Category Archives: North Kensington

One year

No words this week.

 

Advertisements

Addison Place – an urban fantasy

I had just finished the Golborne Road from the week before last which had involved looking at details of a street full of shops, cars and people, and consulting a directory. I had selected some images, scanned others and worked out an order. This stuff doesn’t make itself you know. Although the pictures are the  main focus any any post I still have to put some work into the process and not  neglect the main business of Local Studies. Contrary to some opinion we don’t sit around all day studying pictures and identifying obscure features of the urban landscape. (Although there is some of that). I was a little tired and it was a Thursday afternoon and while looking for something else I came across some pictures in a folder which must have been intended for some future post on obscure streets or backwaters.

 

 

These pictures were all of Addison Place, W11, a narrow, almost mews-like street in North Kensington. What struck me was the contrast between the busy, familiar street I had been looking at for the post I had been writing, and the tranquil, enigmatic even, atmosphere of the almost empty street which I had never seen in actual walking around reality. I wasn’t sure if there was much to say about Addison Place but the pictures cast a kind of spell. At one stage in the history of the blog I might have tried to spin some sort of urban fantasy around the images. (I used to think that any reaction to a set of images was perfectly valid, even a fictional one. I only do that once a year now).

 

 

Nevertheless, these are pictures out of the past, in that strange place 1970, where ordinary things are slightly unfamiliar. It’s a little like watching a film or TV programme set in another country. The landscapes of a scandi-noir thriller or a Japanese horror film are recognizeably part of our world but at the same time exist in a parallel universe. Or it might be part of some 60s London black and white drama, a detective story with a hint of existential doubt. But don’t get me started..

 

 

The actual Addison Place runs between Addison Avenue and Queensdale Road just north of Holland Park Avenue.

It has a distinctly Mews-ish entrance.

 

 

A mark 1 Cortina (the distinctive tail light), possibly an MGB.

Another discreet entrance at the other end

 

 

And a comparatively spacious central section

 

 

A Triumph Spitfire? Definitely a Rover,and possibly a Mini.

There’s the Rover again.

 

 

A place where little cottages with gardens meet mew garages, those two story “modern” flats seen above and below.

 

 

Interesting shutters, if that’s what they are

This picture with tall trees behind the cottages is particularly rural (and yes a bit Steed and Mrs Peel – incidentally,try telling a young person that Olenna Tyrrel, the scheming old woman in Game of Thrones was once known for martial arts style fighting while wearing fashionably skin tight outfits.

 

 

A few doors down, a traditional, slightly run down distinctly urban mews

 

 

And a small business with a yard

 

 

Which is right next to the cottages.

 

 

And these.

 

 

Now have you seen any people?

Those two talking over the garden wall by the Rover (picture 6)

The woman behind the lamppost (picture 2)

And one more, right out in the open.

 

 

 

Perhaps she didn’t know John was there. It is a bit like an episode of the Avengers. Perhaps one where some village or street is inexplicably deserted.

My apologies if you live in Addison Place or nearby and do not find the place remotely obscure or enigmatic. But I’m sure most of us live near to some kind of interesting backwater.

Postscript

Another mystery was that I was sure that I had used a couple of these pictures before but couldn’t remember where. As it happened it was another post devoted to a quest. Searching for the Ford Capri back in 2013. I didn’t leave a wide enough space between the pictures and the text back then but it’s too hot to go back and do some revising today.

Another postscript

Another entry in my personal obituary column. Let’s remember John Julius Norwich, diplomat, broadcaster and historian who has just passed away. Like many people, I was enthralled by his trilogy about the Byzantine Empire which introduced me to a then unfamiliar part of history. Unlike many of the authors I’ve mentioned here, I actually met him once when he appeared in an event which was part of our London History Festival. He lived up to the impression I had from his books – erudite, friendly and charming. A great man.

 


Golborne shops part 2: Mr Rybolt and the shopkeepers

The pictures in the second part of this post on shops in Golborne Road were all taken by Brian Rybolt who as well as being a professional photographer also taught a photography course at the Kensington Institute in Wornington Road. This series of pictures is in the paper archive of Historytalk, the North Kensington Community Archive which was deposited at the Library in 2006. I had seen them before but only recently looked at them in detail. Like a good blogger I knew I wanted to use them here.

