Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Regents Park

This is the 8th stop on the Bakerloo Line on my quest to research Above the Underground. Only the Bakerloo line stops at this station and as the name suggests this is the station for visiting the southern end of the park.

 Park Crescent forms a semi-circle around the  tube station. These terraced houses by the architect John Nash formed part of his town planning scheme linking Central London to Regents Park. On the opposite side of the road is the private gardens of Park Crescent. An unusual feature is the tunnel that links these gardens with the Park Square gardens on the other side of the Marylebone Road.

This early example of an underpass is known as the 'Nursemaid's tunnel'.

Continuing round Park Crescent you come to Portland Place, a very grand,wide 18th cent street also designed by Nash.

This 1930s art deco building is RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) at No66 Portland Place.

These double bronze doors are the main entrance to the building. Designed by British sculptor James Woodford (1893-1976) they each weigh one and a half tons. He also designed the columns on either side of the entrance.

The columns are adorned with sculptures of the spirit of man and woman as the creative forces of architecture.

Above the door is another relief figure 'Architectural Aspiration' by another British Sculptor Edward Copnall (1903-1973).

Outside the RIBA building is a member of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. For many years members of this movement have held a peaceful protest outside the building against the Chinese Embassy which is opposite,

The Chinese Embassy.

Walking back up to the Marylebone Road and turning left brings you to Marylebone High Street. Although not that far from Oxford Street it has a village feel with its many small independent shops as well as some of the familiar ones.

At the North end of the High Street is this memorial plaque to show where the site of an old medieval manor house sold to Henry VIII in 1544. He used it as a  hunting lodge and he and his three children Edward, Mary and Elizabeth all hunted in this area and used the lodge. It was eventually demolished in 1791. The hunting grounds to the North were incorporated into Regent's Park.

Further along is the Conran store which was originally a stable building.

Just across the road from the Conran store is the Memorial Garden of Rest. The site commemorates the old parish church of St Marylebone which was damaged in an air raid in WW2 and was finally demolished in 1949.

This is part of the Marylebone Central National School erected in 1863 and is still used as a school today.

This relief shows Charles Dickens surrounded by some of his famous characters. Dickens lived close to this site (15 Marylebone Road) between 1839 and 1851. He wrote a number of his books here including A Christmas Carol.

St Marylebone parish Church designed by Thomas Hardwick and consecrated in 1817,

On the wall in the church is a copy of the marriage certificate of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett who married here secretly in 1846. One of the most romantic love stories in England, Browning fell in love with Elizabeth after reading her poetry. She was an invalid whose father was overbearing and protective and did not allow her to form relationships. They did however manage to meet and arranged to marry in secret. Elizabeth returned home and said nothing about her marriage to Browning but later they eloped to Italy where her health improved. They enjoyed 15 years of marriage before she died in her husband's arms in 1861.

The windows are surrounded by fragments from the original stained glass windows which were destroyed during WW2
So for all those visitors who exit Regent's Park Underground station and think the only attraction locally is the park. perhaps one day you'll walk in the opposite direction and see for yourself that there is much more on offer.


  1. Just caught up with a few of your posts and particularly enjoyed snooping round the back of Oxford Street. have you been to the Wallace Collection? A beautiful museum. This might not be on your route, but today I went to Two Temple Place. It is only open to the public for 3 months a year, closes end of April. Well worth a visit, for the building, previously owned by Lord Astor, and the exhibition.

  2. This is my favorite all time post. It has everything I like in it. It will be my favorite until you do the next one I am sure. I loved those big iron doors and I was thrilled to see the story of Robert and Elizabeth, my favs. I was thrilled and thrilled with this posting. I can never see this history except through your lens so thanks so much.

  3. Your rail adventure begins, so interesting to read, will follow up your adventure. Such beautiful buildings and rich history. Thanks for sharing.

  4. It looks beautiful area. I loved the love story bit.


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