Posts Tagged ‘Maida Vale’

Around Randolph Avenue 1988

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-11-positive_2400
Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-11

If you take the Bakerloo Line to Maida Vale, the station exit is on the corner of Elgin Avenue and Randolph Avenue, and within a few yards of the corner I found a number of scenes that interested me enough to take a picture, including several I’ve not put online, including one of the station itself. It’s a nice Underground station, with the typical maroon tiles of the period and Grade II listed, opened in 2015, designed by Stanley Heap for the London Electric Railway but I think I felt it it would look better in colour, though I don’t think I made a colour image of its exterior.

Instead I crossed the road and walked a few yards north up Randolph Ave for this picture of Burke Electrical Services and the White Rose Laundry, both seemingly in an outhouse on the rear of the rather grandiose buildings of Elgin Avenue. All three shops in this picture are now a Starbucks, and those single-storey blocks now have two additional floors above, rather nicely blending in with the surroundings.

Elgin Mews North, Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-12-positive_2400
Elgin Mews North, Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-12

The left hand building of the above picture was a part of the archway leading east from Randolph Road into Elgin Mews North.

Most of the houses in Elgin Mews North seem modern, said to date from around 1984, but the gateway and those on Randolph Avenue are Grade II listed. The mews arch in an Italian Gothic style was built around 1864 but according to the listing text heavily restored and possibly reconstructed behind the facade around 1980.

Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-14-positive_2400
Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-14

A very similar pair of houses and archway are on Randolph Avenue just to the south of the Underground station, and are again Grade II listed.

Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-16-positive_2400
Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-16

According to the Victoria County History, Maida Vale gets its name from a victory in the Napoleonic Wars in 1807 when Sir John Stuart defeated the French at Maida in Calabria, and in 1810 a new pub on Edgware Road was named The Hero of Maida in his honour.

George Gutch (1790-1894) architect to the Bishops of London who owned the area made plans on a grand scale including a long avenue Portsdown Road parallel to Edgware Rd crossed by Elgin Road, but these were slow to be put into action, and it was only in the 1860s that the area began to be built up.

By this time the white stucco of earlier developments was being replaced by buildings in brick, often multicoloured which give the area its distinct look. Elgin Road was renamed Elgin Avenue in 1886, but it was only in 1939 that Portsdown Road was renamed to its current Randolph Avenue.

Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-02-positive_2400
Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-02

These long terraces are just beyond the mews in the image above.

Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 198888-7e-51-positive_2400
Randolph Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 198888-7e-51

The terrace continues for some length down Randolph Avenue.

Elgin Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 198888-7e-52-positive_2400
Elgin Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 198888-7e-52

I walked back to the tube station and Elgin Avenue, where a couple of shopfronts took may attention. The pillar dividing 294 and 296 is spiral, like those Italianate examples in Randolph Avenue.

Elgin Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-54-positive_2400
Elgin Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7e-54

And a little further east there was a blind stating ‘312 MEN’ above quite a few images of women which probably amused me slightly.

I walked out of Maida Vale across the Edgware Road and into St John’s Wood – where my next post from 1988 will continue. You can click on any of the images here to see a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos and browse the album from there.


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More from Maida Vale, 1988

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

Warwick Farm Dairies, Elgin Ave, Shirland Rd, Maida Vale8, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-51-positive_2400
Warwick Farm Dairies, Elgin Ave, Shirland Rd, Maida Vale8, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-51

J Welford & Son’s Warwick Farm Dairies is still there on the corner of Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road, still looking much as it did when I took this photograph in July 1988, with I think the only noticeable change being in the name of the shop. Now it is over a hundred years since Welford’s became part of United Dairies and cows were kept in the large yard and its buildings behind, but there is still a cow’s head on the second storey of this corner building.

Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-53-positive_2400
Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-53

When walking around the streets with a camera around my neck I often was accosted by children clamouring for me to take their picture, and I never refused, though occasionally when I was running out of film I might only pretend to do so. Here the interest was perhaps as much in the BMX bikes and the sweater this young man was wearing as in him or the background.

