A Royal Story
InterContinental London Park Lane stands proudly today on the very site of 145 Piccadilly, the Queen’s former childhood residence. Historical accounts recall a white terraced building, indistinguishable from those on either side of it. There was a semi-basement kitchen, 'like the giant's kitchen in a pantomime with its immense shiny copper pots and great fire-range', Lisa Sheridan. An extensive garden at the back, shared with other houses, added an element of community. Elizabeth lived in a suite of rooms at the top of the house, consisting of a day nursery, a night nursery and a bathroom linked by a landing, with wide windows looking down on the park. It was not unusual for her nanny to put her in her pram and take a two-hour stroll through Mayfair into Hyde Park.
Other stories relating to Elizabeth’s childhood at 145 Piccadilly told of the Princess allegedly playing games by fetching a small toy, such as a teddy bear or a ball, and dropping it from the nursery landing down the stairwell onto visitors as they arrived at the house.
The best modern day representation of the Queen’s childhood at 145 Piccadilly can be found in the multiple Oscar-winning film, The King’s Speech. Scenes of the young family trying their best to enjoy London life in the heart of Mayfair during the years of the Depression were actually filmed at 33 Portland Place, but the so-called ‘shabby chic’ interiors are said to be in keeping with the style of the house at that time.
145 Piccadilly was to suffer the same fate as many in London during the war, being destroyed in the blitz. Between 1968 and 1975, work began by Sir Frederick Gibberd on the design and construction of the luxury hotel InterContinental London Park Lane, whose other notable designs include Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park.
The hotel was opened by His Grace the 8th Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley on 23rd September 1975.