Portman Estate

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Template:Infobox UK place The Portman Estate is a property estate in Marylebone, Central London in the United Kingdom. It lies between Oxford Street and Edgware Road, covering about Template:Convert.<ref name=map>Template:Cite web</ref> The estate has been the property of the aristocratic Portman Family since the 16th Century. The present grid layout of streets was established when the Estate was developed in the 18th Century and it is characterised by Georgian architecture, similar to Edinburgh's New Town.


The southern extent of the Estate includes part of Oxford Street from Marble Arch to Orchard Street (on the western side of Selfridges). It extends west to Edgware Road, east to Manchester Square and north to Crawford Street. The area includes Portman Square, Manchester Square, and some parts of Baker Street and Gloucester Place.


Map of Portman Square (1830)
File:Home House 04.jpg
Adam's neoclassical Home House (1777)

The Portman Estate in London was originally an area of Template:Convert and was acquired in 1532 by Sir William Portman of Somerset (1498–1557), who later became Lord Chief Justice to King Henry VIII.<ref name=portman-history>Template:Cite web</ref> Initially, Sir William took assignment of a lease in respect of 11 fields and the manor of Lilleston, Middlesex. The lease had 30 years left to run and was purchased for £70 subject to an annual rental of £8. He subsequently bought the freehold of the property in June 1554 under the reign of Queen Mary. Reputedly, Sir William needed the land as a source of goat’s milk for his ailing wife and to rest cattle en route to market from his vast Dorset and Somerset Estates.

Development of the Estate was started some time later by Henry William Portman (1738–96). Orchard & Portman Streets were the first to be developed in the 1750s and Portman Square followed in 1764. The Square became very fashionable and was to owe its popularity to buildings by Robert Adam - Home House, 19/20 Portman Square, built for the Countess of Home, survives today as a private club - and James "Athenian" Stuart, the architect of Montagu House, built in the northwest corner of Portman Square for Mrs Elizabeth Montagu, which was demolished following bomb damage during The Blitz in 1941. <ref name=porter>Template:Cite book</ref>

The Estate also includes Manchester Square dating from the 1770s, and Bryanston and Montagu Squares - both established around 1810. The actual building was not undertaken directly by the Estate, though the architect responsible for the design and characteristics of the residential squares of Montagu & Bryanston was James Thompson Parkinson, who was no doubt instructed by the Estate.

The development of London through this period relied on the Estate owners who would draw up plans for street layouts and open spaces, and then lease the land to developers who were responsible for building houses. The Estate would typically specify the design and the subsequent use and would collect a ground rent.

Construction timeline

  • 1764 - Portman Square
  • c.1770 - Manchester Square
  • 1810 - Bryanston Square and Montagu Square

Notable buildings

Building Location Architect Date
Home House 20 Portman Sq. Robert Adam 1773-77
Montagu House (destroyed 1941) 22 Portman Sq. James Stuart 1777-1781
Churchill Hotel 30 Portman Sq.
Church of the Annunciation Bryanston St. Walter Tapper 1912-13
Wallace Collection (Hertford House) Manchester Square 1776-88
Selfridges Oxford Street Daniel Burnham 1909


Today the estate continues to be managed by the Portman Estate management company,<ref name=estate>Template:Cite web</ref> owned by Christopher Portman, 10th Viscount Portman.<ref name=secret>Template:Cite book</ref>

The estate is either the freeholder of or directly manages 633 properties which include some 800 flats and houses, 215 offices, 130 shops and restaurants, 32 hotels and 8 pubs: in all some Template:Convert of space. The company promotes a particular area of its estate (Seymour Place and New Quebec Street) which is occupied by boutiques and restaurants as the Portman Village,<ref name=village>Template:Cite web</ref> and publishes its own magazine for tenants on the estate.<ref name=magazine>Template:Cite web</ref>

In addition to its core landlord operation, the Portman Estate runs The Portman Foundation, a charitable trust which supports charities and other causes which are located in or benefit the Marylebone area.<ref name=foundation>Template:Cite web</ref>

See also

Other large privately owned historic estates in London include:

  • Grosvenor Estate
  • Cadogan Estates
  • Bedford Estate
  • Smith's Charity Estate (South Kensington, SW7)
  • Pettiward Estate (West Brompton, SW10)

External links