London's tiniest house


London's tiniest house

London's smallest house, 10 Hyde Park Place, Marble Arch, is only three feet wide at its narrowest point - just wider than its own front door. One theory is that it owes its existence to an attempt to block access by bodysnatchers to the graveyard beyond.

The diminutive dwelling was slotted into a passage between two mansion blocks though it is much much shorter than them. It was built in 1805 and legend has it that the house was built to deter grave robbers, who had previously used the passage to reach St George's graveyard to the rear. More likely, it was simply intended for servants. It was sold at least once as an adjunct to the neighbouring mansion at number 9.

In the early 1900s bus drivers would point it out as London's smallest house, though it was, at the time, uninhabited. A 1933 newspaper article noted that the property — then vacant for 15 years — was again for sale. The house contained just two rooms, 32 feet by 4 feet, connected by a ladder. The upper room had a partition, so an imaginative estate agent might describe it as two-bedroom.

After the Second World War, the house was incorporated into the neighbouring Tyburn Convent, which is how it remains today. It kept its original appearance until recent times, when the facade was rebuilt in red brick - making it look less like a tiny house.

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