Mews is a British name for a row or courtyard of stables and carriage houses with living quarters above them, built behind large city houses before motor vehicles replaced horses in the early twentieth century. Mews are usually located in desirable residential areas having been built to cater for the horses, coachmen and stable-servants of prosperous residents. The renovated servants quarters provide attractive housing in the best locations with off-street parking in the carriage house and stable.

The word mews comes from the Royal Mews, royal stables built 500 years ago on a former royal hawk mews. It is now commonly used in English-speaking countries for city housing of a similar design.

Mews House - - 911973
Mews house. Third of three identical buildings, Bruton Place (formerly North Bruton Mews) off Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1. The winch for horse feed can be seen in front of the attic door

Hawk mews

Mews derives from the French muer, "to moult", reflecting its original function to confine hawks while they moulted.[1] Shakespeare deploys to mew up to mean confine, coop up, or shut up in The Taming of the Shrew: "What, will you mew her up, Signor Baptista?"[2][3] and also Richard III: "This day should Clarence closely be mewed up".[4]

From 1377 onwards the king's falconry birds were kept in the King's Mews at Charing Cross.

Mews stables

The first recorded use meaning stables is dated 1548 after the royal stables were built at Charing Cross on the site of the royal hawk mews.[1] Those royal stables moved to Buckingham Palace Road in 1820. There were also royal mews at St James's Palace.

The name mews was taken up for domestic stables in the city during the 17th century.[1] The 18th century Washington Mews in Greenwich Village, New York City matches the London buildings in period purpose and name.

Mews has since been transferred to any stable buildings in any space, lane, alley or back street onto which these buildings open.[1] And to any new residential buildings of similar character throughout the English-speaking world with motor vehicles taking the place of horses and carriages.

Dunworth Mews, a street of mews houses in Notting Hill, London
Horbury Mews
Horbury Mews, located near Ladbroke Road in Notting Hill


Mews was applied to service streets and the stables in them in cities, primarily London. In the 18th and 19th centuries London housing for wealthy people generally consisted of streets of large terraced houses with stables at the back, which opened onto a small service street. The mews had horse stalls and a carriage house on the ground floor, and stable servants' living accommodation above. Generally this was mirrored by another row of stables on the opposite side of the service street, backing onto another row of terraced houses facing outward into the next street. Sometimes there were variations such as small courtyards. Most mews are named after one of the principal streets which they back onto. Most but not all have the word "mews" in their name.


This arrangement was different from most of Continental Europe, where the stables in wealthy urban residences were usually off a front or central courtyard. The advantage of the British system was that it hid the sounds and smells of the stables away from the family when they were not using the horses.

Stables not known as mews

Mews is not used for large individual non-royal British stable blocks, a feature of country houses. For example, the grand stable block at Chatsworth House is referred to as the stables, not the mews.


Mews lost their equestrian function in the early 20th century when motor cars were introduced. At the same time, after World War I and especially after World War II, the number of people who could afford to live in the type of houses which had a mews attached fell sharply. One place where a mews may still be found put to equestrian use is Bathurst Mews in Westminster, near Hyde Park, London, where several private horses are kept. Nearby, the mews' stables have been put to commercial use. Some mews were demolished or put to commercial use, but the majority were converted into homes.

Contemporary movements to revitalize and creatively re-use historical and traditional features of urban environments have also cast some appreciative light on mews. A contemporary presentation of the some 500 former horse stables in the city of London appears in the book The Mews of London: A Guide to the Hidden Byways of London's Past.[5]

In 2015 a survey of the Mews in London estimated that there were 433 Original/ Surviving Mews properties still in existence.[6] The Survey classified an Authentic Mews property as "A property in a Mews – a lane, alley, court, narrow passage, cul de sac or back street originally built behind houses in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries to provide access for stables or coach house accommodation (often with associated living accommodation) – that is now most likely to be a modernised residential dwelling, possibly with commercial premises. An Authentic Mews property will still retain the approximate appearance, form and footprint of the original Mews but it may have been re-developed to a degree and no longer retains all original Mews features." [7]

