Marylebone Property, History & Transport
Historically, the parish of St Marylebone extended from Oxford Street to Regent’s Park and St John’s Wood, but today those areas tend to be regarded as separate and the Marylebone area is bounded by Oxford Street, Great Portland Street, Marylebone Road and Edgware Road.
Two great landowners built Marylebone – the Portman and Howard de Walden estates.
Sir William Portman, Lord Chief Justice, bought the western half of St Marylebone, the manor of Lileston, in 1553 and his descendent Henry Portman began to develop it in the 18th century. The Portman Estate now covers the most of the area west of Baker Street.
The area to the east of Baker Street, the old manor of Tyburn, was originally developed by the Earl and Countess of Oxford in the 1720s. Their daughter married the 2nd Duck of Portland, and the Dukes held the estate until 1879 when the reclusive 5th Duke died unmarried. The estate passed to his sister, Lucy, Baroness Howard de Walden, and the Howard de Walden estate is the the major landowner today. The title of Earl of Portman, however, passed through a different line and the current holder is Tim Bentinck, the actor who plays David Archer in the famous radio series and voiced the ‘mind the gap’ messages on the Piccadilly Line.
Both estates strived to create an elegant and varied streetscape of squares and avenues in the Georgian manner. Architectural highlights include Portland Place, laid out by the Adam brothers and still retaining some of the original houses, and Portman Square, where Home House is one of the most perfectly preserved Georgian town houses in London.
Though the area is still predominently Georgian in character, some areas have been rebuilt as mansion flats, so Marylebone today offers accommodation to suit most budgets.
Both the great estates have recently invested substantially in improving the area. The Howard de Walden has very successfully promoted Marylebone Village as a destination for shopping, dining and the arts, and the Portman is doing the same with Portman Village, just north of Marble Arch.