History


A fascinating history lies behind the iconic building of 160 Piccadilly.

Combining British heritage with European grandeur, discover how one of London’s most respected café-restaurants came to be.

1921

In 1921 the English architect, William Curtis Green, was commissioned by Wolseley Motors Limited to design a prestigious car showroom at the site of 160 Piccadilly.

Green incorporated marble pillars and archways with Venetian and Florentine-inspired details, making for a grand and impressive building befitting of the company’s ambitions. Yet by 1926, the cars weren’t selling as well as they had hoped and the firm went into bankruptcy.

1914

Barclays Bank took over the site and their new branch opened in the spring of 1927.

Green was called upon once again to construct a banking counter and managers’ offices either side of the main entrance, which today serve as the bar and tea salon. He also continued to design furniture and fittings with Japanese lacquer as a nod to the popularity of Eastern influences at the time.

2003

It was in July 2003 that restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King came to acquire the building.

A sympathetic restoration and renovation process was overseen by David Collins Architects. Testament to the longevity of Green’s vision however, many aspects of his original design, such as the domed ceiling and monochrome geometric marble flooring, are still on view today.

2003

Four months later, The Wolseley opened its doors.

Combining British heritage with European grandeur, ‘Piccadilly’s Shining Pearl’ (as the building became known during its time as a bank), now opened its doors as what was considered to be London’s first Grand Café.

2018

An establishment designed to endure.

Renowned today for its spectacular interior, classic food and seamless service, The Wolseley has earned its reputation as one of London’s most respected all-day café-restaurants, becoming an iconic institution the world over.

Experience The Wolseley yourself

We recommend reserving in advance, but a certain number of tables are always held back for walk-ins on the day.