A long walk down Walmer Road 1969-1971 Part 2

I left you last week at Dulford Street facing south.

Walmer Road looking south from Dulford Street Feb 1971 KS1047 detail

Those two women are staring at you so we’d better move on. This section of Walmer Road is where there had been most changes since the 1930s. Here is Barlow House under construction (see how the crane is running on rails?):

Barlow House Walmer Road 1951 K4347B L-5983

The Beehive pub is visible in this picture but look opposite Barlow House at the row of terraced houses and the low industrial building.  The street between them is Bomore Road, which was actually moved southwards when Kensington Sports Centre was built. (Forgive me if I find that fascinating – it took me several minutes staring at two nearly identical 1960s OS maps to realise what had been done.) I once met someone who was in one of our photos of Bomore Road. It’s a good story but I can’t show you the picture.

This view is from 1937:

Notting Hil Brewery Site, Front elevation to Walmer Rd Dec 1937

This shows the Walmer Road entrance to the Notting Hill brewery. When that was demolished a new housing block was built, Nottingwood House. You can see pictures of the demolition in the Ruins and reconstruction in North Kensington post (link opposite).

Walmer Road east side Nottingwood House 1971 KS1049

Further south more industrial buildings were replaced.

Walmer Road east side 223 1971 KS1051

The Rugby Club was a long standing sporting and social club for young people first established in an old bus yard as a boys’ club in 1889 by a former pupil of Rugby School. This building dates from the early 1960s. (Who was Jim Shay- a name significant enough to be repeated by the writer but now forgotten?).

Some original buildings survived. Below you can see number 239 one of two surviving artisan’s cottages showing some signs of early gentrification.

Walmer Road East side 243-241 1971 KS1053

Shutters, a recent paint job and a Renault 4 parked outside. These two houses have survived and now look even more prosperous.

On the west side of the road there was a Council depot:

Walmer Road west side RBKC depot about 236 1971 KS1034

See the pile of rubbish bags on the left. Was there a strike on at the time?

Walmer Road west side The Cottage 1971 KS1033 Ford Galaxie

Also on the west side a building called the Cottage which I wouldn’t have included as it’s still there today but is that a Ford Galaxie parked outside incongruously juxtaposed with a Morris Traveller?

The final stretch of Walmer Road had a long narrow school building, St John’s disused in 1971.

Walmer Road east side St Johns School - disused - 1971 KS1054

Two men are doing something with a long pole or plank but I couldn’t say what exactly.

Walmer Road east side St Johns School gate 1971 KS1055

They didn’t choose to go through the open gate where several other planks are stacked.

On the west side of the road was the main feature of this end of Walmer Road, Avondale Park.

Walmer Road looking north from Hippodrome Place 1971 KS1026

This view northwards shows the disused kiln the only thing from this section of the east side of the road which survives to this day.

At this time Avondale Park was a classic municipal park as laid out in their hundreds in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Lodge seen below has the faintly rural look of park buildings with a hint of Arts and Crafts about it.

Walmer Road west side Avondale Park Lodge 1971 KS1028

In 1971 when John Rogers took these pictures it had been more or less forgotten that beneath the park was a small network of tunnels built in 1939 as air raid shelters. They were revealed a couple of years ago during landscaping work and I got a chance to go into them before they were sealed again. I wrote about them in one of my first blog posts, Secrets of Avondale Park (see drop down menu Complete list of posts) but here is one of my low resolution photos:


Back in February 1971 this woman, struggling with her inquisitive dog had no idea what lay below:

Walmer Road west side Avondale Park 1971 KS1031 detail of woman

Avondale Park marks the southern end of Walmer Road. In 1971 there was a junction with Princedale Road, Kenley Street, Hippodrome Place and Pottery Lane.  All street names which sound picturesque and rural rather than sinister as the narrator of Absolute Beginners described the street names at the Latimer Road end. He could see the difference:

On the south side of this area, down by the W11, things are a little different, but in a way that somehow makes them worse, and that is. Owing to a freak of fortune, and some smart work by the estate agents too, I shouldn’t be surprised, there are one or two sections that are positively posh: not fashionable, mind you, but quite graded, with their big back gardens and that absolute silence, which in London is the top sign of a respectable location. You walk about in these bits, adjusting your tie and looking down to see if your shoes are shining, when – wham! Suddenly you’re back in the slum area again – honest, it’s really startling, like where the river joins on to the shore, too quite different creations of dame nature, cheek by thing

Princedale Road in 1971 was already looking upwardly mobile:

Princedale Road west side 125-127 1971 KS1106

The houses and shops look well kept, the cars cleaner.

Princedale Road east side 46-50 1970 KS705

Is that a Bristol on the right? Remember their only showroom is a short drive away in Kensington High Street. The demonstrator cars there had the cherished number plates 100 MPH and MPH 100.  But don’t let me get bogged down in motoring trivia. What are those two guys doing in the camper van? That’s probably another story.

21 responses to “A long walk down Walmer Road 1969-1971 Part 2

  • Malcolm Edwards

    The American car parked outside the Cottage is a third generation Ford Thunderbird, built between 1961 and 1963.

    The vehicle parked outside David Joel Ltd is a Gordon Keeble, a rare and desirable British sports car produced between 1963 and 1967. A total of just 100 cars were built during that period

    • Dave Walker

      Thanks for more of your motoring expertise. The Gordn Keeble makes the point about the changing nature of the area even more strongly. I’m thinking of doing a whole post on unusual cars in the photo survey to mark this year’s CityRead events (I’ve agreed to do a whole month of transport related posts). Perhaps I should submit some images to you for identification beforehand.

