Skip to main content

Blandford Street - champagne at £350 a bottle!

London’s Blandford Street can be found just off Marylebone High Street. The latter was once described as the ‘best street in London.’ Nearby are Shroton Street, Bryanston Street and Durweston Mews. So why are there so many North Dorset street names in such a select part of the capital where a small apartment can cost several million pounds? The reason is due to the Portman family. The family acquired land in Marylebone in the 16th century and then bought an estate in Bryanston in the 1680s.

Edward Berkeley Portman was the first Viscount Portman (1799-1888) and he served as a Member of Parliament for both Dorset and Marylebone. In 1827, he married Emma Lascelles who became a Lady in Waiting and close confidante of Queen Victoria and keeper of her close secrets.

The Portman family benefitted from the growth of London onto agricultural land which they owned north of Oxford Street. They also benefitted from the effects of leases coming to an end which saw the estate’s income increase ten-fold. This resulted in a decision to build a new grand house at Bryanston into which the family moved in 1897.

Sadly for the family, the Bryanston mansion became uneconomic so it was sold between the wars to become Bryanston School. Between 1919 and 1948, the land owning family was forced to sell all their West Country properties, totalling over 30,000 acres, to pay death duties. At one time, Pimperne was part of the Portman Estate. On the last Friday in May 1924 and inside the Corn Exchange, Blandford, practically the entire village of Pimperne came under the auctioneer’s hammer. That afternoon, some 500 prospective purchasers packed into the hall.

In 1950, the remaining 3,800 acre Dorset estate was handed over to the Inland Revenue in part settlement of £7.5 million death duties. The following year, the northern part of the London estate was sold. Today, the Portman Estate consists of around 110 acres of prime real estate in Central London. Located between Oxford Street and extending north towards Marylebone Road, the estate is held in a trust.

Now, in Blandford Street, Marylebone you can dine in the smart Blandford Comptoir restaurant. Best, however not to order champagne at up to £350 per bottle!

(Illustration: Blandford Comptoir, Blandford Street, just off Marylebone High Street.)



 


 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tarrant Rushton's Nuclear Secret

Tarrant Rushton was a large RAF base used for glider operations during World War II. It was then taken over by Flight Refuelling for the conversion of aircraft for the development of aircraft in-flight refuelling. However, between 1958 & 1965, the Tarrant Rushton airfield had a much more secretive and less publicised role. This was in support of the nation’s nuclear bomber deterrent, as Tarrant Rushton airfield became a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) dispersal unit.   During 1958, contractors Costain reinforced the main runway and carried out other work to ensure the giant bomber aircraft could be accommodated. At times just a few miles from Blandford, there would have been up to four RAF Vickers Valiant bombers at Tarrant Rushton ready to become airborne in minutes charged with nuclear weapons. The bombers were from 148 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk. As there was no suitable accommodation at the airfield, an old US Air Force Hospital building at Martin was used. At the time, the

Shapwick Sea Monster

On a Tuesday in October 1706, a travelling Poole fishmonger was wheeling his cart on the outskirts of the village of Shapwick. Unknown to him, a large crab fell from his barrow. This was to cause panic and alarm among the Shapwick villagers. Living inland, and perhaps in the 18 th century not having travelled beyond Blandford, the Shapwick villagers had never before seen a crab. Trudging home and exhausted by his day’s labour, a Shapwick farm worker discovered this crawling creature by stepping on it. So strange was its appearance, he believed it was the devil himself. Running on to the village, he told everyone excitingly of his horrid find. Fearing it was the work of the devil, the villagers armed themselves with pitchforks, sticks and stones. Knowing not what to do, they decided to consult the shepherd Rowe considered by many to be the local wise man. Sadly, the aging oracle was now past his prime and for the last six years had been confined to his bed. The old man was as infirm as

Bravest Village Controversy

A Dorset village was once recognised as the bravest in England. That village was Shillingstone in North Dorset. After the outbreak of World War I, the newspaper the Weekly Dispatch inaugurated a competition for the village that sent, in the first six months of the war, the highest percentage of its population into the British Services. According to local newspaper, the Western Gazette Shillingstone sent 90 men out of a total population of 565. (Western Gazette Friday 26 th September 1919) Across the country,  365 other villages sent in their returns. However, the competition would not prove to be short of controversy. The award was made to Knowlton in Kent which with 39 inhabitants and six houses had sent 11 men. However, the Rector of Shillingstone, Dr Cooke protested that Knowlton was too small to be a village and in fact was a hamlet. The matter was referred to the Attorney General, Sir Frederick Smith who held that the original decision should stand as no minimum population ha