Why Is Coco Chanel On Every Westminster Lamppost?

The eagle-eyed among you may this symbol, featured on ever Westminster lamppost:

coco chanel westminster lamppost

It’s basically a fancy ‘W’ the symbol of the Duke of Westminster. So far, so usual.

BUT on the other side…

Have you ever spotted this well-known symbol adorning lampposts in the borough of Westminster?

coco chanel westminster lamppost

Look familiar?

The legend goes that the Duke of Westminster during the 1920s was infatuated with Coco Chanel, repeatedly asking her to marry him. This is pretty well documented and it appears the feelings were mutual. Chanel spent many years in London and between 1924 and the early 1930s enjoyed a beneficial and happy affair with Hugh Grosvenor (richest man in the world at the time) according to the biography written by Justine Picardie in 2010.

However, there’s no evidence of the marriage proposal and even less to back up this often-repeated quote from Chanel;

“There have been many Duchesses of Westminster, but only one Coco Chanel.”

Chanel herself has denied saying anything quite as sassy as this, declaring it far too vulgar and saying the Duke would’ve laughed in her face.

So the full juicy story goes that – like a lovestruck puppy – our Duke allegedly plastered her symbol on every lamppost in Westminster.

Sounds too good to be true?

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It’s because it is.

Westminster Council (who apparently receive numerous calls about this – maybe they should set up a hotline?) confirmed to the Telegraph a few years ago that it’s pure myth. The entwined ‘C’ shapes in fact stand for City Council and were only installed in the 1950s. Sigh.

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