A long walk down Walmer Road 1969-1971 Part 1

When I did the post on Hurstway Street a few weeks back regular reader Chris Pain drew my attention to a passage from Absolute Beginners (1959), the second book in the London trilogy by Colin MacInnes:

On the east side, still in the W10 bit, there’s another railway, and a park with a name only Satan in all his splendour could have thought up, namely Wormwood Scrubs, which has a prison near it, and another hospital, and a sports arena, and the new telly barracks of the BBC, and with a long, lean road called Latimer road which I particularly want you to remember, because out of this road, like horrible tits dangling from a lean old sow, there hang a whole festoon of what I think must really be the sinisterest highways in our city, well, just listen to their names: Blechynden, Silchester, Walmer, Testerton and Bramley—can’t you just smell them, as you hurry to get through the cats-cradle of these blocks? In this part, the houses are old Victorian lower-middle tumble-down, built I dare say for grocers and bank clerks and horse-omnibus inspectors who’ve died and gone and their descendants evacuated to the outer suburbs, but these houses live on like shells, and there’s only one thing to do with them, absolutely one, which is to pull them down till not a one’s left standing up.

I think he was a bit harsh in his judgement although by 1969, the year John Rogers did our photo survey Hurstway, Testerton, Blechynden and Barandon Streets were looking quite run down. (Another correspondent told me that a film company painted some of the houses in the area black to make them look even worse for the filming of the early John Boorman film Leo the Last , released in 1970)

We may get to Silchester Road on another occasion but this week we’re going to start a long walk down the remaining street, Walmer Road. In its prime Walmer Road ran west from Latimer Road then curved south and ended at Princedale Road.

Here is number one Walmer Road:

Walmer Road north side no1 Latimer Arms 1971 KS2710

The Latimer Arms, an impressive Victorian tavern. Next to it is number 1a:

Walmer Road north side 1a 1971 KS2709

By 1971 these two buildings were all that remained of the low numbers of Walmer Road. Here they are on an OS map:

OS map featuring Walmer Road sept 1971 sheet11 - Copy

It looks as though Walmer Road had fallen off the edge of the world, which is not far off the immediate effect of the construction of the Westway. It obliterated a whole section of Walmer Road and truncated Latimer Road. Walmer Road continued further on in the shadow of the new roundabout which included the spur road to Shepherd’s Bush.

OS map featuring Walmer Road 1968 - Copy

Some side streets had gone altogether while the inhabitants of the others and the north side of Walmer Road had been cut off from the rest of the street.

Walmer Road looking east from Pamber Street 1970 KS2702

This is a view looking east from Pember Street. A resident told me that as houses were demolished and the elevated road was constructed, apart from the expected problems of noise and dust, rats left the site in large numbers heading north towards the remaining houses. This is what the residents saw looking west:

Walmer Road site looking west from Pamber Street 1970 KS4703

In the other direction they could see see the rest of Walmer Road, now a long way off for them.

Walmer Road looking east from Westway 1970 KS2707

The street numbers began again at 117 and beyond the railway viaduct Walmer Road continued.

Walmer Road south side 122-124 1969 KS1454

This is an earlier picture taken in July 1969, the same month John Rogers took the Hurstway Road pictures. Knowing that, I can feel something of the more relaxed atmosphere of the summer. Although beyond the bridge demolition and construction was already well under way the old community survives on this side. There’s another Ford Zephyr, and is that an estate version of the Citroen DS?

You can see the new road in the distance as well as more of the strange configuration of lights on the Citroen in this picture:

Walmer Road Metropolitan Line bridge 1969 KS1455

Here the rows of shops and small businesses begin.

Walmer Road north side side no129 1969 KS1460

England’s Dairy with milk crates and delivery bikes ready for the next morning.

Further along at 137, Orridge’s supplied food for pets and working animals.

Walmer Road south side no 137 1969 KS1459

You saw one of those working horses in the Hurstway Street post. I’ve been told that in the late afternoon the cart drivers and their animals would converge on Orridge’s and the boys working in the shop would have to load up the nose bags for the horses, quite hard work.

Walmer Road crossed Lancaster Road at this point and Clarendon Road split off on its own.

Clarendon Road looking south from Lancaster Road 1970 KS1690

In this picture Clarendon Road is in the centre heading south and Walmer Road continues to the right between the building with the dark shop front ( a closed down TV rental place) and where the three women are standing in the road.

The man in the doorway in the picture below looks a bit suspicious but is probably innocently leaving the upstairs flat.

Walmer Road east side 145 1971 KS1500

The picture below looks back up Walmer Road. You can see the Beehive pub and the Methodist Church on the corner of Lancaster Road.

