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Visiting the Lanesborough Hotel: Commemorating a Republic of Ireland Town in the Heart of London, England

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The Lanesborough Hotel entrance The building was formerly St George's Hospital

The Lanesborough Hotel entrance The building was formerly St George's Hospital

St. George's Hospital and the Constitution Arch, Hyde Park Corner

St. George's Hospital and the Constitution Arch, Hyde Park Corner

Echoes of the Republic of Ireland at the heart of London, England

(This short hub article is limited to some historical and design aspects of this building in London, England. For any aspect of the services of this fine hotel, contact should be made directly with its management.)

Through a family which in former times was socially prominent, the town of Lanesborough (Irish: Béal Átha Liag), Republic of Ireland, is commemorated in the name of London's Lanesborough Hotel. The family in question — the Butlers — were known successively as the Barons Lanesborough from 1715 until 1728, the Viscounts Lanesborough from 1728 until 1756, and the Earls of Lanesborough from 1756 until the title became extinct in 1998.

Extinct, however, the town, for which this family's title in various forms was named, most decidedly is not. Situated in the Republic of Ireland's County Longford, Lanesborough faces Lough Ree and the Shannon, Ireland's longest river, and is a known as a lively centre for fishing (the biggest pike in Ireland was caught here) and, as befits a town defined by water, for a noted regatta. (In the Republic of Ireland, the alternative spelling 'Lanesboro' is sometimes seen.)

The architect for what is now the Lanesborough Hotel was William Wilkins (1778-1839)(1). While Wilkins proved very versatile in other stylistic creations, here at what is now the Lanesborough Hotel Neoclacissism is strongly pronounced, not least in the clean lines of its pillars, pilasters and small pediment above the main entrance at Hyde Park Corner (see photo, above) and another pediment at a larger portico facing the Wellington Arch. The building was completed in 1844 a number of years after the death of the architect.

What is now the Lanesborough Hotel previously housed St. George's Hospital, until the 1970s, when the Hospital moved to Tooting, South London. The Viscounts Lanesborough were original patrons of the Hospital.

Interestingly, this Central London building named — through a formerly prominent family — for a town in the Republic of Ireland is located a fairly short walking distance from another piece of significant real estate identified strongly — in the heart of London — with the Republic of Ireland. This is 17 Grosvenor Place, which served as accommodation for the Irish delegation which signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, then from 1922 as the Irish High Commission in London, and since 1950 as the Irish Embassy in London (see photo, below). This building in French Renaissance style dates from 1868, and for decades notably belonged to the Guinness family, prior to its acquisition by the Irish state. Close to Buckingham Palace Gardens and within a short walking distance from the Lanesborough Hotel, the building thus adds strong historical memories linked to the Republic of Ireland in Central London.

November 18, 2021

Note

(1) Other works for which Architect Wilkins is also known include: University College London (see also Links, below); the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London; the gatehouse at King's College, Cambridge; and many others.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Embassy of Ireland in London; plaque outside the embassy in Irish

Embassy of Ireland in London; plaque outside the embassy in Irish

Also worth seeing

London , England, has so many visitor attractions and historic buildings that it would be impossible to give an adequate summary of them here; but a very few of these include:

Trafalgar Square, with the National Gallery (also designed by William Wilkins — see above) and Canada House; Buckingham Palace; Westminster Abbey; St Paul's Cathedral; the Houses of Parliament. The University of London's Senate House is another fine, monumental structure.

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How to get there

United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Underground and train services link Heathrow Airport with Central London. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information and with local authorities for Covid protocols.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

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