Beachcroft House, Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-54-positive_2400
Beachcroft House, Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-54

Westminster Council demolished this care home on Shirland Road in January 2018, replacing the low building and garden with two large 5 storey blocks, one a replacement Beachcroft House care home opened in 2019 and run by Gold Care Homes and the other a block of 31 luxury flats, The Masefield, sold to finance the project.

Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-55-positive_2400
Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-55

Not one door but seven on the front of a former shop somewhere in the short row of five shops at 113-121 Shirland Rd. It rather amused me. Perhaps 30 years ago when I first needed a computer desk I spent some time looking at those available before deciding they looked small and rather flimsy and I could do a better job myself by cutting up an old door I’d replaced in the house, cutting off part horizontally to use as the desktop (its top surface covered by hardboard a previous resident had added) and the top section sawn vertically to give two side supports. A couple of lengths of 2×4″ hardwood provided some bracing close to floor level – and the footrest on which my feet are now resting as I write. It took me 10 minutes to measure and sketch the design and a morning to make and seems likely to last longer than me.

Delaware Mansions, Delaware Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-41-positive_2400
Delaware Mansions, Delaware Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-41

Delaware Mansions calls itself on its web site “The best mansion block in Maida Vale!2. Although Delaware Road was planned in 1875 by the developers of the Paddington Estate, the Paddington Trustees and the Church Commissioners as one of an alphabetical series of streets along with Ashworth, Biddulph and Castellain but the site was allotments until this block was built in 1903-1904 designed like many Maida Vale mansions by Boehmer and Gibbs. The road was only then properly made up.

The Church commisioners sold the entire Maida Vale Estate in 1981 with tenants being given a 20% discount on the market value and long leases. They sold the freehold to Fleksun in 1990.

BBC Maida Vale Studios, Delaware Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-44-positive_2400
BBC Maida Vale Studios, Delaware Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-44

Although I’d often heard that a radio programme had been made in the BBC Maida Vale Studios I had no real idea where they were until I walked down Delaware Rd. They are opposite Delaware Mansions, whose web site tells me they were originally “the Maida Vale Skating Palace and Club, which opened in 1909 and had one of the largest and most elegant roller-skating risks in the world. It could accommodate hundreds of skaters and seated 2,620 people at any one time.” It was one of the first studios for the BBC and home to many famous programmes; in 2018 the BBC announced plans to close it.

Lauderdale Rd, Castellain Rd,Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-34-positive_2400
Lauderdale Rd, Castellain Rd,Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-34

This was obviously once a rather sporting area, as on the next street to the east, at the corner of Castellain Road and Lauderdale Road was the Tennis and Squash shop, though this was in 1988 the Maida Vale Driving School and has boards showing a varied selection of vehicles for sale in the window. Now it is a flower shop.

This is on the end of a row of shops, Lauderdale Parade. I’ve found no explanation for the rather curious motif on the end wall which has a lion’s head at its centre. Lauderdale Mansions in several blocks were the first mansion blocks to be built in Maida Vale in 1897. Actor Alec Guinness was born there in 1914.

Elgin Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-36-positive_2400
Elgin Ave, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-36

I can find little information about 203 Elgin Avenue, a large detached house on the corner of Biddulph Road. On the side of the house is the date AD 1890.

I took the short walk up Biddulph Road and into Paddington Recreation Ground, where I photographed a few people cycling around the paved track (not online) and probably visited the public toilets before returning to Elgin Ave, photographing the side of this house again.

This seems a good place to finish this post – more from Maida Vale in a later post.


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Around Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale – 1988

Friday, December 10th, 2021

Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-43-positive_2400
Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-43

It was the middle of July 1992 before I returned to photograph London, starting again in Carlton Vale, where I think there must have then been some convenient bus route for me, perhaps from Putney or Clapham Junction – many London routes were longer back then. I walked from there through Paddington Recreation Ground to Elgin Avenue. This was the eighth picture on my walk but the first which I’ve put online, chosen for the ornate porch and balcony above. 101 is the start of a short terrace of similar properties to the east of Shirland Road and reaching to Widley Road ending at 113, the last four of which are named Westside Court. This is part of the Maida Vale Conservation Area and these houses here probably date from the late 1880s or 90s.