In contemporary urban planning and construction

The use of Mews in new urban development is advocated by Leon Krier, who is himself a strong influence on the New Urbanism movement in the United States.[8] (For his foundational contributions to the movement, Krier received the first Athena Medal awarded by the Congress for the New Urbanism in 2006.)[9]

In the Smart Growth, Traditional Neighborhood Development and New Urbanism movements, the term is used frequently, but definitions of the term are rare. The East Village Redevelopment Plan for Calgary, Alberta, Canada, explains that "Mews are narrow, intimate streets that balance the access and service functions of a lane with active building frontages, accessory uses, and a street space shared by cars and pedestrians."[10][11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Oxford English Dictionary online, accessed 17 February 2019
  2. ^ Samuel Weller Singer, ed., The dramatic Works of William Shakespeare, vol. III (Chiswick: Charles Whittinghame, College House, 1826), p.357, fn. 13
  3. ^ Ibid. p. 357
  4. ^ r See mew up at Shakespeare's Words website. Accessed 26 March 2017
  5. ^ (Webb & Bower, London, 1982, ISBN 0-03-062419-3)The Mews of London at Open Library
  6. ^ About a Mews Everchanging Mews.
  7. ^ Mews and Other Definitions Everchanging Mews
  8. ^ Grant, Jill (2006). Planning the Good Community: New Urbanism in Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge. p. 63. ISBN 9780415700757.
  9. ^ "Athena Medals". Congress for the New Urbanism. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  10. ^ East Village Area Redevelopment Plan (PDF). City of Calgary Planning, Development & Assessment Department. 2010. p. 39.
  11. ^ Steuteville, Robert. New Urbanism Best Practices Guide, Fourth Edition. New Urban News Publications. p. 71.

External links

Berkeley Mews

"Berkeley Mews", sometimes mislabeled as "Berkeley Men" or "Berkeley News", is a song written by Ray Davies and released by the Kinks as the B-side to their 1970 track, "Lola". Berkeley Mews is a small street in London.

Cornell North Campus

North Campus is a residential section of Cornell University's Ithaca, New York campus. It primarily houses freshmen. North Campus offers programs which ease the transition into college life for incoming freshmen. The campus offers interactions with faculty and other programs designed to increase interaction among members of the freshman class. North Campus is part of Cornell's residential initiative.

Dundee Museum of Transport

The Dundee Museum of Transport, located in Dundee, Scotland, officially opened to the public on 26 April 2014.

The museum is currently housed in temporary accommodation on Market Street (in the Market Mews). The museum's organisers hope to relocate it to permanent premises at the Maryfield Tram Depot, in the Stobswell area of the city. Currently listed on the Buildings at Risk register by the RCAHMS, the premises will require extensive repairs and upgrades.

The museum's collection continues to grow apace, with donations and several restoration projects underway.

Harry Mews

Henry George Reginald (Harry) Mews (December 18, 1897 – January 6, 1982) was the eighth mayor of St. John's, Newfoundland and a political leader in the province.

He was born in St. John's, the son of Arthur Mews, a civil servant, and Mabel Woods, the daughter of Henry J. B. Woods, who served in the provincial cabinet and was postmaster general from 1902 to 1914. Mews was educated at the Methodist College in St. John's and served as a lieutenant with the Newfoundland Regiment during World War I. After his return, he worked with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Ontario. Mews contracted tuberculosis and was treated in New York state. He returned to St. John's in 1927.An insurance company manager with the North American Life Assurance Company, Mews was first elected to St. John's City Council as an alderman in 1943 and was mayor from 1949 to 1965. He served as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party when the colony joined Canadian Confederation in 1949 and led the party in the 1949 provincial election in May losing to Joey Smallwood's Liberals and failing to win a seat in the Newfoundland House of Assembly. He was elected mayor for the first time on November 8, 1949, and stepped down as provincial party leader soon after.During Mews' tenure as mayor, the city undertook a slum clearance program in its downtown and built public housing in various parts of the city. He also oversaw the creation of a large suburban development in the northeast of St. John's. In 1957, council created the St. John's Transportation Commission, taking over the city's privately owned bus system. During his term as mayor, the city had accumulated a substantial fund which was used for the construction of a new city hall in 1969.Mews was married twice: to Vera Olga Sparling in 1926 and to Mary Summer in 1958.