Walmer Road looking north from Bomore Road 1969 KS1503

Look at the open minivan.

Walmer Road west side no176 1969 KS1504

In this picture taken seconds later the van is closed and its owner about to drive off. A man in an upstairs window continues their conversation till the last possible moment. Did you notice Nick’s Café earlier? Nick had also diversified into hairdressing just across the road it seems. I suppose it could be a completely separate Nick.

Walmer Road has now finished its curve and is now going south towards Notting Hill Gate. The terraced housing and shops give way to newer housing blocks such as this one:

Walmer Road east side Barlow House 1971 KS1048

Barlow House, part of a 1950s LCC development. This is where we draw breath for a week before attempting the final stretch which takes us into different territory and made Colin MacInnes’s protagonist change his tune.

I’ll almost certainly take you down Clarendon Road in the not too distant future.

Thanks to John Henwood for his reminiscences and a discussion about the tricky question of dating the demolitions in Walmer Road.

Details from OS maps copyright Ordnance Survey.

109 responses to “A long walk down Walmer Road 1969-1971 Part 1

  • Debbie Robson

    It wasn’t that long ago that I read the book so it’s really interesting to see photos from one of the character’s many walks around London!

  • Chris Pain

    Thanks for the name check Dave! Fascinating pictures! I’m looking forward to reading Alan Johnson’s book about his childhood in nearby “pre-gentrified Notting Hill” and also Chelsea, where he was educated (Sloane School). It comes out in June.

  • Mike O'Brien

    The Citroen DS looks like a DS Safari, which was an estate version, although it looks like it has a couple of extra rear lights outside of the chrome bumper overriders either side of the rear number plate. Looks like a Vauxhall Viva Estate passing by, which would have been quite new at the time I think.

    I knew the area a little, as a child we used to get the Met line from Goldhawk Road to either Ladbroke Grove or Latimer Road in the 50’s to visit my uncle/aunt/cousin. In the 60’s it would have been either District line from Stamford Brook to Hammersmith, then Met line from there, although I have a vague recollection of getting a train from somewhere in Acton as well (somehow). In the very late 60’s / very early 70’s a school friend of mine lived very near to the Westway construction and demolition areas, by that time they seemed to live pretty much in what had effectively become a cul-de-sac, where the rest of the road seemed to be boarded-up and derelict.

  • pauline duncan

    as a child I lived in No.116 walmer road, although the properties were old they were all very clean and respectful inside. My mother being very house proud. we were a happy community. The redevelopememt and uprooting caused many health problems for the elderly who had lived there most of there lives, my mother died shortly afterwards after being moved to a horribe prefabicated house in Fulham

    • Carol Anne Walton

      Totally agree with everything you have said Pauline re: clean and respectful and a very very happy community. The only family I can remember along your part of Walmer Road, the dad was in to greyhounds, could that be your dad?

  • jor

    looking forwards to your continuation down the Clarendon Road. Keep up the great work Dave…

  • Peter Freeman

    Nick’s cafe on Walmer Rd was used as a location in the film ‘Morgan, A Suitable Case For Treatment’ in 1966.


  • Peter Freeman

    Nick’s cafe on Walmer Rd was used as a location in the film ‘Morgan, A Suitable Case For Treatment’ in 1966.

  • Babar

    WOW !! UNBELIEVABLE – We lived at 124,Walmer road (Babar Kirby) – my dad Tommy Kirby – he owed the garage and OMG see “England dairy” across the road – I remember going over there for “scooby do’s, 3 black jacks for a penny” – the memories xx – MANY thanks for sharing these

  • Tony Faris

    How interesting. As a child in the 50’s I spent many hours in the Lancaster Road swimming baths. We would usually go a café in Silchester Road afterwards for slices of bread and dripping at one old penny a slice.

  • Steve Cook (@MrCook2USon)

    Nick’s Cafe also starred in an episode of the Sweeney – Cover Story. A serious amount of detective work went into locating it on the Sweeney Forum:

    The debate is ongoing about the demolition date of The Lancaster Arms – it appears in another Sweeney ep – Supersnout and the first Steptoe and Son film both from the early seventies which contradicts other claims that it was demolished in the 60’s. Any locals recall when it was pulled down for the Verity Close development?

