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10 Leigh/Olivier Destinations in England — #6

54 Eaton Square
Nearest tube stops: Victoria and Knightsbridge

54 Eaton Square in Belgravia, Westminster was the flat that was purchased by Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier in the late 1950s. As they were going through a period of estrangement before they actually divorced, Laurence Olivier did not stay here much, but after their split, he continued to pay the rent so Vivien could use it as her home in the city, which she continued to do until her death in 1967.


Today, as it was then, Eaton Square is one of the most exclusive and expensive pieces of real estate in London. It is peppered with blue English Heritage plaques signifying the famous people who have lived there. Vivien Leigh has one:

After Vivien died, her mother, Gertrude Hartley, dedicated a stone bench to her in the garden at the square’s center. The plaque on the bench is inscribed with the famous line from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra:

Now boast thee death, in thy possession lies A lass unparallel’d

photo by meg

The block that includes flat # 54 had been under construction when I was in London in 2009, but apparently they’ve finished so it’s scaffolding free right now (a good time to go take some photos!). Oscar-winning actress Louise Rainer lives now lives in Vivien’s old home.

The square is quite easy to find with a London map, and is in short walking distance from two of the most popular tube stations in the city.  If you’re shopping at Harrod’s or have some time to kill before catching a train at Victoria, swing by for a quick photograph!

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Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (2)

  1. Hi Kendra,

    Glad to see you are thriving in London!

    Thanks again for keeping this site going: My daughter (age 11 yrs!) has recently also become a fan of VLO and she just reminded me to keep up with this lovely website!

    (She is very happy that TCM has made September 2010 Vivien month, LOL!)

    Regarding the Eaton PL apartment — you mention that Louise Ranier lives there now: Is she still alive? She must be 100+ by now! 🙂

    Thanks again, and best of luck with your studies!


  2. Hi Kendra,

    There was scaffolding on 54 Eaton Square when I saw it in June 1997, too, and lots of noisy construction on the street. Good job at getting into the garden and thanks for posting the photograph of the bench. The garden was locked when I was there. That quote is so beautiful.

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