So we have this fairly normal looking houses at numbers 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens in London's Paddington. The photos and information come from Mike Slocombe. Here is the photo of the front again.
One would guess that people of money and influence lived in the adjacent houses and would not want a steam train infrastructure in between their rather grand houses. So while the houses at 23 and 24 were demolished in about 1867 to build the railway line between Paddington and Bayswater, this five foot thick façade was constructed to satisfy the local population. Here is a rear view, again from Mike.
It was a good place for steam engines to vent their foul fumes after coming out from underground.
Now of course human beings like to do funny things, so it is not unusual for pizzas to be ordered for delivery at 23-24 Leinster Gardens and ordered taxi cabs can be regularly seen sitting outside, waiting for a passenger to appear from the front doors. Humans also like making a profit, so in the 1930s invitations priced at ten guineas to attend a ball at 23-24 Leinster Gardens were sold by an enterprising person.
The whole tale makes me rather wonder about the rush to destroy inner city streetscapes in Australia when such effort went into the preservation of London's in the 1860s.
JayLa and Scott both knew about 23-24 Leinster Gardens. Peter was on the right track with his suggestion that it was a façade. Kath's suggestion of a playpen for Madonna's toy boys indicates where her mind is at. Fen's blood curdling suggestion was...inventive. Much to my surprise, V in Japan knew too.