Jason Mewes

Jason Edward Mewes (born June 12, 1974) is an American television and film actor, film producer and internet radio show host. He is best known for playing Jay, the vocal half of the duo Jay and Silent Bob, in longtime friend Kevin Smith’s films.

List of Tokyo Mew Mew characters

The Tokyo Mew Mew manga and anime series features a cast of characters designed by Mia Ikumi. The series takes place in Tokyo, Japan, where five adolescent girls, called Mew Mews, are infused with the DNA of endangered species to combat aliens attempting to take over the Earth. The manga series is followed by a short sequel series, Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode, which introduces a new Mew Mew and a new threat.

The Mew Mews are led by the main character, Ichigo Momomiya, whose first task is to gather the other four Mew Mews: Minto Aizawa, Retasu Midorikawa, Bu-Ling Huang, and Zakuro Fujiwara. As the series progresses, Ichigo goes from having a crush on Masaya Aoyama to becoming his girlfriend while trying to hide her secret double life from him. The series antagonists include three aliens, Quiche, Pie, and Tart, and their leader, Deep Blue. Originally from Earth, the aliens were forced to leave long ago due to deadly environmental changes. They have returned to kill the humans, who they feel are destroying their planet, and reclaim the planet. In a la Mode, middle school student Berry Shirayuki is introduced as the sixth Mew Mew and, in the absence of Ichigo, the temporary leader of the Mew Mews. A la Mode also introduces new set of antagonists, the Saint Rose Crusaders, a group of human teenagers with various psychic abilities with a desire to create their own utopia. Led by Duke, they make several attempts to kill Berry, eventually turning the local populace against the Mew Mews.

Ikumi's initial vision for Tokyo Mew Mew was a story called Tokyo Black Cat Girl that featured a cat-girl battling alien invaders. After the story was transitioned to a more upbeat story of five female superhumans, the character designs were redone to have a lighter, more colorful feel. The main series characters were praised for being a perfect fit for the overall story, as well as for their cute appearances. The characters introduced in a la Mode were also praised for their visual appearances, but criticized as being repeats of the original series.

Lurot Brand

Lurot Brand a London-based estate agent and letting agency which offer services for buying, selling mews, renting and managing mews property. It was started in 1971 and has expanded gradually since then. It also publishes Mews News, a quarterly published online & print journal. It is known for specializing in mews house sales and lettings.

Mews (restaurant)

Mews is a restaurant in Baltimore, County Cork, Ireland. It was awarded a Michelin star for 2019.Mews (sometimes called The Mews) was opened in a former coachhouse by Robert Collender and James Ellis in 2015. Mews Restaurant was founded on the principle of exploring Irish cuisine through the ingredients of West Cork; Ahmet Dede is the Head Chef. All ingredients are sourced locally in the West Cork region.

Murder in the Mews

Murder in the Mews and Other Stories is a short story collection by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by Collins Crime Club on 15 March 1937. In the US, the book was published by Dodd, Mead and Company under the title Dead Man's Mirror in June 1937 with one story missing (The Incredible Theft); the 1987 Berkeley Books edition of the same title has all four stories. All of the tales feature Hercule Poirot. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence (7/6) and the first US edition at $2.00.

Peter Mews

Peter Mews (25 March 1619 – 9 November 1706) was an English Royalist theologian and bishop.

Royal Mews

The Royal Mews is a mews of the British Royal Family. In London the Royal Mews has occupied two main sites, formerly at Charing Cross, and since the 1820s at Buckingham Palace. The site is open to the public throughout much of the year.