  • Elizabeth Bee Smith

    I watched the Barlow House flats being built in 1952. We were to move into flat 11. I used to call on my way to NK Central School, and watch our flat being built. The workmen allowed me to go in and look. Once the electrics were in I was allowed to switch a light on and off. Amazing! We only had gas in Silchester Terrace.When the plumbing was up and running the workmen let me look at the bathroom, and flush the toilet. I was in awe! In the Terrace we shared the house with 2 other families – one on each floor, two rooms each. The toilet was outside on the yard, and used by everyone in the house. We had a zinc bath which hung on a nail in the back yard, Friday nights Mum brought it inside, placed it in front of the fire, and filled it with cold water in a bucket, topped with several kettles full of hot water. We three girls all used the same water – me first into the clean water,as I was the oldest. Age has its privileges!!! When the time came for us to move to Barlow House everything we owned, except the clothes we wore, were taken to the fumigator to kill off any fleas we might have. We sat on the cold floor of our new flat eating fish and chips, and thinking we were in Heaven. My Mum lived in that flat for over 40 years. What memories!

    • Michael Goddard

      Hi my nan and grandad
      lived at No 9 Barlow House from when it was built.
      John and Nancy Goddard.

      • Elizabeth Smith

        My mum knew your Nan and Grandad. I have some pictures of the flats being built. We were so excited to be moving in what we thought was a very posh flat, and us 3 girls having a big bedroom to share. Mum knew almost everyone in the flats. She used to do sewing and alterations for people. It was like a little community all looking out for each other.

  • Geraldine moore

    Do you or anyone know how I can get photos of fowell street or do you remember balls the sweet shop and the doctors also the mission also do you know the Taylor or the seers famileys

  • Patrick Mulpeter

    My Nan owned the Lancaster Arms and, I lived there in the early sixties.

  • Geraldine moore

    Great site waited years for photos of the talbot as we called it never thought I would walk it again brilliant more please geraldine

  • leapfrogmark

    My dad moved to Walmer Road in about 1951 from Ireland – the Shanahan family – he’s John, and lived there with brothers Chris, Richie, and Bill, and sisters Breda, Margaret and Yvonne – plus dad Joe and mum Madge. Not sure of the number, but it was one of the houses compulsorily purchased in the late 60s to make way for the Westway. I have early memories of sitting in the kitchen on a Saturday evening around 67-68 time eating sausages – and have a vague memory of my nan being in the paper for getting onto the Westway (when it opened?) as part of a protest against the compulsory purchase.

    My mum and dad had moved into a flat in Oxford Gardens, but decided to ‘move upmarket’ (!) and bought an end of terrace in Monks Park, Wembley when I was a baby.

    My nan and grandad were moved out to Hanwell – and for the rest of their lives felt cheated on the price they were given for the Walmer Road house.

    • Carol Anne Walton

      The Shanahan family lived at No. 51 Walmer Road, I lived next door to them. I can’t remember your dad John, or Chris but can remember Pat Shanahan, who was a friend of my brother and can remember Breda, Margaret, Richie, William and Yvonne. Yvonne was the youngest and the only one born there. You nan and grand-dad and all the family were very nice people. It was a terrible time when they started moving everyone out, families that had lived there for generations. My aunt, who lived in our house moved to Hanwell and often saw you nan and grand-dad.

      • Mark Shanahan

        Pat and Chris are one and the same – he married a woman named Pat, so used to use his middle name (though he was always Pat to my nan). He died quite young some years back. My dad’s the next brother. My sister lived in the house as a baby – funny enough she’s called Carole Anne!

      • Carol Anne Walton

        Well I don’t think any of us knew that Pat’s name was really Chris! I am sure that I would have seen you and your sister at your nan’s. Do you have any contact with your aunts and uncles? If you could give me your e-mail, I have a photo of your nan and grand-dad, which my dad took, a good 50 years ago, or more, which you may like.

      • leapfrogmark

        Still in touch with the family – some directly, others through my dad. These days we seem to mainly meet up at funerals. My email’s mark.shanahan@leapfrogcomms.com – I’d love to see the photo and will pass it on to my dad. Thanks!

  • Kay griffin

    I would love to see or read about 28 latimer rd.My mother and grand parents and great grandparents lived there until 1939.

  • Maree Langburne

    My Great Grandmother ( Mary Woods, nee Hobbs) lived at 3 Walmer House, Walmer Rd around 1916. This was the address her son Frederick Horace Woods ( my Grandad) put on his enlistment form in 1916 for the Australian Army.
    What was Walmer House? Does anyone have any photos?

