Lots Road south to north:1972 and 2013

I left you last week at the Balloon Tavern which looked a bit bleak and isolated in 1972. But a couple of days ago, more than forty years later it looked like this:


The south to north arm of Lots Road has changed considerably in forty years. One of the readers of last week’s post made this comment:

Coming into it off Kings Rd there were tall terraced houses down the left hand side and a high brick wall down the right. The houses probably had not been painted since before WWI, and were very shabby. At the end of the road was of course the mighty power house. It was utterly depressing & I never went to the address.

I think it would be safe to say that William’s comment no longer applies. Look at the house on the left of the pub in 1972.

Lots Rd E side 116-114 1072 KS 4022

Now look again.


Someone has cleverly slotted in another house and shop which look as though they were there all along. The 1972 vacant lot has been filled with this building:


A plain exterior enlivened by a rather striking abstract decorative feature.

We can’t leave this end of the road without taking a look at the Creek. Here it is in 1972:

Lots Rd W side Chelsea Creek 1972 KS 4021

I’m fairly sure this is a view looking west at the point where the railway line crosses the Creek. I couldn’t get anything like the same angle but here it is today:


The Creek itself is reduced to a trickle (although this was low tide), and almost all of the industrial buildings are gone. Nature has taken over but not in any kind of landscaped way. It’s a sharp contrast with nearby Chelsea Harbour.

The view below, taken from the other side of the bridge into the harbour shows one survivor, the frame of a gasometer although probably not one of the ones in the 1972 picture:


We can’t linger here in the hot summer of 2013. Let’s go back to that darker black and white version of Lots Road.

Lots Rd W Side 69-67 1972 KS 4036

Almost all the way up the western side of the road were the remnants of the old days of barges coming up the Creek delivering coal, timber, lime and steel to wharves and warehouses. These buildings were devoted to light industry and services. Above at number 69 were the Daily Telegraph garages.

Lots Rd W side 73-71 1972 KS 4035

71-73 was occupied by Winchester Automobiles, taxi cab manufacturerers.

Now look at the same buildings as they are now. Note the first floor loading door in both pictures.


Number 71 is below:


Those buildings survived, repurposed for a brighter age and a different kind of customer.

The buildings in the three pictures below on the other hand have all gone as far as I can tell.

Lots Rd W side 77 Christiana Wharf 1972 KS 4034

Below, the St Mark’s Service Station at number 77:

Lots Rd W Side 1972 KS 4033

Lots Rd W side 97-95 1972 KS 4032

On the west sid eof the road were such companies at Aelbir Co (anodisers), Ritmo (plastic welding) and Marigay (metal furniture). But there was also Photoscale Ltd (photogrphic enlargement) a sign of the kind of services that would be here in the future.

There is a new Lots Road now, auction houses, storage units, design companies, the Heatherley School of Art and the inevitable residential developments. The essential characteristics of the new version of the Road is visible in the details.


Copy of DSC_2460



It’s a pleasant walk down Lots Road on a summer’s day in the 21st century. Westfield Park looks as though it was always there.

But let’s not forget the way it was in 1972.

Lots Rd E side 1972 KS 4025

Lots Rd looking S fr Kings Rd 1972 KS 4028

1972 pictures by John Rogers. 2013 pictures by me. Picture of Heatherley’s by Carrie Starren.

Apart from the changes and to the buildings, the general improvements  and the amount of traffic there was another difference between 1972 and 2013. I wonder if a security man ever emerged from a building in 1972 to tell John he couldn’t take a picture of it. In view of the evident modesty of this particular building I won’t post a picture of it here but it’s located just about where the Golden Virginia ad is in this picture.

Thanks to our volunteer Nick who scanned the 1972 images.

One response to “Lots Road south to north:1972 and 2013

  • F Smith

    The buildings on the west side by the creek, primarily the taxi-cab company where the auction rooms are now located, were all, if I recall correctly, put under compulsory purchase by the local council in the late 70’s for development which never happened, the present owner of Lots Road Galleries would have bought the place on the cheap maybe.. The auction rooms use to have, maybe still do, the mechanism built into the floor in the main room for rotating the taxi-cabs.

    In John Le Carre’s first novel in early 60’s the main character chases the baddie from Hammersmith through Fulham then down Lots Road to the houseboats at Cheyne Walk. I’m quite sure the pub (as in previous article) gets a mention.

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