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St John’s Wood is a district of north-west London, England, in the City of Westminster, and at the north-west end of Regent’s Park. It is approximately 2.5 miles north-west of Charing Cross. Once part of the Great Middlesex Forest, it was later owned by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem.
St John’s Wood is the location of Lord’s Cricket Ground, home of Middlesex County Cricket Club and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and original headquarters of the sport. 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 road. Paul McCartney has owned a property in the area since the 1960s along with many other famous names such as Chef Clarissa Dickson Wright, Kate Moss, Lily Allen, Philosopher A.J Ayer and actor Ewan McGregor.
There is a plethora of private medical concerns of all descriptions in the district. Orthodontists, physiotherapists, veterinarians, reiki healers and private general practitioners of all kinds flourish here. The most tangible expression of such concerns are the two private hospitals in the area. These are the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth and the Humana Hospital. The former, affectionately known as ‘John & Lizzies’, is the larger of the two and runs from such esoteric services as haemodialysis, doppler ultrasound and digital fluoroscopy to the more common worlds of a snoring clinic and “affordable surgery”.
The quality of shopping on offer here is what brings many non-residents to the area. There are some exclusive retail outlets in St John’s Wood, with antiques particularly well represented. Alfie’s Antique Market on Church Street is the place to aim for, an umbrella building containing 200 dealers working in 35,000 square feet of space. There are also art galleries, Saatchi’s and the Ben Uri Gallery, on Boundary Road.
One outstanding retail success here has been Panzer’s, a local shop true to its area by accommodating each wave of settlers to arrive in the district. Beginning life as a non-kosher Jewish emporium it extended itself to deal in American, Japanese, French, Italian, Greek, German, African and Oriental foodstuffs.
Other similarly-minded outlets close by include Sherrards bakery, Platters Delicatessen, the Bread Shop and Maison Blanc. Next door to Panzers on Church Street is The All Day Place To Meet And Eat, a highly popular local cafe. NW8 has a good reputation in restaurants, with Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Jewish, modern European, Greek, French and middle Eastern cuisines popping up on the main shopping roads.
NW8 can also boast one of the capital’s most famous and most luxurious pubs. This is Crocker’s Folly, a sumptuous set of rooms built by one Frank Crocker to cash in on a new railway terminus slated to be built in London. When Marylebone station ended up half a mile to the south, Crocker was ruined and left with a glittering white elephant. To him the place was called the Crown Hotel, to us it is known by a more apt name and we can still today enjoy the surroundings of ornate plaster, filigree mahogany and fifty kinds of marble.
Followers of haute couture and other fine lifestyles may also be interested in a pilgrimage to NW8, with such stylish outlets as Caroline Charles, Joseph, Regel Shoes, L’Arizia and L’Arizia Too, Hannah Lee and Hannah Lee Living.
The postcode NW8 (St. John’s Wood) was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 5th most expensive postcode in London and the United Kingdom, with an average home sale price of nearly £2 million ($3.5 million). It is home to some of the most expensive properties in the world. Developed from the early 19th century onwards, it 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. 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.