Lauderdale Mansions

Lauderdale Mansions, Maida Vale
Lauderdale Mansions, Maida Vale
Lauderdale Mansions, Maida Vale

We know Lauderdale Mansions

The turn of the 19th century saw a large number of mansion blocks built rather than family homes. Lauderdale Mansions was among one of the first mansions to be built in the area in 1897, with Lauderdale South being completed around 1903.

Bernard Gentle, chairman of the Good Neighbourliness Party for Lauderdale South said, ‘the trend towards mansion blocks in general began in the 1870s when white collar workers were looking for reasonably priced housing near central London. Called “Mansion Flats” they were designed so that they had impressive entrances, generous elevations and balconies giving an overall impression of a large mansion.’

Lauderdale Mansions’ flats were owned by the Church Commissioners and rented out. In approximately 1987 the freehold was obtained by the residents and those with a 99 year lease became 999 year leaseholders and all but the few remaining rented flats had a share of the freehold.

During the Second World War there was much damage to London and according to Mrs Bernard, a resident since 1959, a direct hit to Lauderdale Mansions. ‘When the flats were repaired, someone had the right idea of putting the sitting rooms facing the garden. When you are in the garden you can see the part of the block that had to be repaired.’ Mr Gentle also pointed out that as a result of works carried out after the bombing, some of the windows in Lauderdale South were replaced with metal window frames (in comparison to the others which are wooden), and that the builders also increased the number of flats on the first and second floors.

During the 50s and 60s, as stated by Mrs Bernard, these were the days ‘when rigid security was not a necessity. The front doors were only locked at night and re-opened in the morning for the postman, newspaper deliveries and the milkman.’ She also describes how there was a groundsman who ‘patrolled the garden at the rear of the flats… he knew all the tenants and ensured that no interlopers used the garden.’

Today, consisting of 250 flats in total, Lauderdale Mansions is one of Maida Vale’s most popular blocks. Social activities are always being planned with a summer picnic and bonfire night in the communal gardens the most recent activities within the South block.

In 1896, Lauderdale Road Synagogue, known as Sha’ar Hashamayim (The Gate to Heaven) was opened in London. This was due to a rise in Jewish families moving to the west of London during the late 1800s and the need for a larger place of worship. In accordance with Sephardi tradition the synagogue was not only a place of worship, but also somewhere that ma’asim tovim (good deeds) could be performed and an orphanage was built in the synagogue grounds. Today, as well as conducting daily services, Lauderdale Road Synagogue houses the Sephardi Centre and Shashi Library where educational programmes are carried out for all age groups.

Lauderdale Mansions has seen SEEN A FAIR number OF FAMOUS residents. People like Claudia Winkleman, TV presenter; John Fashanu, football player, lived in the block next door; Robert Smith from The Cure; Mary McCartney, daughter to Paul and Linda McCartney.

A number of working parties have been established to enable the leaseholders and residents of Lauderdale South to support the board with any changes and improvements to the block. These parties include one for major works, the garden, good neighbourliness, social activities and revenue generation. Residents can also contribute to the debate about the company’s constitution and the development of the electoral process.

The Property Ombudsman