Elgin Avenue area, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-32-positive_2400
Elgin Avenue area, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-32

The Walterton and Elgin Action Group began in 1985 when estates here owned by the GLC were transferred to Westminster Council who decided to sell them off to private developers without even informing residents.

Many 99 year leases in the area expired in the 1960 and had been bought up my private landlords, some unscrupulous including Perec “Peter” Rachman a few years earlier at low prices. Many homes became empty and derelict and in the 70s many were squatted and there was a high profile Elgin Avenue squatting campaign involving housing activist Piers Corbyn and punk legend Joe Strummer of the Clash.

The council then tried to set up barter deals with developers but an active series of protests inside the officers of the developers by WEAG stopped the deals. When I took these pictures Westminster City Council had emptied one third of Walterton Estate homes, blocking them with steel doors and others were heavily squatted. The 1988 Housing Act intended to encourage the sale of council housing to private landlords included a Tenant’s Choice provision and three quarters of the residents signed up as members of Walterton & Elgin Community Homes (WECH). A 72% vote was then obtained to transfer the properties to WECH, and Westminster Council had to pay over £22 million between 1992 and 1997 to WECH to make up for their years of neglect and pay for the refurbishment of properties. As an outsider I was only very vaguely aware of what was going in the the area when I took these photographs. The video on the WECH site tells the story well.

Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-33-positive_2400
Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-33

These shops on Shirland Road are close to the junction with Walterton Road. They are still there though as different businesses.

Lanhill Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-34-positive_2400
Lanhill Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-34

I was standing in Lanhill Road to make this photograph but the house with the bricked up windows is 79 Chippenham Rd. It still has bricked up windows but the outbuilding at right has been demolished to provide an off-road parking space for a single car. It is the end of a terrace on Chippenham Road and the other end on Grittleton Rd and the other end also has similarly bricked up windows, which I think were built like this simply to avoid a large expanse of brick wall and were never actually windows.

Chippenham Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-35-positive_2400
Chippenham Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-35

This shop selling plants, trees and greengrocer at 97 Chippenham Road seemed to be in the middle of rebuilding and is now a carpet store while the area behind the rather rickety boarding is enclosed restaurant seating. The pineapples almost appear to be growing on a tree and it seems to be doing a trade in 25kg bags of potatoes, several months supply for the average household. It seems also to have been a café, taking luncheon vouchers.

J Welford & Sons, Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-22-positive_2400
J Welford & Sons, Shirland Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-22

J Welford & Sons had their dairy in the old Warwick Farm Dairies building, on the corner of Elgin Avenue and Shirland Road from 1845. They merged with United Dairies in 1915 but there is now a Facebook Page devoted to the Largest Diary In London which occupied nearly two acres here, still with long frontages of their buildings along Elgin Ave and Shirland Road, though the cows are long gone.

Elgin Avenue, Lanhill Road, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-25-positive_2400
Elgin Avenue, Lanhill Road, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-25

This is the corner of J Welford & Sons Dairy Farm. The Dairy wall you can see down Lanhill Road is now demolished.

Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-14-positive_2400
65-7 Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-14

I took several pictures of this large property up for sale by auction on the corner of Elgin Avenue and Grittleton Rd. It was obviously in poor condition and I wondered if it might be demolished, but it was renovated and is now known as Greenvale House.

Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-16-positive_2400
Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7c-16

Apparently it has been restored recently and Savills describe it as “a beautiful white Edwardian building that has undergone an extensive refurbishment program to provide 6 luxury apartments in the heart of Maida Vale comprising 3 duplex and 3 lateral apartments.” Whatever those are.

Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-62-positive_2400
Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1988 88-7d-62

What was the most distinctive feature of this property, the gate to the street that features in all three of my pictures here was removed some years ago, replaced by a rather ordinary entrance. One section of the original wall survived until a few years ago, but all is now plain flat white.

My walk in Maida Vale will continue in a later post.

Clicking on any of the images will take you to a larger version from where you can browse my album 1988 London Photos.


