A deceptive façade at 23/24 Leinster Gardens, Paddington, London W2
The Metropolitan Railway – the world’s first underground railway – began conveying passengers in 1863, with the subterranean lines constructed using a method called ‘cut and cover’.
As the name implies, this involved digging a hole to house the underground tracks, and then covering over the tunnel.
The route of the line between Paddington and Bayswater (opened in 1868) necessitated the demolition of 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens, situated on a long, upmarket terrace of five storey houses.
To restore the symmetry of the terrace, it was decided to cover up the gaping hole by building a 5ft-thick façade which perfectly matched the houses either side of the break from the road.
It was a different story from the back though, as you can see below!
The fake frontage shares the same balconies, columns and decoration as its neighbours – it even has a pretend wooden door – but keen eyed passers-by might suspect something’s up when they observe the eighteen blackened windows.
Read the full story here: Leinster Gardens – Dummy houses in the heart of London