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History of The Rubens

Original Owner:
John Sheffield – Born in 1648 and Died in 1721

The Story of The Rubens

Overlooking what is regarded by many as the most famous palace in the world – Buckingham Palace – The Rubens has a rich royal heritage and proud roots dating back to the 18th century. With stunning views over The Royal Mews, this historic hotel has been meticulously restored with an incredible eye for detail. With majestic interiors featuring impressive chandeliers, rich fabrics, and original oil paintings, The Rubens offers the pinnacle of an elegant and regal experience. 

Moments away from many of London’s renowned landmarks, the land where The Rubens hotel now stands was originally owned in 1703 by John Sheffield, the Earl of Mulgrave. By 1752, lodgings for Buckingham Palace staff members and independent boutiques began to open on what was then called Chelsea Road – now Buckingham Palace Road. This tradition of upmarket parlours and boutiques was to continue well into the late 19th century, with a number of distinguished establishments setting up shop on this esteemed road. 

In 1841, the site was owned by an apothecarist and ham and tongue dealer named Thomas Murley. His corporation, Thomas Murley & Son, prospered on this premises until the mid-1880s, when it became a law stationer’s shop and then a dressmaker’s establishment run by Madame Excalier. Selling fashionable hats, ball gowns, bridal wear, and tea dresses, this address became a destination for high-end finery. It is thought the property was then redeveloped in 1885, just before the Aereated Bread Company established their original premises on this site before going on to open 250 tea shops across the city of London. 

At the dawn of the 20th century, Mr James Rossdale, purchased a number of properties on Buckingham Palace Road, including numbers 37 and 39, which were to become The Hotel Rubens. Quickly establishing a reputation for grandeur and luxury, the hotel became increasingly popular with debutantes attending royal functions. However, as the Second World War began to take hold across Europe, the property was commandeered by the exiled Polish Free State Army and used as a headquarters by General Sikorski, whose official plaque remains to this day on the building.

Following the war, The Rubens regained its reputation as a luxurious hotel and continued to entertain numerous notable guests, including Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne. Universally regarded as one of the best hotels in London, The Rubens exemplifies quintessential British hospitality at its very finest.