    Many thanks,
    Maree Langburne
    Sydney, Australia

  • Brian Collins

    Hello, I used to walk along Walmer Road from Penzance Place to my school St.Francis Juniors, 1962-1966. One of my best mates was Michael Shafkalis-may he rest in peace-his dad owned the café in your pictures, Michael’s mum was Welsh, he told me that at his parent’s wedding the guests pinned pound notes on his mum’s wedding dress. Hard area to grow up in, I seemed to spend half my life as a kid visiting relations in Southam Street, Harrow Road, etc. Wouldn’t change it for anything. The Zetland pub, Don’s, Hilarion fish & chip shop on Princedale Road. Bentons’ shoe shop, little cafes everywhere. Loved the great mates at The Rugby Club, especially camp in the summer at St.Mary’s Bay in Kent.

    • Julia evans

      Hello Brian my name is Julia ,I live in Cardiff and am Michael’s cousin , I spent many happy school holidays in nicks cafe ,our family have been very moved to read that after all these years you remember mike , we all still miss him it was so tragic , Michael would have been 60 this coming January , but to us he will always be the lovely tall dark haired seventeen year old ,

      • Brian Collins

        Thank you Julia, for this message. What always struck me was Michael’s generosity. Money was tight in my family and he would pay for both of us to go to the ‘pictures’-usually the Odeon in Shepherd’s Bush. At our Christmas party at school he always brought loads of food, I wonder if his mum was aware of where all the cakes & buns went? Also, we used to buy a Red Rover on a Saturday morning-which allowed us unlimited travel on the buses. Typical of Michael, going past Boots the chemist he insisted we get off so he could buy a new razor-it was for his dad’s birthday. Regards, Brian

  • Kayode

    Does anyone remember Dr S J Fisher, a GP who used to practice on Walmer Road from the mid sixties till the seventies? I need to recall the actual address of the practice on Walmer Road. I was a kid then and don’t remember the door number. My family moved away in the mid seventies. I know the practise has closed, but I need to track down my old medical records. Any help on the Walmer Road address and where they moved to would be appreciated.



  • kenley

    My GP back in the 1960s 1970s was a Dr Fisher in Walmer Road W11
    The Moreland Medical Centre
    188 Walmer Road, London, W11 4EP Telephone: 020 7727 2604
    Hope this might be of some help..

  • kenley

    Hi, Has anyone any photos of Kenley Street W11 which is now demolished
    and replaced with Kenley Walk W11
    Any help appreciated.

    • Brian Collins

      Hello Kenley, I’m aware it’s not everyone’s cuppa tea but try Facebook. I belong to 2 sites run by fabulous, dedicated people. I have seen amazing images of streets long gone. Born in W.11 & North Ken History Group. Regards.

  • flo.bain

    flo bain November 25th 2014

    Hi just want to say that my grandparents lived in 51 walmer road between
    1946 to 1954 they were the Bell family.
    the Spencer family lived in 51 walmer road between 1952 to 1954.
    My other grand parents the Tarrants lived at 57 walmer road in 1901.
    I would appreiciate any information about these families from anyone who may have known them.

    • leapfrogmark

      Hi – I’m sure my family would have known the Bells. My family are the Shanahans who lived in 55 Walmer Road from 1951-66. I’ll ask my mum and dad (John Shanahan) for any info I can find out.

    • Carol Anne Walton

      Hi Flo, I remember the Spencer family very well. I was friends with Barbara Spencer and she had a sister Joyce and a brother Peter. I lived next door to them. I think they lived there longer than 1952-54! They moved to Stamford Hill area and we kept in touch for a while, up until we both got married. I believe that Barbara’s mum was from the Bell family. I don’t know of your other grandparents living at 57. A bit before my time!

      • flo.bain

        hi Carol
        Thank you for getting back to me.
        Do you know if Barbara mum and dads names were Agnes and Sydney
        did you know any of the bell family in 51.


      • Carol Anne Walton

        Yes Flo, Barbara’s mum and dad was Sidney and Agnes. I didn’t know any of the Bell family but I know that Benjamin, Caroline and Lilian Bell lived there from 1949-1954 and quite possibly earlier than 1949. They were not living there in 1956. How are you connected to the Bells and Spencers?

      • flo.bain

        Hi Carol

        Benjamin & Caroline was my dads mum & dad -my grandparents
        Lilian was my dads sister and she had a twin sister called Violet.
        They lived in 51 from 1946 and agnes and Sydney were there in 1948.
        Do you know wheher Joyce married a Collins.
        I am trying to find out as much as I can about my grandparents and maybe
        some photos.
        Does Barbara still live in Stamford Hill
        I think my grandparents moved to SW15 in 1958

    • Carol Anne Walton

      Hi Flo, have just remembered that Barbara and Joyce had an older sister called Maureen. I am sure that Joyce was not married from No. 51, therefore married when she moved away, if that is any help. If you ever get in touch with Barbara, please let me know. Good luck.

