Wymering Mansions

Wymering Mansions, Maida Vale
Wymering Mansions, Maida Vale
Wymering Mansions, Maida Vale

We know Wymering Mansions

Mansion blocks did not arrive in Maida Vale until just before the turn of the century. Following the construction of the first block in 1897, the area welcomed a swathe of new developments with eight blocks constructed in an incredibly busy decade.

In 1901 flats 1-20 of Wymering Mansions were built, followed by the remaining blocks in 1903 when tenants first appeared in the street directory.

The locality had been secured some years earlier in 1893 when joint developers of the Paddington Estate, the Frederick family and the Bishops of London, were granted approval for the development of the Recreation Ground and Wymering Road. Wymering Road took its name from a country estate connected with the Frederick family located near Havant in Hampshire.

According to a previous resident of the block, Wymering Mansions’ comparatively late development ensured that it ‘benefited from lessons in good planning and construction that had been learned over the previous half century.’

Popular with well-established families between the wars, residents included writers Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby who lived at Wymering Mansions between 1923 and1927.

Brittain is best known for her memoirs Testament of Youth (about the horrors of World War I), Testament of Friendship (about her friendship with Holtby) and Testament of Experience. She is also the mother of Shirley Williams. Holtby is best known for her novel South Riding.

Over the years Wymering Mansions has attracted a host of famous, as well as infamous, residents. In 1966, Harry Roberts set out from Wymering Mansions (where he was staying with a girlfriend) to steal a car for a robbery. He and two cohorts made their way to Shepherds Bush where police, suspicious of their behaviour, approached them. A shoot-out ensued and Roberts killed three policemen. He was eventually caught and jailed for life.

The story of Harry Roberts passed through popular folklore and throughout the 1970s and early 80s, a common football chant on the terraces was “Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend, he killed three coppers…” Punk band Chumbawamba also have a song Happiness Is Just A Chant Away, based on the football chant.

As the ground landlord the Church Commissioners adopted a policy of disposal after World War II and Wymering Mansions was sold off to development and management companies over the following decades. It wasn’t until the 1990s that leasehold reform saw Wymering Mansions owned by the tenants of its flats for the first time.

Today, comprising of 200 apartments, Wymering Mansions is one of Maida Vale’s most sought after addresses.

The Property Ombudsman