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Research reveals London’s hidden gems

London’s hidden property gems have been uncovered by new research from Knight Frank, which has identified a host of Grade 1 listed buildings neglected by the traditional tourist trail.

Using a sample of 500,000 images hosted on photo sharing site Flickr, Knight Frank ranked London’s Grade 1 listed buildings in order of popularity. In doing so, it highlighted Zone 1’s most photographed buildings and, in turn, the historic sites that have gone relatively overlooked for years.

Mapping each photograph taken over the last 13 years, a clearly defined list of the most popular tourist routes became available, with the Palace of Westminster, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge featuring prominently.

Nonetheless, the map also highlighted a number of ‘remarkable buildings’ that have gone relatively unnoticed in recent decades.

This included the Ebury Street home in which Mozart composed his first symphony, Finsbury Health Centre, a building which summed up progressive post-war politics ten years before the NHS was founded, and the Church of St Olave, one of the few medieval churches in the City to survive the Great Fire of London.

It is Mayfair, though, which is home to the highest number of ignored Grade 1 listed buildings in Zone 1, despite being just a short hop from some of the capital’s best-known landmarks and sightseeing routes.

One such forgotten Mayfair treasure is St. Mark’s, a former church, which was the subject of only 20 Flickr photos. Its fortunes, however, may about to be reversed as it has recently been restored by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland (GBI). This involved an extensive makeover, which saw its façade under wraps for two years.

The venue has now been relaunched as a dining, retail and community hub. Craig McWilliam, chief executive of GBI, said the move was part of a strategy to make Mayfair more “open, enticing and accessible”.

Ian McGuinness, head of Geospatial at Knight Frank, said of the research: “From townhouses in Belgravia to Synagogues in Bayswater, we have been able to shine a light on the capital’s most interesting ‘unnoticed’ buildings. They are historically and culturally significant buildings which are hidden in plain sight.”

The Knight Frank study used 500,000 photos taken in Zone 1 London between 2005 and 2018 with the tag or search term ‘architecture’.

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