HISTORY OF THE LANESBOROUGH

The second Viscount Lanesborough, James Lane, built Lanesborough House in 1719
as a country retreat. Back then Hyde Park Corner was on the edge of town and the
Viscount carved the following words above the door, “It is my delight to be both in
the town and the country.”

Viscount Lanesborough lived here until he died in 1724 at the age of 74, leaving no
heirs. Some years later, in 1733 a group of governors from Westminster Hospital
rented Lanesborough House to use as a hospital because they believed the country air
of Knightsbridge would benefit the patients. The hospital was called St George’s.

By 1745 the number of patients at St George’s reached 250 with an additional 20
nurses. Over the years this number continued to increase steadily until eventually in
1827 a larger building was required. Architect William Wilkins, who also designed the
National Gallery, created a new hospital on the same site, although it was no longer
so peaceful. Fashionable London had discovered the advantages of the country air.
On one side Thomas Cubitt was developing the district of Belgravia; down the road
John Nash was remodelling Buckingham Palace and Benjamin Wyatt was revamping
Apsley House for the Duke of Wellington. It was also during the 1820s that
Constitution Arch was built. The guards who pass through Hyde Park and past
Constitution Arch every morning at 10.40am are the Households Cavalry on their
way to change guards at Horseguards. This tradition dates from the time when
Horseguards was a Palace and was guarded 24 hours a day.

Some years later a fourth floor was added to the hospital and a new wing was built.
Florence Nightingale, who became a governor of St George’s Hospital in 1867
insisted that the beds were too close together and was responsible for making these
changes. However, by 1980 the board realised that the building was no longer
adequate and St George’s moved to Tooting in south London.

In 1990 The Lanesborough opened as a luxury hotel following extensive renovation
and redevelopment. The architects and interior designers took extreme care in
restoring the building to its 1830s splendour, creating a new steel frame with the old
shell and building a new roof. To ensure historical authenticity, the project was
overseen by the Royal Fine Arts Commission, the Georgian Society and English

Furniture, chandeliers, draperies and fabrics were copied from authentic examples of
the 1820s and 1830s. Museum pieces, copybooks, prints and archives were used for
reference. What you see today is an outstanding example of neo-classical design and
The Lanesborough is the most successful hotel in London and is managed by St
Regis Hotels. Geoffrey Gelardi has been Managing Director of the hotel since it
opened on 31st December 1990.

  For information or visuals please contact Paula McColgan at The Lanesborough
         Tel: 00 44 20 7259 5599 Email: pmccolgan@lanesborough.com

To top