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Kilburn to Maida Vale

Monday, October 25th, 2021

My walk around Kilburn ended by going down Kiburn High Road with a small slight deviations to catch the tube at Maida Vale.

Bingo Hall, Gascony Avenue, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn State, Odeon, Kilburn,  Camden, Brent, 1988 88-5m-63-positive_2400
Bingo Hall, Gascony Avenue, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn State, Odeon, Kilburn, 1988 88-5m-63

The Kilburn State Theatre was built on grounds formerly occupied by houses and since the 1890s by a furniture factory, The Palmerston Works. From 1916 to 1926 it was the home of the Central Aircraft Company which built cheap wooden aircraft and also gave flying courses and joy rides from Northolt Airport. The flights were a great success but although the planes only cost £250 sales were poor and the factory returned to making furniture.

The site was bought by Gaumont and opened in 1937 as the Gaumont State Cinema, designed by George Coles and this now Grade II* listed Art Deco masterpiece has a tower inspired by the Empire State Building in New York and when built had seating for over 4000, making it the largest purpose-built cinema in Europe. You can read much more about it in The Kilburn State Cinema.

Gascony Avenue, Kilburn High Rd,  Kilburn,  Camden, Brent, 1988 88-5m-64-positive_2400
Gascony Avenue, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Camden, Brent, 1988 88-5m-64

This wall on the corner of Gascony Avenue and Kilburn High Road was almost totally covered with advertising and branding, including three giant posters for the Invalid Children’s Aid Nationwide, (I CAN), founded in 1888 as the Invalid Children’s Aid Association by Allen Dowdeswell Graham to help poor children in London’s East End who were either seriously ill or handicapped. It is now a national charity for children with speech and language difficulties.

People, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden, 198888-5m-51-positive_2400
People, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden, 1988 88-5m-51

Walking along the Kilburn High Road with a camera (or possibly two) around my neck attracted the attention of several groups of people on the street, who demanded I take their pictures.

People, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden, 1988 88-5m-66-positive_2400
People, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden, 1988 88-5m-66

And I was happy to do so. They were all in a good mood, possibly in some cases helped by a little exposure to Guiness. I think all had good Irish accents.

Posters, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent,  Camden,1988 88-5m-53-positive_2400
Posters, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden,1988 88-5m-53

And flyposters on several buildings advertised Irish events in London.

Kilburn Banks Ltd, Springfield Joinery, off Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, 198888-5m-54-positive_2400
Kilburn Banks Ltd, Springfield Joinery, off Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Camden, 1988 88-5m-54

I think the Springfield Joinery was probably at 1Springfield Lane, but no trace of this building remains. Possibly it was where the beer garden of the Old Bell Inn now is. If so it was in the LB Camden.

The Animals War Memorial Dispensary, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-46-positive_2400
The Animals War Memorial Dispensary, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-46

Animals, particularly horses, dogs, carrier pigeons and donkeys, but also many other species played an important role in the FIrst World War, and many were killed carrying out their duties. After the war the RSPCA proposed a memorial to them, and plans were drawn up for one at Hyde Park Corner but this was never built – though many years later in 2004 one was unveiled on Park Lane. The RSPCA changed its plans and decided on a more practical project, buying this site in Kilburn for The Animal War Memorial Dispensary in 1931.

There are two memorial inscriptions, one on each side of the door, but too small to read in my photograph. They are given in full on the Imperial War Museum web site.

LEFT: THIS BUILDING IS DEDICATED AS A MEMORIAL TO THE COUNTLESS/ THOUSANDS OF GOD’S HUMBLE CREATURES WHO SUFFERED AND/ PERISHED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 – 1918 KNOWING NOTHING OF THE/ CAUSE. LOOKING FORWARD TO NO FINAL VICTORY. FILLED ONLY WITH/ LOVE FAITH AND LOYALTY THEY ENDURED MUCH AND DIED FOR US./ MAY WE ALL REMEMBER THEM WITH GRATITUDE AND IN THE FUTURE/ COMMEMORATE THEIR SUFFERING AND DEATH BY SHOWING MORE/ KINDNESS AND CONSIDERATION TO LIVING ANIMALS.