Sam Mewis

Samantha June Mewis (born October 9, 1992) is an American soccer player. She plays as a midfielder for the North Carolina Courage in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the United States national team. She played college soccer for the UCLA Bruins. Her club career started in 2013 when she signed with Pali Blues in the W-League and continues with her playing on North Carolina Courage in the National Women's Soccer League with two NWSL wins under her belt.

Sylvan Place

Sylvan Place might refer to several places in New York City.

Sylvan Terrace, sometimes erroneously called Sylvan Place, is historic grouping of 20 three-story, wood-framed townhouses or mews straddling a cobblestone street lined with coachlights leading directly to the Morris-Jumel Mansion and located in the Jumel Terrace Historic District of the Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood.Sylvan Place is a former small street running from East 120th Street to East 121st Street, between and parallel to Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue in Manhattan. The signage for the street still exists. The street's ground area now serves as Harlem Art Park and the Harlem Courthouse's frontage and parking lot. Directly opposite Sylvan Place on East 121st Street, Sylvan Court Mews, or Sylvan Court, which is sometimes confused with Sylvan Place, is a small dead end private street that is unpaved, and contains several 1880s townhouses. Unlike in other parts of these city with similar houses, like Greenwich Village and Brooklyn Heights, the small street and court have not been restored. Both Sylvan Place and Sylvan Court were part of the former East Post Road, which led from the city to Boston. The intersection of the East Post Road, Kingsbridge Post Road, Harlem Road, and Church Lane formed a five-cornered intersection, and the neighborhood that surrounded it was sometimes known as the Five Points, not to be confused with the neighborhood of the same name in lower Manhattan. Sylvan Place and Sylvan Court met at the former five-pointed intersection.

The Forbidden Street

The Forbidden Street is a 1949 British melodrama film directed by Jean Negulesco and starring Dana Andrews, Maureen O'Hara, Sybil Thorndike, Fay Compton and A. E. Matthews. In Victorian London, a young woman marries a poor drunken artist and struggles to make ends meet. After his death, she takes in a lodger and she soon falls in love with him.

The Mews, Virginia

The Mews is an unincorporated community in Richmond County, in the U.S. state of Virginia.

The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time

The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time (abbreviated TMGLMOAT) is a collection of twenty-four short films from English alternative rock band Radiohead, directed and edited by Chris Bran, one half of the Vapour Brothers.

It was released on DVD on 1 December 2004. The DVD release contains all four episodes of the original broadcast from Radiohead Television, an online television station, featuring unheard songs from the band, live studio performances, as well as interviews.

The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time is named after a collage by German artist John Heartfield.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square ( trə-FAL-gər) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain that took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.

The site of Trafalgar Square had been a significant landmark since the 13th century and originally contained the King's Mews. After George IV moved the mews to Buckingham Palace, the area was redeveloped by John Nash, but progress was slow after his death, and the square did not open until 1844. The 169-foot (52 m) Nelson's Column at its centre is guarded by four lion statues. A number of commemorative statues and sculptures occupy the square, but the Fourth Plinth, left empty since 1840, has been host to contemporary art since 1999.

The square has been used for community gatherings and political demonstrations, including Bloody Sunday in 1887, the culmination of the first Aldermaston March, anti-war protests, and campaigns against climate change. A Christmas tree has been donated to the square by Norway since 1947 and is erected for twelve days before and after Christmas Day. The square is a centre of annual celebrations on New Year's Eve. It was well known for its feral pigeons until their removals in the early 21st century.

Washington Mews

Washington Mews is a private gated street in New York City between Fifth Avenue and University Place just north of Washington Square Park. Along with MacDougal Alley and Stuyvesant Street, it was originally part of a Lenape trail which connected the Hudson and East Rivers, and was first developed as a mews (row of stables) that serviced horses from homes in the area. Since the 1950s the former stables have served as housing, offices and other facilities for New York University.


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