The Howard de Walden Estate

The Howard de Walden Estate owns, manages and leases around 92 acres of property in Marylebone. This covers the streets running east to west from Portland Placeto Marylebone High Streeta nd north to south from Marylebone Road to Wigmore Street. The Estate’s portfolio is largely made up of Georgian property, including Harley Streetand a mix of residential and retail space particularly in and around Marylebone High Street.

Much of the property now owned by the Howard de Walden family, was designed in the eighteenth century by architect John Prince. He was commissioned by the Earl of Oxford who owned what was then part of the manor of Tyburn, to produce a masterplan for a housing development centred around Cavendish Square, with Oxford Street acting as the southern boundary. In 1719, he drew up the first plan for the Estate but progress was slow, as the financial implications of the South Sea Bubble of 1720 sent shockwaves through Britain’s wealthy land-owning families.

When the Earl died in 1741, his daughter Margaret, who was married to the second duke of Portland, inherited the estate. The Dukes of Portland continued the building programme, overseeing construction of the elegant properties that visitors to London are familiar with, in Portland Place, Wimpole Street and Harley Street. By the 1790s, the whole area from Oxford Street to what is now the Marylebone Road had been developed. Leading architects, the Adam brothers, were commissioned to design Chandos House in Queen Anne Street and houses in Mansfield Street and Portland Place, which was described as “the most magnificent street in London” by John Nash who designed Buckingham Palaceand the Brighton Pavilion.

The Portland Estate, as it was then known, remained in family ownership until1879 when Lucy Joan Bentinck, widow of the 6th Baron Howard de Walden inherited the land and the Howard de Walden Estate came into being, with the first family estate company established at the end of the First World War.  In recent years, the Estate has completely regenerated the area around Marylebone High Street. By the mid-1990s the area had fallen into decline with a third of the shops sitting vacant. By undertaking a major project to re-inject life into the area including providing schools and making buildings available for community use, the Estate has successfully revitalised the High Street with a trendy and eclectic mix of shops.

Residential property in the area now commands top end rents in what has become one of central London’s most desirable locations.