These pictures were all taken in 1997-1998 and were used for an exhibition, “Golborne Shops and portraits”. They show how Golborne Road was evolving into what it is today.

 

 

Two men and a monkfish outside the Golborne Fisheries at number 75. Mr Rybolt’s excellent idea was to have the owners or staff of the shops posing for him outside their establishments

More fish here.

 

 

Number 40, still a fish and chip shop as it was in 1969.

One or two of the shops are in the same line of business, some of them using the same name, run by the same family.

 

 

Number 53. Note that there is a 53A, and above the shopfront, one of my favourite features in a photograph – a person at an upstairs window. See a couple of other examples here (picture four) and here  (pictures eight and nine).

Some shops of course are quite different from 1969.

 

 

One of my colleagues remembers “the kimono shop” very well.

And of course:

 

 

An outpost of Rough Trade. the music shop. (I wanted to say record shop but even though vinyl is popular again, they’re not really record shops any more, are they?). The Rough Trade I remember best was the one in Kensington Park Road. I bought many obscure LPs there (Univers Zero, Swell Maps, possibly even Henry Cow to name but three)

By the late 1990s there were more “general” shops.

 

 

“Les Couilles du Chien.” What could that mean?

 

 

A home from home.

I promised you fruit, veg and meat last week, and here is another survivor.

 

 

Fruiterers (a good old fashioned term), E Price and Sons. the three people pictured outside were members of the Price family. The business continues to this day.

 

 

Other food staples included meat.

And pastries.

 

 

Another survivor from 1969.

 

 

Clarke, described as “corn dealers” in Kelly’s in 1969. I’ve zoomed in on this picture and you can see some very interesting objects on sale here but I wouldn’t want to commit to a general description. I’m sure one of you knows, so please leave a comment or memory, on this shop or any of the others.

We’re ending as in last week’s post on dentistry.

 

 

Postscript

My thanks to the board of the now closed Historytalk for depositing their collection with the Library, but mainly to Brian Rybolt himself who now lives in Hastings I believe. Although his photographs have been deposited with us, copyright remains with him so these images should not be reproduced without his permission. Thanks also to Maggie and  Sue for background information.

There are 36 pictures altogether, a genuinely valuable historical resource. We’ve featured a number of different photographers in the last year or so, professionals and gifted amateurs but what they all have in common is that they printed their pictures. With digital photography it is possible to take many more pictures than was ever possible, but too many of them languish on hard drives. Print out your best pictures!

Libraries like ours are always interested.

No extra material in the postscript this week so here’s a bonus picture:

 

 

Because I liked the dog.

And because of the dog, a child.

 

That’s all.


Golborne Road shops: part one 1969-1970

Take a walk down the modern Golborne Road, either in the flesh or as I did a few moments ago, on Google Street View, and you see a bright, pleasant road with plenty of food shops, cafes and specialty retailers, with stalls selling flowers and street food. The pavements are wide enough for the tables and chairs where people are enjoying a bit of al fresco cafe culture. This atmosphere has been created by residents and retailers with a bit of help from planners. In the North Kensington area it’s a destination in itself.  This short stretch of road hasn’t always looked as good as it does today, but forty odd years ago it was still a street of shops.

 

 

This week’s post is the first of two. Next week we’ll look at some pictures from the 1990s, but this week we’re picking up the trail near the end of Kensal Road which we took a walk along a few months ago, and returning to 1969 and 1970, when some of the shops in Golborne Road were quite different from today.

 

 

There’s the edge of the bridge over the railway. The Bridge Fish Bar, with its motif of fish below the sign is, according to Street View, now concerned with skateboards and related gear (retaining a tenuous connection with the sea?) . Next door the small building which looks like an appendage to the terrace is surprisingly still a halal butcher’s shop, but has dispensed with the name.

While the railway bridge is visible we should take a quick look in that direction. Normally you would expect to see something quite tall visible from this point.

