Southwold Mansions

Southwold Mansions, Maida Vale
Southwold Mansions, Maida Vale
Southwold Mansions, Maida Vale

We know Southwold Mansions

Southwold Mansions was built by 1901 and occupied by 1903. The original owner of Southwold Mansions was London & County Leasehold Property Company.

In its time this mansion block has had a wide variety of residents including RAF officers, engineers, sportsmen, chauffeurs, music teachers, and a retired harbour master. In the early days some of the inhabitants were of a somewhat ‘colourful’ background. A national property survey in 1910 talked of the Southwold Mansions’ residents as: ‘Tenants who hold monthly and yearly agreements are from an exceedingly doubtful class and considerable losses are sustained in respect of bad tenants.’

Other early residents were more credible. In 1904 The Times newspaper published an article by the Secretary of the London Shakespeare League, Miss Elspet Keith of 49 Southwold Mansions. The article was on a ‘Shakespeare Commemoration’ that had just been held, including ‘various entertainments, lectures and other modes of celebration’ which had proved very popular.

A 1920 Times report related the sad story of another RAF officer, the aptly named Major Henry Highman, who divorced his wife Doris on the grounds of her adultery while he was away fighting in France. The couple had lived at Southwold Mansions before the Major joined up in 1915. The story shows another side of human tragedy resulting from the First World War.

Also in 1920 a fully furnished Southwold Mansions flat, with a sitting room, kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom – and piano – was advertised at 3½ guineas (£3.67) per week.

In 1921 Douglas Barrington of Southwold Mansions, a ‘cinema actor’, was charged with the murder of Edwin Payne by shooting him with a revolver in Chelsea, and also with the attempted murder of one Detective Wood. Mr Barrington tried to evade capture by disguising himself in a pair of spectacles. Needless to say he was unsuccessful.

In 1929 there was an advertisement in The Times by a ‘bright and cheerful young lady’ of 12a Southwold Mansions speaking French and German and desiring a holiday post as companion; and in 1930 there was a Times advertisement by a young French lady – a ‘Parisienne’ – of 68 Southwold Mansions for the situation of a ‘Lady Companion or Governess, travelling preferred’.

In 1981 two ‘spacious’ flats at Southwold Mansions were advertised for sale and described as ‘only two miles from Marble Arch with every amenity nearby’.  The prices ranged from £33,500 in March 1981 but these rose to £34,500 in May. The furnished show flat was at 25 Southwold Mansions.

The Property Ombudsman