Leinster Gardens is in Bayswater, London and for the casual by-passer it seems like any other street around the area. And even though I knew what I was looking for and had Google maps open on satellite imaging, I still managed to cycle past the building six times before realising where this false façade actually was.
When you have found the buildings (No’s.23 and 24), look up and you will realise that the windows are in fact an illusion. The 1.5 metre thick false façade has eighteen blackened out windows and the front doors are without letter boxes. It was created to hide the unsightly Metropolitan underground vent shaft from the residents on Leinster Gardens, when the underground trains were still steam operated.
From the rear of the properties, along Porchester Terrace, visitors can peer over a 2 metre high wall and see the railway tracks beneath, now used by Circle and District Line electric tube trains.
How to find it?
The closest underground station is Queensway Station on the Central Line. To view the exact location on Google maps, click here or search for postcode W2 8AN.
Leinster Gardens, a street in the City of Westminster
The left-hand property (No.22) is inhabited (part of Henry VIII hotel), but the right-hand one (No.23) is only a façade. If you look closely you will notice that the windows are painted grey and the door is false.
A closer look at buildings No. 22 and 23.
A closer look at buildings No. 24 and 25.
Leinster Gardens: the big trees on the right hand side of the street are concealing the false façade.
The rear of the façade can be seen from Porchester Street, between the two hotels.
If you're tall enough to peer over the brick wall, you will see the railway tracks and vent area.