      • flo.bain

        Thanks carol

        Do you know what Barbara’s married name was.
        In 1954 their was a William Spencer as well as Agnes – Sydney I am not sure whether he was their son or not.
        I did not know my grandparents on my dads side so any little
        details about them is helpful.
        Do you know anything about The greengrocers on he corner
        of Manchester road and East mews road owned by the Krells.


      • Carol Anne Walton

        Sorry Flo don’t know of William or any more info. The green grocers was known to us as Jack Halls. Not heard of it called by any other name.

      • flo.bain

        Hi Carol

        Thank you very much for all information what you have told me has been
        very helpful.
        Will let you know if I find out anything about Barbara.
        The green grocers were the Krells but they traded under the name of
        Jack Hall.


      • flo.bain

        hi carol

        thank you for all the information you gave me about the spencer family at 51 Walmer road I have found them all and have spoken to Barbara and peter and they have given me some information.
        thank you again.

      • Carol Anne Walton

        Hi Flo thanks for letting me know that you have spoken to Barbara and Peter and pleased to hear that they have given you more information. Could you give Barbara my email address, as I would love to hear from her.

      • flo.bain

        February 2nd 2015

        Hi Carol

        Have spoken to Barbara about you getting in touch she is not on the internet but her daughter is so if you let me have your email address I will pass it on to her.

      • Carol Anne Walton

        Hi Flo. Yes I would love to hear from Barbara, via her daughter. My email address is fuchsiarama@btinternet.com thank you for contacting Barbara for me. All the best, regards Carol.

    • Debbie hobbs

      There was a bill bell who was a totter , there was also a family of Bells , one was vi bell, also the Spencer’s also lived in silchester road … big family the spencers had stalls in portobello road …benny, Harry spencer

      • Flo Bain

        Hi Debbie
        Thanks for the information . The Vi Bell you’ve mentioned could be my dads sister Violet Bell who had a twin sister Lilian Bell. He also had another sister called Agnes Bell who married a Sidney Spencer.
        I wonder if they could be the same Bells and Spencers?

        Flo Bain

  • Tony Faris

    I have enjoyed reading these comments as I lived in Silchester Street, which was a cul-de-sac off Walmer Road, until about 1957. Could somebody enlighten me where exactly No 51 Walmer Road was in relation to where I lived. For information Berryman’s grocer shop was almost exactly opposite the end of Silchester Street.

  • Carol Anne Walton

    51 Walmer Road was the next block down from your turning, opposite Ivy Kirkum’s sweet shop, on the corner of Pamber Street. I used to get my mum’s shopping in Berrymans, remember the big tins of biscuits, where you could buy loose broken creams, or broken plain biscuits.

  • Roy Reed

    I use to go to Isaac Newton School in the 60s with my brother Terry Reed has anybody got a photo of the old school badge. Then I worked at Fidelity radio in the late 60s early 70s. Use to play in Avondale park for football and play on the swings.I went to Avondale Park and Saint James Norlands. Did a bit of toting with my brothers Terry Dennis and Alan use to hire a 2 wheel barrow from wheel wrights for 17/6 pence per day. If any body can remember me or my brothers send us an email.

    Regards Roy

  • Tracey Gerrard

    My mum grew up in Hurstway street, and I always remember her taking me to see my nan who still lived there and she used to stand in her garden and wave at us as the train pulled in
    So many memories forgotten unfortunately, my sister and I are trying to find out about our grandad for my mum as she doesn’t remember much, so if anyone remembers the Wellers, please get in touch

  • Tony Faris

    It seems a pity that this site has changed from being somewhere I can read about other people’s memories of living in the area to a personal message facility for a few people. Please try using email instead

    • Dave Walker

      I don’t usually moderate discussions in the comments section, it’s not really necessary and I usually only respond to direct enquiries but after some thought I would just like to say that as the author/editor of the blog I’m perfectly happy with readers using the comments section as a way of making contact with each other and I don’t think it prevents other readers adding reminiscences. This post in particular has attracted a great many people who used to live in Walmer Road and for me this is an excellent outcome. On other posts descendants of people like Dr Phene and Mrs McCulloch have been able to talk to each other. A blog like this is intended to be interactive so I hope you can forgive the occasional communication between readers and still find the posts interesting. I haven’t done many posts about streets using the 1970s photos recently because I’ve realised how many people out there know far more than me and this means I have to make sure everything I write is accurate.

      • Claudia

        I LOVE your blogs and the pictures and the conversations and memories they inspire. I live in a house that was built in the 70’s and I now know what our houses replaced. We overlook Avondale park which gives me pleasure every single day in every season. I knew about the shelter but what a joy to see your pictures of it – I walk the dog there every day. I know they replaced the railings a few years ago along the park edge as they had all been removed for the war effort. Our new railings are beautiful. We love the area and we love knowing the history of it so thank you!

