Earls Court days – Selwyn at home

Hogarth Road is opposite Earls Court Station. Walk up it away from the station and veer left. You’ll come to an alley called Hogarth Place. Take that and you’ll be in Kenway Road. Carry on walking and you’ll find a pedestrian way through to Cromwell Road, coming out near the Cromwell/Bupa Hospital. Cross the Cromwell Road and Marloes Road will take you to Wright’s Lane and ultimately to Kensington High Street. If you’re walking, that’s the quickest way. I’ve done it plenty of times to get from Brompton Library back to Kensington Library. I never fancy going all the way to Warwick Road to get the bus to the High Street. (They only go one way on the southern section of the Earls Court Road). So I know that bit of Hogarth Road and Hogarth Place quite well.  I hadn’t realised that this was the area our wandering surveyor Bernard Selwyn called home. He devoted a lot of time to recording building work, details of the walls and roofs  and pictures of the streets nearby from many angles.


Looking down Hogarth Road and Hogarth Place in May 1984. A typical day in early summer, the people heading towards and away from the Earls Court Road.


These are unlike many of his other pictures which are purely about the buildings. These are also about the individuals on the sreets.


The pictures come from 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1979. Arguably the end of what some writers have called the long 70s. Earls Court had a reputation for being a bit seedy, but also very lively.

The pre-occupations of the the shopfronts – food, flats and videos.


Cars parked in every posssible spot.


Short stay hotels and hostels.


Hanging around.


Looking at noticeboards:


Maybe a bit closer:


More hanging around:


Maybe waiting for something to happen.


I love that jacked up Merc.

Selwyn lived in an upper floor flat and had access to the roof, so he could take pictures like this:


And this (1979):


A similar view a few years later in 1984:


Life observed from a high perch.


And down at ground level.


Summer evenings at the pub.


I think someone spotted him taking the picture. I expect people were more relaxed about that in 1979.


Even on a wet November day he liked it.



But it was best in the summer.



I was intending something quite different this week but that is going to take a little longer and lots of people seemed to like Selwyn’s look at Shepherd’s Bush so I moved this post forward. The late 70s and early 80s don’t seem all that long ago to me. Do you kn ow any of the people in these pictures?

Or maybe that’s not so likely. The one thing that was true about Earls Court then was that many people came there and moved on just as quickly.

Oh and if the text seems a bit slight this week, my apologies. I’m at home witha cold. But the blogging never stops.


9 responses to “Earls Court days – Selwyn at home

  • Roger J Morgan

    Ah – ‘The Pot’ restaurant down a crack between the buildings, happy days. Cheap no-nonsense home cooked fresh food, hand written menus. It spawned a whole empire – The Stockpot, The Golden Pot etc. Ice cream and real melted chocolate sauce to die for.

  • ActonBooks

    Ah, The Pot: Spanish black widow ladies of indeterminate old age mopping around your feet and throwing chairs on tables when they wanted to go home.

  • David white

    On kenway Road near the Kings Head pub there was an after hours club called the Zimbabwe a bit rough and tumble full of SouthAfricians and Rhodesians swapping war stories, this was in the very late 60s and early 70s. It was between the chipper and the head and was in a basement on the chipper side. Earls Court was was my first and most loved part of London. Lived on Nevern place and did not draw a sober breath for 4 years. thank you

  • Hugh's Views and News

    I loved your look back at Earls Court. I lived in the area from 1987 – 1989 and had some friends who lived in Hogarth Road. I remember the TREND signs (next to the entrance of Earls Court Underground station) very well.
    The area was very well known back then for its gay Community. There were many gay pubs and one gay nightclub. One of the photos shows the look and style of the typical gay man back in that era (short hair and a moustache). Known as ‘Clones’, Earls Court was the centre of the universe for many gay men back then.
    Thank you for sharing the photos with us. They bought back many happy memories.

  • David Malster

    OK, this may be slightly different from the other memories. I was a driver at Hammersmith bus garage and drove on the 74B for about 5 years on and off from early `70s – mid `80s. We covered some of the most busy, touristy parts of west London, but I always got a buzz making that turn from the horrors of Cromwell Rd into the Earl`s Court Rd . I never minded being stuck in traffic as there was always something to see, a pure living street . Can`t recall anybody mentioning the other name `Kangaroo Valley`. One of the best streets in London at the time , in my view , but sadly it would be difficult to find one like this now.
    David Malster

  • mark

    How wonderful to see these photos. I lived in Earl’s Court from 1983 to 1986. It was one of the happiest times of my life and I consider it to be my “spiritual home”. I would often get the sweet & sour pork at the Hong Kong take away, or chips at the chippy nearby with a large “marine” mural.I used all those laundrettes on Hogarth Place. One was open 24hrs and I remember once doing my laundry at about 1am, when two policemen came in with a very drunk, huge guy, which they left there to sleep inside the laundrette. I was terrified, but couldn’t leave as I had to wait for my clothes to come out of the machine. Fortunately, he just grumbled and eventually fell asleep. I was often at the Troubadour in Brompton Road, drinking coffee or having some of their tasty soup. I even worked there for about a week. I love that area more than anywhere else in London. So many happy memories. Thank you!

  • lola london (@lolalondon65)

    thank you for post , been in earls court for over 10 years and love , it is home , i love old photos of ec

  • kenneth peers

    Apologies to everybody , I only came to this blog last month and I can’t put it down ,and I notice there are comments going back donkeys and those above re the “Pot Restaurants” brought memories flooding back.Lived in Earles Court in73/74 and mainly used “Hot Pot” and “London Pot” I think.On days off we had the choice of spending 40p to get to Tower Hill and back and a free scoff in the staff restaurant,or ,more or less,a similar amount in one of the”Pots”.Chicken Supreme ithink was like Chicken a la King,cream sauce,red and green peppers and rice.They used to make a great Spanish omelette ,but i mostly remember the kidneys in red wine sauce with rice and the pork escallope with apple sauce that had sultanas in it because they also used it for the Dutch apple tart that was on the pudding menu.Most main courses came with fries and tinned peas,oh crikey tinned peas! The comment is spot on- if you went in late ish they would bang around tables and chairs and sprinkle the “ibcol” around until you had no option but to leave.Great times the 70’s.Happy days.Thanks Dave.

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