Seeing as it’s a Friday, it’s sunny outside and the pub is calling our name, we thought we’d bring you a feature from our sister blog at urban75 and tell you about the amazing fake houses at 23/24 Leinster Gardens, Paddington, London W2.
A cunning façade
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.
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.
Letting off steam
It was a different story from the back though, as you can see above.
If the neighbours were miffed by having a fake frontage created on their street, we imagine they were even less pleased when they discovered that the open space would be used by passing steam locomotives to ‘vent’ off and release smoke and steam.
Read the full story here: Leinster Gardens – Dummy houses in the heart of London