A History of Gem Fitzrovia Hotel

20-28 Bolsover Street, London W1W 5NB

The area between the boundaries of City of Westminster and Borough of Camden, with roots from the Manor of Tottenham Court has coined its name as "Fitzrovia" around 1940 from literary and artistic bohemians, deriving from Fitzroy Tavern in Charlotte Street and the Fitzroy Square. This historically bohemian district has been home to writers such us George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf and Arthur Rimbaud. In 2016, Fitzrovia District was named "the best place to live in London" by the Sunday Times.

First laid out as Norton Street in the 1750s, part of Portland estate which belonged to Cavendish family, Dukes of Portland, the street where Gem Fitzrovia Hotel now sits, changed its name by 1870s to Bolsover Street, from Bolsover in Derbyshire. Although records from that time are sparse and ambiguous, the balance of probabilities suggests that one of the houses which stood where now we have the numbers 20-28, was the last home of the great English architect, Sir William Chambers (1726-1796). Chambers is renewed for designing and erecting the Great Pagoda and a series of semi-roman temples in Kew Garden, the famous Somerset House and the apartment complex Albany. Another notable person who lived at number 24 in those Georgian times was the influential Welsh painter, Richard Wilson (1714-1782), one of the founder members of Royal Academy and a pioneer of British art of landscape-painting.

By the middle years of the Victorian era, the houses on Bolsover Street had suffered a downturn in fortune, which continued through the Edwardian times. This was induced by the massive influx of people to the metropolis from about 1840's, which has brought about large numbers of people living together in cramp conditions, which sometimes led these properties to become what Dickens called Victorian "rookery"

In 1911 the terrace of houses numbered 20-28 Bolsover Street was either demolished and rebuilt or substantially refurbished as one entity, Chadwick Ham House, in the Georgian style, by the architect R.Stephen Ayling. It is believed that the house was functioning as a hostel for young women newly arrived in London and it continued in the same function between the wars. Post-war Nos 20-28 appear in the Post Office directories as St Clement's House Ladies Club. In the late 1960's or early 1970s this passed into the use as a hall of residence for the Polytechnic College, a use which retained until at least the early 1990.

After a thorough renovation, the No 20-28 Bolsover Street has opened its doors as a stylish hotel in 1998 and we are proud to have this gem in our hotels group portfolio.

Today, Fitzrovia is one of London's true delights. The area sits happily between the glitz and glamour of the West End and the offbeat counter-culture of Camden. Its traditional borders are Oxford Street, Euston Road, Great Portland Street and Gower Street. About 8,000 people live in Fitzrovia and 50,000 come here every day to work.Today the area is one of London's most enthralling districts, boasting a wealth of bars, theatres, restaurants and hotels. Long established as one of the most iconic boutique hotels in Fitzrovia, we are your perfect base from which to explore London's most famous tourist spots including the British Museum, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben Regent Park, Oxford Street and so much more!