  • joe

    Well Dave, i am lost for words on how i feel after looking at these images, ‘overjoyed’ might do it ! I was born at 120 Clarendon road many moons ago. I can remember going with my mother down to the shops before they plopped a great big housing estate on top of them. I remember many of the shops and pub off licenses, my big brother worked as a delivery boy for Hawkins. I remember fondly the bakery where me and my sibling would buy Chelsey buns after swimming at the swimming baths. However, all these memories were just that… memories. I had looked high and low for images on the internet to share with my Canadian born children this wonderful place where i was born and bred, but never could. Now, after finding your work i can. Thank you so very much. When i entered my teen years i moved to #10 Nottingwood house. Did you know that because of all the brewery extract that was left beneath the newly built Nottingwood house it was a haven for cockroaches! They had to fumigate the new building several times before it was comfortable. Just a little fact to add to you so many wonderful ones. Keep up the great work. Joe

  • joe

    Another memory just came to mind after looking a the disused St John’s school photo. My friends and i used to “break in” to the old place during the early 70s, and if i can remember right it was fill with old studio back drops and the floors were covered with miles of tangled movie film. I wonder what films were made there? A little further down the road i remember spending “all nighters” with friends inside the old brick kiln drinking strongbow. We even made a little fire in there to keep the chill off us…..It’s all very posh down there now of course…But that’s what happens when you have too many people and not enough land…The poor get kicked out.

    • Christine

      Joe, I wasn’t born in that area I I came from W3) but a load of my friends were and as a result I went to the Rugby Club Youth Club with them. A number of them lived in streets that were demolished to make way fpor the Westway motorway. Ring any bells with you? Christine

  • Sam Dawson

    Hello Dave,
    Thank you for posting the photos, I was born in 1960 at number 4 bomore road, my Nan’s house.

  • Brian Collins

    Hello, I took my first steps in Penzance Place, these images are so evocative. Most of my mates lived in Wilsham & Kenley St. Sad to read about the passing of the photographer Roger Mayne this month-his group of Teddy Boys outside Don’s shop in Princedale Road is amazing. PS. re. Rugby Club Jim / Shay were 2 different people. Brian

  • Annettre

    Lovely to see the old place. Thank you for posting and sharing your great photos. My folks first pub was the Beehive and we lived there from 1972 – 1974 ish. We then moved to Earls Court but I still went to school in Charles Square.Still my favour
    ite part of London.

  • Nikki

    Great article I was born and brought up in Avondale park road , this brings lots of memories back

    • Christine

      I went to school ( and The Rugby club )with Pat Buzzle from Avondale Park Road do you know the family ? Jennifer , Pat , Susan & Clive . Pat married Alfie Bell

      • Brian Collins

        Hello Christine, apologies if you think I am intruding on this. I knew the Buzzles-like me big Chelsea fans-their front windows were adorned with posters/flags cup final day 1970.I went to The Rugby Club Mon-Fri.1968-1972, then occasionally the ‘old guard’ upstairs. Really love reading all the observations on this site, brings back wonderful memories of growing up in W.11. Other names I recall-Carol Blake, Pauline Reilly, The Farmers. Kind regards, Brian Collins

      • Patricia Bell

        H Christine. I only remember one Christine that I went to school with & the Rugby club. Did you go to Fulham County & have I known you for 50 years??? Patricia Bell was Buzzle

  • Margie Pitcher Morgan

    Lovely to see the old photos. I’ve been in Canada since 1963 , so missed all the “flyover” mess. I was born in Threshers Place and moved to Silchester Rd as a small child, so I knew this area quite well.

    Sadly only memories now, but gives me a lift to reminice

  • Pete Harvey

    I also lived in Avondale Park Road, during the middle 50’s and late 60’s and also went to the Rugby Boys Club. Those photos bring back some great memories. very nostalgic. I’m really bad at names so can’t remember any names mentioned on this site, what a shame.
    Best wishes to all,
    Pete H


    Hi, I was born & bred in Walmer road ( 68 ) , Bramley rd end in the 1930’s .. I have seen lots of changes and not all for the best, I still live in the W10 area .. lovely to read all your lovely memories that you still hold close .. best wishes to everyone ..
    Vi Burden …. ( was Champion )

    April 22 .. 2016

  • catherine

    I grew up in Mary Place with the Whalls, O’Gormans, McCarthys, Paynes, Mustoes, my family now live in America, Australia, and Ireland the name Shay on the Rugby Club wall was Seamus Downing lovely to read the blog and the memories…………….


    In answer to Pat Bell.. yes, my dear old friend, I am that same Christine ( nee Horley who lived in East Acton , went to school in Fulham but was drawn to the Rugby Club and that area, by my schoolfriend Pat Buzzle ! Apollo’s World on on a Sunday..loved it .

    • Patricia Bell

      Ah Christine. So many happy memories from those days. Where has the time gone. One minute we were teenagers talking about what we were going to wear & now all we talk about is our pension!!!
      I do hope you are well my friend. It would be lovely to catch up some day xxx

  • Shirley

    My mum who died in 2002 aged 89, was born at 14 Talbot Grove. Never knew exactly where it was despite the fact I lived in Acklam Road for the first 20 years of my life.

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