Maida Vale

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Maida Vale
Grand Union Canal at Little Venice.JPG
The Grand Union Canal at Little Venice
Grid reference: TQ255825
Location: 51°31’39"N, 0°11’24"W
Population: 10,210  (2011)
Post town: London
Postcode: W9
Dialling code: 020
Local Government
Council: Westminster
Westminster North

Maida Vale is an affluent residential district comprising the northern part of Paddington in west London, west of St John's Wood and south of Kilburn, all within Middlesex.

The unusual name of the place derives from the inn which once stood here, named the Hero of Maida: this name in turn came from the Battle of Maida fought in southern Italy on 4 July 1806, during the Napoleonic Wars; a decisive British victory over Napoleonic France. The inn stood on Edgware Road near the Regent's Canal.[1] The hero of the pub's name was General Sir John Stuart (who was made Count of Maida by King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies after the victory).[2]

The area is mostly residential, and mainly affluent, with many large late Victorian and Edwardian blocks of mansion flats. It is home to the BBC Maida Vale Studios.[3]


The Maida Vale area is regarded as being bounded by Maida Avenue and the Regent's Canal to the south, Maida Vale Road to the north east, Kilburn Park Road to the north west, and Shirland Road and Blomfield Road to the south west: an area of around half a square mile. The southern part of Maida Vale at the junction of Paddington Basin with Regent's Canal, with many houseboats, is known as 'Little Venice'. The area to the south-west of Maida Vale, at the western end of Elgin Avenue, was historically known as "Maida Hill", and was a recognised postal district bounded by the Avenues on the west, the Regent's Canal to the south, Maida Vale to the east and Kilburn Lane to the north. Parts of Maida Vale were also included within this.[4] The name of "Maida Hill" had since fallen out of use, although it has been resurrected since the mid-2000s, through the name of a bus route which gives its destination as 'Maida Hill',[5] and a new street market on the Piazza at the junction of Elgin Avenue and Harrow Road.[6]

Just to the east of Maida Vale is St John's Wood and Lord's Cricket Ground.

Developed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the early 19th century as middle class housing, Maida Vale took its name from a public house named after John Stuart, Count of Maida, which opened on the Edgware Road soon after the Battle of Maida, 1806.[7]

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Maida Vale was a predominantly Sephardic Jewish district, and the 1896 Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, a Grade II listed building and headquarters of the British Sephardi community, is on Lauderdale Road. The actor Alec Guinness was born in this road. The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, lived within sight of this synagogue on Warrington Crescent.[8] The pioneer of modern computing, Alan Turing, was born at what is now the Colonnade Hotel in Warrington Crescent.

Maida Vale tube station was opened on 6 June 1915, on the Bakerloo line, and Warwick Avenue tube station, on the same line, was opened a few months earlier.

BBC Studios

Maida Vale is home to some of BBC network radio's recording and broadcast studios. The building on Delaware Road is one of the BBC's earliest premises, pre-dating Broadcasting House, and was the centre of the BBC radio news service during Second World War. The building houses a total of seven music and radio drama studios, and most famously was home to John Peel's BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Little Venice

The canal junction at Little Venice

'Little Venice' is a comparatively recent name for parts of Maida Vale and Paddington. It consists of the area surrounding the Little Venice Lagoon and its canals. It is known for and defined by its Regency style white stucco buildings and its canals and moored boats. Maida Avenue, Warwick Crescent and Blomfield Road, the streets in the south of Maida Vale overlooking Browning's Pool including the section of Randolph Avenue south of Warrington Crescent, are known as 'Little Venice'.

According to one story, the poet Robert Browning, who lived in the area from 1862 to 1887, coined the name.[9] However, this was disputed by Lord Kinross in 1966[10] and by London Canals.[11] Both assert that Lord Byron (1788–1824) humorously coined the name, which now applies more loosely to a longer reach of the canal system. Browning's Pool is named after the poet, and is the junction of Regent's Canal and the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal.

South Maida Vale, one of London's prime residential areas,[12] also has a reputation for its shops and restaurants, as well as for the Canal Café Theatre, the Puppet Theatre Barge, the Waterside Café and the Warwick Castle pub. A regular waterbus service operates from Little Venice eastwards around Regent's Park, calling at London Zoo and on towards Camden Town. Since 1983, the Inland Waterways Association has hosted the Canalway Cavalcade in Little Venice.[13]

Other areas

The Carlton Tavern

Maida Vale is noted for its wide tree-lined avenues, large communal gardens and red-brick mansion blocks from the late Victoria and Edwardian eras. The first mansion blocks were completed in 1897, with the arrival of the identically-designed Lauderdale Mansions South, Lauderdale Mansions West and Lauderdale Mansions East in Lauderdale Road. Others quickly followed in neighbouring streets: Elgin Mansions (Elgin Avenue) and Leith Mansions (Grantully Road) in 1900, Ashworth Mansions (Elgin Avenue and Grantully Road) and Castellain Mansions (Castellain Road) in 1902, Elgin Court (Elgin Avenue) and Carlton Mansions (Randolph Avenue) in 1902, Delaware Mansions (Delaware Road) and Biddulph Mansions (Elgin Avenue and Biddulph Road) in 1907[14] and Randolph Court in 1910.[15]

Among the buildings of architectural interest was the Carlton Tavern, a pub which stood on Carlton Vale. Built in 1920–21 for Charrington Brewery, it was thought to be the work of the architect Frank J Potter and was noted for its unaltered 1920s interiors and faience tiled exterior. The building was being considered by Historic England for Grade II listing when it was unexpectedly demolished in March 2015 by the property developer CLTX Ltd to make way for a new block of flats.[16]


Maida Vale is served by StMark's parish church, Hamilton Terrace.[17] Between 1870 and 1906 the incumbent of St. Mark's was Robinson Duckworth.[18]

Saatchi Shul, an independent Orthodox Jewish]] synagogue, was founded in Maida Vale in 1998.[19]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Maida Vale)


  1. [1]
  2. Ayto J.; Crofton I. Brewer's Britain & Ireland; London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2005.
  3. "Locations – Maida Vale". BBC Radio Resources. 
  4. "List of Postal Districts". 6 September 2011. 
  5. "Transport for London". 28 March 2007. 
  6. "Harrow Road Local Area Renewal Partnership". 
  7. Paddington – Maida Vale
  8. "English heritage Blue Plaques- David Ben-Gurion"
  9. "Little Venice Music Festival". 
  10. "Letter to The Daily Telegraph, 1966". 
  11. "The history of the place name known as 'Little Venice'". 
  12. Little Venice area guide at
  13. "Canalway Cavalcade: 2nd–4th May 2015". Accessed 5 November 2014
  14. O'Sullivan, Kevin, Dial 'M' for Maida Vale
  15. Minutes of Paddington Borough Council meeting of 5 October 1909 (page 646 for 1909), "Notices for Erection of New Buildings [in 1910]" includes No. 2,135: "A new block of flats.. on the west side of Portsdown Road [renamed Randolph Avenue in 1939] to be the third building from Carlton Vale and on the site between No. 223 Portsdown Road and Carlton Mansions."
  16. "Bulldozers level historic pub after being denied planning permission". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  17. Archbishops' Council (2011). "St Mark's, Hamilton Terrace". Church of England. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  18. "History". Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  19. Endelman, Todd M (2002). The Jews of Britain, 1656 to 2000. University of California Press. Retrieved 17 November 2013.