The Grand Union Canal at Little Venice
|Population||23,161 (2016 Maida Vale and Little Venice combined Ward populations)|
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Maida Vale (/ / MAY-də vayl) is an affluent residential district comprising the northern part of Paddington in west London, west of St John's Wood and south of Kilburn. It is part of the City of Westminster.
The name is derived from the pub called The Maida (the hanging board of which used to show a likeness of Sir John Stuart, under which was the legend Sir John Stuart, the hero of Maida). The name referenced General Sir John Stuart, who was made Count of Maida by King Ferdinand IV of Naples and III of Sicily, after the victory at the Battle of Maida in 1806. The pub used to be on Edgware Road near the Regent's Canal and was there until about 2000.
The area is 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 1 square kilometre (0.4 square miles). It makes up most of the W9 postal district. The southern part of Maida Vale, at the junction of Paddington Basin with Regent's Canal with many houseboats, is known as Little Venice.
Paddington Recreation Ground is located in Maida Vale.
The area to the south-west of Maida Vale, at the western end of Elgin Avenue where it meets Harrow Road, 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. The name of "Maida Hill" had fallen out of use but has been resurrected since the mid-2000s by way of the 414 bus route (which terminates on Shirland Road and gives its destination as Maida Hill) and a new street market on the Piazza at the junction of Elgin Avenue and Harrow Road.
The area was originally owned by the Church, initially as part of St Margaret's, Westminster and then later the Bishop of London after the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
In 1742 a lease for future development was signed by Sir John Frederick. His daughter later married Robert Thistlethwaite, a Hampshire landowner, whose Hampshire holdings including Widley and Wymering are commemorated in Maida Vale street names.
In 1816 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the trustees of Sir John Frederick's estate and the Bishop of London to begin development in the area. This began in the 1820s with development along Edgware Road. The area was first named on maps as Maida Vale in 1827. John Gutch, surveyor to the Bishop of London, produced a plan in 1827 for the area which roughly aligns to current road alignments.
In 1960 the ownership of the freehold passed from the Bishop of London to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, whose function was to administer the church's assets.
By 1868 a stretch of Edgware Road near the area had been officially named Maida Vale.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Maida Vale was a significant Sephardic Jewish district to the extent that an 1878 magazine report reported that it was commonly called "New Jerusalem". 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 on this road. The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, lived within sight of this synagogue on Warrington Crescent. The pioneer of modern computing, Alan Turing, was born at what is now the Colonnade Hotel in Warrington Crescent.
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 World War II. 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.
In 2018 the BBC announced plans to close the Maida Vale studios and relocate the functions to East London.
Little Venice is a comparatively recent name for parts of Maida Vale and Paddington in the City of Westminster. 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. However, this was disputed by Lord Kinross in 1966 and by London Canals. 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, also has a reputation for its shops and restaurants, as well as for the Canal Cafe 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.
Maida Vale is noted for its wide tree-lined avenues, large communal gardens and red-brick mansion blocks from the late Victorian 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 and Randolph Court in 1910.
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 property developer CLTX Ltd to make way for a new block of flats.
Maida Vale has an electoral ward with its namesake. The 2011 census counted a population of 10,210 in the ward. Ethnicity-wise, 62.4% of the population were White (38% British, 3% Irish, 22% Other), 11.7% were Asian, and 7.1% were Black. Maida Vale also had a large Arab community, who formed 9.2% of the population, and by far the most spoken foreign language was Arabic. Of the 4,480 households, the number of homes owned or privately rented were about even, with socially rented a bit less but still significant. Properties are predominantly in the flats/maisonettes/apartments category (over 90 percent of the households). The median age was 33. Being in the inner city, the majority of residents do not own a car or van.
Maida Vale is served by St Mark's parish church, Hamilton Terrace and by St. Saviour's Church, Warwick Avenue, a building constructed between 1972–76 in a "modern" style, which building was called, by some local residents, "the God Box". Between 1870 and 1906 the incumbent of St. Mark's was Robinson Duckworth. Saatchi Shul, an independent Orthodox Jewish synagogue, was founded in Maida Vale in 1998.
In popular culture
Maida Vale has been used for the filming of a number of films and television programmes:
- Parts of the 1988 film A Fish Called Wanda were filmed in the area.
- Several scenes from Paddington (2014) were filmed in Maida Vale, including using the tube station (mocked up to appear to be the fictional 'Westbourne Oak' station) and a police chase on Castellain Road.
- In the television adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel The Child in Time the family was depicted as living in Maida Vale and several of the exterior scenes were shot around Elgin Avenue.
- Scenes from The Mummy (2017) starring Tom Cruise were shot in the Warrington pub in Maida Vale.
- Scenes for film In Darkness (2018) starring Natalie Dormer were filmed at a flower shop (made to appear to be a coffee shop) on Lauderdale Parade.
- Scenes from The Romanoffs TV series (2018) were filmed at the site of Kindred Studios in 2018
Maida Vale has also been referenced in a number of films and television programmes:
- In Season 4 of Downton Abbey, Lady Edith says she is having an abortion because "I don't want to be an outcast. I don't want to be some funny woman living in Maida Vale that people talk about."
- Maida Vale is the location where most of the action takes place in Dial M for Murder, both the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film, and the original play written by Frederick Knott. Specifically there are numerous references to the Maida Vale police who investigate the murder."
