Montagu Square

Montagu Square
(Photo: Colin Wing)
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Montagu Square lies within the Portman Estate and is a fine example of late Georgian architecture. It is the only purely residential square left in Westminster and has a beautiful, tranquil, shady garden.

In 1554 Sir William Portman, Lord Chief Justice to Henry VIII, bought the freehold to the manor of Lileston (Lisson). Most of the land was used for farming until the 1750s, when building on the estate expanded rapidly, centred on Portman Square.

The square was laid out by the estate's architect, James Thompson Parkinson around 1800. It was named after Elizabeth Montagu of nearby Montagu House, now demolished. She is remembered for her literary Blue Stocking Society and the annual May Day party for chimney-climbing boys. Roast beef and plum pudding were served and a shilling given to every boy.

Among those who attended this festivity was a young David Porter, who started life as a chimney sweep but grew up to be the builder of Montagu Square. More recently, the residents restored the railings, which had been removed during WW2.

Gardener: Joseph Jones

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