The Science District: some streets in W10 1969-70

Okay, I made the name up. Nobody ever called a few streets in North Kensington by that term. You’ll see what I did by their names: Faraday, Telford, Murchison (named after scientists and engineers in 1868) They’re all much altered since 1969 when most of these pictures were taken, especially Murchison Road which has pretty much ceased to be. (There’s another one, Wheatstone Road which is now little more than a stub). After identifying the former home of the Raymede Clinic in the post on Ladbroke Grove I was looking at some pictures of the streets  running east off Ladbroke Grove with some interested parties and we started talking about the streets named for scientists.

Faraday Road looking east 1969 KS316

The clinic is on the left and the picture is looking down Faraday Road. The tower you can see above the lush foliage belongs to the old fire station. Can you see the small vehicle on the left at the end of the row of parked cars? I believe it’s an invalid carriage, an example of the small, three-wheeled, under-powered “cars” which disabled people could get at the time. I don’t know much about the arrangements involved in the issuing of these institutional looking vehicles (they were the same all over the country). I can remember from my brief time in the motor trade that some people regarded them as death traps, especially when it was possible to adapt regular cars for disabled users. However some users must have liked them.

Before we go any further, and see some more curious vehicles, let’s have a look on a map.

1971 OS map Faraday Road area W10 - Copy

As you can see both Telford and Faraday Roads were longer in 1971 (the approximate date of this Ordnance Survey map) and Murchison actually existed.

At this point the rough photo itinerary I had worked out called upon me to work my way up Faraday Road but I had to stop to work this picture out.

Faraday Road looking west from Portobelllo 1969 KS325

It took me a while to workout from the description “looking west from Portobello” that this picture shows the rest of the fire station (see the glimpse of the tower on the right) and that the buildings visible in the centre at the end of the  street are on the other side of Ladbroke Grove and according to the map must be part of the Church of St Pius X.

I’ve let myself get sidetracked so now let’s get back to the plan and carry on east up Faraday Road.

Faraday Road south side 13-15 1969 KS333

I can’t resist this view of what I think is a 50s or 60s Volkswagen sports car with a wary boy peeking out at the photographer. As usual I would welcome extra information from motoring buffs about any of the cars  in the pictures. Is this a Volvo?

Faraday Road south side 27-29 1969 KS334

The cars may be flash but there’s a general air of dilapidation about the houses. In 1969 W10 had not even begun the process of gentrification. The building below, Christchurch Hall was described as “disused” by the photographer.

Faraday Road north side disused Christchurch Hall 1969 KS329

The actual Christchurch had already been demolished. The empty lot became one of the incarnations of the Notting Hill Adventure Playground. You can see the fence in the picture below.

Faraday Road looking west 1969 KS336

A couple of boys are playing in the street, a sign that this end of the street where it met Wornington Road was a relatively quiet area.

If we walk round the playground we’re looking down Telford Road.

Telford Road looking east 1970 KS358

Once again there’s a certain amount of confusion as the picture is captioned “looking east” but with the playground on the left I think we’re looking west.

This is the corner of Portobello Road and Telford Road.

Telford Road south side corner of Portobello 1970 KS362

J A Cook are listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1969 at number 373 Portobello Road. You can see the number 371 next door along with some excellent billboards. (Another ad for Harp lager which must have been ubiquitous at the time)

Kelly’s also lists at number 1 Telford Road the London Transport Canteen. Hence the buses and their crew in this picture.

Telford Road looking east 1970 KS364

It was taken in June 1970. You can see Trellick Tower under construction in the distance rising above the remaining terraced housing. Note that truck with a long pole or plank in the back, and then here it is looking in the other direction, parked next to the Eagle public house.

Telford Road north side 3-5 Eagle 1970 KS353

The canteen is in the building next to the pub.  I can’t quite make out the manufacturer’s name on the back of the convertible The little car in motion looks rather older than 1970 too. Any ideas?

Incidentally. Kelly’s tells us that next door to the canteen, at 3 Telford Road was Hy Soloway, ladies tailor (you can just make out some photos by the door and also on the premises (basement or upper floors) was Hauer and Co, doll’s wig makers. A niche service if ever there was one. I have cropped a larger version of the image. The lettering on the canteen door is just visible.

Telford Road north side 3-5 Eagle 1970 KS353 - Copy

Having satisfied my idle curiosity we have to make our way back up Telford Road and then up to Murchison Road.

Murchison Road looking east 1969 KS242

The bundle of material on the cart could indicate the presence of a rag and bone man working the street. Murchison Road was shorter than the other two and ran between Portobello Road and Wornington Road as they converged and met in an intersection with Ladbroke Grove. There were only about 20 houses in the street.


Murchison Road south side 1969 KS240

A line of old British cars headed by a bug-eyed Ford Anglia, not one of Ford’s cooler models.  I haven’t cropped out the detritus in the foreground  because it could be more evidence of the rag and bone man, or his horse at least.

This is a view looking west.

Murchison Road looking west 1969 KS247

That’s the same shop and line of cars but we can now see on the other side a Triumph Spitfire (I think) and a truck telling us that we need Pink. Pink what?

