The district is named after the Adelphi Buildings, a block of 24 unified neoclassical terrace houses occupying the land between The Strand
and the River Thames in the parish of St Martin in the Fields, which also included a headquarters building for the "Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce" (now generally known as the Royal Society
of Arts). They were built between 1768-72, by the Adam brothers (John, Robert, James and William Adam), to whom the buildings’ Greek-derived name refers. The ruins of Durham House on the site were demolished for their construction. The nearby Adelphi Theatre
is named after the Adelphi Buildings. Robert Adam was influenced by his extensive visit to Diocletian’s Palace in Dalmatia, and applied some of this influence to the design of the neoclassical Adelphi Buildings.
Adelphi has no formally defined boundaries, though they are generally agreed to be: Strand
to the north, Lancaster Place
to the east, Victoria Embankment
to the south and Charing Cross
station to the west.
Many of the Adelphi Buildings were demolished in the early 1930s and replaced with the New Adelphi, a monumental Art Deco building designed by the firm of Collcutt & Hamp; buildings remaining from the old Adelphi include 11 Adelphi Terrace
(formerly occupied by numismatic specialists A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd) and the Royal Society
of Arts (which has expanded to incorporate two of the former houses). Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop was located here in the 1940s.