The incredible fake houses of Paddington

The incredible fake houses in Paddington

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 incredible fake houses in Paddington

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

5 Comments on “The incredible fake houses of Paddington”

  1. I saw the dummy houses at Leinster Gardens when I was on holiday in 1983 to visit the 50 years of Dinky Toys exhibition on Graven Hill. I stayed at Glouchester Terrace. It was a cabby who told me the story.
    I hope the houses/facade at Leinster Gardens are still there.

  2. I went to see these “houses” after reading about them in a history book. Am I the only person to think that that terrace of houses must have been pretty new in the 1860’s. I doubt if it was standing long before 1840 at the very outside.

    I think the hotel should stop creating confusin by giving its address as # 24.

  3. I take it Mr Herting means the facades are still there. The houses themselves were demolished c.1860, when they’d have been fairly new.

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