Ashworth Mansions

Ashworth Mansions brochure, Maida Vale
Ashworth Mansions, Maida Vale
Ashworth Mansions, Maida Vale

We know Ashworth Mansions

Mansions Blocks did not arrive in Maida Vale until just before the turn of the century but following the construction of Lauderdale Mansions in 1897 the area welcomed a flurry of developments in an incredibly busy decade. As part of this wave Ashworth Mansions was built in 1899 to be occupied by 1900.

The architects Boehmer and Gibbs were responsible for the three blocks on Elgin Avenue, which included Biddulph and Elgin Mansions. Their designs were heavily influenced by the early French Renaissance and some echoes of the Chateau de Madrid, built by Francis I, can be seen on the Elgin Avenue frontage.

Occupying a whole block adjacent to the south side of Paddington Recreation Ground, its location is conveniently close to Maida Vale Underground Station. The estate comprises of 105 flats in two Queen Anne revival blocks facing each other across a large communal garden. The communal gardens at the front and back were originally tennis courts, but are now a beautiful hub for this tight-knit community.

Like most of the mansion blocks in Maida Vale, Ashworth Mansions did not stay untouched by the destruction of the Blitz. Most affected were the flats on the corner of Grantully and Ashworth Roads. The devastation was to the extent that half of the block had to be reconstructed soon after. However a lack of funds impacted on many elements of the redevelopment, including the water system, hence why even today half of the block’s water is run on a central boiler and the rest on independent systems.

In 1981 The Church Commissioners decided to sell the entire Maida Vale estaTE, offering tenants a 20% discount on the assessed market value of the flats. Despite this discount the tenants of Ashworth Mansions made the pages of the Paddington Mercury in 1985 when the Ashworth Mansions Tenants’ Association asserted the right to buy or rent flats in the block at prices the current residents could afford.

Noteworthy tenants include Rosa Leo, of 45 Ashworth Mansions, who gave lessons in public speaking to members of the suffragette movement before the First World War. The block also experienced scandal due to the unfortunate murder of a Russian call-girl, an interesting echo of the pre-war reputation of Maida Vale mansion blocks as a red-light district.

A £2 million renovation took place between 2001 and 2007, which updated the water supply and transformed the communal areas. When it was first built Ashworth Mansions was described as ‘fitted with all the modern requirements’ which then included features such as electric lighting and a lift. Today it continues to delight its residents as one of the most desirable mansion blocks in Maida Vale, due to its luxury architecture and excellent location.

Ashworth Mansions was named after Ashworth Road, which runs along the block’s north east side. Ashworth, Biddulph, Castellain and Delaware Roads were named as such because when they were built the developers of the Paddington Estate, the Paddington Trustees and the Church Commissioners wanted the initials of the street names to run alphabetically. There was strong opposition to the name Ashworth from the local council, the Paddington ‘Vestry’. They said that it would cause confusion as there already existed Ashmore Road.

Elgin Avenue, originally Elgin Road, acquired its name in 1863 when Lord Elgin opened 1 Elgin Road, which is now 255 Elgin Avenue. Lord Elgin was a descendant of the 7th Earl of Elgin, who brought the famous Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Greece, which were bought in 1819 by the British Museum where they have remained ever since. Two days after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 4 June 1953 crowds lined the streets of Elgin Avenue when the new monarch visited the street as part of her tour around the suburbs of London.

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