  • paultodman

    It’s fascinating to read the memories of those whose families used to live in the North Kensington area. With the benefit of some old (pre-Westway) maps I’ve been able to find that parallel with Walmer Road and Silchester Road the road my grandparents lived in (Blechynden Street) intersected with Bramley Road north of Latimer Road station.

    I hadn’t realised just how long Blechynden Street was. I certainly remember the doglegged section west of Bramely Road. My grandparents used to live just near the bend I think, at number 65. But I didn’t realise that it also extended east of Bramley, quite far in fact, with a kink under the Metropolitan line (as it then was) bridge.

    I’ve been back to the area to find that all that is now left of my Nan’s street is a little stump forming the first bit of that eastern section. It’s a shame there is so little left of it and I am always on the look out for pictures of the western part.

    My grandparents’ place, as well as being my late mother’s family home, was also a shoe repairers. My grandfather’s surname was Castaldo (‘Cassie’, as my Nan used to call him) and I remember him wearing his light brown working coat in the shop. He only spoke broken English but I remember him as having a lovely sense of humour and being such a genuine person. I would be very interested to hear from any ex-locals who might remember their shoes being taken to 65 Bletchynden Street to be repaired.

    • Roy Farndale

      Has any body on here got any pictures of Oldham road from 1958 or before, previously to 1935 in was called Manchester road, I would love to see them. It went across Silchester rd, from Walmer rd to Blechynden st, some people called the short (low numbers 2 to 12 and 1 to 11, little Oldham, that was not official, the main part of the road was numbers 14 up to fifty something I cant remember on the Latimer mews side, the other side started after the Black Bull pub, that was on the corner of Oldham rd and Silchester rd, on that side going up the street was an empty shop/building, then Tom Sangers second hand shop, I believe the next shop was the Badge Café, then Berrymans original shop, then Biggs the butchers, he was known as Baron Biggs, after that was at one time a Barbers shop, next to that on the corner of East Mews rd was Halls the greengrocers, the man that ran it was known as Freddie Hall any way, continuing up the street was a shop on the opposite corner of East Mews that I cant remember ever being open, after that was a row of terraced house up to a shop on the corner, that was Sleeps a greengrocer, if I remember right they didn’t open much, I don’t think they could compete with Halls, I believe the Sleeps were related to the Peirce family that lived on the high even numbered side, I’m, remember Mr Peirce was a postman, he had an orange tree in his small front garden.
      If you were to turn left at Sleeps shop into Blechynden st, a short distance to the other end of East mews rd, almost opposite there was Castaldos boot and shoe repair shop, I remember buying second hand work boots from him when I started work, he used to sell them fully mended ready to wear, further on in Blechynden st on the other corner of East mews was the bagwash and laundry shop, nearly every body used to use the bagwash in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, a few houses further on was Faheys the Bakers, they to sell fresh warm bread and lovely cakes, I think I will stop here, don’t want bore any body with my old memories.
      Roy Farndale, late of W10, now living in the east midlands.

      • paultodman

        Roy – you say you don’t want to bore anybody with your old memories but I find them fascinating, so please don’t hold back. The Castaldo’s were my grandparents for one thing, and I have many pleasant memories of my visits to them.

        I don’t think I have any pictures of Oldham Road or Manchester Road, but I did manage to copy some old pictures from the area on a visit to the now defunct Kensington & Chelsea Community History Group in around 2003. They are black and white photocopied pictures so I don’t know how well they would come out if I scanned them into my computer, but I may well try this soon.

        Amongst them I have the following: (1) the last house to be demolished for the making of the Westway, taken from Bramley Road, (2) a Blechynden Street victory street party (the organising committee) taken outside what appears to be a pub with a name I can’t make out, (3) another street party shot in a more residential area, (4) the public baths/laundry on the corner of Lancaster and Silchester Roads, (5) Blechynden Street looking west in 1969 from Lancaster Road, (6) looking down the road from the junction of Clarendon, Walmer and Lancaster Roads,prior to demolition work in the in 1970s, (7) a street party in Blechynden Street.

        The street party shots were presumably taken just after the last war. If you or anyone else is interested I can email them to you in the hope that they come out ok. You never know, there may be some old faces in these pictures that somebody recognises!

        By the way, on the subject of my grandfather mending shoes, my parents frowned on those pointed shoes that were all the rage in the early sixties and I was never allowed a pair. That was until my grandfather gave me a pair that had been left with him for repair but never collected. My parents couldn’t argue with a free pair of shoes for me, and they were a good fit too!

