Redevelopment: Notting Hill Gate 1958-60

The main drag at Notting Hill Gate is probably not one of the most architecturally distinguished parts of London. The north side of the road, west of Pembridge Road is a plain row of shops with the  incongruously tall Campden Hill Towers at the centre. But the pavements are pleasantly  wide and uncrowded most of the time and I like the convenience of having three small versions of well known supermarkets close to each other. In the past there were other useful branches of chains such as WH Smiths and Timothy Whites (remember them? My wife and I bought several kitchen items there which lasted us for years.). The south side of the street between the Gate Cinema and Kensington Church Street is possibly even less distinguished and hasn’t aged well. But that wide sunny road takes you to the West End and Pembridge Road takes you to Portobello Road. When I came to London in the 1970s it was one of the first places I added to my mental map of the city and I retain a certain affection for it. I’ve never known any other version.

Notting Hill Gate north side 92-164 1963 K63-1077

Of course now I know what it used to look like in the late 19th century and the early 20th, a classic Victorian/Edwardian high street.

This was it in 1956 looking west. The Midland Bank visible in the centre was on the corner with Pembridge Road where Jamie Oliver’s establishment now sits.

Notting Hill Gate 76-100 looking west 1956 K2454B

The Central line station was still above ground then and was little changed since this view from the early years of the last century.

Notting Hill Gate station PC 367This picture, from 1958 shows the south side of the road where the District and Circle line entrance was.

 

Notting Hill Gate development 1958 K4067B

The street frontage has already been stripped away to show the street behind the high street. There had been a plan to amalgamate the two stations, modernise the area,and widen the street since 1937 but this had been postponed by the war. The London Transport Executive took up the plan again in the 1950s and began buying up property from 1955.

The view below from 1957 is looking north up Kensington Church Street and shows the whole corner under demolition.

Notting Hill Gate redevelopment 1957 K61-211

This is a view from closer up. The two buildings on the north side of Notting Hill Gate are visible in both pictures.

Notting Hill Gate demolition October 1957 K61-213

This view is looking west. You can see the water tower in the distance and the top of the Coronet cinema.

Notting Hall Gate redevelopment 1958 K4064B

By contrast this is the view with the road partially closed. The interesting feature is the unobstructed  view of the block of flats on the right.

Notting Hill Gate Development 1958 looking east K4065B

The same is true of this picture showing the part of the street still in use. The block in question is Broadwalk Court, an art deco style building designed by Robert Atkinson and built in 1934. It’s fascinating to see it suddenly revealed when you’re used to the view being obscured by its surroundings.

Notting Hill Gate development 1958 K4066B

In the picture below you can see a sign saying District and Circle Line Entrance, but I can’t see an actual entrance. Behind the hoarding?

Notting Hill Gate redevelopment 1958 K4068B

The building site also attracted an artist,

Notting Hill Gate redevelopment 1958 from a watercolour by Mrs M Werther K61-219

This architect’s model shows the whole development. One of the interesting features are the buildings and narrow streets behind the shops and the tower, which are hidden at street level. The 18-storey residential tower block was intended to replace some of the local housing that had been lost by the demolition work.

 

Notting Hill Gate redevelopment 1958-61 K61-479

We have a couple of pictures which are my favourites from this set. This one shows the construction work well advanced, with a small truck ploughing through a nearly flooded street.

 

Notting Hill Gate redevelopment 1960 K61-466

This one is looking from the west by Ladbroke Terrace, beyond the parade of shops.
Notting Hill Gate redevelopment 1959 K62-47B

 

It all looks very quiet as London sometimes does.

Postscript

It’s now week six of the great scanning famine. I’ve been using our book scanner which uses a slightly lower resolution than I normally use but you don’t see too much difference. Once again crucial information about the development came from that Bible of local history, the Survey of London


5 responses to “Redevelopment: Notting Hill Gate 1958-60

  • havanagold

    Absolutely brilliant !! Thanks !! I live in this immediate area and have always wantes to see photographs like this. Thanks again. David M On 30 Jun 2016 08:35, “The Library Time Machine” wrote:

    > Dave Walker posted: “The main drag at Notting Hill Gate is probably not > one of the most architecturally distinguished parts of London. The north > side of the road, west of Pembridge Road is a plain row of shops with the > incongruously tall Campden Hill Towers at the centre. Bu” >

  • London Remembers

    Thanks for the post – it really was redevelopment on a major scale. We’d hoped your post would solve a long-standing puzzle but none of your pictures include the corner with Pembridge Gardens: https://goo.gl/maps/yeuQNSssUSF2
    There’s a very nice, large, crest on the flank wall at that corner. It looks familiar but we just cannot identify it. Can you help? Do you know which shop was on that corner?

    • Michael Hollamby

      The crested building is the Bank Of Scotland.

    • Dave Walker

      Sorry I haven’t replied before now. I was reminded by another comment about the crest being on the Bank of Scotland. We were asked this once before in the Library and never found a satisfactory answer. We thought it might be something to do with whatever bank was there before the current one but we couldn’t find a matching crest. The building isn’t that old so it remains a bit of a mystery.
      Dave

  • nigeldviv

    It’s fascinating to see old Notting Hill as it used to be in the late 50s before the re-developers destroyed it. Your last photo looking west must have been taken right outside my old primary school called St Vincents, at 6 Holland Park Avenue and I can remember this view all to well! This school only lasted from about 1950 to 1965 but I have never managed to find any reference to it since then. I wonder if any of your readers remember it, or whether there are any records about the school in the RBKC archives? It was run by Mrs Bromley & Miss Reid, and teachers included Miss Kent and Mrs Monger. I can recall around 1955 being taken in a crocodile just up the road to the ABC cafe for lunch which featured lumpy mash potato served in unappetizing round dollops using an ice cream scoop! Many thanks for all your great posts, despite the scanner problems.

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