St John's Wood

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St John's Wood
St John's Wood High Street
Grid reference: TQ265835
Location: 51°32’10"N, 0°10’30"W
Post town: London
Postcode: NW8
Dialling code: 020
Local Government
Council: Westminster
Westminster North

St John's Wood is a district of Middlesex on the northwest side of Regent's Park. It is about 2½ miles north of the centre of Westminster. Once part of the Great Middlesex Forest, it was later owned by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem,[1] from whom it gets its name.

This is a very affluent neighbourhood,[2] and its area postcode, 'NW8', is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 5th most expensive postcode in London based on the average home price in 2007.[3]

As of 2013, the price of housing in St John's Wood has reached exceptional levels. The most premier road in the area, Avenue Road, has more than 10 large mansions/villas for sale. The most expensive has an asking price of £65 million, with the cheapest on the market at an asking price of £15 million. The remainder hover around the £25 million mark.


St John's Wood was developed from the early 19th century onwards. The great estates sought interest here. An area at Barrow Hill was owned by the Portland Estate, but in 1732 most of St John’s Wood was acquired by the Eyre family. A smaller estate, lying alongside the Edgware Road, had been acquired by John Lyon in 1574: the estate was later bequeathed by him to his foundation, Harrow School, on trust to maintain the roads between London and Harrow in good repair. The Eyre Estate is still the dominant landowner and covenant owner, followed by the John Lyon charity (Harrow School).

This was one of the first London suburbs to be developed with a large amount of low density "villa" housing, as opposed to the terraced housing which was the norm in London up to the 19th century, even in expensive districts.

In its early days St John's Wood was not a respectable neighbourhood: it was close enough to London for convenience but far enough to be away from a wife's prying eyes, and consequently gentlemen would lodge their mistresses here and gambling dens and worse found a home here. Gentrification came later.

Parts of St John's Wood have been rebuilt at a higher density, but it remains a highly desirable residential district, and one of the most expensive areas of London.[4]

St John's Wood is the location of Lord's Cricket Ground, home of Middlesex County Cricket Club and of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and the original headquarters of cricket. It is also famous for Abbey Road Studios and the street, Abbey Road, where The Beatles recorded, notably the Abbey Road album, the cover of which features the band crossing the zebra crossing on the road. Sir Paul McCartney has owned a property in the area since the 1960s and is often seen strolling along St John's Wood High Street.[5][6][7]

The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery was formerly based at St John's Wood Barracks. The regiment moved to Woolwich on 6 February 2012; the barracks is to be demolished and developed as housing.[8]


  • Church of England:
    • St John's Wood Church
    • St Mark's Church, Hamilton Terrace
  • Baptist: Abbey Road Baptist Church
  • Roman Catholic: The Church of Our Lady

Other religions

The strong Jewish community of the area has three synagogues:

  • The Liberal Jewish Synagogue
  • The New London Synagogue
  • Saatchi Shul
  • London Central Mosque


The nearest London Underground stations are St John's Wood, Swiss Cottage—on the Jubilee Line; Maida Vale, Marylebone Station and Warwick Avenue—on the Bakerloo Line; and Baker Street, a major hub on several lines and overground terminus.

St John's Wood in literature and music

  • The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins's 1859 sensation novel; Count and Countess Fosco live at No. 5 Forest Road, St John's Wood.
  • Royal Flash, a Flashman novel by George Macdonald Fraser has a scene in a gambling den in St John’s Wood, from which Flashman escapes a raid
  • A Scandal in Bohemia, a Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle; Irene Adler lives here (in Briony Lodge on Serpentine Avenue)
  • The Forsyte Saga (by John Galsworthy); in the first instalment, The Man of Property, Young Jolyon lives on fictional Wistaria Avenue with his second wife and family.
  • Bingo and Rosie Little live in St John's Wood in P G Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster books.
  • Referenced in the Rolling Stones song, Play with Fire, released in 1965.
  • The Making of Henry by Howard Jacobson is set in St John's Wood. In Jacobson's 2010 Man Booker Prize winning novel The Finkler Question, St John's Wood is the planned location for the Museum of Anglo-Jewish Culture.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about St John's Wood)


  1. The St. John's Wood Society. St John’s Wood History. Retrieved 24 January 2011
  2. Sherwood, Bob (7 April 2010). "Affluent enclave sitting on political front line". Financial Times. 
  3. "In Pictures: London's Most Expensive Postcodes". Forbes. 
  4. "U.K.'s Most Expensive Postcodes". Forbes. 12 December 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  5. Fusion Advertising & Design. "Area Guide to St John's Wood – Property guide to St John's Wood from".'s-Wood/St-John's-Wood-364.htm. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  6. Mendoza, Nadia; Eriksen, Alanah (10 October 2011). "Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell wedding: Kate Moss and Ronnie Wood last to leave". Daily Mail. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  7. "St John's Wood in the area". Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  8. Ross Lydall (6 February 2012). "Final salute: St John's Wood bids farewell to the King's Troop after two centuries – UK – News". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 25 May 2012.