At one time, Citroën's main UK headquarters and lavish showroom
Devonshire House, Piccadilly, London W1
1926 – 1936
In 1926, Citroën set up its main UK showroom at the newly constructed Devonshire House, opposite the Ritz Hotel.
Devonshire House had previously been the London residence of the Dukes of Devonshire. A building designed and constructed in the 1730s, and with a relatively plain frontage that belied a sumptuous interior and magnificently decorated rooms. In 1919, the ninth Duke of Devonshire reportedly became the first in his family to face death duties, forcing the closure and sale of the house.
The place of the House was taken, as it is today, by a large office block in which Citroën created a lavish showroom, described by John Reynolds in his book on Citroën in the UK in the following way …
"Entering the 12,000 sq ft showroom through one of the three central doorways on its 100 foot long Piccadilly frontage, the prospective customer on a balustraded balcony from which could be seen as many as 40 cars displayed on the marble-paved floor space below, illuminated by enormous cut-glass chandeliers."
In May 1936, faced with severe financial difficulties, Citroën surrendered the lease on Devonshire House and moved the company’s UK administration to the factory site in Slough.
• 75 years of Citroën in the UK. From A to X, John Reynolds, CITROExpert, 1998.