Fitzrovia News

A history of every street in Fitzrovia West

A comprehensive history of every street in western Fitzrovia is included in the recently published Survey of London for South East Marylebone (Volume 52, Part 2).

Two volumes cover an area bounded by Marylebone High Street to the west, Marylebone Road to the north, Cleveland Street and Tottenham Court Road to the east, and Oxford Street to the south.

It includes archive pictures of many pubs, concert halls, places of worship, historic restaurants, art schools, and a fire station… all long demolished.

Among the pubs are: The Colosseum at 198 Great Portland Street (there from at least 1826 to at least 1890), the City of Hereford at 1 Cleveland Street on the corner of Riding House Street (at least 1809 until the 1920s), and the Castle at 28 Great Castle Street (at least 1826 until at least 1898).

Concert halls include Queens Hall at 4 Langham Place (there from 1893 to 1941), and the Philharmonic Hall (previously St James’s Hall from 1905) at 97 Great Portland Street (from 1913 to 1929).

Many musicians (and singers such as Caruso) performing at these venues dined at Pagani’s restaurant at 40-48 Great Portland Street from 1884 to 1941 when most of it was bombed, but No 40 continued as a buffet until 1955.

St Paul’s Chapel on the north west corner of Great Portland Street and Riding House Street, was built privately in 1760 as the Portland Chapel and demolished in 1906 according to the text, but pictured in 1908 according to the caption.

The West London School of Art was at 153-155 Great Titchfield Street from 1879 (having previously been in Wells Street from 1862) until 1889. It also hosted the Artists Rifle Volunteer Corps in the 1880s.

Art students from here in its Wells Street days may well have used Fuller’s Temple of Fancy which was at 34 Rathbone Place from 1809 until 1862, as a printer and seller of artists’ materials.

Also pictured is a fire station which was at 171 Great Portland Street from 1866 until at least 1902; and the Radium Institute which was at 1-3 Riding House Street from 1910 until 1947 when it was taken over by the NSPCA.
As well as modern pictures there are maps of the whole area from 1870 and 2010.

The bad news is that the book (published by the Yale University Press) can only be bought with Volume 51 for a combined price of £150. But the draft chapters can be visited online.

This article was originally published in the printed issue of Fitzrovia New in December 2017.