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The Greek Embassy in London was among the first diplomatic missions established after the foundation of the Hellenic Kingdom in 1828. Distinguished Greek Ambassadors at the Court of St James were Spyridon Trikoupis (1834-1837, 1841-1843, 1849-1862), who also served as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charilaos Trikoupis (1862-1865) who served seven times as Prime Minister, Ioannis Gennadius (1910-1918), a seminal literary figure in the UK, and Nobel laureate George Seferis (1957-1962).
The Greek Embassy acquired its own premises in February 1920, under Ambassador Dimitrios Caclamanos (1918-1920). The building at 51 Upper Brook Street, W1, was a gift of Helena Schilizzi-Venizelos to the Greek state, at a time when Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos was in London for lengthy periods during the negotiations for the Treaty of Sevres which followed the First World War.
Situated in one of the most central parts of London, in Mayfair, the building was built in 1731 by the architect R. G. Hammond, who was responsible for a number of other buildings in the area, owned by the Duke of Westminster. During the period 1731-1920 it had served as the residence of members of the House of Lords and distinguished judges. It was fully renovated in 1905. From 1920 it is the Official Residence of the Greek Ambassador. The original design has been preserved, including the office used by George Seferis. In 2000, on the occasion of the poet’s 100th anniversary, a commemorative Blue Plaque was erected by the English Heritage.
During the years 1920 to 1975 the Chancery was also housed at 51 Upper Brook Street, W1. In 1975, it was transferred to 1a Holland Park, W11, where it still operates in the property purchased by the Greek State in 1973. The building was designed in 1962 by architects Playne & Lacey. Until its bombardment during the 1940 blitz, a large Victorian villa stood on the same plot of land. It was built in 1860 as the residence of banker Alexander C. Ionides (1810-1890), who was a great benefactor of Greece and had served as Greek Consul General in London from 1854 to 1856. He was an art collector and patron of the Pre-Raphaelite painters. After his death, his art collection was bequeathed to the Victoria & Albert Museum where it still has pride of place.