Covent Garden piazza, created by celebrated architect Inigo Jones in 1630, was London’s first public square. The design of the open-air cobbled space and the Italianate arcade alongside it had a major influence on modern town planning, and became a prototype adopted by the builders of the new estates.
The land had been given to the Earl of Bedford by Henry VIII. Fine houses were built to attract wealthy tenants and, before long, there was a network of prestigious new streets. One of these was Bedford Street, built to connect the Strand with the piazza. Following the closure of the historic fruit and vegetable market in 1974, the piazza has regained its cachet as a prime residential address, with key buildings reverting back to homes.
Listed Bedford House dates from 1870. Built in the earlier Queen Anne style, it has a fascinating history, being a meeting point for the Actresses Franchise League, a suffragette society.
Later the building became an acting academy and now it has been transformed into five luxury flats, including a triplex penthouse, pictured, with a roof terrace and sun room. Prices from £1.1 million. Call Douglas & Gordon on 020 7037 4000.