 

 

 

But only  the crane gives you the clue that one of North Kensington’s iconic buildings was about to emerge just beyond the bridge. In 1969 all you would have seen was a view like this.

 

 

The scaffolding and the letters GLC on the hoarding indicate that Trellick Tower was about to rise from the gloomy surroundings.

 

 

Moving down the slight incline in the direction of Ladbroke Grove we pass a turf accountant, and ice cream parlour and a dairy (proprietor Kriton Eracleous)

On the corner of Wornington Road, the Mitre public house.

 

 

The Mitre can also be seen in this picture.

It’s unfortunately a bit light, but you can make out EG Hopwood, another butcher,  J. Sugarman, (ladies outfitter), Clarke & Co (corn dealers?), Ryan Electronics and O’Mahoney Brothers (domestic stores).

 

 

Following the brothers, at number 74 another butcher, E F Cullingford, Pearks Dairies (see the name on the awning, and the milk float parked in front), the Help Yourself Stores (provisions) and on the far left Hamperl, yet another butcher.

 

 

Below, the shop on the right is another ladies outfitters, next to a branch of the Aerated Bread Company, a familiar London institution, more provisions, a draper named Fogel….

 

 

 

And the Economic Grocers ( I hate those uneconomic grocers).

 

 

The building which looks like a church is in fact a church, the prosaically named Golborne Road Church.

Behind the stalls at number 96, Price and Sons, fruiterers, a name to remember because the slightly expanded Price’s survives to this day.

This last picture from the north side of the street shows another butcher, a dairy (with another milk float), a newsagent and, not obscured by an awning, W.E.T. Williams, a chemist.

 

 

This is the point where Portobello Road crosses Golborne.

We also have a few pictures of the south side of the road.

On the corner of Wornington Road, Bowen and Williams, a drug store.

 

 

My copy of Kelly’s does not list the shop called Nancy but it’s in the place where Doris (gowns) is listed. Perhaps they changed the name. You can just about see Sipp’s, a hairdresser on the far left.

This picture shows Holm’s, a baker and confectioner, at number 79 on the corner of Swinbrook Road.

 

 

Possibly to cause confusion, Holm’s also had an establishment at number 65.

The one I like in the next picture is at number 93.

 

 

Pramland, dealers in perambulators. Next to them, the Venus Restaurant. The cryptically named laundry Peter was actually suffering from sign damage. The word Pan is missing. You can barely make it out but at number 103 was D Howse & Co, surgical equipment manufacturers. For such a specialised business, I imagine it didn’t matter where they were located.

You can see them from the other angle in the picture below.

 

 

 

In the foreground, on the corner of Bevington Road, W. Rewer, dental laboratory (any connection with their neighbours?) They boast a “same day denture repair service”. If your dentures needed a hurried repair, that was clearly the place to go, although I must say that the shopfront doesn’t inspire confidence.

The man dressed in white could possibly be one of the many butchers out for a stroll to clear his head.

I have avoided bringing cars into this post as I was concentrating on shops, but car enthusiasts are nevertheless invited to identify any intriguing vehicles. These pictures always contain a few interesting examples.

I have made extensive use this week of Kelly’s Post Office London Directory for 1969, an invaluable tool for the local historian.

Next week’s pictures come from the HistoryTalk collection and they take the story of Golborne Road retailing into another era.

 

 

Postscript

When a famous author dies I always ask myself how many of his or her books have I read? When Ursula K LeGuin died this year I could congratulate myself. I’ve read most of her books. When John Updike passed away I could say I read quite a few of his. And I’ve started if not necessarily finished many of William Burroughs’s works. (Finishing is not always essential with Burroughs). When it comes to other great names of modern American literature my record is not so good: a few by Gore Vidal, a couple by Norman Mailer (not the best ones), one by Joseph Heller (but it was Catch-22) and nothing at all by Saul Bellow (what did he ever do to me?). I didn’t strike out though with Philip Roth, who died this week aged 85. I read the Plot against America a few years ago and enjoyed it, and I’ve been dipping into a couple of his others. Enough to know for myself that he was a great writer with a sense of history and a sense of humour to go with it. So I had some idea what those people on the radio this morning were going on about as his death was reported and his life’s work considered. My favourite quote – talking about Roth’s political books of the 1990s someone on the radio said “he wrote the books Tom Wolfe wanted to write.” Nothing like putting the knife in to another recently deceased author. (For Wolfe my score was two books. I expect you can guess which ones.)

