East and west on Southern Row: 1969

This post starts just off Ladbroke Grove, like we have before, and with a request for further information from a friend of Local Studies who wanted to know when this picture was taken.

Southern Row west end Victoria Buildings 1969 KS117

This is the rear of a tenement style block called either Victoria Buildings or Western Dwellings. The blocks are tall because Ladbroke Grove was raised at this point having crossed the railway and being about to cross the canal, after which it could slope down to the Harrow Road as we saw in the second post about the long road heading north from Holland Park Avenue. As we saw, at street level there were retail outlets, one of which was Hamrax Motors, hence the group of motor cycles, scooters and mopeds parked here. That open yard might lead to the Hamrax workshop. The set of steps you can see leads up to the main road. Brick staircases like that one remind me of an older London, not West London in the cool days of the late 1960s.

(The question arises in my mind as to whether the staircase was covered like a tunnel as I remember it or was it in a narrow gap between buildings? In this picture you might think the latter but there’s an answer in a later picture)

In 1969, Southern Row, the street that ran west to east from the northern end of Ladbroke Grove (stay with me here) was an old street in the area near the railway and the road to Paddington that had been originally settled by light industry and the people who worked here before the housing on Ladbroke Grove bridged the gap between the underground line and the Harrow Road. In 1969 it looks like a street on the brink of decay.

Southern Row south side Octavia House 1969 KS116

Octavia House, on the south side of Southern Row, the most modern building in the street, had its own shop.

Southern Row south side Octavia Stores 1969 KS109

With a delivery bicycle parked outside. The picture below is looking east showing the flats and the shop. You can also see the first pub going in this direction at number 78.


Southern Row looking east1969 KS121

This view moves further east showing  the modern housing block in the distance (Adair Tower, probably – a modern view would include Trellick Tower just behind the block but it wasn’t on the skyline in 1969), and on the right the then derelict Davis’s laundry.

Southern Row centre looking east 1969 KS114

This view looks back towards Octavia House on the south side of the road

Southern Row south side from No 74 1969 KS110

Note the Car Hood Company (“trimmers” according to Kelly’s Directory) at number 73.

Below a partially cleared site on the south side of the road showing the rear of some industrial buildings.


Southern Row south side industrial area 1969 KS105

This is a closer view of the Davis building (“Davis the Cleaners”). By this time virtually all the windows were broken.

Southern Row south side Davis Cleaners 1969 KS103This view looks west, showing Victoria Buildings again and one of the gasometers on the other side of Ladbroke Grove.

Southern Row looking west 1969 KS115

I think the car in the foreground has some trade plates on. These were used by garages to drive unregistered vehicles around legally.Is that a Sprite facing us on the other side of the road?

The view below is also looking west and features the pub we saw above, one of several pubs on Southern Row.

Southern Row north side Foresters Arms 1969 KS111

The Forester’s Arms. Pub buildings often remained when the houses next to them had been demolished as seems to have happened her.The car in the foreground is a Daimler I think, not characteristic of the neighbourhood. A little way behind it a woman seems to be brushing soap or detergent into the gutter. Had she been scrubbing the pavement in front of a shop?

Below two large dogs patrol the north side of the street next to a pub building from which the signs have been removed.

Southern Row north side dogs 1969 KS112

The Prince of Wales was still a going concern in this picture, also on the north side.

Southern Row north sidePrince of Wales 1969 KS113

The next picture shows a different angle on the Forester’s Arms.


Southern Row north side Foresters Arms 1969 KS118

I’ve jumped about from the north to the south side of the street because I wanted to lead you to a final picture with an intriguing detail. This is another pub, the Earl Derby.


Southern Row north side Earl Derby 1969 KS102

Can you see the man standing on some kind of balcony at first floor level? Look closely.

Southern Row looking west with dog 1969 KS107

There he is again on the right in another westward view. And he’s been joined by a dog (an Alsatian, as we used to call German Shepherds in 1969) looking back at the photographer. Details like this, and the woman pushing a pram, narrowly skirting round the tall van, are what enliven these documentary images for me, and bring the tired looking back street to life.

If you look at a couple of these westward views in close-up (the one with the Daimler and the one with the trade-plated Ford ) you can just see the stairs featured in the first picture.  And they do appear to be covered over by the smaller buildings which seem to lean against Victoria Buildings. This answers my question at least.


