David Walker, Local Studies librarian

David Walker, Local Studies librarian

So many people seem to read the About section I wish I could make it more interesting. So..

 In the deepest sub-levels of Kensington Library I look though dusty scrapbooks and anonymous looking manuscript boxes to find pictures and stories for you, guarded by the ghost of Marianne Rush and Kevin the Archives Snake. There is a trans-dimensional portal to an infinite storage depot where ab-human creatures and enslaved souls whisper forgotten names and rummage through council records looking for rateable values.

Or more precisely, I am the Local Studies Librarian for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ,almost certainly the most interesting London Borough. Now that we’re part of a Tri-Borough Library Service I must add that the City of Westminster and the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham are both fascinating places too, but Kensington and Chelsea has been my home and workplace for many years and I’m grateful to live, work and just wander around here.

 I and my knowledgeable team answer enquiries about the history of the Royal Borough from people who live just around the corner or thousands of miles away. We deal with enquiries on ancestor research, house history, and mysteries in maps, photographs and drainage plans. We look in rate books, diaries, mortuary ledgers, manuscripts, scrapbooks and many other places to find answers to the questions  which I’m glad to say keep on coming.


Email us at: centrallocalenquiries@rbkc.gov.uk

My email address is: dave.walker@rbkc.gov.uk

Follow me on Twitter at @daveinlocal for previews and notifications of new posts.

16 responses to “About

  • Deb Chapman

    Hi Dave,
    In my days at Notting Hill, Andrew Harvey came across an archive of stuff from the Town Hall which detailed archaic library rules & regulations. One of the more memorable was that ‘there shall be no willful jostling and no throwing of orange peel’. I just wondered if you had seen them?
    Thanks for the Library Time Machine, it’s utterly fab. Best wishes, Deb Chapman, late of Notting Hill & Central.

  • Philip

    Dear Mr Walker,

    I stumbled upon your truly fascinating site when searching for information on the historic Belle Vue House (92 Cheyne Road, Chelsea) for a Wikipedia article I’m currently writing. I would like to ask you if you have ever considered uploading some of the images you’ve posted here, most of which are probably in the Public Domain due to their age, to the Wikimedia Commons. As you may know, the Commons are a comprehensive archive of free media with the purpose of making these media available to a larger public. Considering your knowledge of the subjects, you could really make a great contribution to the project.

    In regard to Belle Vue House, I would like to ask if you could provide any additional information on the photos with the respective tag (https://rbkclocalstudies.wordpress.com/tag/belle-vue-house/), especially regarding the date of creation, the photographer (James Hedderly), and the technique he used.

    I’d be very grateful for any reply.

    All the best,

  • Lost Images of London and Paris Street fashions in 1906 | Glamourdaze

    […] images found via Retronaut from The Library Time Machine,  the Kensington Library blog curated by Dave Walker. A leading Punch cartoonist at the time – no doubt Linley Sambourne took photos to help him […]

  • robschofieldphotography

    This is an amazing blog. I came across it while looking up Lots Road Power Station. You had a fascinating article on it. I’m a photographer and very keen on London architecture. All the very best. Rob Schofield.

  • Alexandra

    I just want to tell you that this site is amazing. The photos are stunning, and your commentary is both insightful and thought provoking. Thank you for letting me peek into this lovely world.

  • Theblackbond Tripleseven

    This is a great site Dave,thank you for the opportunity of having a browse

    The Black Bond™

  • John

    Lovely site – I spent my early childhood in Kensington in the ’50s (on the site of what is today the Royal Garden Hotel) before moving out to the suburbs. The allure of Saturday morning pictures at the Odeon and prospect of meeting girls at the Commonwealth Institute brought me back in my teens. There is an atmospheric film of the Hight St. In the ’50s at:

  • Neil Smith

    This is a brilliant site! I am currently researching my Chelsea ancestors – four generations of cab builders, owners and cabmen, mostly associated with the Rectory yard on Old Church St. I actually lived for a year or two in Lordship Place in the 1980s, just round the corner, yet unaware of much of my family connections. The Hedderly photographs in particular are fascinating…. And your captions and comments are entertaining and insightful.

    More power to your elbow Dave – keep ‘em coming!

  • Kensington Library – Local Studies | Infolass

    […] my visit to Westminster City Archives today, Judith recommended I visit Dave Walker, Local Studies Librarian at the Kensington Library.  So after navigating the underground and a […]

  • Jim Fulwood

    Great site.I spent most of my childhood days in Shawfield street in the prefabs that were erected after the war between the years of 1948 to 1965. I have read one or two articles about the bombs that hit that area and have one or two photos of the prefabs. I’m just wondering can the library can come up with any thing.

  • Robin Medford

    Just trying to locate what used to be an opened ,adult-manned Chelsea Adventure Playground during the 70s – this used to be a large enclosed indoor facilities / playrooms & outdoor wooden huts/ climbing frames for visiting children from nearby schools – I used to frequently visit here with my school group in the mid 70s & I vaguely remembered it was in a park/ forest area with parking access for school coaches for outside of the centre- does anyone here know of its existence/ history/ locations / photos?

    • Jansos (@jansos)

      Sounds very much like the setup in Holland Park in the late 60s early 70s. Spent many an hour hanging on for dear life and sliding down an aerial rope slide. No H&S in those days! :-)

    • Dave Walker

      I’ve consulted my main informant on 70s Chelsea (my wife) and she suggested two possibilities. One was that there was an adventure playground in the corner of the Royal Hospital grounds nearest the embankment which would have had parking. The other was the gardens of Chelsea Rectory in Old Church Street which had a much larger garden then (subsequent owners constructed more buildings) and an area for indoor play. Do either of those ring any bells?
      I should also add that there was a large adventure playground in Battersea Park which was still there when my son was young.

  • Empty chambers, crowded with life | Mark Mitchell Paintings & Drawings

    […] An upper gallery, 18th century, watercolour, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Library, from The Library Time Machine, by David […]

  • Aude Rain

    Bravo for this beautiful and interesting site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 776 other followers

%d bloggers like this: