MARY-LE-BONE, ST., a metropolitan parish, in the Holborn division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex; containing 138, 164 inhabitants. This district, now covered with buildings of the first order, and inhabited by families of the highest rank, was formerly an obscure village, difficult of access, and containing only a few solitary houses, with a small church, approached by two irregular and inconvenient paths leading from Vere-street and Tottenham-Courtroad. The adjoining fields were the lurking-place of robbers; and the church, in Bishop Braybrook's licence for its removal, is described as being exposed to continual depredation on account of its lonely site. From its vicinity to a bourne, called Aye or Eye brook, and from its dedication to the Virgin, the parish was called St. Mary at Bourne. Mary-le-bone Park, now occupied by buildings, was an extensive tract well stocked with deer, in which Queen Elizabeth entertained the Russian ambassador with the diversion of hunting. The ancient manor-house, in which the Harleian library was deposited previously to its removal to the British Museum, has been taken down, with the exception only of that part of the building containing the library, which is now a boarding-school. Behind the manor-house were Maryle-bone Gardens, much frequented as a place of public entertainment in the reign of Anne, but the site of which is now occupied by Beaumont and Devonshire streets. On Conduit mead, the modern Stratford-place, was the banquet-hall used by the mayor and aldermen of the city of London, when they visited the conduits in this part of the parish, which supplied the city with water.
Among the earlier of the numerous and magnificent ranges of building that have been erected in the parish, are, Cavendish, Manchester, and Portman squares; Portland-place, a pile of lofty and commodious mansions, opening at the northern extremity into Park-crescent, and commanding a beautiful view of the Regent's Park, bounded by the Hampstead and Highgate hills; Stratford-place; Cumberland-place; and various other noble ranges; with numerous spacious streets leading from Oxford-street and the Edgware-road. Of more recent additions are, the buildings in Lisson Grove and St. John's Wood, on the west; Osnaburgh street and terrace, and Albany-street, on the east; and on the south, the continuation of Regent-street, the whole of Langham-place, and Park-crescent. Opposite this crescent, on the other side of the New-road, which is bordered by ranges of good houses, are two avenues leading into the Regent's Park, and forming fine lines of building, the eastern of which, including the Diorama, is the only range on that side of the park which is within the parish. To the west are, Ulster, York, Cornwall, Clarence, and Hanover terraces, and Sussex-place; all elegant ranges, mostly of the Corinthian order, and in the Grecian style, with porticoes and columns of handsome design, and having in some instances gracefully formed colonnades.
The park, now open to the public, is tastefully laid out in plantations, lawns, and pleasure-grounds, interspersed with elegant villas embosomed in trees, and varied with beautiful sheets of water, in which are islands of picturesque appearance. The western side commands a fine view of the Colosseum, which has an imposing grandeur of effect; of the terraces on that side of the park which is without the parish; and of the Chapel of St. Katherine's Hospital, and other interesting objects. On the north side are the Zoological Gardens, an extensive tract of ground, arranged for the reception, classification, and exhibition of animals of every description. The Royal Botanic Society have a garden in the inner part of the park, appropriated to plants of different countries, and ornamented with a variety of characteristic buildings; a conservatory within the garden, constructed of iron, in 1846, at a cost of £6000, is called the Winter Garden. A charter of incorporation was lately granted to the society, "for the promotion of botany in all its branches, and its application to medicine, arts, and manufactures."
The streets are well paved, lighted with gas, and amply supplied with water by the West Middlesex and other companies. The Portman barracks, for the guards, in Portman-street, afford accommodation for 500 men, with sufficient ground for drilling them. Portmanmarket, opened as a market for hay in December 1830, and for vegetables and general produce in the following year, occupies a square area of about three acres, and affords accommodation for more than 100 loads of hay: the market-days are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. By the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, Mary-lebone, and the parishes of Paddington and St. Pancras, were constituted a borough, with the privilege of sending two members to parliament: the returning officer is annually appointed by the sheriff. The whole parish is within the jurisdiction of the magistrates at the policeoffice, High-street; and one of the county debt-courts established in 1847, is fixed in Mary-le-bone.
