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Maida Vale - History

The whole area belonged to the Bishop of London in 1647. The name Maida was first recorded in 1807, the year after Sir John Stuart's victory over the French at Maida in Calabria (Italy). The Hero of Maida public house was licensed in 1810 at Maida Hill, which served as the name of a short stretch of Edgware Road near the new Regent's Canal. Part of that stretch, including the public house, was known in the mid 19th century as Maida Hill East.

Meanwhile, Maida Hill West became the name of the road along the southern bank of the canal (from 1939 called Maida Avenue). By 1828, as building had extended along Edgware Road, a short stretch beyond Maida Hill was called Maida Vale, which from 1868 was the name of the whole length of the road between the Regent's Canal and Kilburn. The name was applied popularly to a district by the mid 1880s, a fact which was recognised in the cretion of Maida Vale in Paddington metropolitan borough.



Maida Vale
Picture House


In 1851, there were buildings only in Blomfield Road and in the quadrangle between that road, Clifton Place (later Villas), and the south end of Warwick Road enclosing Warwick Place. In 1857 Bristol Gardens still commanded uninterrupted country views to the north and west.

In 1880, the most expensive houses in Sutherland Avenue were worth £1,000 each and the cheapest £200 each.



Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, 1912


  Westbourne Terrace Road, Maida Vale, 1906

Clifton Court, Maida Vale 1931


The canal and Blomfield Road at Maida Vale c1910

In 1858 the former Queen of Oudh lived in Warwick Road West and another Indian, the Rajah of Coorg, nearby in Clifton Villas. Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914), the artist and cartoonist, lived from c.1854 in Portsdown Road. Thomas Mayne Reid (1818-1883) died at no 12 Blomfield Road, the poet John Davidson was at no 19 Warrington Crescent from 1889 until 1909, the radio engineer Sir Ambrose Fleming at no 9 Clifton Gardens from 1890-1896 and John Masefield at no 30 Maida Avenue from 1907-1909.

Maida Vale was notable in the late 19th century for its large number of Jews. In the 1880s, at least 1,000 and possibly 2,000 out of Maida Vale's estimated 10,000 residents were Jewish.

During the war in 1918 the King and Queen visited Warrington Crescent after a bomb caused unprecedented damage, destroying four homes and affecting 140 nearby.

Improvements took place in parts of Little Venice after the Second World War. It was then that the name came into general use for the immediate vicinity of the pool, with its island, where the Grand Union and Regent's Canal met, and for the banks of the Regent's Canal leading to Edgware Road. Byron, however, had briefly compared the canal at Paddington with Venice, to which further reference had been made by Browning, whose house in Warwick Crescent had overlooked the pool from the south west, and by 1925 Blomfield Road had been publicised as 'Venice in Paddington'.

In the 1920s and 1930s Maida Vale continued to be described as one of London's most desirable suburbs, with 'handsome piles of residential mansions' and superior detached houses.

In 1981 it was decided to sell the entire Maida Vale estate, consisting of more than 2,000 properties. The sale was the most valuable yet undertaken by the Church Commissioners.


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