Following the exodus of rich families during the Second World War, the original Georgian district slipped into relative obscurity.
Portman sold off freeholds to pay death duties and by the turn of the century, many buildings that were let on long leases had started to deteriorate, while shops and local businesses were struggling.
The area lost its cachet as a place to live. The estate comprises an orderly grid of 69 streets with 650 buildings and four garden squares.
Portman is busily redeveloping buildings and refurbishing historic shop fronts to create new neighbourhood hubs.
Behind a replica Georgian frontage are new flats at OneTwentyFour in Seymour Place, Marylebone, where improved streetscaping has enabled alfresco dining amid the fashion boutiques, beauty parlours and art galleries.
The local vet’s practice is run by Bruce Fogle, father of broadcaster Ben.
The boutique apartments offer bespoke detailing such as anodised bronze surfaces. In contrast to the grand façade, the rear of the building features modern, less formal architecture, with recessed balconies, expanses of glass and a living wall where strawberries will grow in summer.
Penthouses have roof terraces. Prices from £935,000. Call Merchant Land on 020 7522 8742.
Portman has distanced itself from estate agents’ attempts to rebrand this patch as Tyburnia, harking back to the grisly Tyburn tree gallows of the Middle Ages, focusing instead on buying back freeholds and working with developers.
A partnership with British Land at 62 Seymour Street has yielded 10 smart flats, while a former police section house in the same street has been bulldozed to make way for 24 apartments.