The parish is divided into five separate ecclesiastical districts, the livings of which are all rectories not in charge, in the patronage of the Crown: net income of the district attached to the parochial church, £1898; of St. Mary's, Bryanston-square, £915; of All Souls', Langham-place, £1186; of Christ-Church, Staffordstreet, £780; and of Trinity Church, Portland-road, £943. The present Parochial church, built from a design by Mr. Hardwicke, situated on the south side of the New-road, near Nottingham-place, and of which the foundation was laid on July 5th, 1813, is a spacious and handsome structure in the Grecian style, with a noble portico of the Corinthian order supporting a pediment. At the angles of the building are groups of Corinthian pillars, surmounted by a cornice and balustrade; and from the lower part of the tower, which is square, rises a circular turret, surrounded by pillars of the Corinthian order, and surmounted by a dome sustained by caryatides. The expense of building and furnishing the church was nearly £80,000. St. Mary's is a spacious edifice of brick, with a circular portico of the Ionic order, supporting a cornice and close balustrade, from which rises a circular tower, surrounded by pillars of the composite order, and surmounted by a campanile turret and dome; it was erected in 1823, by the Parliamentary Commissioners, from a design by Sir Robert Smirke, at an expense of £18,746. All Souls' was completed in 1824, by grant from the same commissioners, at a cost of £17,633, and is a handsome structure, with a circular range of twelve columns, of the Roman-Ionic order, surrounding the base of the tower. These columns support a cornice and balustrade, and are surmounted by a circular range of Corinthian pillars, from within which rises a spire of graceful form and beautiful proportions, but the effect of which is destroyed by the concealment of the base and a considerable portion of its elevation. The altar-piece is adorned with a fine painting, by Westall, of Christ crowned with Thorns. Christ-Church, Stafford-street, was erected in 1824, by the commissioners, at an expense of £17,872, and is a handsome edifice of brick, ornamented with stone, with a portico of four Ionic columns sustaining a pediment; above is a square tower, the sides of which are decorated with Corinthian pillars supporting an entablature and cornice, the whole surmounted by an open campanile turret and dome. Holy Trinity church, in Portlandroad, was erected in 1827, also by grant from the commissioners, at an expense of £21,525. It is a neat edifice of brick, ornamented with stone, having on each side a range of Ionic pillars supporting a cornice and balustrade, and at the west end an Ionic portico of four columns, above which is a square tower with duplicated Ionic pillars at the angles, surmounted by a small campanile turret surrounded by pillars of the composite order sustaining a conical dome.
The old parochial church, in High-street, is now used as a chapel, forming a separate incumbency in the gift of the Rector; net income, £150. St. John's church, in St. John's Wood, is a handsome structure of brick, with a stone portico of four Ionic columns, supporting a pediment, and surmounted by an open campanile turret: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £312. The Crown also presents to the following chapels: St. Peter's or Oxford chapel, Vere-street, built about the year 1724, the income of which is £450; St. Paul's, Portland-street, built in 1766, the income of which is £350; St. James' or Welbeck chapel, in Westmorland-street, built in 1774, and with a similar income; and Brunswick chapel, in Upper Berkeley-street, built in 1795. St. Paul's or Bentinck chapel, in Chapel-street, Lisson Grove, was built in 1772: the minister is appointed by Trustees. Christ chapel, Maida-hill, in the district of Christ-Church, is a neat and substantial edifice of brick, ornamented with stone, with a campanile turret and dome: the living is a district incumbency, also in the gift of Trustees. All Saints' church, St. John's Wood, consecrated in July 1846, is a handsome edifice in the style which prevailed in the 15th century, built of Kentish ragstone, with Bath-stone dressings, and ornamented with a tower and spire rising 120 feet from the ground: the cost was about £7000. The living is in the gift of Colonel Eyre. St. Andrew's church, Wells-street, erected partly by the Church Commissioners, was begun in January 1846, and consecrated in January 1847, the cost being £8000; it is in the later English style, with a tower and spire 155 feet above the base of the edifice, and contains 1200 sittings. This church is in All Souls' district parish, and has a district annexed to it under the act 6th and 7th Victoria, cap. 37: the living is in the gift of the Crown and the Bishop of London, alternately; income, £150. The church on Hamilton-terrace, situated in Christ-Church district parish, was consecrated in June 1847, and is a spacious edifice in the decorated style, containing 1454 sittings, erected at a cost, including the lower part of the tower, of about £9830; the spire, and the remaining part of the tower, not yet built, will cost about £1800. The interior consists merely of a body and chancel, the former not divided in its plan by columns and arches; it is spanned by an open timber roof, stained in imitation of oak. Mary-le-bone also contains three chapels in the gift of their respective proprietors, namely, Portman chapel, in Baker-street, built in 1779: Quebec-street chapel, built in 1788; and Margaret-street chapel, converted to its present use in 1789. Attached to St. John's church is an extensive cemetery; the old parochial school has a burying-ground, and belonging to the parish are two other capacious cemeteries, one on the south side of Paddington-street, consecrated in 1733, and the other on the north side, consecrated in 1772. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, Calvinistic Methodists, and Seceders from the Scottish Church; a chapel belonging to the Greek Church; a French, and a Spanish, Roman Catholic chapel; and a Roman Catholic chapel in St. John's Wood.
The charitable institutions of this important parish are numerous and well supported, but for the most part do not require any particular description. The Middlesex Hospital, in Charles-street, is noticed under the head of London. The Philological Society's school was established for the gratuitous instruction of children of clergymen, and of naval and military officers, in 1792, and was removed in 1827 to its present situation in Gloucester-place, New-road. The schools of the Incorporated Society for maintaining and educating Orphans of Clergymen of the Established Church, in which are about 120 children, were originally founded at Acton and at Lisson Grove, and continued there until 1812, when a spacious brick building was erected at St. John's Wood. The schools of the Society for teaching the Blind to read, in the Avenue-road, Regent's Park, were erected in 1847, at a cost of £3250, and form a handsome structure in the Elizabethan style. Queen Charlotte's lyingin hospital, in Harcourt-street, Bryanston-square, is adapted to the reception of from twenty to thirty patients.