Ordered by birth date
- Andreas Kalvos (1792–1869), Greek poet and patriot, at 182 Sutherland Avenue.
- Ambrose Fleming (1849–1945), English electrical engineer and physicist, at 9 Clifton Gardens.
- David Ben-Gurion (1886–1973), first prime minister of Israel, at 75 Warrington Crescent.
- Lupino Lane (1892–1959), theatre and film star lived at 32 Maida Vale.
- Henry Hall (1898-1989), British dance band leader lived at 8 Randolph Mews from 1959-1981
- Edward Ardizzone (1900–1979), artist and illustrator, at 130 Elgin Avenue.
- Alan Turing (1912–1954), code-breaker and pioneer of computer science, at 2 Warrington Crescent.
- Alec Guinness (1914-2000), English actor, was born at 155 Lauderdale Mansions
- Arthur Lowe (1915-1982), English actor, famed for his role as Captain George Mainwaring in the television show Dad's Army, lived at 2 Maida Hill West from 1969–1982.
- Roger Bannister (1929-2018), English athlete and neurologist, trained to break the 4-minute mile at the track in Paddington Rec while he was a medical student at St Mary's hospital. A plaque in Paddington Rec commemorates this connection to the area.
- Tony Meehan (1943-2005), founder member of British guitar group The Shadows, lived at 34 Lauderdale Mansions from 1977-2005
Other notable residents
- Sir John Tenniel (1820–1914), artist and cartoonist, lived at 10 Portsdown Road, Maida Hill from 1854 to 1909.
- John Lawrence Toole (1830–1906), comic actor, lived in Maida Vale.
- James Payn (1830–1898), novelist and journal editor, died at his home, 43 Warrington Crescent, on 25 March 1898.
- Joanna Mary Boyce (1831–1861), portrait painter, born in Maida Vale.
- Sir Edward German (1862–1936), composer, lived at 5 Biddulph Road from 1921 until his death in 1936.
- Leslie Green (1875–1908), architect, was born in Maida Vale.
- John Masefield (1878–1967), novelist, playwright and Poet Laureate from 1930, lived at 30 Maida Avenue.
- Lieutenant Leonard Keysor VC (1885–1951), Australian soldier, was born in Maida Vale.
- Eva Green (b. 1980), actress 
- Philip Guedalla (1889–1944), writer, politician and barrister, was born in Maida Vale.
- Vera Brittain (1893–1970), writer, lived at 111 Wymering Mansions, Wymering Road.
- Victor Gollancz (1893–1967), publisher and humanitarian, was born at 256 Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale.
- Irene Handl (1901–1987), character actress, was born in Maida Vale.
- Terence Fisher (1904–1980) film director, born in Maida Vale.
- Nancy Mitford (1904–1973) author, lived at 13 Blomfield Road in the 1930s.
- Hardy Amies (1909–2003), fashion designer, dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II.
- Walter Kolarz (1912–1962), communist scholar, lived in Maida Vale from 1940 until his death.
- Ernest Clark, (1912–1994), actor, was born and raised in Maida Vale.
- Alan Freeman (1927–2006), broadcaster.
- Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007), cellist, lived at 18 Randolph Crescent 
- Enrica Soma (1929–1969), Italian-American socialite and ballerina, one-time wife of John Huston and mother of Anjelica Huston, moved there with her children in 1962 after separating from her husband.
- Ruth Rendell (1930–2015), Baroness Rendell of Babergh, the English crime novelist, lived in the area.
- Joan Collins (b. 1933) grew up in Maida Vale.
- John Inman (1935–2007), actor, lived in a mews house in Little Venice for 30 years.
- Eddie Linden (b. 1935), poet and founder of Aquarius magazine, which he edited from his home in Maida Vale.
- Delia Derbyshire (1937–2001) lived on Clifton Road during her time with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
- Edward Fox (b.1937), film actor, has lived in Maida Avenue, by the Regent's Canal, for many years, from the 1970s to the present-day.
- Joe Strummer (1952–2002) of punk rock band The Clash formerly lived there.
- Jimmy McCulloch (1953–1979) of Wings died of a heroin overdose at his flat there.
- Michael Flatley (b.1958), dancer and creator of Riverdance etc., owned a house in Park Place Villas, near the Regent's Canal, until 2004.
- Jarvis Cocker (b. 1963) of Pulp was living there in 1997.
- Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer (b. 1964) British peer, author, journalist and was the younger brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, maintains his London residence in Maida Vale.
- Björk (b. 1965), Icelandic singer, resident in the 1990s and early 2000s.
- Ben Miller (b. 1966), comedian and actor.
- Noel Gallagher (b. 1967), singer, songwriter and guitarist.
- Bradley Wiggins (b. 1980), former cyclist.
- Mohammed Emwazi (1988–2015), alleged executioner for Islamic State known as "Jihadi John" attended St. Mary Magdalene Church of England Primary School in Maida Vale.
- Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary (b. 1991), suspected Islamist militant.
- Daisy Ridley (b. 1992), actress.
- Kate Stewart (b. 1995), singer-songwriter.
Notable local events
Roger Bannister trained to break the 4-minute mile at the track in Paddington Rec while he was a medical student at St Mary's hospital. A plaque in Paddington Rec commemorates this connection to the area.
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