St. John’s Wood was once part of the Great Forest of Middlesex, its name derived from its mediaeval owners, the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. After the Reformation and the Dissolution of monastic orders, St John’s Wood became Crown land, and Henry VIII established Royal Hunting Grounds in what became known as Marylebone Park, to the north of which lay St John’s Wood.
The area remained in agricultural use until the end of the eighteenth century, when plans for residential development first appeared. Building began in 1809 in Alpha Road, on the southern boundary of St John’s Wood. One of the first London suburbs to be developed, it was a unique pattern of development and mainly planned with a large amount of low density, semi-detached villas, abandoning the familiar terraced house.
Although many of the original houses and gardens disappeared during the twentieth century, through bomb damage and the building of new roads, railways 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 listed by English Heritage. It remains a highly desirable residential location, and one of the most expensive areas of London.
Did You Know?
St John’s Wood benefits from its proximity to Regent’s Park; the leafy area is largely free from tourist attractions, hotels and general hustle and bustle of a city, making it attractive for families and children. Full of eccentric architecture, St John’s Wood is the home of Lord’s Cricket Ground, which itself is the home of Middlesex Country Cricket Club and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). 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 200 years ago.
St John’s Wood is also famous for the Abbey Road Studio, a nineteenth century stately building where the Beatles recorded the Abbey Road album. Nearby is the world’s most famous zebra crossing where the Beatles album cover for their ‘Abbey Road’ album was shot. Just to the north east of St John's Wood lies Primrose Hill, a beautiful parkland area boasting fantastic views over London.
Architecture and property:
St John’s Wood has a diverse range of properties available, whether you are looking for stylish, low-built villas and mansions with large gardens, apartment complexes with communal leisure facilities, bespoke, contemporary luxury houses, or un-modernised properties with huge development potential, Knight Frank can find the property that's right for you