On the border 6.3: road and canal

We left off our trip down Kensal Road before Christmas and we were round about the Lads of the Village pub on the corner of Middle Row. You could just make out the petrol station a little further east.



The White Knight Garage. I seem to have been wrong about the cars in the previous post so instead of making a guess, I’ll ask my motoring readers to identify the parked car.

Just to show you how far (or not) we’ve got, take a look at this OS map.



If you can make out the detail, you can see the garage more or less in the centre, with several interesting names features nearby

Pulling back slightly, here is the northern side of the road where light industrial buildings are right next to terraced housing and shops. Is tat man ready to drive inside?



Beyond the garage some motor works, followed by the Church of St Thomas, a relatively modern building in 1968.



You can see a kind of bas-relief on the side of the church.


The open space behind the wary pedestrian was designated as a playground at this time.  (Is he hanging back for John or what?) The map describes the large building on the right as a pharmaceutical warehouse.

Here is one of those collages from the Planning collection showing this section of the street in the 1990s.


It’s all boarded up awaiting development or demolition.

Back in 1969 both sections looked a little more active.



BDH limited. (According to Kelly’s of 1969 there was a company of that name who were “manufacturing chemists”, although they’re not listed in Kensal Road.)

The terraced housing on the north side looked like this.



Things were so quiet that a shopkeeper came out to see what was going on. Perhaps because of that, John took this detail, showing the onate moulding:



We’ve just about reached Wedlake Street. Here’s the open space to the south as it looked in 1969. The church is Our Lady of the Holy Souls on Bosworth Road. Next to it Bosworth House and Appleford House. The tower is Adair Tower ,one of the first tower blocks in the area.




This is the companion picture to the aerial shot from the 1980s in the previous post.



You can see the bridge over the canal and the space where the baths were. That site is almost completely cleared apart form the Vestry offices building and (if you look closely) the chimney, sitting on its own by the side of the canal. I can’t quite make out if the bridge has changed from this angle but later pictures show that it was replaced with something a little more pedestrian friendly.

Here is a view showing Wedlake Street in the late 1990s.



The old Vestry building has also gone, replaced by a  residential development. You can just see the bridge.

And there it is. Rather more pleasant to cross in this form I should think.


On the Paddington side of the border, the terraced houses survive.

One final look down the canal to the east.



Although we’re now back at the point where we started in December with that view of the canal side behind the Public Baths there is still one last picture to look at

As you may know, Kensal Road once went all the way to the Great Western Road as on this map, whose top corner shows the intersection, along with a number of streets which no longer exist – Southam Street, Modena Street, Elcom Street and Pressland Street.



Those streets were demolished in the late 1960s / early 1970s when what was first called the Edenham Estate was built. The centrepiece of that estate was Trellick Tower, now a major landmark, geographical and cultural. When John took most of these pictures, the foundations of the tower were already under construction and Kensal Road truncated as it is today. But I think one picture in our collection taken in 1967 shows the missing section of street.




I can’t make out any numbers or street names (the only one visible is too blurred) but I think this is a view looking west and downwards (you can see a slight slope). On the right  you can make out what might be Modena Street and on the left, as the road curves right, the entrance to Southam Street. Today, the Westway passes over near this spot and Elkstone Road does the job of taking you past Meanwhile Gardens towards Trellick Tower and Golborne Road, taking a slightly different route, closer to the old route of Southam Street.

So this picture takes us to what used to be the western end of Kensal Road which only now exists as a memory or a photograph.


Another lengthy blog journey comes to a close. It’s been tricky balancing pictures from different times to tell a story so if I’ve made any errors, please correct me. Time travellers don’t always get everything correct and sometimes you get back to the present and find that things have changed.

Thanks of course to John Rogers who took the 1969 photos. And thanks to everyone who told me to keep blogging.  I wasn’t fishing for compliments, honestly but it’s nice to be appreciated. And I will keep going.

17 responses to “On the border 6.3: road and canal

  • Dave Hucker

    I think the car parked in front of the garage is a Lancia.

  • Tony Wood

    I believe that the car in the first pic is an Alfa – but don’t know which model. I am sure someone will enlighten me…….

  • Roger

    Great research as always, Dave, and some great old photos of my old street I haven’t seen before but I disagree with Dave H about the car 🙂 It’s an Alfa Romeo 1750GT. I couldn’t remember where the petrol station was exactly but the longer distance photo of it with the Lads of the Village just at the right hand edge of the photo helps me position it. You mentioned the pharmaceutical works at 222 Kensal Road. That was BDH (British Drug Houses) at the time and before that, it was occupied by Oliver Toms, who manufacture ovens for the catering industry. A closer inspection of that building, one of the last remaining original buildings in the road, reveals ‘Globe Wernicke’ in the brickwork, who were manufacturers of office furniture especially bookcases, so the building has gone through several incarnations. The open space opposite that building has been an open space since it was cleared of bombed damaged houses. It was tarmacked over and know locally as the black pitch and them, some time, later turfed and incorporated into the enlarged park.

