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 (/
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 pub used to be on Edgware Road (the A5, originally the old Roman road later called Watling Street) where Edgware Road becomes Maida Vale (which is simply its continuation until it again changes name and becomes Kilburn High Road), and near the Regent's Canal. The pub 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. 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. The name of "Maida Hill" had since fallen out of use, although it has been resurrected since the mid-2000s, through 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.
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 Edgware Road soon after the Battle of Maida, 1806.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Maida Vale was a predominantly Sephardic Jewish district. 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.
The 2011 census showed that 38% of the population was of White British ethnicity, with Other White the second biggest at 22%.
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:
- Certain scenes in the 1966 film Georgy Girl were filmed outside a canal-side house on Maida Avenue.
- 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 Paddington Academy 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."
Commemorative blue plaques
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Other notable residents
Ordered by birth date where given, followed by those for whom no birth date is given. See also People from Maida Vale
- 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.
- 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.
- Sir Alec Guinness (1914–2000), Oscar-winning actor was born at 155 Lauderdale Mansions South, Lauderdale Road.
- 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 there.
- 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.
- Delia Derbyshire (1937–2001) lived in Clifton Villas 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.
- Björk (b. 1965), Icelandic singer, resident in the 1990s and early 2000s.
- Ben Miller (b. 1966), comedian and actor.
- Bradley Wiggins (b. 1980), renowned 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.
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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- 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."
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