Lisson Grove is a district and also a street of the City of Westminster, London, England located just to the north of the city ring road. There are many landmarks surrounding the area. To the north is Lord's Cricket Ground in St John's Wood. To the west are Paddington and Watling Street. To the east and south east is Marylebone, which includes the railway station and Dorset Square, the original home of the Marylebone Cricket Club. To the east are the London Planetarium, Madame Tussaud's, Baker Street and Regent's Park.
Nowadays Lisson Grove is much improved section of West London, but for over a hundred years it was one of the capital's worst slums. The area was notorious for drinking, crime and prostitution, as well as the extreme poverty of the people and the squalor and dilapidation of the homes they lived in. Local police officers only patrolled the district in pairs, and they described the women of the area as the most drunken, violent and foul-mouthed in all London.
The fictional Eliza Doolittle was born and raised in Lisson Grove and had to pay "four and six a week for a room that wasn't fit for a pig to live in" before coming under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins. These characters from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion are best known to modern audiences from the Lerner and Loewe musical and film adaptation of the play, entitled My Fair Lady.
Going further back in time, until the late 18th century the district was essentially rural. The composer Joseph Haydn moved briefly to a farm in Lisson Grove in the spring of 1791 in order have quiet surroundings in which to compose. The rural Lisson Grove was quickly engulfed by the expanding city during the 19th century.
- National rail
- Thomas Beames, The Rookeries of London, Frank Cass, 1970.
- The Quiver, 1896–1897.
- Source: online edition of the New Grove encyclopedia of music.
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