      • Roy Farndale

        Hi Paul, I would welcome any old photos of W10 or W11, I don’t know what the protocol; is on here for exchanging email addresses, but if you could send any scans of pics to me at roy@farndales.com I seem to remember your grandfather telling me he came from Italy with some other Italian families like Mancini of the ice cream and café shop in Bramley Rd, if you got him talking, he would tell all old tales of his boyhood, it was fascinating to me then as I hadn’t been abroad then, thanks in advance Paul, regards Roy Farndale.

    • Roy Farndale

      I remember Castaldos boot shop very well, he was a lovely man, always smiled and nodded to you as you passed his shop while he was busy mending shoes.
      Roy Farndale.

      • Rosemarie Tedeschi

        My grandma was Carrie Mancini from 57 Bramley Road. When she sold up she came to live with us in Ealing and I spent many an evening listening to her tales of Bramley Road. I managed to find a pic of her Cafe as I had an image of it that always stood out in my mind. My mum who grew up there, seemed more reluctant to talk about it. I run a site called I grew up in West London and people share their memories.

      • paultodman

        That’s interesting to hear Rosemarie. The Castaldos at 65 Blechynden St were my grandparents and we lived in Ealing, travelling up to North Ken via the District and Met lines, changing at Hammersmith (you still have to cross the road in Hammersmith to make that connection today!). My grandparents didn’t come to Ealing like yours but were moved to a council house (which was very nice) in Hanwell, so it was a shorter journey to visit them. But I missed going up to North Ken and of course today it’s very different. I still have QPR as my football team and was up there last Saturday for the last home game of the season. Went by Portobello Road and Latimer Road, paying my respects at Grenfell en route. I always feel a bit sad about the disappearance of those old streets and buildings, which is why this site is so appealing.

    • Roy Farndale

      Hi Paul, you told me your grandparents were Castaldos of the shoe repair shop in Blechynden rd, I have a picture of the road showing a side view of the part Castaldos shop was, if you want it, give me your email address and I will send it to you.

    • Joe Webb

      Hi Paul.

      I knew your whole family mum gran and grandpa and your mum’s brother uncle Victor he was a insurance man.


      • paultodman

        Joe that’s absolutely amazing! I’d love to know more about what you knew of my family. Did you know my Mum’s twin brother (Peter) and her other older brother (Vin)? Whereabouts did you live in North Ken?

      • Joe Webb

        Dear Paul Todman..

        I lived at that time in Latimer Rd I walked past Cassie Castaldo’s shop
        every day to go to school, I knew all the Castaldo family, but Vicktor more
        My mum had a insurance policy with him. Vick was a agent for Royal London or Royal Victoria insurance company, he collected the premium weekly in them days, he sometimes come round with brother Peter.

        And of cause we always had shoes repaired at Castaldos.I remember
        your grandparents very well, they was very happy amazing times for me back then never to be seen again, there was fantastic people and unbelievable characters live in North Kensington.

        I can see Roy has replied to you in the past he is also very knowledgeable of the area.

        God Bless
        Kind Regards

        Joe Webb

      • paultodman

        Hi Joe. It’s amazing to hear how well you knew my family. I’d love to share more with you. If you want to email direct I’m on paultoman@yahoo.co.uk.

        Thanks again, Paul

  • fred baxter

    I remember standing in the street outside Willie Shanahan’s house in Walmer Road with about fifteen other kids watching the Beatles on Sunday Night at the London Pallidium through the window.

  • debbie

    Lots of memories and pictures to share on

  • Roy Farndale

    my mum worked in Berrymans shop while it was in Oldham rd and she stayed there when they moved to Silchester Rd, then it was opposite Higgs the sweet/paper shop. I painted the front of the shop in Silchester Rd.
    Roy Farndale, was from Oldham rd

  • Roy Farndale

    Hi Dave Walker, the photographer of the collection on this page, my brother and I are both looking forward with great interest to your forthcoming ‘long walk down Clarendon Rd’. do you have any pictures of Oldham rd or Mersey st, Blechynden st or even the Latimer rd end of Silchester rd up to Bramley rd if you or anyone else has any pics we would love to see them. regards, Roy Farndale.

  • Valeria

    Does anyone remember Southam street in the 1920s-30s? Would be great to see any pictures / hear any anecdotes of life back then. My mum was Celia (Cissie) Rutland (brother Daniel, sisters Ethel and Dorothy). My mum used to play a lot with a family of kids called Billy, Bobby, Betty, Eddie, Johnny and Jean. When my aunt Ethel died, I met a few of them – William, Robert, Elisabeth, Edward, etc… – at her funeral.

