For more than 300 years much of central London has been owned by the landed gentry: the dukes of Westminster and Bedford, the earls of Cadogan and the Crown.

Yet far from being outdated relics of the feudal system, the owners of the great estates are reinvigorating London’s villages. They act as landlords, owning the freehold of many properties, but also as managers and investors in the local area.

Peter Wetherell, the chief executive of Wetherell, a Mayfair-based estate agency, says: “What the great estates bring to the party is longevity. Some did fall behind and some areas suffered…”