Cork Street

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Cork Street
Cork Street W1 - - 1458080.jpg
View north along Cork Street
Length420 ft[1] (130 m)
LocationMayfair, London
Postal codeW1
Nearest Tube stationLondon Underground Green Park
south endBurlington Gardens
51°30′35″N 0°08′28″W / 51.5098°N 0.1410°W / 51.5098; -0.1410
north endClifford Street
51°30′39″N 0°08′31″W / 51.5108°N 0.1420°W / 51.5108; -0.1420Coordinates: 51°30′39″N 0°08′31″W / 51.5108°N 0.1420°W / 51.5108; -0.1420

Cork Street is a street in Mayfair in the West End of London, England, with many contemporary art galleries,[2] and was previously associated with the tailoring industry. It is part of the Burlington Estate, which was developed from the 18th century.


The street runs approximately north-west from the junction of Burlington Arcade with Burlington Gardens, and is close to Burlington House, which houses the Royal Academy of Arts. It is parallel to, and immediately to the east of, New Bond Street. The nearest tube station is Green Park.


Burlington House in the 1690s. The line of Cork Street runs away from the back of the house on the left hand side.

Cork Street is part of the Burlington Estate,[3] which was developed from the 18th century.[citation needed] The first Earl of Burlington was Richard Boyle (1612–1698), 2nd Earl of Cork; the street is named for that city.

The street in particular and the area in general was associated with tailors. In particular, the leading Regency London tailors Schweitzer and Davidson were located in Cork Street.[4] Beau Brummell (1778–1840), who introduced the flamboyant form of gentleman's fashion that became known as dandyism, patronised Schweitzer and Davidson in Cork Street.[5] Savile Row, not far from Cork Street to the east, is now the street most associated with high-quality gentleman's tailors today.

In the early 20th century, the street became associated with the art world. Cork Street is today known in the art world for its many commercial art galleries.[6][7] It is close to the Royal Academy on Piccadilly to the south, when has an interest in the artistic nature of the street.[8] As of 2012, there are 22 galleries in the street.[9]

The street is considered to be one of the United Kingdom's "most important art hubs".[7] The galleries of Cork Street have launched the careers of many major modern artists in Britain. For example, the Mayor Gallery was the venue for the first London exhibitions of Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, and Joan Miró. Peggy Guggenheim opened her 'Guggenheim Jeune' art gallery at number 30 in 1938.

The art dealer Lillian Browse was nicknamed "The Duchess of Cork Street", and used that name as the title of her autobiography.[10]

Attack on Cork Street[edit]

Cork Street Robert Fraser art gallery attacked by Grey paint.

In 1985 the Grey Organisation, a radical arts collective, launched an attack on Cork Street covering some of the galleries in grey paint.[11] In a press release, GO justified the attacks on Cork Street, describing the galleries established there as "boring and lifeless", stating they "intended to liven up their lives a bit!". The attack took place on Tuesday 21 May 1985, somewhere between midnight and 6am. Members of the Grey Organisation were later arrested, released on bail and banned from central London, but when prosecuted at Well Street Magistrates' court, pleaded 'Not Guilty' and were released without charge.[12]


In 2012 the Save Cork Street campaign was created to protect Cork Street as a contemporary arts district. With 13,000 supporters, including David Hockney and Sir Peter Blake, the Save Cork Street campaign attracted major press interest. Chaired by artist and curator Simon Tarrant, the Save Cork Street committee petitioned Westminster Council to stipulate gallery usage for future Cork Street developments.[13][14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Driving directions to Cork St". Google. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Cork Street". Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  3. ^ Cork Street and Savile Row Area Burlington Estate Lease Tables, Survey of London, volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2, pp. 546–65, 1963. British History Online, English Heritage.
  4. ^ "Between a Gentleman and His Tailor". The Georgian Index. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  5. ^ Jesse, William (1844). The life of George Brummell, esq., commonly called Beau Brummell. Volume 1. Saunders and Otley. p. 64.
  6. ^ "London Art Galleries". UK: British Arts. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b Batty, David (20 August 2012). "Mayfair's art galleries under threat from developers". The Guardian.
  8. ^ "Simon Tarrant – The Royal Academy of Arts Council Statement". Art, Antiques and Luxury Design Blog. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  9. ^ "A third of Cork Street's galleries to close". Phaidon. 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  10. ^ Browse, Lillian (1999). Duchess of Cork Street: The Autobiography of an Art Dealer. Giles de la Mare. ISBN 978-1900357142.
  11. ^ "Save the last dance for me?". / Stewart Home. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Art Line Magazine". Vol. 2 no. 9. International Art News. 1985. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  13. ^ "Saving Cork Street: Is London's Historic Art District Under Threat?". Time. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Cork Street goes pop". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Cork Street art dealers oppose development plans". BBC News. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Mulligans of Mayfair". Retrieved 11 January 2013.

Media related to Cork Street, London at Wikimedia Commons