From the mid-18th century
in the area quickly accelerated, and by 1755, Queen Anne Street had been
built, running roughly east/west across the current site of Broadcasting
time, just a few yards to the west (bordering on the north of Queen Anne
Street) was Maribone Bason (the spelling of the time), built as a source
of drinking water for the many new houses being built - a place where
people swam, and frequently drowned.
1761 map shows Queen Anne Street as it cuts across the front of where
Broadcasting House now stands.
18th century drew to a close, Edward Harley's cousin, Lord Foley, took
out a lease on a plot just to the north-east of Cavendish Square and running
right across Queen Anne Street. He built a large mansion there (Foley
House), and its grounds sliced right through the middle of Queen Anne
Foley had a magnificent view of Marylebone Park (now Regent's Park) to
the north, and using his Parliamentary contacts he had an Act of Parliament
passed with the intent of preventing the land-owner, the Duke of Portland,
building anything north of his property and so obstructing his view.
1770s, architect Robert Adam was starting to lay out plans for what was
later described as "one of the architecturally finest streets in
London". Portland Place was set to run from the north end of Foley's
property all the way up to the Marylebone Park to the north. But Adam
was hampered by Foley's Act of Parliament.
Act said that nothing could be built that would block the view from Foley
House (shown in the picture below). Adam complied with the letter of the
law and made sure nothing was built immediately north of the house. And
so he built the street exactly the same width as Foley House, as can be
seen in the 1791 map on the left.
is why Portland Place is one of the widest residential streets in London,
at 125 feet.
picture to the right shows the frontage of Foley House itself, looking
down from the southern end of Portland Place, and in a position just a
few feet to the left of where The Langham Hotel was eventually to be built.