Last week we left off at Ladbroke Grove station. This is the dark looking entrance on the north side of the bridge in the shadow of the Westway.
Note the tiny branch of the record shop Dub Vendor right next to the entrance.
This is the W10 section of Ladbroke Grove. The tall houses of the southern end of the street have been left behind. The 19th century housing at this end of the road was built to accommodate local workers and commuters after the district line came to the area.The major part of the growth of the area took place in the 1870s.
Nevertheless this was still an area of desirable housing and in the period I worked around here it was ripe for the process of gentrification. There are a few shops but Ladbroke Grove was and still is a road of houses, although the Victorian town houses in this part of the road had mostly been converted into flats.
Below, the bus stop by Chesterton road.
Opposite that, the Earl Percy, no longer a pub but a hotel /bistro called the Portobello House.
The buildings here were solid but a little run down, awaiting that wave of improvement.
I don’t have as many anecdotes for the w10 section of Ladbroke Grove. But my wife and I did have an encounter with the angriest taxi driver in the world after spending the evening with some friends who had a flat along the eastern side of the road. It was late at night and we’d had a couple of drinks. The driver was one of those who abhored stopping at traffic lights so was forever turning into side streets, flinging us from side to side, causing a fit of giggling which just seemed to make him drive faster. A tour of obscure streets between Ladbroke Grove and Beaufort Street ensued which served to improve my growing knowledge of the Borough.
This picture puzzled me for a while and I briefly wondered whether it had been mis-labelled as 240 Ladbroke Grove.
I showed it to a local expert, we zoomed in on the door and she identified the Raymede Clinic, a welfare centre for mothers and children which stood where the new fire brigade station is now located on the corner of Telford Road. (Not the only street in the vicinity named after a scientist/engineer.)
It feels like a long road at this point. On the western side there is some postwar housing in front of the gothic tower of St Charles’ Hospital but the photo survey doesn’t have many pictures of that side from this period
Moving north we cross a railway line. North of that was one of the big industrial structures in the area, the Gas Works. For more on that see this post. The Works originally stood in isolation but was surrounded by the northward development of housing. In 1936 the Gas Company itself moved into housing with the construction of Kensal House
We won’t linger here. I’m going to give Kensal House a post to itself shortly.
The final northernmost section of Ladbroke Grove has seen the most changes, The area looks completely different now from pictures in the 1970s and 1980s. The most dramatic change was the building of the large branch of Sainsburys on the gas works site. But other features have changed too as you can see in these planning photos from the 1980/90s.
A row of shops and houses on the eastern side of the road.
A closer look shows a then well known establishment.
Hamrax Motors (their motto, as I recall it on the side of their van: “You bend’em, we mend’em”), a crowded room where owners of Japanese motorcycles could go to be patronised by scornful middle aged men who preferred Triumphs and other British bikes.. There was a workshop below it accessible around the back where I took one of my bikes was repaired after my most damaging accident.
On the other side of the road the gas works site, cleared in this picture.
The building just visible on the right is Canalside House, almost the sole survivor.
Below the edge of Kensal Green cemetery, the Dissenter’s Chapel over the wall.
Behind that gate is a path to the canal.
The path is just about visible here in this photograph of 1961 from a private collection.
Note the water tower which has also survived and been convertrd for residential use. On the left a building I was particularly glad to see – a pub called the Narrow Boat which was a stopping off point for people like me heading north towards the pub desert of Kensal Rise.
There was another pub right at the end of Ladbroke Grove seen here, the Plough. Another one I never entered, now gone. These pictures come from the 80s or 90s.
The narrow entrance onto the Harrow Road by the Plough. This takes us out of the Borough. But I’ve one more motoring story for you. On that bike ride I began with in the last post I would cross the Harrow Road and head up Kilburn Lane/ Chamberlayne Road to Kensal Rise. On one weekday afternoon, ascending the hill of one of the bridges over the railway I was caught in slow moving traffic. A yappy dog who must have had a particular dislike of motorcycles launched himself at me and sank his teeth into my leg piercing the boot on one side (quite a nice pair of boots from Lewis Leathers of Great Portland Street). Imagine me attempting to accelerate away while trying to shake the dog off my leg. When I got home it was decided I needed a tetanus shot so I was off again back down Ladbroke Grove to St Charles’s Hospital. So a set of photographic shots ends with another kind of shot.
(One final picture. One the right you can see the roof of the stone mason’s showroom, the only structure left from this 1981 picture.)
Thanks to Maggie for clearing a few matters up, and Barbara for unearthing some of the pictures. Also to Mr Peter Dixon for the canal photograph.
Wide awake, the cold cold light of day
Realize my taste
My taste just slips away
I say my taste just slips away
Song by Bob Stanley, Peter Stewart Wiggs and Sarah Jane Cracknell.