Renting property in St John's Wood, NW8
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Why rent in St John's Wood?
St John's Wood is located centrally in the City of Westminster and is within close proximity of both Trafalgar Square and Regent's Park. Originally, St John's Wood was part of Great Middlesex Forest but became a London suburb in the early 19th century.
During the 19th century there was a huge boom in spacious town houses to buy and rent which made St John's Wood popular with the gentry who preferred this style of housing to the terraced housing commonly seen elsewhere in the city.
Even today, the area remains an affluent suburb. Home of the world's most famous pedestrian crossing, courtesy of the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album, and a dazzling display in the gleaming golden dome of London Central Mosque; St John's Wood is an area of quiet respectability, with exclusive shops and private medical facilities.
Property in St John's Wood
Much of the property in St John's Wood has been built since the beginning of the 19th century with a focus on villa style houses, such as Residential Land's Grenville Place, instead of the more traditional terraces that were found across London at the time. Traditionally a major distinguishing feature of St John's Wood's architecture was the number of wooden properties; the area had very few stone or brick dwellings. Although some of these still exist recent developments of modern purpose-built apartment blocks such as Sutherland Avenue and Old Manor Court, have taken their place.
The southern quarter of NW8 is the northern, more residential, half of the largely commercial area Lisson Grove, and is where you will find a number of these newly developed flats and mews houses like Residential Land's Gladstone Mews and converted properties such as Rosslyn Hill. North of St. John's Wood Road, house prices are much higher with some of NW8's most prestigious dwellings of all shapes and sizes, with big gardens to match.
Transport links in St John's Wood
St John's Wood is situated on the edge of central London and benefits from the main roads entering and exiting the city with the Westway (A40) to the south and the junction of Swiss Cottage to the north.
Overland trains run along the northern edge of NW8 with two stations at Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead which run trains to Euston and out to Watford Junction.
The NW8 area is also served by two London underground stations including Maida Vale which is served by the Bakerloo line and St John's Wood on the Jubilee line. Marylebone station on the Bakerloo line and Baker Street station served by the Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines are just over the southern border of St John's Wood in NW1.
History of St John's Wood
Once part of the Great Forest of Middlesex, St John's Wood gets its name from its medieval owners, the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, an Augustinian order, which took over the land from the Knights Templar in 1323.
The land remained agricultural until the end of the 18th century when plans for residential property development first appeared. Apart from a small piece of land, around Barrow Hill, which was owned by the Portland Estate, most of St John's Wood had been acquired in 1732 by the Eyre family.
The building of residential properties in St John's Wood began in 1809 in Alpha Road, on the southern boundary of the area and rapidly spread. Many artists, authors, philosophers and scientists made their homes in St John's Wood throughout the 19th century. They were joined by craftsmen and merchants, who gave St John's Wood its village atmosphere, which survives to this day.
In 1814, Lord’s cricket ground moved to its present site and St. John's Church was consecrated. In 1825, the Riding School, now part of the Royal Horse Artillery Barracks, was completed, and in 1836, St John's Wood Almshouses were built (and rebuilt on the same site in 1965).
Although many of the original houses and gardens disappeared during the 20th century, through bomb damage and the building of new roads, railways, blocks of flats, hospitals and schools, much of the original character of the area remains. In the 1960s, most of St John's Wood was designated a Conservation Area and its houses were listed by English Heritage.
More recent developments, such as Abbey Road Studios and the Central London Mosque, continue to give St John's Wood its unique character.
Attractions in St John's Wood
Abbey Road Studios
Situated in a 19th century stately building, the Abbey Road Studio is close to the world’s most famous zebra crossing, where the Beatles' album cover for their "Abbey Road" album was shot.
The studio was built as a family home in 1830 and EMI began recording on the premises in 1931. The Beatles first recorded at the studio in 1962, a four track demo, with battered equipment and instruments. The facilities at Abbey Road Studios are now considered among the best in the world and numerous movie scores such as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Braveheart" have been recorded there.
The building is actually home to four separate studios, the largest of which is able to hold a 100 piece orchestra and 120 person choir. On the top floor is the Penthouse studio which incorporates a restaurant, licensed bar and two private flats.
In 1983 the Studios were opened to the public, however they have now been closed.
Lying between St John's Wood station on the Jubilee line and Chalk Farm station on the Northern line, Primrose Hill is a beautiful parkland area lying almost as a northern attachment to Regent's Park. The green space is next to Primrose Hill "village" which has now become a favourite spot for many of the capital's media stars and personalities.
Primrose Hill lies at one of the highest points in London providing excellent views across the city. As a result of this position at the geographical top of the city, it has also attracted many writers and artists over the years as a place which provides inspiration.
Lord's Cricket Ground
Built on a former duck pond, Lord's Cricket Ground is named after Thomas Lord, a fine bowler who was approached to establish a flat and fair ground for the increasingly popular elitist sport of the mid-1700s. The decision was made because the noblemen and aristocracy who played the game became tired of the crowds that gathered to watch them play. The first match ever to be played on the ground was between Middlesex and Essex in 1787.
After a fire destroyed the original pavilion, in 1889 the first stone for a modern pavilion was laid. The building is now listed and stands as a monument to the game. Lord's is the home to Middlesex County Cricket Club and the MCC library and museum are a popular attraction for visitors and hold the Ashes Urn and Wisden Trophy. It is a remarkable testament to the club that the home of cricket is still in use today and visitors are able to tour the ground where it all started more than 200 years ago.
Shopping in St John's Wood
The quality of shopping on offer in St John's Wood is what brings many non-residents to the area. There are some exclusive retail outlets in the area with antiques particularly well represented. If this is what you are looking for then Alfie's Antique Market on Church Street is the place to head for. An umbrella building containing 200 dealers working in 35,000 square feet of space it is unlikely that you will leave empty handed.
There are also art galleries, Saatchi's and the Ben Uri Gallery, on Boundary Road.
Restaurants in St John's Wood
This great local Italian restaurant, formerly known as Osteria Stecca, is still a favourite with St John's residents. Serving fresh pasta and fish in a light and airy atmosphere.
A Georgian restaurant serving unusual but well made dishes, Tamada's menu takes influences from Russia, the Middle-East and the Mediterranean.
Serving traditional Jewish style food such as salt beef, chopped liver, chicken soup and borscht, Harry Morgan's offers a functional dining environment set in the middle of boutique land.
The Duke of York
This charming pub restaurant sitting at the top of St John's Wood High Street was established in 1826. The Duke serves great food with a comprehensive wine list in a casual environment.