Marylebone is sandwiched between Mayfair and Regent’s Park, and has some of London’s loveliest housing.
The area was acquired by Henry VIII after the dissolution of the monasteries, and he turned it into hunting grounds. The northern part lives on as Regent’s Park, but the southern half became a small community by the banks of the Tyburn.
The local church was called St. Mary’s-by-the-Bourne, and over the years it metamorphosed into Marylebone. Building works during the late 18th-century saw it rapidly expand into a fully-fledged part of the city.
Marylebone is home to one of London’s most famous tourist attractions – Madame Tussaud’s.
The gallery that we see today was actually built in 1884, thirty years after her death. It originally contained some 400 different figures, but fire damage in 1925 – coupled with the German bombs of 1941 – has rendered most of these older models dead. Fortunately the casts themselves have survived – and you can see these in the museum’s history exhibit.
The Wallace Collection is one of London’s least known gems, containing works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian and Murillo. There are also pieces by Reynolds, Gainsborough and Delacroix.
The best-known paintings are Valázquez’s Lady With a Fan, Thomas Lawrence’s King George IV, and Frans Hals’ The Laughing Cavalier. There is also a fine display of armour and French furnishings from the Revolutionary period.
Harley Street was laid out in 1820, and quickly attracted every medical professional under the sun. Virtually every house is filled with doctors, dentists, dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
Baker Street is home to the world’s most famous fictional detective – Sherlock Holmes. The room that he supposedly occupied in 1815 now houses a branch of Abbey National, so the Sherlock Holmes Museum is situated a few doors down at 239.
It is decorated in the style of Conan Doyle’s stories, and has numerous scenes from each. Holmes’ first floor study, for example, still overlooks the street below, and Dr. Watson’s bedroom is one floor up.
Marylebone Cricket Club, more commonly known as Lord’s, can be found just west of Regent’s Park. It is widely regarded as the home of cricket, and the famous Long Room contains portraits of all the game’s greats, going way back to W C Grace.