Created by Edward Shepherd – a local architect who became well-known for his work during the Georgian era – Shepherd Market was developed from 1735 onwards. It was the original location where the annual May fair was hosted as far back as the 1680s, from which the local neighbourhood of Mayfair gained its name. The 15-day fair was originally for cattle trading, but grew to become a festival for Londoners from all walks of life.
Edward Shepherd’s intervention marked the start of the gentrification of the locality, and he developed paved alleys, a duck pond, a theatre and a market over two-storeys. The flats in Shepherd Market became popular with artists, writers and other creatives. The best-selling novel, The Green Hat by Michael Arlen, was set in Shepherd Market, and went on to become a hit on Broadway.
Nowadays, Shepherd Market is a rare locality in London that retains the quaint, village-like charm of the 18th century. Bewitching alleyways, an eclectic range of boutiques with higgledy-piggledy shopfronts and old-fashioned pubs set the scene.