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.


32 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.

    • Alex Mac

      The Pot did a great Moussaka – although that is really a Greek dish, not Spanish. I used to help out occasionally in the dirty book shop next door – I briefly had my office upstairs for a magazine I ran. Such fun!

  • 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

    • Jim Bennett

      Remember The Pot. I ate there frequently in the early seventies. The club, I think , was called the Zambesi and used to open after the pubs closed at 3.00pm. Certainly never left there anywhere near sober…

      • David White

        Bang on, of course it was the Zambezi. I must have being reliving the life when writing first.

      • Richard ZAWIESINSKI

        it was the “hot pot” and if you asked for a wine like rose – they simply took a bottle of red and then white and poured it into a flagon – hey presto – rose – their spanish chablis was a cure for todays hangover but then hit your head like a club hammer – later – i still took it a couple of times. the zambesi was something else – as was the raf club – what a time!!!

      • Roger Morgan

        There were several restaurants – The Pot, approached down a very narrow alley that widened out, the Hot Pot, the Golden Pot and there may have been others – all named * Pot, all very similar decor, similar cyclostyled menus, similar cheap food – chicken supreme, ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was never clear if they were connected or if they were rivals copying each other. There were others – The Chelsea Kitchen, one in Soho, one south of Leicester Square – all gone now and sadly missed – where can you now get a decent properly cooked cheap meal?

  • 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.

  • Debra Worthington Waechter

    Ball State London Center…guinea pig group..very first over there..1972..wonderful memories of Earls Court..a Rolls Royce we could have bought for $500, and of course, The Hot Pot!debbiewae@hot

    • Alan Collins

      Stayed in West Cromwell Rd in 66,67 and used to go to the pot in Earl’s Court after work. I’ve been telling folks about the Kidneys in red wine sauce for a lifetime. Don’t know if they were that good or just we were always hungry and they tasted better. Dessert was always ice cream and hot chocolate sauce Went hitching for a year or so before coming back to Scotland. Great time though.

  • ALAN



  • Helen Smith

    Wonderful memories of living in Braham Gardens Earls Court 1971 -72, as a 21 year old Australian. Coming from a small country town to London and Europe for 5 years was the best time of my life. Enjoyed many a meal at The Pot restaurant. Loved the excitement of coming out of Earls Court station whatever time of the day or night, there was always something happening.Always felt safe. Interestingly enough I dont remember meeting many Australians during my time there.

  • Anton Millidge

    Another Aussie here, but adopted Earls Court as their ‘spiritual home’ when first visited in 1974. Only meant to stay a couple of nights at the YHA but was stopped by a fellow on a motor scooter by name of Greenwood and rented floor space in a house he owned at 5 Warwick Road.
    That started an entire change of plans, and Earls Court became home for the following fifteen years.
    I frequented the Hot Pot in the Earls Court Road almost every night in the early days. I recall 22 pence for a Spanish Omelette. I to loved the chicken a la king. What a place. The Troubadour became a place of frequent visits later in the late eighties . What a great place to meet folk from around the world. Some real characters. Bruce, the owner was a ‘character’ himself. I was there when the extensions were done and when Bruce left. I’m afraid the tone has changed IMO over more recent visits, making it no longer a must visit place but go once for nostalgic reasons. I find Earls Court has lost a lot of the vibe I loved in recent times as well.
    An area probably of misspent youth to some degree but the fun even the hard times living there, made it well worth it.

  • Anton Millidge

    Just a glance at the photo’s and the relaxed style of the folk sitting outside The KIngs Head, I believe it is, reflects the relaxed times of the period. I do recall when consuming alcohol outside was forbidden but don’t recall the year. But gentler times certainly. Best park IMO, in London at the time Holland Park just a walk up The Earls Court Road and across Kensington High Street. How great was that in summer, even a tea in winter meeting with regulars was uplifting.
    Earls Court was small in area but the world promenaded along its main road. I fully agree with the Hammersmith bus driver’s comments on turning into the Earls Court Road. Never boring. The ABC restaurant was another place frequented more in the early 80’s, across from the tube station for breakfast. Long since gone.Even wee hours of the morning stuff going on and surprisingly safe.