RIGHT: 1914 – 1918 THIS TABLET RECORDS THE DEATH BY ENEMY ACTION/ DISEASE OR ACCIDENT OF 484,143 HORSES MULES CAMELS AND/ BULLOCKS AND OF MANY HUNDREDS OF DOGS CARRIER PIGEONS AND/ OTHER CREATURES ON THE VARIOUS FRONTS DURING THE GREAT WAR/ IT ALSO RECORDS THE FACT THAT IN FRANCE ALONE 725,216 SICK AND/ WOUNDED ANIMALS WERE TREATED IN VETERINARY HOSPITALS/ PROVIDED BY THE RSPCA.

Bas-relief, The Animals War Memorial Dispensary, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-55-positive_2400
Bas-relief, The Animals War Memorial Dispensary, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-55

The Grade II listed dispensary is a converted mid-nineteenth century house memorial plaque above the door on the facade of the building is by Frederick Brook Hitch of Hertford who won the competition for the design. The dispensary continued in use until a RSPCA reorganisation in 2016.

TS Bicester, Sea Cadets, Tin Tabernacle, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-44-positive_2400
TS Bicester, Sea Cadets, Tin Tabernacle, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-44

Next door to the dispensary is Kilburn’s ‘Tin Tabernacle’, Grade II listed as Cambridge Hall and erected as St James’s Episcopalian Church in 1863. Active as a church until the 1920s it became an “Air Raid Precautions store during the Second World War, and was later known as the Lord Lloyd of Dolobran Memorial Hall. The building was taken over by the Sea Cadets in about 1949, and from then on was known as Training Ship Bicester“. In the 1950s they remodelled the interior as a mock-up of a Ton-Class Minesweeper. It had been built with a spire which was apparently stolen in the 1980s before this picture was taken.

Maida Vale, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-5m-34-positive_2400
74 Maida Vale, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-5m-34

The pineapple was a symbol of wealth and found a place on many gateposts, but 74 Maida Vale is unusual in also having three on the parapet wall. I think the house probably dates from some time between 1829-1840 and that the rooms behind those upper pineapples are a later addition, but have found no specific information about this particular house; although several others on the block are listed this is not.


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1987: Paddington & Maida Vale

Thursday, October 15th, 2020
Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Station, Bishop's Bridge Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-32-positive_2400

The view from the bridge on Bishop’s Bridge Road is now rather different with the building over the canal having been replaced by a footbridge and an new entrance to Paddington station now obscuring the front of the station. You can still see the GWR Hotel and the canal, but the empty towpath has been much tidied and is now often thronged by people.

Paddington Basin and the area around the canal leading to it has been fairly dramatically redeveloped with tall blocks and leisure activities. There were few boats moving back when I took this picture and I think the rescue one in this picture was the only one I saw, though there may have been a few kayaks. Now the canal is rather busier, with small electric boats a popular but not cheap hire.

The bridge I was standing on was replaced by a wider modern bridge in 2006; shortly before it had been discovered that Brunel’s original 1839 iron bridge was still in place hidden under the 1906 structure – though its cast iron beams were clearly visible below. It was Brunel’s first iron bridge and of important historical and engineering interest but English Heritage agreed not to list it as it would have considerably affected the replacement plans; instead it was carefully dismantled and put into store on the understading it would be rebuilt for use as a footbridge across the canal around a hundred yards to the north.

Although planning permission was granted for this it never happened and the parts remain in a rather messy heap at English Heritage’s store at Fort Cumberland in Portsmouth, probably because the developers of the area preferred a nice modern and probably much cheaper design. Other former canalside artifacts removed at the same time with similar promises appear to have simply been lost, but the bridge was perhaps too large for that to happen.

Bishop’s Bridge Road only got its name after the Second World War, before which it had been simply Bishop’s Road, developed around the time the railway was built in 1836, replacing an earlier footpath. The Bishop was rather earlier, the manor of Paddington being given to Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London by Edward VI around 1550.