As always comments and reminiscences about Southern Row are welcome. (And any corrections.) The street has changed considerably since 1969 although some of the buildings from that period are still standing. Octavia House survives, and there is still a set of steps up to Ladbroke Grove, which are at least partially covered over according to Kim who was there last year. Look at it on Google Maps and you see a street very far from urban decay.

The cars in this post are possibly not as notable as those in some recent posts but identifications are also encouraged. By way of contrast we’ll be back at Estella’s house next week.




41 responses to “East and west on Southern Row: 1969

  • Beryl Clark

    Hi there Dave, i believe that is a canine friend on the first floor of the Earl Derby pub in the last photo!

  • reggie unthank

    Hi Dave, Not for publishing but what’s your WordPress theme? I am using 2016 but don’t like how the photos overhang to the right while text is restricted to centre. Happiness Engineers unable to help so thinking of changing theme.

  • susan condon

    love seeing the old photos and hope one day there will be some of tavistock crescent w11

  • Dave Hicks

    The stairs up to Ladbroke Grove were always covered as long as I can remember.There was a sweet shop at the top run by two sisters.Had green shutter’s they never took down.I’m 70 so remember taking the bagwash down to the shop opp the Foresters.

    • Patrick Watters

      The stairway was always covered as the buildings straddled the stairs, The shop was rn by two sisters I believe their surname was Wilson

  • Bob Kirkham

    Dave the car is a Jaguar if you look at the front of the bonnet you can just see the Jaguar mascot. I think it’s either a mark ten or a 420g model they were very similar. A bit later on the Daimler was a jaguar with better seats trim different front grill etc. as in the XJ6 models and the XJ models of the 80 and 90s.

    • Dave Walker

      Thanks. I wasn’t sure whether Jaguars of this time had the leaping jaguar mascot on the bonnet as a standard item so I went with the slightly duller Daimler. I was once taken for a ride in a Vanden Plas Daimler Double Six which had what were basically two straight six cylinder blocks joined together to make a V12 all crammed in under the bonnet. Now that was a muscle car.

  • john henwood

    Good spotting Bob, it is a 420G…quite a scarce model…don’t stray far from a petrol station ha ha.
    Dave, the CAR HOOD CO. was a very busy business advertising weekly in the Exchange&Mart which had a big circulation in those days. They had hoods for all the usual makes off the shelf and you could have either the standard or a posh version in ‘double duck’ fabric. They could be fitted at the premises or ordered by post – they had a substantial mail order business. If you had a scarce model they would make a bespoke hood at reasonable cost

    • Andy Kaufman

      I can’t remember the chaps name, but when i was 18 (36 years ago)
      i lived in hounslow and the owner of the car hood company lived in the flat next to me.

  • Ruth

    I have to ask, since you are somewhat of an authority on how your language is spoken, how Ladbroke is pronounced. I know the version of English you speak can sometimes have some odd pronunciations, at least to my American ears, and that is one I’ve wondered about. I’m guilty of reading some romances and mysteries set in England and wondering about a lot of words! Is it pronounced broke, as in the lad broke the vase, or brook, as in the lad went fishing in the brook?

    Granted, Americans have some truly strange pronunciations, most of ours are caused from regional differences. I’m originally from the Southern US and have trouble being understood in Washington state, where I live now. They have a more formal style of speech, more like what I expect from Canada or some of the Eastern US coast, but less “clipped” sounding. Most southerners have a distinct drawl, how strong depending on where you’re from!

  • Fred

    Hi Dave I’m not sure but the car with the trade plates looks like a Humber Sceptre.Opposite the prince of Wales use to be a smashing cafe, made lovely bread pudding, and next to the cafe was middle row infants school is the school still there?

  • Tony Fellowes

    A minor observation, but my teenage motorbike-owning mates of the late ’70s used to refer to Hamrax as ‘Happy Hamrax’, where they would give you an MOT on your knackered old steed just as soon as look at it…