I began to wonder if there were other American authors I should make more of an effort with. I’ve got Thomas Pynchon covered. I’ve read a couple by Don Delillo. Maybe I should make more of an effort with Joyce Carol Oates, serious novelist and cat enthusiast. I admit it though: my favourite American novelist is William Gibson, and I never miss new books by Michael Connelly and Jonathan Kellerman.

 


Peter Dixon’s Paddington

This week’s post is written by my colleague and friend Isabel Hernandez. It’s a day later than usual, but that’s my fault, not hers,  as I was off for a few days after a minor medical procedure.

 

It has been a little while since my last contribution to The Library Time Machine, and I am long overdue on this blog that, really, should have been written several months ago. It was during this time that I was fortunate to have met local photographer, Peter Dixon, during an exhibition that was held in the Central Library and organised by the Gloucester Court Reminiscence Group. On display were some fantastic photographs he took in the 1950’s and 1960’s, mainly of the North Kensington and Paddington areas, which had never been seen before. So, it’s with great pleasure that I am able to share with you some photographs that Peter Dixon was kind enough to give us as part of the Local Studies collection.

Later on in the postscript I will add a link to the website that shows more of Peter’s work and also how the project came about. I think you will find it of great interest, and is well worth a visit.

First, some photographs to pique your interest.

 

 

Above is one of my favourite images of the Harrow Road showing the New Red Lion pub. It has that magnificent lion on the top which I imagine must have been red. I’m probably stating the obvious, but it was before my time and I never saw it before the pub was demolished. To the right is a billboard advertising lager, just in case you fancied something other than your usual brew.

The New Red Lion was one of many pubs in the area, but it is listed in the directories (at least) since 1902. It survived many decades and probably served a good number of those employed by the Great Western Railway. As well as the station there were several wharves, Goods yards, and the Grand Junction Canal. Enough to keep the pub busy with workers enjoying some respite.

If alcohol wasn’t to your taste, there might have been the possibility of some milk. To the right of the Westbourne Bridge, practically next door, there used to exist a number of cattle pens, evidently serving a dairy that must have supplied the local area.

Beyond the Westbourne Bridge was Bishop’s Bridge Road. Some of you may remember the Bridge Café. But here I digress.

 

 

Above Is the junction between Lord Hill’s Road and possibly Westbourne Park Crescent. Familiar territory for those of you following the Paddington blog posts. What’s great about the following images is how Peter captured the local people. He was able to snap images of people going about their business or posing. Children, particularly, were often seen playing on the streets. In those days we didn’t have the technology or the means to amuse ourselves with the current plethora of indoor entertainment we have now. We spent more time outdoors, making up our own games.

 

 

A young lad on his bicycle possibly looking at the strange, if not cheeky, graffiti on the pillar of the house in front of him. Most of the houses in the area at this point were condemned for demolition to make way for the new Warwick Estate.

 

A bonfire burning fiercely to the left of the image. The gentleman in the foreground could be one of the workers in the area burning flammable items (wood perhaps) that might have resulted from the obvious destruction of the old houses once the bulldozers moved in. Safety helmets and formal attire were not compulsory at the time so it’s difficult to say if this was a construction worker, or a local resident. In the background you can just make out the eerie shadows of the new blocks that were going up almost as quickly as the terraces were being demolished. The past and the future, as I have probably mentioned in previous posts, was very marked during this period of redevelopment. It’s not unlike those glass behemoths being built all over London today giving everything a futuristic flavour.

