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23/24 Leinster Gardens - Dummy House Facade

Spot the Fake House!

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23/24 Leinster Gardens London W2 - Facade and Dummy house
© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
23/24 Leinster Gardens, London W2 are not what they first seem. They are actually dummy houses and there is literally only the front facade! A walk around the back reveals a gaping hole and a railway line.

Underground Steam Trains

The first London underground trains were steam trains so needed ventilation. 'Cut and cover' lines were devised with tunnels and open air sections so the trains could 'vent off' and that's what this house facade is hiding. (Venting off was the when the trains vented their steam and smoke, and was best done outside of the underground sections.)

The train line is for the Metropolitan, District, and Circle Lines between Paddington and Bayswater. When this section of the train line was devised it was necessary to knock down 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens but as this is a rather up market area of London it was decide to rebuild a fake facade to keep the continuity of the street and its five storey townhouses.

Where Is It?

Leinster Gardens is opposite Hyde Park and near to Bayswater and Queensway tube stations.

Use Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.

Can You Spot It?

The back of 23/24 Leinster Gardens London W2 - Facade and Dummy house© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
If you don't know about this dummy house it would be hard to spot. The general architecture, windows and doors, match the rest of the street yet upon closer inspection you can see the windows are painted and things aren't quite what they seem. There are also no letter boxes on the doors.

From the Back in Porchester Terrace

Even with the high wall, to block out the train track, you can see the back of the house is completely missing. There are metal girders holding the neighboring buildings away from the gaping hole.

The best way to see more is to place your camera on top of the high wall and start clicking - it worked for me! I could then see that the girders continue down what should be the garden and the train track can be seen below.

Don't be Conned

23/24 Leinster Gardens London W2 - Facade and Dummy house© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Jokers enjoy sending taxis, pizza deliveries and the like to these houses but most local companies do know about it.

In the 1930s, a fraudster sold tickets for a charity ball at 23/24 Leinster Gardens and made a fortune. The guests arrived in their evening finest only to discover they had all been conned.

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