Here is a final view of Murchison Road.


Murchison Road north side 1-2 1939 KS244

A clean looking Volkwagen camper and two people either just leaving or just arriving at their homes, a young girl and a man (or just his arm). She must be in her 50s by now. I did once meet a customer who appeared in one of these survey pictures as a child so I’m always hoping another person will come along and say “it’s me”. It’s not as unlikely as you might think.


I was pulling pictures and information together as I wrote so I’m quite surprised that it was reasonably coherent in the end. My thanks to Sue Snyder who asked me to scan some of these and to Maggie Tyler for starting me off at the Raymede Clinic. I don’t think the Science District will ever catch on as a name unless an estate agent takes it up.  As I mentioned the street names were all adopted in 1868 by the Kensington Vestry.

For the record:

Michael Faraday (1791-1867), physicist,chemist and pioneer in the study of electricity

Thomas Telford (1757-1834), civil engineer

Sir Roderick Murchison (1792-1871), geologist

Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) scientist and inventor


19 responses to “The Science District: some streets in W10 1969-70

  • pellethepoet

    That’s a great image of the corner of Portobello and Telford Road, with the large billboards. Do you think the juxtaposition of the lung cancer awareness billboard with the one advertising cigarettes was intentional?

    • Dave Walker

      It’s an interesting question. I think it probaly wasn’t deliberate but you can’t be sure. On the one hand the discovery that cogarettes were harmful was comparatively recent and many more people still smoked than they do today.Cigarette advertising was normal. But on the other hand it was arguably a more provocative era so maybe the health campaigners were trying to juxtapose their images with cigarette advertising.

  • Colin Blackman

    ‘Pink’ could have been pink paraffin. Paraffin heaters were still popular (and dangerous) in the 60s.

    The view of ‘Telford Rd looking east’ looks like a scene from the Sweeney, and just about every other TV cop show of the time.

  • Constantine Gras

    Many thanks Dave. Fascinating social history and those photos bring it all back to life.
    I can supply more information on the remarkable and largely forgotten history of 12-14 Telford road and the small building that is identified as clinic. These were once all interconnected buildings of the North Kensington Women’s Welfare Centre that was set up in 1924. It was the third birth control clinic established after Marie Stopes pioneering clinic. It had the aim of giving contraceptive services to working women in North Kensington as this was then only available from private doctors.
    Here is one of the case studies of a patient from 1929:
    “Husband is a grocer’s porter. Wife’s age 29. Married 11 years. General condition debilitated. 12 pregnancies; 5 children alive, 5 miscarriages, 1 child died at 10 months of wasting disease and 1 at 14 months of measles. Referred from Welfare Centre.”
    The Centre was able to help working mothers plan and control their families. Cervical caps were used primarily in the early days, but the failure rate was high.
    The clinic and its staff played a major role in the setting up of the Family Planning Association in which it would operate as a specialist branch.
    The Centre also provided national and international training for doctors and nurses. For example, in 1954, sixty-four doctors and 15 Nurses were trained and certificated at the Centre. More than half came from overseas including Barbados, Ceylon, Greece, India, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa and Sweden.
    By the 1950’s it was re-named as the North Kensington Marriage Welfare Centre and had become a super-clinic, offering services not available on the newly formed NHS including early treatments for infertility and sexual problems.
    Dr Helena Wright and Dr Joan Malleson both worked at the Centre for over twenty years. They played a major role in the development of family planning, abortion rights and sex education.
    During the period 1924-53, the Centre treated over 46,000 patients. In the year 1963 it had over 10,000 visits to the Centre. During this period it also initiated or took part in research trials for cervical caps, pastes, the pill, IUD and cervical screening.
    The clinic was re-named as the West London Centre of the FPA in 1966.
    In the 1970’s, RBKC council redeveloped the site to build the new Fire Station and the clinic relocated briefly to 242 Labdroke Grove before closing. Over 1000 FPA clinics were taken over by the NHS and this is where I believe the Raymede clinic took over the mantle and offeried contraceptive services. The Raymede Clinic has now relocated to the St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust.
    The considerable archive of the FPA and the North Kensington clinic is held by the Wellcome Library and is available for public viewing.
    I’m working on an arts project about the history of the clinic and welcome any feedback or potential collaboration.
    Constantine Gras

  • Gerard Walsh

    I think the” Pink ” is paraffin ,you bought it from trucks (,Bowsers ) and brought your own container .Their was Esso Blue and Aladdin Pink this was before North Sea gas ,most homes had paraffin heaters ..

  • Sebastian Spoerl

    Hi Dave. The cars in your post are,in no order,a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia,in front of which,is an Austin Cambridge. The Volvo is a P1900 of the Saint fame!! I think the ‘Pink’ is a paraffin/heating oil delivery van(imagine that now!) and the car in front of it is a Sunbeam,not a Spitfire,best,Seb

    • Dave Walker

      Belated thanks for your comment and valuable information on the cars. I had a sudden “of course!” when you said paraffin. We had a paraffin heater at home which heated the kitchen on cold winter mornings.