 

 

St Mary Magdalene to the right, next to what I think was Woodchester Street. All the existing streets at the time were later demolished, rerouted or renamed. In the background is a tobacconist with the title: The Boar’s Head Tobacco, and a grocery shop: I &S Jones, advertising what looks like, Benedict peas. It would appear the premises were already vacant and no longer serving the local community at this point. There is a large ‘Sold’ sign between the two stores.

 

 

A young lad squints into the sun as Peter takes the photograph. His shadow visible on the right of the image.

 

 

Two chaps smiling at the camera. Peter did say that people were generally very friendly and obliging when asked if they could have their photo taken. It was considered something of a novelty.

 

 

A really nice candid shot of a group of gentlemen clearly enjoying a joke.

 

 

And here’s another wonderful image of some children being candidly themselves sitting outside a convenience store. Confectionery of any kind was always considered a real treat and the young lad in the middle is clearly enjoying a lollipop as he poses for the camera.

 

 

Two boys crossing the footbridge that links Formosa Street with Lord Hill’s Road, separated by the canal.

The footbridge no longer exists as you see it here. It was originally built by the canal company, taken over by the Metropolitan Board of works, and later conveyed to the vestries. I used to call it the dodgy bridge. It always seemed so destitute and neglected. Every time it was newly painted, it wasn’t long before the graffiti would leave its mark and time would strip away its freshness.

I used this footbridge frequently whenever I walked towards, Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale or to the library in Sutherland Avenue. It was replaced in the 1980’s, perhaps early 1990’s (if I remember correctly) by a far nicer, more open footbridge that has a better view of the canal and the surrounding area. The Paddington Stop pub as I remember it (now a gastro pub called The Waterway) was on the corner, and all the wharves that existed opposite Clarendon Street over the canal were all eventually pulled down and the area became residential with the Amberley Estate built as part of the redevelopment of the area.

 

 

The bridge with the canal and Delamere Terrace in view. The terraces you see were subsequently demolished and replaced by the flats you still see today as part of the Warwick Estate. The lady in the image appears to have, what looks like, a wash bag with her. Not an uncommon sight at the time. The luxury of having a washing machine is a relatively modern concept. I distinctly remember in my early years my mum taking our laundry, with us in tow, to the local launderette on the Harrow Road. It was next door to the off-licence, just before Cirencester Street. The interminable waiting for the washing cycle to end rendered me bored most of the time, so I would often have a library book with me to ease my impatience.

 

 

The same side of the bridge. Only here we see Blomfield Road where the difference in housing was evident. The villas that still exist along this side of the canal were a marked contrast to the terraces opposite. We always remarked on this distinction. ‘Posh people’ lived here! Perhaps these gentlemen were moving in?

 

 

A fantastic photograph taken from Delamere Terrace showing the wall that divided the street from the canal. The footbridge was flanked by a house, and at the foot of the stairs you can see a slightly leaning telephone box that seems, in my fanciful mind, like it doesn’t want to be there. The leaning phone box of Paddington was not there when I moved in, but neither was most of what you see in this image. Railings had replaced the wall. The roads were resurfaced and newly paved. Even the trees and lampposts were replaced. It wasn’t just the buildings that went, but much of what furnished the rest of the streets too.

 

 

This is another favourite of Peter Dixon’s Paddington photographs that I think summarises this particular area nicely. One to end this post on. He took this in 1964 – a few years after he first started photographing the area. By this time a lot of the new flats had been built and the tower blocks were going up. The Warwick Estate, with the elegant St Mary Magdalene as its centre piece, was nearing completion. A few new blocks were still to be insinuated into the fabric of the LCC plan, but it was almost done. The area was opened up and became less crowded. The wall by the canal was taken down and eventually replaced with railings. The canal sidewalk would be paved and made more accessible to the general public. And yet…in the foggy distance to the right, the buildings of old were still awaiting their fate. As with all the photographs I have talked about in the Paddington blogs, the juxtaposition between the old and the new is stark.

