There are two ‘Malls’ in London which are of significance to the history and image of London.
The ‘Royalest’ Road in London
The Mall is the long tree-lined road that runs from Trafalgar Square up to Buckingham Palace. If you are an avid watcher of any of the Royal ceremonies, from the Trooping of the Colour to the recent funeral of Elizabeth II, you would have followed the progress of the horses and carriages as they paraded up the Mall. Following this, they paraded through St James Park and Green Park, arriving at the courtyard of Buckingham Palace.
Pall Mall, the Game
Pall Mall in London runs parallel to the Mall, connecting St James Street to Trafalgar Square. The name ‘Pall Mall’ actually refers to an ancient game played with a ball and mallet, similar to croquet. The street took on its name as the first ever pall-mall court was constructed in the area in 1630.
Due to its proximity to Buckingham Palace and the Westminster seats of power, Pall Mall has always been considered a superior street – this is echoed by its stunning Georgian architecture.
Pall Mall Cigarettes
In 1899 this ‘upper-class’ association was adopted by the Black Butler Company with the launch of the Pall Mall brand of cigarettes. During this time, Pall Mall housed several private dining and wine clubs where the rich and powerful would go to eat and drink. Even the original packaging featured a coat of arms and elegant art nouveau lettering.
A Right Royal Residence
116 Pall Mall is an address that comes up regularly when learning about the history of Pall Mall. In the words of its website, 116 Pall Mall is “where war heroes plotted strategies during major conflicts, where spies rubbed shoulders with monarchs…”
116 Pall Mall, otherwise known as Carlton House, was the original residence of the future King George IV from 1783 to 1826. It was originally sold to Frederick Prince of Wales in 1732, who then handed it to his grandson George who spent £60,000 (over £9 million in today’s money), turning it into one of the most important royal residences of the time.
When George’s father passed away – George III, the now George IV, decided that rebuilding Buckingham Palace (previously a more modest Buckingham House) would be more fitting as a Royal residence. This gave the order to destroy Carlton House and replace them instead with two grand white stucco terraces, which were leased to help fund the rebuilding of Buckingham palace.
A Source of Military Secrets
116 Pall Mall was to house the USC (United Services Club) as its first tenant. The building became a home for a growing collection of war paintings and works of art, including a marble bust of Lord Admiral Nelson that still sits today on the ground floor, set on a plinth made from part of the HMS Victory.
By the very nature of 116 Pall Mall being the London social base of the armed services, it became the de facto centre of informal meetings for many senior figures involved in decisions around the Great War and World War II.
The USC held its final fling in 116 Pall Mall in 1977 and apparently didn’t even pay the cleaners to clear up after them. Luckily, the Institute of Directors arrived a year later with deep pockets and a love of history to ensure that the building and its rooms were restored to their former glory.
Today, 116 Pall Mall operates as an events venue for meetings, conferences, and weddings.
For Wine Lovers Worldwide
67 Pall Mall has bucked the economic trend and houses a private club that has spread its roots across the globe by specialising in the best wines. 67 Pall Mall London first opened 100 years ago, setting the standard for private members’ clubs worldwide.
With thousands of people passing through Pall Mall over the last 250 years, and with its proximity to Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade, it is no wonder that Pall Mall features prominently on the tourist trail of London.
If you would like to see how Pall Mall fits in with the rest of Westminster, you can book into one of our tours and walk those very same streets yourself. If there is anywhere you would particularly like to visit, then we can arrange private tours to suit your own interests.