The changing face of Marylebone


Today, Marylebone is one of the most recognisable parts of London, home to celebrity haunts, Regent’s Park, and of course, the world-famous High Street. But what of it’s past? Kevin Gold of Kubie Gold Associates walks us through the changing face of Marylebone.

Marylebone takes its name from St Mary’s Church and the Tyburn River, the first mention of which dates back to the Doomsday Book, published in 1086. However, it wasn’t until the 1700s that Marylebone (or “Mary-le-bone”) as we know it began to take shape. Recognising a need for residential accommodation north of Oxford Street, Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles along with her husband and Earl of Oxford, Edward Harley, commissioned the development of what would be the beginnings of modern-day Marylebone.

A great deal of development has gone on since then, with the face of this fashionable central London district changing considerably over past 65 years….

Marylebone High Street undergoes significant renovations, with road works carried out along the main thoroughfare, and several new shops being built and developed. Office blocks, retail shops, and old, luxurious Victorian villas have been developed throughout much of it by this point.

The University of Westminster moved to Marylebone, opening a campus here that was developed as part of the “Marylebone Project” in the early half of the decade. The Swinging Sixties was also the era that many famous faces took up residence here, with Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Chrissie Shrimpton, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney all moving into the area.

It was during the seventies that Marylebone truly started to come into it’s own, becoming a fashionable and desirable part of London for residents and businesses alike (no doubt thanks in part to the slew of famous occupants making headlines locally in the previous years). Shops, pubs, and even vintage shops selling relics from WWII starting popping up throughout Marylebone.

This decade nearly saw the destruction of Marylebone Railway Station. In the mid-1980s, routes into the terminal were considered a waste of time and money; diesel trains were old, travel times were slow, and demand wasn’t high along the Chiltern Line. After narrowly avoiding closure (largely due to public outcry), the station underwent rejuvenation, funded by selling off part of the station.

It may be hard to believe now, but Marylebone High Street had fallen into decline by the mid-1990s, with one third of the former shops and buildings now lying vacant. Recession had lead to a decrease in foot traffic, leaving occupants unable to afford the rental rates. Howard de Walden Estates owned a vast majority of Marylebone High Street, and set about reviving the area. Properties were refurbished, lease agreements were renegotiated, and the Estate began sourcing upmarket businesses to move into the area, such as Waitrose. Despite stiff competition from nearby Oxford Street and Bond Street, the Estate managed to develop Marylebone High Street into a veritable shopping destination in it’s own right.

2000s – present day
Throughout the early naughties, Marylebone began to become favourable with celebs again, with everyone from Madonna and Guy Ritchie to Noel Gallagher taking up residence. The revival in popularity has been reflected in local property prices, which have increased almost ten per cent over the past four years. Between having coffee in St. Johns Wood to running through Regent’s Park, shopping on the High Street and visiting numerous museums and nearby tourist attractions, there are many reasons visitors and inhabitants alike choose to stay in Marylebone, a remarkable piece of London’s history.

Want to know more about Marylebone? Connect with Kubie Gold to keep up with news and information, as well as local property in the area.


About Author

A guest contributor to Marylebone Online.