  • Roger

    One more point I meant to make, about your comment regarding the 1967 photo. If you stand in the refuge halfway across the zebra crossing at the junction of Elkstone and Great Western Roads and look down the hill, you will get exactly the same perspective as in that photo and my guess is that’s where that photo was taken from.

  • teresastokes

    BDH the pharmaceutical firm stands for British Drug Houses. (Later swallowed up by Glaxo and then Merck.) No factual errors in the piece that I know of, but I hope you don’t mind my pointing out three typos: (a) “tat man” (b) the space before the comma after “Adair Tower ,” (c) “apart form the Vestry Offices Building”

  • fatFred

    Alfa Romeo Giulia, probably a Sprint GTA Stradale which would make it quite a valuable car today!

  • fatFred

    Re my last comment:
    ‘Wishfull thinking’ says a mate who definitely knows more about cars than me, ‘just a run of the mill Alfa Romeo Giulia’…..

  • Martin Hayman

    The car in top picture is an Alfa Romeo Giulietta coupe, handsome and stylish to this day.

  • Dave Hucker

    At least I got the country of origin right!

  • Alan

    Hi, the car is a 1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT Veloce and it was last sold in 2007. The car is advertised for sale in the Sept 2007 issue of Classic and Sports Cars.

  • Alan

    Just to finish the detail, The Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT Veloce has a capacity of 1600cc and was replaced by the new Alfa Romeo 1750 range in 1967.
    These cars had the improved 1779 cc engine, producing 120 bhp. The 1750 GT Veloce (also known as 1750 GTV) replaced the Giulia Sprint GT Veloce, and introduced many updates and modifications.

  • james nicholls

    we used to live at 200 Kensal road, I remember Mr Richards shop and I think Mr Browns sweetshop, I went to the nursery at the end of Kensal road where i remember smashing old tv sets up with a hammer, some sort of therapy/teaching? and then to Wornington school with my brother Marc.
    That’s my dads Studebaker, a 1959 Champion which he sold to the dustmen for a fiver as he couldn’t get parts to fix it(no ebay then!)
    Great site and photos

  • Alastair J Roxburgh

    Dave, thank you for blogging about Kensal Road. I visited your library in 2000 to ask about Kensal Road photos and ordered a copy of the old shop fronts photo (which is in this blog, labeled “The terraced housing on the north side looked like this”). My quest was (and still is) to trace The Telegoons, those crazed Goon television puppets who briefly (in 1963) occupied the attic of the On the Spot building behind those old shops. Vehicular access to the attic studio was down the driveway beside what is now Canalot. When I visited the site in 2000, the On the Spot building had recently been demolished, so the view from Canal Cafe was just a big space between RNIB and Canalot! The aerial photo in your blog shows some intriguing details of the building, but I still wonder if there are any extant photos of the OTS building, taken from the driveway or the towpath. As part of The Telegoons history, I’m writing, I have been wanting to draw a plan/map of the studio layout, including the raised terrace accessed from the back of the attic studio. I have spoken to several of the puppeteers who worked on the Telegoons, but after 50 years, the buuilding details are hazy. However, I do know from some other old photos that the terrace adjoined the west wall of the RNIB building. The telegoons website is at telegoons dot org. If it is an incentive, there you will find some more old photos! 😉 Alastair Roxburgh

    • Roger

      Alastair – That’s a fascinating story because I was a big fan of the Telegoons and had no idea the programmes were part produced about 400 yards from where I lived at the time. I don’t mean to hijack Dave’s excellent blog but, if you are on Facebook, you might like to join the Old Notting Hill and North Kensington History Group, which has nearly 5,000 members, including a large number of former residents and people who worked in the area around that time. Some of our members may be able to help you with your research. If it’s of interest, please apply to join and I will let you in and then you are welcome to post an appeal for information.

  • Alastair J Roxburgh

    Roger: Awaiting your approval at the History Group, 4 December 2018.
    Thank you, Alastair 😉

  • Simon Cook

    Great pictures and maps – thanks so much. My late mother grew up on Kensal Road in the 1920’s/30’s. She lived at 264 (long gone), opposite the White Knight garage, where she eventually met my Dad, at the age of 14. She then went on to work at the laundry during the war. She would recount many stories of her childhood in Kensal Road and the surrounding streets. Many of the houses along Kensal Road took in washing, for a fee.

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