  • Peter Mander

    Hello Dave, fascinating post and great set of photos, appreciated. The ‘little car in motion’ is a Ford Popular 103E, made in England in the 1950s and colloquially known as a Ford Pop. The white convertible looks like a Hillman Minx Convertible from the early 1960s.

  • martin webb

    Great set of photos the one with the pink paraffin lorry bought back memories for me I grew up in east London and as a lad back in the sixties one of my chores was to get the paraffin from the paraffin lorry a great big container that once filled weighed a bleeding ton then I had to lug it up two flights of stairs took me ages and I was knackered by time I got it indoors. The white convertible car in the other picture is an Hillman minx.

  • Dave Clemo

    I lived in Barlby Gardens from 1962 to 1971. There was a rag and bone man who had a shop on the right hand side of Portobello Rd just after Telford Rd. Portobello road contined straight up to a five way junction with Wornington Rd, Ladbroke Grove and Barlby Rd. It was blocked off in the early 70s and flats built across the junction. The no15 buses used to terminate at The Eagle and there was a youth club on the corner of Telford Rd and Ladbroke Grove

  • Pauline

    My Nan was Mary Durrack & lived in a lovely big old pub called Clyde House on the corner of Lancaster Rd, I have great memories of visiting her there, Im 56 now (2016) my Mum her eldest daughter & also Mary Durrack is still alive aged 91, she had a sister Rose & brother Bill, both alive. My Nan left Clyde House & went to live in Hudson House flats just along the road from Clyde House, Im pleased to say the flats are still there, which is great.

  • John Mackenzie

    I lived in Portobello rd 308 on the corner of lavie Mews and spent most of my childhood playing down the Mews which led out to Murchison rd opposite the sweet shop (trying to remember the name of it )
    The pink paraffin van I also remember well, he used to drive around the streets ringing a bell calling out paraffin and people would come out with cans and he would fill them up .
    The 15 bus turnaround near Maynard’s sweet shop brings back great memories,as me and my mates would jump on the empty buses when the conductor and driver went into the canteen next to the eagle pub and lift up the seats for coins that fell out of people s pockets ( we were always chased off by the inspector standing on the corner !) but always found a few pennies for sweets in Maynard’s .
    The old rag and bone trolley on the corner of Murchison rd was actually a permanent fixture it belonged to fishers on the corner of Portobello rd and Murchison rd It was rag and bone shop buying and selling basically anything rags,scrap metal,furniture,bric a brac etc .
    My dad knew old man fisher really well hence I used to help old man fisher put all his gear away from outside the shop in the evening for a few pennies! ( was probably about 6/7 then and very poor so every little helped )
    The adventure playground was also great fun in summer holidays (remember it well I fell off one of the climbing frames and broke my arm )
    I went to Wornington rd school then onto balby rd school.
    God I could write a book on the area ,
    Love looking at these great photos especially trellick tower being built in the background,I remember when the top lift shaft slipped over when it was being built and everybody thought it was going to fall .
    Just remembered the sweet shop in Murchison rd Rockies !!!
    Would also like to know if there are any more old photos of a little further up Portobello towards Ladbroke Grove where all my family lived until it was slum clearanced ?

  • Audrey Garvey

    I have some photos of Murchison road I can scan to you. My mum was born at number 6 in 1920 and I was born in the same front room in 1955. The VW camper van in your photo belonged to Joan and reg. they cdnt have kids and used to take me and my sister out to box hill or Denham with their German shepherd at weekends. We’d walk and then have a fry up in the van

    • Dave Walker

      Dear Audrey
      I think you must be the first person to be able to say you’ve been driven in one of the vehicles in our pictures. Thanks for that. I’d love to have some pictures of Murchison Street. Please send them to my work email:

      • Linda Baldwin

        I have just read this comment from my sister Audrey Garvey…. I came across your post after looking for a map of the area as I have just read Alan Johnson’s memoir concerning his childhood in this part of north Kensington.
        The Volkswagen camper van was indeed owned by Joan and Reg Hill and they lived in the basement flat of the first house. I spent a lot of time with them and thank them for teaching me to play chess, introducing me to classical music, a love of the countryside and their German shepherd, Velvet. We lived at 5 Murchison road in two rooms and a kitchen. One family in the basement, us on the next floor and two further families on the upper floor and attic. There was no bathroom and one toilet for all to share. The children played in the streets and there was “the dump” attached to no. 6 where all and sundry tipped their rubbish …..dreadful living conditions and no opportunity to escape until the slum clearance. We then moved to St Charles square , renting from the Kensington housing trust. My mother moved to sheltered housing in the 1980’s… Evelyn Fox Court, Wallingford Avenue until she died in 2019.

  • Audrey

    I was born at 6 murchison road and lived there until slum clearance. In answer to you need pink it’s pink paraffin. We either had open fires or a paraffin heater. And the camper van belonged to reg and Joan who lived in the basement of the end house. They had no kid so used to take my sister and I out on Sundays to box hill or denham walk their Alsatian and have a fry up in the back. To us it was like going to real country

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