  • Dave Clemo

    I moved to Barlby Gardens in 1962, just in time for the big freeze of 63. Our house only had the coal fire in the living room for heating, (apart from a paraffin stove in the kitchen) and my job was to clean and light it every morning. I also had to go and buy coal every other day or so from a coal yard in Southern Row. During the freeze coal was rationed to a 56lb sack per purchase so I was up there every couple of days. The steps down to Southern Row were covered. There were tenement flats up to the corner of Kensal Rd. When I was 14 I had an early morning job delivering milk to the white flats in front of the gasworks, then up Ladbroke Grove to Harrow Road and back down to Hamrax. The lights in the stairwells of the tenement blcks never worked so you were always in pitch black, and they smelled awful too. Running up and down stairs with a crate holding a dozen pint bottles kept you fit. At least the flats in Raymede Gardens had a lift. My boss ran the Oxford Dairy at the top of Barlby Road opposite the Cow Shed and we’d use a battery milk float with a tiller to steer it

  • Andy Kaufman

    I grew up in Elgin crescent at the “posh” end of town, but in 1958 my parents owned a shop in Adair road called “C.BLOOD” I know the local kids used to call my dad captain blood. We have no photographs of this shop and i wondered if anyone here may have a photo of Adair rd around that time?
    Imoved away a few years ago and i really miss notting hill and north kensington.

  • m arnold

    hello we had the earl derby my dad was the publican his name was cyril arnold.is it ok to copy the pictures they bring back many memories.

    • Dave Walker

      Yes that’s fine.

    • Allen guilder

      My wife’s family lived two doors down from your dad pub called the derby.at no 10southern row the Elliott yard had tipper trucks and the next yard down was mac/ donalds coal yard . All the best Allen

      • Andy Kaufman

        My mum and Dad owned a shop in Adair road in 1858/9, the shop was previously owned by Celia Blood and when my parents had the shop it still had “C Blood” over the door and the kids called my dad captain blood… anyone remember this? Even better anyone have any photos of Adair road?

        Sent from my iPhone


      • Allen guilder

        Hi andy. Have you got the right .you put 1858/9. All the best Allen .

      • Andy Kaufman

        Sorry I meant 1958/9

      • Allen guilder

        Hi. Andy. I don’t remember your mum and dads shop. In the 50’s I went to at middle row called brunel . I walked down southham street passed your street at that time your road was comptley blocked off. There is a photo of your called a wet day in London .click into southam street and you can see it. All the best Allen

      • Andy Kaufman

        Thank you Allen I’ll take a look, very kind of you.
        All the best

  • Fred Sheppard

    I remember the lovely bread pudding from the cafe opposite the prince of Wales it was on the corner of Southern Row and Middle Row I used to go there dinner time when I was at Middle Row junior school, happy days🇬🇧

    • Allen guilder

      Hi Fred the cafe was right . But the pub was called the foresters arm .my name is allen I went to school at middle row called brunel.

      • Fred Sheppard

        Hi Allen, I think I’m right about the location of the Prince of Wales, the Forresters Arms is on the corner of West Row, I know this because my wife lived in West Row. I also went to Brunel, the name changed from Middle Row while I was attending there.

        On 24 Nov 2017 17:31, “The Library Time Machine” wrote:

        > Allen guilder commented: “Hi Fred the cafe was right . But the pub was > called the foresters arm .my name is allen I went to school at middle row > called brunel.” >

  • Allen guilder

    Hi fred. You right about the frosters arms . Sorry .like you my wife was born at 10 southern row in 1944 her name is hazel Elliott .i lived at 50 kensal rd w10 . All the best. Allen.

  • Fred Sheppard

    Hi Allen, what end was number 50

  • Allen guilder

    Hi Fred I lived between kensal place and southerm street I think it was called the great western end.

  • Fred

    Hi Allen, I lived at the other end Adela St Ladbroke Grove end, I was born in W10 and lived there until I was in my twenties but for some reason never went down that way much, I remember the Britannia pub known as the Brit I think there was a bubble gum factory there somewhere and I remember taking my pets to the RSPCA along that part, it’s marvellous what you can remember, happy days😀

    • Allen guilder

      Hi. Fred . I do remember the bubble gum factory in kensal rd .and the pub called the robin hood .so you lived up near the askeys factory and the white garage and the gas works . Do you remember the pet shop called Clarks in kensal rd . All the best Allen

  • Fred

    I think you’ve got me on this one Allen where was it near?

    • Allen guilder

      Hi Fred Clarks pet shop was near on the coner of kensal rd and kensal place .walk down from the RSPCA stop the next shop down was Clarks .on that side of the road All the best Allen

  • Julian

    What a great pictorial history of Southern Row, how wonderful these have all these photographs still remaining and thank you for posting them.

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