Upon the Restoration of King CharlesII when London was really swinging our national identity was formed by 5 Extraordinary, Glamorous, witty, Subversive women of vision who created a shopping Mecca of glass fronted arcades & residential mansions on garden squares; where drawing rooms teamed with eccentrics, sipping on tea & champagne discussing subversive ideas, Art & fashion putting Mayfair on the map as the birthplace of the British Enlightenment in 1667.
1) The eccentric cross-dressing Queen Catherine of Braganza funded the building & introduced tea as the fashionable drink – setting the trend for Tea Salons in which women wrote & performed subversive plays, read poetry & discussed proto-feminism & philosophy. Catherine of Braganza also created shopping as a national pastime, as exotic goods poured into London from her port cities of Bombay & Tangiers.
2) Dame Mary Grosvenor – nee Davies, the young heiress who owned the land upon which Mayfair & St James’s was built.
3) Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham; the world’s first woman architects whom designed Mayfair & London’s most magnificent landmarks (attributing her work to her pet pupil Christopher Wren for her husbands reputation).
4) Spy & Playwright Aphra Behn (Agent 160) had saved the British Fleet & led a slave rebellion in Surinam before becoming the greatest playwright & wit of the age. Coining the phrase “she stoops to conquer” she inspired the women of the Restoration to dare.
5) the Proto-Feminist, Eccentric Fashionista, Style Maven & author, Margaret Cavendish – The Duchess of Newcastle – known as Mad-Madge added the glamour to Mayfair, ensuring that by 1678 Mayfair was the place to be.
I’ve spent most of my life – over 40years living in Mayfair on Mount St – raising 2 husbands & 3 children whilst writing 13 books- I’m part of the warp & woof of Mayfair St James’s. Discovering through my research Mayfair was created, built & funded by women as an enclave for eccentrics & fashion inspired this project