Pentecost, Assembly of God, Harrow Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-33-positive_2400
Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, Harrow Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The Assembly of God Central Pentecostal Church on Harrow Road survived until 2015 on the edge of a huge area of high-rise development in North Paddington, but has now gone. It had moved to the ground floor of this building from the Edgware Road in 1946, and was relocated at a temporary site in Tresham Crescent in 2015 while Westminster Council built Dudley House, completed in November 2019. This provides 197 homes at ‘intermediate rent’ as well as new premises for the church, a secondary boy’s school and shops.

North Wharf Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-34-positive_2400
North Wharf Rd, Paddington, Westminster, 1987

You can see the curiously ugly QEQM (Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) building of Paddington’s Queen Mary’s Hospital towering above these simple but rather elegant buildings on North Wharf Road. That is still there but these buildings are long gone, replaced by towering glass fronted structures which now line Paddington Basin.

The redevelopment of this area, part of ‘Paddington Waterside’ began in the late 1990s and is now more or less complete, filled with high rise buildings. You can now stroll along beside the canal on both banks, while back in 1987 access was very limited. But the whole atmosphere of the area has changed. Although open to the public I think most or all of the open space is privately owned and some photographers, myself included, have been stopped taking pictures by security officers around Paddington Basin.

Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-43-positive_2400
Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

Green Lane was named Warwick Rd on a plan made in 1827 and later became Warwick Avenue. There were some houses on it by 1840 and most of the rest were built shortly after, all rather grand and in an Italian style and covered in stucco. Many like this one which overlooks the canal basin at Little Venice are listed. The name ‘Warwick’ came from Jane Warwick of Warwick Hall, in Warwick-on-Eden in Cumbria, who in 1778 married the great-grandson of Sir John Frederick who had leased the land from the Bishop of London.

Just a few yards from the more industrial area around the canal at Paddington, this is at the southern edge of Maida Vale, an area which attracted many of the wealthier members of London’s Jewish population in the late nineteenth century.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-51-positive_2400
Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

In the twentieth century parts of Maida Vale became one of London’s more respectable red-light areas. Large houses which were too expensive went into multi-occupation, let out as single rooms, usually sharing kitchens and bathrooms, and often became very run-down. Disruption of families by war and high levels of unemployment forced some women onto the streets where they would walk along keys dangling from their hands and invite passing gentlemen to take tea with them, though tea was apparently seldom served. But more recently the area has gone up in the world considerably again, and semidetached houses in the area sell for £5m or more.

Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-55-positive_2400
Blomfield Rd, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

In 1805 Napoleon had defeated both Austrian and Russian armies at Austerlitz and forced Austria to sign a peace treaty and he had also made peace with Prussia. This left him free to try to conquer more of Italy and in particular the Kingdom of Naples, which despite a treaty of neutrality with France had allowed both Russian and British troops to land. Napoleon rapidly advanced and conquered much of that kingdom, with the King and government fleeing to Sicily along with the British troops. A British expeditionary force returned at the end of June to Calabria where there was an insurrection against the French occupation and on 4th July engaged with French forces at Maida.

Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-63-positive_2400
Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The battle was was on a relatively small scale with around 5,000 troops on each side and only lasted a few hours before the French who had suffered heavy losses during a cavalry charge against superior British guns and muskets were forces to retreat in considerable disarray. The British commander, John Stuart, was given the title Count of Maida by the Italians and a pension of £1000 a year by the UK parliament as well as being made a Knight of the Bath.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987 87-7l-65-positive_2400
Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale, Westminster, 1987

The victory on land against Napoleon’s forces who had been so successful elsewhere gave Britain a much-needed boost in morale, and gave both Maida Vale and Maida Hill their names.

There is now a pub in Shirland Rd named for Stuart, The Hero of Maida, but it was not built until 1878 and was then The Shirland Hotel, later becoming Idlewild and in 2014 the Truscott Arms. Opened under new owners in 2018 it was re-named ‘The Hero of Maida’.

You can see more of my pictures of London in 1987 on Flickr.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.