  • Ellen

    I went to Start Francis school top of kenley Street next to walmer Rd

  • Teresa Ball

    I have just discovered this article and have been fascinated by it. I was born in 4 walmer roadand have two sisters and a brother. We were rehoused in 1936 to Hanwell, a very nice estate. I,and all my siblings, lived there until our marriages, and my parents moved to Littlehampton in around 1970. My maiden name was England, and I attended st Francis school.

  • Ellen

    Hi I lived in kenley Street since 1954 which was around the corner from walmer road when to Start Francis School I use to go to the rugby club walmer road my doctor’s was in Lancaster Dr Tanner

  • Ellen

    My Auntie lived in walmer road Chris Hayward had two daughter Rita Catherine son Paul would anybody remember them.

  • Martin Hayman

    I lived briefly at 130 Walmer Road, on what I now discover was called Lancaster Circus. We used to drink at the pub opposite when I was home of an evening, but in those days I was mostly up in the West End. The entire area was in its death throes and we moved out when our building’s demolition was imminent. A month of two later I came by and the facade had been torn off so you could see the interior of our living room hanging out over the street, a bizarre experience.

    This must have been as late as 1975, when I teamed up with two friends to bid for a much grander home, a semi-detached villa in Aldridge Road Villas (off Westbourne Park Road). We successfully gazumped the Notting Hill Housing Trust and became freeholders in the City of Westminster. The house was a wreck, having been squatted by junkies. A pity we fell out and sold up in 1984: that house is now worth several million.

  • Martin Hayman

    130 Walmer Road is the building behind the three women in ks1690.jpg. Goodness how down-at-heel it looks!

  • Jason. Kemp

    Hi does. Any. One. Remember. The kemp family

    • steve rose

      Hi i remember the kemp family they lived in pamber st as did we my name is steve rose my nan was good friends with kitty who was a great laugh she moved into a small flat in darfield way silchester est

  • Richard Pierce

    Walmer road is where the first comemerations to the dead were laid as it was outside the exclusion zone set up on June 14

  • Ellen

    Hi I lived in kenley Street of walmer rd and Wilson Street went to St Francis up the top of my street played in the park called the Rec does anybody remember

    • Harry

      Kenley street, happy days and memories.
      I was born in Kenley street in 1945 spent many happy days playing in the Rec, my gran lived in Wilsham Street, St Francis school had the playground on the roof, my 3 older sisters went to St Francis Pottery lane
      I went to St Francis primary Treadgold Street then onto St Francis Boys Silchester Road,

      • Ellen

        Hi Harry what number did you live at as you might know my brothers lol kenley Street was like Cornation Street


      • Harry

        Hi Ellen, We lived in Alfred House, corner of Kenley street and Sirdar road.
        We were a big family there, my 6 aunts, 2 in Kenley street, 2 around the corner in Sirdar road, and 2 in Wilsham street same house as my gran.
        so all the cousins boys and girls grew up together in the area. we used to play in the street and up the rec. great times.

      • Ellen

        Hi Harry
        What number Kenley Street did your Aunt’s Live at I lived at number 9 Kenley Street next door to the Walkers and Pat Vary

      • Ellen

        What a small world are they still about pat vary his wife

  • Harry

    Hi Ellen, cannot remember the number, but the Walkers and Varys are my cousins. of 22 cousins in the area of Kenley street, Sirdar road and Wilsham street.

  • Charlie Taylor

    I was one of the milk round boys who delivered for Bill at England’s Dairy sometimes with 40 pints of milk in Crates on the front of those trade bikes and before that a paper boy for his brother Len next door – all before trekking up to Holland Park to school – Happy Days!
    Charlie Taylor

  • Paula Barnard

    Hi – just come across this site – it is fascinating – my mum, dad, sister (Eileen) and I (Pauline) Nicholls lived above the England Dairies/paper shop (131 Walmer Road) from about 1947 – 1956. I remember the England family – the ‘children’ were Eric and Christine England. We had a friend who lived across the road – Linda Stakles – does anyone remember her or us.

  • Kate

    Hi- My nan and grandad are Stanley and Patricia Orridge, Does anyone remember /know them? My nan has such fond stories of Walmer road, it’d be great to get her in touch with some one!\

    • Roy Farndale

      Hi Kate, my brother and I used to buy bird seed and pigeon food from Orridges shop in walmer rd over a few years, always loved the smell of that shop.

  • stephen rose

    Hi I remember the orridge pet shop in walmer rd my granddad bill byden used to get his pigeon there happy days my name is steve rose i used to live at 1 pamber st

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