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The station was opened on 15 March 1899 as the terminus of the Great Central Railway
The designer was Henry William Braddock, a civil engineer for the Great Central Railway. The design is in a modest, uninflated domestic version of the "Wrenaissance" revival style that owed some of its popularity to work by Norman Shaw; it harmonises with the residential surroundings with Dutch gables, employing warm brick and cream-coloured stone.
Originally Marylebone is said to have been planned as a ten-platform station, but the cost of building the GCR was far higher than expected and nearly bankrupted the company, causing the station to be scaled back to just four platforms, three within the train shed and one west of the train shed (platform 4).
The concourse is unusually long and, for some 50 years, had only three walls, the northern wall being missing, as the GCR anticipated that the other six platforms, under an extended train shed, would be built later on. The cost of the London Extension also meant that the Great Central Hotel was built outside the station complex and by a different company.