In recent years, a different pub (formerly The Truscott Arms) has been renamed The Hero of Maida, but is in a different location.
A map showing the Maida Vale ward of Paddington Metropolitan Borough as it appeared in 1916.
The area is bounded by Maida Avenue and the Regent's Canal to the south, Maida Vale Road to the north east, Kilburn Park Road to the north west, and Shirland Road and Blomfield Road to the south west: an area of around 1 square kilometre (0.4 square miles). It makes up most of the W9 postal district. The southern part of Maida Vale, at the junction of Paddington Basin with Regent's Canal with many houseboats, is known as Little Venice.
The area to the south-west of Maida Vale, at the western end of Elgin Avenue where it meets Harrow Road, was historically known as "Maida Hill", and was a recognised postal district bounded by the Avenues on the west, the Regent's Canal to the south, Maida Vale to the east and Kilburn Lane to the north. Parts of Maida Vale were also included within this. The name of "Maida Hill" had fallen out of use but has been resurrected since the mid-2000s by way of the 414 bus route (which terminates on Shirland Road and gives its destination as Maida Hill) and a new street market on the Piazza at the junction of Elgin Avenue and Harrow Road.
The area was originally owned by the Church, initially as part of St Margeret's Westminster and then later the Bishop of London after the dissolution of the monasteries.
In 1742 a lease for future development was signed by Sir John Frederick. His daughter later married Robert Thistlethwaite, a Hampshire landowner, whose Hampshire holdings including Widley and Wymering are commemorated in Maida Vale street names.
In 1816 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the trustees of Sir John Frederick's estate and the Bishop of London to begin development in the area. This began in the 1820s with development along Edgeware Road. The area was first named on maps as Maida Vale in 1827. John Gutch, surveyor to the Bishop of London, produced a plan in 1827 for the area which roughly aligns to current road alignments.
In 1960 the ownership of the freehold passed from the Bishop of London to the Ecclesiatical Commissioners, whose function was to administer the church's assets.
By 1868 a stretch of Edgeware Road near the area had been officially named Maida Vale.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Maida Vale was a significant Sephardic Jewish district to the extent that a 1878 magazine report reported that it was commonly called "New Jerusalem". The 1896 Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, a Grade II listed building and headquarters of the British Sephardi community, is on Lauderdale Road. The actor Alec Guinness was born on this road. The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, lived within sight of this synagogue on Warrington Crescent. The pioneer of modern computing, Alan Turing, was born at what is now the Colonnade Hotel in Warrington Crescent.
Maida Vale is home to some of BBC network radio's recording and broadcast studios. The building on Delaware Road is one of the BBC's earliest premises, pre-dating Broadcasting House, and was the centre of the BBC radio news service during World War II. The building houses a total of seven music and radio drama studios, and most famously was home to John Peel's BBC Radio 1Peel Sessions and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
In 2018 the BBC announced plans to close the Maida Vale studios and relocate the functions to East London.
The canal junction at Little Venice
Little Venice is a comparatively recent name for parts of Maida Vale and Paddington in the City of Westminster. It consists of the area surrounding the Little Venice Lagoon and its canals. It is known for and defined by its Regency style white stucco buildings and its canals and moored boats. Maida Avenue, Warwick Crescent and Blomfield Road, the streets in the south of Maida Vale overlooking Browning's Pool including the section of Randolph Avenue south of Warrington Crescent, are known as Little Venice. According to one story, the poet Robert Browning, who lived in the area from 1862 to 1887, coined the name.
However, this was disputed by Lord Kinross in 1966 and by London Canals. Both assert that Lord Byron (1788-1824) humorously coined the name, which now applies more loosely to a longer reach of the canal system. Browning's Pool is named after the poet, and is the junction of Regent's Canal and the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal.
The Carlton Tavern (1922), was an example of 1920s architecture. The Carlton Tavern has now been demolished.
Maida Vale is noted for its wide tree-lined avenues, large communal gardens and red-brick mansion blocks from the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. The first mansion blocks were completed in 1897, with the arrival of the identically-designed Lauderdale Mansions South, Lauderdale Mansions West and Lauderdale Mansions East in Lauderdale Road. Others quickly followed in neighbouring streets: Elgin Mansions (Elgin Avenue) and Leith Mansions (Grantully Road) in 1900, Ashworth Mansions (Elgin Avenue and Grantully Road) and Castellain Mansions (Castellain Road) in 1902, Elgin Court (Elgin Avenue) and Carlton Mansions (Randolph Avenue) in 1902, Delaware Mansions (Delaware Road) and Biddulph Mansions (Elgin Avenue and Biddulph Road) in 1907 and Randolph Court in 1910.
Maida Vale has an electoral ward with its namesake. The 2011 census counted a population of 10,210 in the ward. Ethnicity-wise, 62.4% of the population were White (38% British, 3% Irish, 22% Other), 11.7% were Asian, and 7.1% were Black. Maida Vale also had a large Arab community, who formed 9.2% of the population, and by far the most spoken foreign language was Arabic. Of the 4,480 households, the number of homes owned or privately rented were about even, with socially rented a bit less but still significant. Properties are predominantly in the flats/maisonettes/apartments category (over 90 percent of the households). The median age was 33. Being in the inner city, the majority of residents do not own a car or van.
Several scenes from Paddington (2014) were filmed in Maida Vale, including using the tube station (mocked up to appear to be the fictional 'Westbourne Oak' station) and a police chase on Castellain Road.
In the television adaptation of Ian McEwan's novelThe Child in Time the family was depicted as living in Maida Vale and several of the exterior scenes were shot around Elgin Avenue.
Maida Vale has also been referenced in a number of films and television programmes:
In Season 4 of Downton Abbey, Lady Edith says she is having an abortion because "I don't want to be an outcast. I don't want to be some funny woman living in Maida Vale that people talk about."
Maida Vale is the location where most of the action takes place in Dial M for Murder, both the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film, and the original play written by Frederick Knott. Specifically there are numerous references to the Maida Vale police who investigate the murder."
^Minutes of Paddington Borough Council meeting of 5 October 1909 (page 646 for 1909), "Notices for Erection of New Buildings [in 1910]" includes No. 2,135: "A new block of flats.. on the west side of Portsdown Road [renamed Randolph Avenue in 1939] to be the third building from Carlton Vale and on the site between No. 223 Portsdown Road and Carlton Mansions."