Leinster Gardens is a street in London near Kensington Gardens that is filled with elegant 5 story houses. The street is home to several hotels so lot’s of people walk up and down it every day but I wonder how many of them know the streets secret…
If you are just walking down this street you wouldn’t notice anything wrong but if you look a little closer at 23-24 Leinster Gardens you might see it but it is well disguised. I struggled a little to find the right house and I knew what I was looking for!
If you walk up to the front door you might notice there is no letterbox which might seem strange as surely anyone living there would need letters just like everyone else on the street. Wouldn’t they?
Back in the 1930s a famous hoax was played where a cheeky fraudster sold tickets to a charity ball held at this residence. All the people who had paid good money for the event arrived in their evening wear excited for a fabulous ball only to discover, after knocking on the door, that they had been ripped off. You see 23-24 Leinster Garden is just a fake. Only when you look closely do you see the doors and windows are not real.
So why the fake house? Well, basically it’s because of London Underground. A line which opened in 1868 required the demolition of 23 and 24 Leinster Garden because back then the trains ran on steam so there needed to be areas on the lines for the trains to release fumes.
Since this was an upmarket area the residents didn’t want an ugly hole so a fake front was created. If you look closely you’ll see a lot of effort went into making it look like the houses either sides. It’s only when you take a look from the back you see the house for what it really is.
And that is the secret of Leinster Gardens. Even though the underground no longer uses steam trains the houses have never been rebuilt. Why not have a look for yourself the next time you’re in the area? See how easily you can spot it. It’s free to do and it’s a piece of London’s history. It’s also the location used in the season 3 finale of the BBC series Sherlock.
I love little things like this so I was happy when I discovered this little secret. It was actually being featured on a programme I was working on about 50 secret homes in Britain. I was intrigued by the story of this house and since it was in London I just had to check it out. Although I must confess, as much as I love the story about the tickets being sold for a fake event being held at the fake house, I’m not 100% sure the story is true. But either way it’s an amusing tale!
Need more inspiration for your trip to London? Why not check these out:
Hotels near Hyde Park
Leinster Gardens is close to Hyde Park and this area is a great place to stay while visiting London. If you’re looking for hotels near Hyde Park check out this handy widget.
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