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The Fake Houses of Leinster Gardens

Can you spot the two dummy houses in this photo? They look like the other houses on this upscale London street, but they’re just facade, only 5 feet wide, and the doors and windows don’t open.

Give up? They’re the two in the middle with the 18 blackened windows.

Before 1868, there were actual houses where the fake onces are now, at 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens. But the new Metropolitan Railway was coming through, the world’s first underground railway, and the locomotives needed a stretch of track that was open to the elements in order to vent the smoke and steam that would otherwise accumulate in the tunnels. So the railroad demolished the houses and built a facade that matched the other houses on the street, with similar architectural details. But if you look around back you can see the house-sized gap behind the facade, with the obsolete tracks below it.

Close up of the ‘entrance’ to 24 Leinster Gardens, complete with railings, door and plants. There’s a long tradition of wagsters sending pizza deliveries, taxi cabs and religious representatives to this address!

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