Manchester Square, Marylebone 2208

London, England, Greater London

Brief Description

Manchester Square was constructed in the 18th century as a private square occupying about 0.5 hectares. It is now open to the public.

History

Manchester Square was laid out from 1766 on land belonging to the Portman Estate. The first house to be completed was Manchester House, in 1776, and in 1784 an Act was passed for the regulation and maintenance of the square and its garden.

Visitor Facilities

Public square

Terrain

Manchester Square is laid out on level ground.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

A late 18th century town square within the Portman Estate.

SITE DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM AND SETTING

The two squares, Portman Square and Manchester Square, are laid out on level ground. They are located in the grid of streets within the south-east quarter of the Portman Estate, which occupies a large area of Marylebone in Central London. The Estate lies to the south of Euston Road (prior to 1948 the estate extended to the north of Euston Road), north of Oxford Street, west of Marylebone Lane, and east of Edgware Road. Montagu and Bryanston Squares (outside the areas here registered) lie to the north-west, and Dorset Square (outside the areas here registered) lies to the north, on the far side of the Euston Road. Portman Square, a private garden of 1ha, retains its original stretched oval shape. It is enclosed by wrought iron railings, which were reinstated in the 1970s, with four entrances. The north, south and west entrances have reproductions of the original wrought iron gates with overthrows, and the east entrance has a wrought iron gate and standard lamp. A drinking fountain (listed grade II) in memory of Sir James John Hamilton, 1876, stands outside the railings, immediately south of the east entrance. The gardens and railings are surrounded by the buildings of the square, which are on a rectangular plan. Three C18 buildings survive, No 20 Portman Square (Home House, listed grade I, built by Robert Adam for the Countess of Home in 1775-7), no 21 (listed grade I, now the Heinz Gallery and RIBA Drawings Collection, built by James Adam for William Locke c1772, altered 1866), and a house on the corner of Seymour Street (by Abraham and Samuel Adams). All the remaining buildings are C20 including an hotel (on the site of James Stuart's Montagu House of 1777-82), Orchard Court (occupying the entire east side), and Portman Court on the south side. Baker Street runs down the east side of the square, and Gloucester Place runs down the west side. Upper Berkeley Street, Fitzhardinge Street (leading to Manchester Square), Seymour Street, and Wigmore Street enter the square from the north-west, north-east, south-west, and south-east corners respectively.

The private garden of Manchester Square, 0.34ha, is oval in shape. It is enclosed by late C20 railings, and has a single entrance on the east side (originally there were four entrances). The gardens and railings are surrounded by the buildings of the square, which are on a square plan. The buildings in the square date from c1776-88 (Nos 1-3, 4-7, 8-11, 12-14, 22-25, and 26, all listed grade II) except for the north-west corner which has mid C20 buildings. Hertford House (listed grade II, with drinking fountain in the forecourt listed grade II*, and forecourt walls, gate piers and railings listed grade II), houses the Wallace collection and stands on the north side of the square. It was built as Manchester House in c1776, and altered from 1872 by Sir Richard Wallace. Streets enter the square from the centre of the east, south, and west sides of the square (Hinde Street, Duke Street, and Fitzhardinge Street (leading to Portman Square), respectively). Two streets enter the square on the north side, Manchester Street to the west of Hertford House, and Spanish Place to the east of Hertford House.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

Portman Square is laid out with shrubberies on mounds around the edge, and a central lawn, intersected by the 1950s path system. The path system bears little resemblance to the original design, and the perimeter path has been replaced by winding paths between the entrance gates and around the central lawn. There are mature trees including large planes in the shrubberies and around the edge of the lawn. A late C20 tennis court is situated on the west side of the garden, and there is a late C20 children's playground on the east side. There are two early C20 wooden shelters overlooking the central lawn. An enclosed compound for the gardener is situated to the south of one of the shelters, between the shelter and the southern entrance.

Manchester Square is laid out very simply, to a design similar to the C18 layout. A perimeter shrubbery with mature trees encloses the garden, which has a circular lawn bounded by a gravel path. There are four mature plane trees scattered on the lawn, a C20 wooden shed on the east side near the entrance, and a stone urn on the edge of the lawn on the south side.

REFERENCES

E B Chancellor, The History of the Squares of London (1907)

E Cecil, London Parks and Gardens (1907)

Report to the Royal Commission on London Squares, 1928

Maps

John Rocque, An Exact Survey of the City of London, Westminster.....and the Country near Ten Miles Round, 1747

Richard Horwood, Plan of the Cities of London & Westminster, 1792-1799

Richard Horwood, Plan of the Cities of London & Westminster, 2nd edn 1813

Richard Horwood, Plan of the Cities of London & Westminster, revised 1819

Peter Potter, Survey of St Marylebone, 1832

G Lucus, Survey of St. Marylebone, 1846

Stanford's Library Map of London and its Suburbs, 1862

Stanford's Library Map of London and its Suburbs, 1877

Bacon, Map of London, 1888

OS 60" to 1 mile 1st edition surveyed 1867

2nd edition published 1894

3rd edition published 1919

1953 edition

1991 edition

1994 edition

Date written: 1998, amended 2002

Register Inspector: LH, CB

Features
  • Town House (featured building)
  • Description: The first house to be completed was Manchester House in 1776. The buildings around the square are shown as completed on Horwood's map of the area, 1792-1799.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Railings
  • Description: In 1998 railings were erected around the garden.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Lawn, Walk
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Public square
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The development of the 102 hectares of Lord Portman's Marylebone Estate started in the middle of the 18th century. Henry William Portman succeeded to the estate in 1761 and started to develop the estate after the Peace of 1763. The layout of the squares and associated streets was not to a grand plan but rather, the existing framework of streets determined the general shape and size of the squares.

Manchester Square was laid out from 1766 on land belonging to the Portman Estate.

Proposals to build a square on the site of Manchester Square were first mentioned in the last years of Queen Anne's reign. It was intended that the proposed square should bear the name of the Queen, but before the idea could be put into practice she died and the ground remained wasteland for over fifty years. In about 1770 the idea to develop the area was revived and ground leases for the site were sold. The fourth Duke of Manchester, after whom the Square takes its name, obtained the ground lease for most of the north side and employed Robert Adam and others to build on the land. Other ground leases for the site were obtained by builders including the Adam brothers, John Dalrymple, John Pearson, and Godfrey Wilson. The first house to be completed was Manchester House, in 1776, and in 1784 an Act was passed for the regulation and maintenance of the square and its garden.

The buildings around the square are shown as completed on Horwood's map of the area, 1792-1799. The plans of this date show a simple layout of a circular lawn with a central feature, bounded by a path and a perimeter shrubbery. In 1844 George Lucus published his survey of St Marylebone which showed the garden of Manchester Square. By this date the circular form had been slightly altered to a squarer shape with rounded corners. The first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) 1867 shows the garden railed with a peripheral shrubbery and path but with further serpentine paths crossing the centre. The serpentine paths had been removed by the second edition OS 1894 which shows the site laid out as in the late 18th century and at present (2002). In 1998 railings were erected around the garden.

Period

  • 18th Century
  • Late 18th Century
Contact
References

References