bronze Ronald Reagan statue at Grosvenor Square

On July 4th, 2011, the Ronald Reagan Foundation honoured President Ronald Reagan by erecting a ten foot tall bronze statue at the south-west corner of Grosvenor Square, outside the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. Ambassador Louis Susman gave these remarks at the unveiling of the Ronald Reagan Statue.

History of the Embassy

  • History of the Embassy Taken from a report of the History of the U.S. Embassy (PDF) in London, as prepared by  Mrs. Margaret Bryant, Embassy Librarian, circa 1953.