From the best of times to the worst of times and everything in between, discover the events and time periods that have helped to shape the Dolphin Square we know and love today.
Architect Thomas Cubitt bought the lease for the area now known as Pimlico with a dream of redeveloping it. To realise his grand project he first constructed an enormous complex of workshops on the land that Dolphin Square resides on today. Here, horses sweated under carts laden with the iron railings you still see throughout the area, and the uniform design of stucco facades and balconies over Doric porticoes was conceived.
Building company Costain finish the distinctive Art Deco buildings on the former site of a government-owned army clothing factory. Newspapers called it ‘the most distinguished rental address in London’, while the Square’s own publicity pamphlets declared: ‘With its 16 houses of soundproof, self-contained flats, its quiet beauty of three acres of gardens and its river terraces, Dolphin Square will contribute more towards the peace and dignity of English home life than has ever been afforded in any London apartment building.’
During WW2 The Square became an ambulance station, a hospital and the headquarters of the Free French, France’s government-in- exile led by Charles de Gaulle. Archie Hancock was stationed at The Square in 1940 as an engineer. In 2013, he revisited us and reminisced about his time here, including three bomb hits and the enormous Christmas tree the residents erected in the swimming pool one year.
After the war, Dolphin Square was bought and sold numerous times and many well-known faces moved in and out. Former residents include writers (Angus Wilson), actors (Peter Finch, Jill Bennett), royalty (Princess Anne), countless MPs and even spies, thanks to its proximity to MI6. In the Eighties, the Moroccan Garden was landscaped following a competition and the famous dolphin fountain by sculptor James Butler RA was commissioned.
Dolphin Square is currently owned by American-based investment company Westbrook Holdings Ltd. It continues to be one of London’s most sought-after addresses thanks to its unique combination of location, value and facilities.