The closest tube station to Morshead Mansions, Maida Vale, is just a few minutes’ walk East along Elgin Avenue. Originally planned to be located on nearby Abercorn Place, this was ultimately rejected in favour of the junction of Elgin Avenue and Randolph Avenue. This iconic structure has been a landmark of the local area for over 100 years and is a Grade II listed building.

Using the familiar early Leslie Green template of many other stations on the tube network, such as Camden Town, Chalk Farm, Belsize Park and Hampstead, Maida Vale was actually designed by The Underground Electric Railways Company of London’s architect, Stanley Heaps.

The main difference between Stanley Heaps and Leslie Green’s design was that it was a single-storey building, as upper storeys were no longer required to house lift gear. Maida Vale was actually one of the first London Underground stations to be built with escalators instead of lifts.

As was the norm at the time, the escalators were originally constructed of wood. Built as part of the Bakerloo Line extension from Paddington to Queens Park, Maida Vale opened on 6th June 1915 and was one of the few station buildings above ground on this section of the line.

It was also the first station on the entire London network to be staffed solely by women, which was due to England by then being almost a year into World War 1, with many of the men away fighting at the time. The women continued to work at the station until 1919, when servicemen returning from the war ultimately took over their jobs.

Women did every job at the station, except driving the trains, which remained exclusively a job for men until 1978, when Hannah Dadds became the first female tube driver. In 1975 the Sex Discrimination Act was passed by the UK Government and as a result of the legislation, women could then apply to be train drivers. Several women did and Hannah was the first to qualify.

Over the years, Maida Vale station has appeared many times on screen. In 1927 it featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Downhill’, also the 1983 Stephen Poliakoff film ‘Runners’, both featuring shots down the escalators. In 1974, the exterior was used for a scene in the film adaptation of the popular TV sitcom ‘Man About The House’.

In 1998, both the interior and exterior appear several times in the film ‘If Only’…, with scenes on the striking staircases and outside, by a mocked-up flower stall. It was shot around Maida Vale, Notting Hill and Camden and starred Lena Headey, Douglas Henshall and Penelope Cruz in the leading roles.

In 2005, the platform was used for a scene in The Chemical Brothers video of ‘Believe’ and in 2013 many areas were used in Richard Curtis’ film ‘About Time’.

In 2014, the exterior was used to depict the fictional ‘Westbourne Oak Station’ in the film ‘Paddington’.

In 2009, Maida Vale won a National Railway Heritage Award for the successful modernisation of an historic station,  managing to keep most of its original features and leaving the station looking much as it did in 1915.

It continues to display the history of the building both inside and out and will hopefully go on to exist in its current splendour for another 100 years!