The St. David’s Hotels, situated in the unique Norfolk Square, was built in the early 1800′s. It was then a private square which housed the nobility of London and their servants, who lived in the lower parts of the buildings.
The master’s carriage and the horses were kept at the rear of the building in the mews, now known as London Street and Praed Street. The ladies of the house would take afternoon tea in the gardens, served by their maids in the shade of the trees, which incidentally, are now all preserved by the Forestry Commission.
At the north end of the square once stood the square’s own church. This was built around 1740 to accommodate the ever-growing population of Paddington, however was destroyed by fire in 1845.
Norfolk Square was privately owned and maintained by its residents up to the end of World War II, when it was taken over by the local council. The residents had their own constable who patrolled daily as well as acting as gateman. The houses in this square still have a lot of their architectural beauty, although a lot of mouldings, perches and stained glass windows were destroyed during the World War II air raids. Luckily, one of the windows of the St. David’s Hotel was spared and is the only hotel in Norfolk Square with the original stained glass window on the facade. All the houses in Norfolk Square are listed as historical buildings and safeguarded by English Heritage.
The Wedgwood family (famous for their china) once had their town flat at No. 34. The late Duke of Windsor, when staying in the area, would accommodate his personal valet at No. 18 – now The St. David’s Hotels.