Air Raids

Air raids over London were a new threat in WW1. They started with Zeppelin air balloons but by 1916 these were all but abandoned in favour of the bi-plane Gothas sent from bases in Belgium. Early in the war, both The Portman Estate and The Howard de Walden Estate had to decide whether to take insurance out for themselves and their properties in case of an air attack, as there was much doubt as to the need. In all there were 24 air raids over London in WW1, mostly at night time, and five came in the week 24 September – 1 October 1917. Tube stations were used as air raid shelters and each night people packed into them. Antiaircraft guns were set up in the London parks including Hyde Park, Regents Park and in Marylebone Ironically, it was the falling shells from these that caused the most damage.

On the night of 29/30 September 1917, four Gotha planes made it as far as London, their bombs falling in Hackney, Putney Common, Bethnal Green and the vicinity of Waterloo. In all 14 lives were lost as a result of the attack. However, the anti-aircraft shells caused considerable damage in Marylebone and The Portman Estate minutes records each of the hits and the damaged caused. 

Gotha V Airplane.

Gotha V Airplane.

The Portman Estate minute book entry.

The Portman Estate minute book entry.


Places hit by anti-aircraft shells on the 29/30 September 1917

1: 30 York Place (now part of Baker Street) – pavement outside

2: 6,8,10 York Street

3: 16 York Street

4: 17 Upper Montagu Street

5: 1 Wyndham Place

6: Road opposite 99 Crawford Street

7: 32 and 38 Crawford Street

8: 86 Seymour Place

9: Road outside 56 Seymour Place

10: Pavement in Moore Street outside Queen St buildings and Nutford house, Brown Street

11: Homer Street – middle of road

12: 21 Montagu Street

13: 51 Great Cumberland Place

14: 20 Great Cumberland Place

15: Garden of 22 Portman Square

16: 23 Lower Seymour Street

17: 71 East Street (now Chiltern Street)

18: 25 Portman Square

19: Montagu Mansions

20: Durweston Mews

21: Nightingale Street buildings

22: 19 Little Earl Street

23: 28 Little Carlisle Street

24: Road opposite 113 Lisson Grove

25: 58 Earl Street (now Broadley street)

26: Paving opposite 133 Lisson Grove

27: Road opposite 34 Carlisle Street (now Penfold Street)

28: 115 Carlisle Street (now Penfold Street)

29: 29 Carlisle Street (now Penfold Street)

30: “Olive Branch” Earl Street (now Broadley street)

31: Gateforth Street – back yard of Duke of York pub


war memorials

In the years after the war, many memorials were raised in memory of the fallen as people came to terms with the terrible toll that the war had taken. Initial wooden memorials were replaced with more permanent ones, often funded by public subscription or private donation.

In Marylebone a wide variety of places put up plaques in memory of those who had died – Selfridges, Bank of Ireland, Royal Institute of British Architects, Marylebone Railway Station and so on – as well as churches and places of worship. Below are a selection of memorials illustrating the variety were erected around Marylebone. Perhaps you might like to search them out?

Article from the Marylebone Record regarding newly erected memorials.

Article from the Marylebone Record regarding newly erected memorials.

Silver Pyx and Tabernacle in All Saints Church on Margaret Street. The pyx was given by the Duke of Newcastle in memory of Choristers who had died.

Silver Pyx and Tabernacle in All Saints Church on Margaret Street. The pyx was given by the Duke of Newcastle in memory of Choristers who had died.

Stained glass window in St Mark’s Church on the Old Marylebone Road.

Stained glass window in St Mark’s Church on the Old Marylebone Road.

War Memorial outside the Church of the Annunciation on Old Quebec Street.

War Memorial outside the Church of the Annunciation on Old Quebec Street.

Wooden War Memorial on the outside of St Mary’s Church, Bryanston Square.

Wooden War Memorial on the outside of St Mary’s Church, Bryanston Square.

The memorial erected outside St John’s Wood church is dedicated to those from Marylebone who gave their lives in both World Wars.

The memorial erected outside St John’s Wood church is dedicated to those from Marylebone who gave their lives in both World Wars.

Green plaque to Captain Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson who was awarded the Victoria Cross after his death at Passchendaele in 1917.

Green plaque to Captain Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson who was awarded the Victoria Cross after his death at Passchendaele in 1917.

Candelabrum at the Central Synagogue on Hallam STreet with names inscribed of the 19 men from its congregation who died in WW1.

Candelabrum at the Central Synagogue on Hallam STreet with names inscribed of the 19 men from its congregation who died in WW1.

There are two memorial plaques at Marylebone Station to those who had worked on the railways.

There are two memorial plaques at Marylebone Station to those who had worked on the railways.