  • Alex McKenna

    The Kings Head was full of young Aussies back then. Loved the Pot, and always had Moussaka there – which isn’t exactly a Spanish dish, but they did a good one. The Golden Pot opposite was run by a nice Italian family. I had an office above Pepys dirty bookshop. 🙂 Happy days. That area was one of the few in London where you could buy groceries at midnight, or a curry..

  • Peter Auliff

    I have goose bumps reading all the comments. First moved to Hesper Mews in 1940. mother worked at Earls Court inspecting Mosquito harnesses. I worked at West Brompton. Main memory of Hogarth was the generosity of American servicemen when my brother and I sang Christmas carols for them. Many more stories have I like the post office roaring like a Roman candle when hit by the bombs1

  • Barbara

    Just been telling my 40 year old son about the time I lived in Earls Court (c. 1969-1974) Started out in Bramham Gardens (no 10 I think) then later moved to Philbeach Gardens. Spent many happy hours eating in various Pot Restaurants, Old Kentucky and Hungry Years.All provided excellent food at reasonable prices. Also used to drink coffee at the Troubadour. I always heard that the area was known as kangaroo valley but I never met one Australian there.
    Miss the area so much that when I got a chance to work near Brompton Road Cemetery I jumped at the chance, just so I could walk around the Earls Court Road again in my lunch hour, over 40 years later!! Shame it’s lost a lot of the charm I remembered it for, but then I’m a lot older now !!

    • Peter

      I always say, Don’t return, you will be disappointed. I move into 11 Hesper Mews in 1942 and my mother lived on until about 1970.
      Been back seeveral times and stayed in Barkston Gardens. Each time more disappointing than the last.
      Loved to location as it was so easy to go anywhere.
      Keep safe.

  • Angeles Fernandez

    Memories! I worked as a young waitress at the Golden Pot in Earls Court in the 70’s. I loved the Italian family who run it and the Spanish cooks in the kitchen. We used to have a lovely time and the customers were always local and friendly. Even though the customers weren’t rich, they always left a tip. I was always so grateful! I don’t even remember the name of the road but the the inside of the restaurant I could draw it even now. If only one could go back in time!!


    Lived in Nevern Square ’73, home from home was the Kings Head. Used to have a nightcap in the Zambezi Club. A great place to find a warm welcome and drink in the company of the elite professional members.

  • Kate

    I was reminiscing to myself yesterday about the Hot Pot. Every Saturday night out for years started with a trip there (1970’s). Fricadella with a tomato sauce, rice and chips, a side salad, lemon tea followed by ice cream with hot chocolate sauce. The only problem was choosing between that and moussaka or chicken supreme. Fantastic filling food for a great price. By the time I was working in Earls Court in the late 80’s I think it had shut down. The other one I went to was the Stockpot just near Leicester Square which was good, but none were as good as the Hot Pot. When I took friends there who had never been to Earls Court before they invariably said ‘Where have you brought me?’ when we got off the tube haha. It had an atmosphere all of it’s own. I miss London.

  • Gordon Weston

    Summer 1970 … On a course in Acton Vale & they put us in a hotel in Earl’s Court. The Pot for what I thought was Chicken á la King ( maybe it was Chicken Supreme ) .. but amazing and what a place. Back to the hotel to watch the match after England were knocked out so we chanted ”Italia” ( couple of Germans were staying there :-)) … Today is Xmas day 2021 & I just made my 7th attempt at chicken á la king … I’m getting better at it …

    • Michael

      Hi guys. I was a barman bouncer at the Zambezi club era 73 ish. Owner of licensee was pual (persian paul). You would enter at anytime of day and the atmosphere was there. No windows disco booth and yeah, you would meet mercnenary types to touristy types. I was the favourite barmen at that time. My a employ deal was I could drink as much as I wanted as well as the meagre wage. After a bit I would get quite happy, couldn’t count go to the till after serving the drinks, shuffle around in the till and give them back the same money. Some reason everybody loved me. 😁 cheers, Mick.D

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