Carlton Mansions

Carlton Mansions, Maida Vale
Carlton Mansions, Maida Vale
Carlton Mansions, Maida Vale

We know Carlton Mansions

The land Carlton Mansions was built on in 1899 was owned by the Church Commissioners who had avoided development until the time of the mansion block boom just before the turn of the century.

Carlton Mansions is comprised of two red brick blocks running along the east side of Paddington Recreation Ground. The communal garden at the back, away from Randolph Avenue, is a lovely private area for residents. The mansion block is mentioned in the prestigious Victoria Country History series, as Carlton Mansions was built to be in keeping with neighbouring houses. The south part of Carlton Mansions is built on the former site of the Kilburn and St John’s Wood ice-rink.

From the start Carlton Mansions attracted well-off residents. In the 1901 census the most common occupation of the residents in the mansion block was ‘living off own means’, meaning a private income. Other livelihoods included: stockbrokers, solicitors, manufacturers, surveyors, teachers and a charted accountant, dentist, army officer and marine engineer, together with the more artistic occupations of musician, actor, writer, sculptor, painter, architect and photographer.

Some of the early residents also had servants. A report in The Times in 1899 mentions intruders who were attempting a double burglary at 4 and 61 Carlton Mansions being caught by the servant and the caretaker. Early residents of Carlton Mansions included the original owner of Ashworth Mansions and Biddulph Mansions, H. C. C. Shaw, together with one of the architects of Leith Mansions.

The mansions lived up to the early stereotype and experienced scandal when in 1913 The Times reported a young woman called Jennie Baxter of 24 Carlton Mansions being arrested for the murder of Julian Bernard Hall. The article thought that a man called Unwin had been ‘keeping her’ at Carlton Mansions.

While little has been recorded on the block for some time, the 1984 planning permission records show approval given for seven new penthouse flats over numbers 64-90 Carlton Mansions. In 1981 the Church Commissioner, due to foolish financial speculation, had to sell the entire Maida Vale estate, offering tenants a 20% discount on the assessed market value of the flats. The blocks are now owned by Carlton Mansions Limited, which is a board of directors set up by the original residents.

When it was first built Carlton Mansions were described as ‘of modern construction fitted for modern requirements’. 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.

Carlton was probably chosen as a name for the block because of its association with elegance and luxury, originally in connection with Carlton House (built by Lord Carlton in 1709) on which, in the 19th century, the Prince Regent spent an enormous sum of money.

Randolph Avenue was previously known as Portsdown Road. In 1939 it was renamed Randolph after John Randolph (1749-1813) who was Bishop of London in the early 19th century, and a professor of poetry at Oxford.

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