Biddulph Mansions

Biddulph Mansions, Maida Vale
Biddulph Mansions, Maida Vale
Biddulph Mansions, Maida Vale

We know Biddulph Mansions

As part of a mansion block boom just before the turn of the century, Biddulph Mansions was built on old allotments in 1901 and was occupied by 1903. The land was owned by the Church Commissioners who had avoided development until the time that it was mansion blocks, rather than houses, which were the more profitable option.

The architects Boehmer and Gibbs were responsible for the three blocks on Elgin Avenue, which also included Ashworth and Elgin Mansions. Eduard Boehmer was born in Germany but trained as an architect in the USA. During the First World War he changed his name to Edward Bomer to avoid having a German sounding name. Between 1889 and 1903 he was in partnership with his brother-in-law, Percy Christian Gibbs. Their designs were heavily influenced by the early French Renaissance and echoes of the Chateau de Madrid, built by Francis I, can be seen on the Elgin Avenue frontage.

Biddulph Mansions shares a whole block and communal space with Lauderdale Mansions, lying to the south of Paddington Recreation Ground, its location conveniently close to Maida Vale Underground Station. The estate comprises of 135 flats and is split up into Biddulph Mansions East and Biddulph Mansions West.

Residents first mentioned in the Street Directories in 1903 included surgeons, doctors, dentists and army officers, but since then the block has seen many famous residents. The comedy writer Barry Cryer spent the early days of his career and life as a family man in 57 Biddulph Mansions.

He writes: “[My wife Terry and I] went to see a five-room flat on the fourth floor, and it all happened so easily... we started off paying seven guineas a week and it reached the dizzy heights of nine guineas. The exotically named Paddington Recreation Ground was nearby and you could be straight into town on the Tube. It was perfect.”

When it was first built Biddulph Mansions was described as ‘of modern construction and fitted for modern requirements’. Today it continues to delight its residents as one of the most desirable mansion blocks in Maida Vale. The block has a feeling of luxury benefiting from the nearby diverse blend of smart shops, trendy restaurants and stylish wine bars.

Biddulph Mansions was named after Biddulph 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. The name originates from the Biddulph family who came from Ledbury Park, Herefordshire. One member of the family, a partner in the banking firm of Cocks, was made a baronet in 1903.

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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