Harley Street is owned by the Howard de Walden Family Estate. The area was developed by Edward Harley, Second Duke of Oxford in 1715, streets being named after family members.
In the 1850’s doctors started moving into Harley Street because of the central location and accessibility to train stations. They then invited their colleagues to work with them thus the area became a thriving medical centre especially after the Medical Society of London opened in Chandos Street in 1873 followed by the Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street in 1912.
108 Harley Street
In 1772 108 was the London town house of James Lowther, the First Earl of Lonsdale. In 1823 Henry Windsor, son of the Earl of Plymouth owned the house.
The first medical occupant was Dr Nathaniel Bishop Harman an Ophthalmic specialist who acquired the house in 1905 on a 999-year lease from the Howard de Walden Estates. His first daughter Elizabeth married Lord Longford and in her biography ‘The Pebbled Shore’ recalls The Harman’s early days in Harley Street.
On his death in 1945 the house passed to his son John Bishop Harman a Consultant Physician at St Thomas’s Hospital born at 108 in 1907. He had four daughters all lawyers including Harriet Harman born in the house in 1950, later MP for Camberwell and Deputy Leader of The Labour Party.
In 1990 the original 999-year lease was purchased by Mr OJA Gilmore, a prize winning Consultant Surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital from 1976. The remaining 914-year lease was sold by John Harman providing he could stay in residence on the top two floors until his death, which occurred in 1994.
Having refurbished the lower 3 floors, installing a radiology department manned by renowned Radiologists and operating theatre, Jerry Gilmore opened the practise on 1st November 1991.
While at St Bartholomew’s Hospital he set up the Barts Breast Unit in 1981. In 1991 he established The London Breast Clinic and The Gilmore Groin & Hernia Clinic.
In 1995 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Institute of Sports Medicine because of his pioneering work and expertise in treating groin injuries in elite sportsmen and women.