The historic Mayfair townhouse is one of the most admired Victorian houses on Brick Street in London. The 12,800 square-foot property once housed horse stables, staff quarters, and the Londonderry House mansion. Now, developers have proposed turning the vacated land into a 24-hour casino.
History of the Famed Mayfair Townhouse
The Londonderry House has a unique and entertaining history. It was first purchased in 1819 and was primarily used as a getaway for the local social season. Throughout history, famous people like Napoleon III stayed at the mansion. During World War I, the mansion was temporarily used as a military hospital.
In the years following the war, the Londonderry House was an aristocratic townhouse that was owned by the Marquesses of Londonderry. Dane Margaret Greville developed a reputation as one of the most extravagant hosts. She held some of the most exclusive parties in London fashion, welcoming prominent politicians and celebrities into this royal house. Queen Elizabeth and King George VI are just a few of the big names to walk through its lavish Victorian-style doors.
The house was eventually turned over to the Debrett’s, an academy for British etiquette and lineage. It was sold off to Hilton Hotels at one point and then again, sold to the British Virgin Islands-registered by Beltway Holdings.
Controversial Plans for the Future
Developers have now proposed to turn the historic Mayfair townhouse into a 24-hour casino complete with a night lounge and restaurant. The casino would span across five of the six stories of the current standing building. It would feature many VIP areas for dining, gaming, and lounging. The entire casino would have an exclusive feel to it, only holding a maximum of 140 visitors at one time and no more than 240 visitors in a day.
Locals were concerned about the proposed casino being open for 24 hours, worried that it would lead to loud noises in the middle of the night. Others worried about the increase in traffic that the casino would bring. Additionally, some argue that London already has enough casinos in the area.
Guarantees of the Proposed Casino
Developers tried to assure the locals that the casino would not become an intrusion. The casino would close on Christmas Day and would limit terrace usage during church hours in order to prevent distractions in local churches. Noises from the casino would be kept to a minimum and casino attendee would be asked to exit quietly. The historical features that make up the building would remain untouched.
It is likely that the historic townhouse turned casino would have attracted architectural enthusiasts as well as those looking for an exclusive VIP gaming experience. The proposed casino would have offered traditional, popular casino games including blackjack, roulette, poker, and slots.
The Mayfair Townhouse of London is a royal piece of history dating back to the early 1800s. The Westminster Council has rejected the 24-hour casino proposal. There were too many concerns surrounding safety and many believed that a casino would destroy the important royal significance of the historic Mayfair Townhouse.