Lisson Green at the Start of the 19th Century

When Thomas Paine built his display bridge at the Yorkshire Stingo in 1788, 'Lissing' Green was a recreation ground for London. The Bowles map of 1791 shows that the Green was a large open space stretching down to Chapel Street and the Old Marylebone Road. By 1791, Paddington had a fine new church, while Lisson Grove was much as it had been in 1741, a tiny village in a network of country lanes, on the east side of Edgware Road.

Standing today at the corner of Bell Street and Lisson Street (not Lisson Grove) you are at the very edge of the 1741 village. It stretched from this point to Edgware Road in width and from Bell St. to Chapel Street. in length. The village faced Edgware Road, so Lisson Streett. was the Back Lane which allowed people to get to the rear of their gardens. Water Lane, where Old St. Marylebone Road now runs, led to the Manor House and a few houses, but they were rather cut off, on the other side of Lisson Green.

Paddington Green was on the other side of Edgware Road. Paddington and fitted into the angle between Harrow Road and Edgware Road, with its own Green and a few houses, no doubt largely self-sufficient, but also serving the passing trade.

Lisson Green must once have been common land like the other greens, but the manor rolls of Lilestone have never been found. Normally common land could not be treated as private property by the Lord of the Manor without an enclosure act, but because the manor rolls were lost, an act was not necessary. In 1771 Lisson Green was bought by James Stephens and Daniel Bullock, manufacturers of white lead, and James Ward, gentleman. No doubt they set up the White Lead Manufactory next to the Nursery Garden, with unrecorded consequences to health.

 In 1821 Sir Edward Baker, who gave his name to Baker Street, purchased land from Daniel Bullock and built houses on it. The result was to wipe out Lisson Green. There was no Act, but the effect was exactly as if the land had been enclosed by Parliament.

See 'Lisson Green: a Domesday Village in St. Marylebone, by E. Bright Ashford, 1960, with maps 10-13 by J. H. Ahern.  Both reprinted by permission of the St Marylebone Society.

pic47A pair of houses in Lisson Grove faced with banded stucco to imitate cut stone on the ground floor and giant pilasters with Ionic capitals reaching up two storeys to a moulded parapet. The tall first-floor windows lead out to balconies with cast iron railings from which people could be rescued in the event of fire. The small window panes are typical of the period, while the larger ground floor ones seem to have been altered later in Victorian times.



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Updated June 28, 2011