Interestingly, to the right of the image you can see a canal boat. Nothing unusual. The canal was always a working waterway, used to transport goods and sometimes passengers. But with the decline of the canal transport industry and the deteriorating condition of the waterways beginning to show, it was the leisure industry that helped to revive interest in the canals. Although the pool at Little Venice was always intended for pleasure boats, there was no obvious leisure service. Summer excursions from Little Venice to Camden Town, was really only just started in 1951 by John James. That’s his boat in the background. The company still exists to this day. I remember a number of trips to London Zoo in Regents Park from here and the echoing tunnels as we passed through. Fond memories of a long ago childhood.

 

Postscript:

Firstly, I would like to thank Peter Dixon for allowing me to use these images for the library blog (all copyright is his). Thanks also go to Maggie Tyler and the Gloucester Court Reminiscence Group for their contribution in bringing these marvellous photographs to light and the exhibition that ensued. For more on this please visit:

http://outandaboutandplay.weebly.com/about.html

I hope you have enjoyed revisiting this part of Paddington again. I have been reading all your comments and reminiscences from previous posts with interest, and realise just how many stories there are to tell. With this in mind I would like to tell you about the St Mary Magdalene’s website which references an oral history project that is collecting stories about north Paddington from anyone who wishes to contribute.

https://st-mary-magdalene.co.uk/2017/07/20/community-projects-st-mary-mags/

George Kambouroglou is the heritage officer working on this oral history project as part of the St Mary Mags church development. The oral history project looks at historic north Paddington and the surrounding area. So if anyone is interested in contributing their memories, please contact him directly at George@pdt.org.uk .

Thanks for reading!

 


Car spotting in Oxford and Cambridge (Gardens)

The content of this post arises from the use of an occasional method of mine to stimulate inspiration. Start scanning with one picture you like and keep going until a theme emerges. I don’t know if it always work.

For some reason probably to do with my teenage ideas about what London was like and my deep-seated desire to live there I was very taken with this picture.

 

 

Possibly it was because this block of “new flats”, as John Rogers calls them,  in Oxford Gardens struck me as a distinctly 1960s design, light, airy, optimistic and modern in a street dominated by 19th century suburban villas. I have a weakness for these anonymous boxes which can be found all over Europe. It looks a bit like a student hall of residence.

The old style houses have their own charms of course.

 

The mid-Victorian terrace is another trope of London living in the late 60s and early 70s. Characters in sit-coms and modern dramas lived in them. Pleasant tree lined avenues, a bit windswept, plenty of fallen leaves and a scattering of rough looking British cars.

I know I’ve already implied in the title that there’s going to be some car identification in this post (that was the “theme” which emerged) , but the truth is I’m not that strong on British cars of this era, so I’m going to have to rely on the car aficionados among my readers to do most of the actual spotting. I just know when I see something interesting.

 

 

Now that chunky two-tone monster has got to be something good. It looks like it could swallow the Hillman Imp (?) behind it, maintaining a safe distance from the big-eyed creature.

The two cars below look a little exotic.

 

 

Is that a Volvo? The sporty one I mean. The one I’m not so sure of, but that grille feature on the side looks familiar somehow. I feel I should know it.

Here’s a Cortina in Cambridge Gardens.

 

 

The fairly distinctive rear end of the Mark 1. When I was young you knew that the GB sign meant that the car had been abroad, cruising along continental roads. An Austin Something in the background.

Some of the houses look a little dilapidated, awaiting the coming tide of gentrification.

 

 

A Fiat on the right, and between the houses a glimpse of the Westway, or the Western Avenue Extention as it was sometimes referred to at the time. You can see it again here.

 

 

Some characteristic graffiti late 60s by the entrance to an access point for builders and other workers .

 

 

Above some indistinct graffiti you can see a sign for Laing, the giant construction company which built the Westway. We used some pictures which originated with the company in a few earlier posts. (A typical one) We have many more, and may come back to them again this year.

But back to cars. Here’s a crowd of them, further down the road.

 

 

Is that a Triumph in the foreground? A line of parked cars back in 1969/1970/1971  is always interesting, to me at least. In recent times parked vehicles have become an obstruction for the wandering photographer, as I’ve found many times when looking for equivalent scenes to the ones in our photo survey.

There are other sights from the era , such as this low-slung light industrial building, which is still there today.

 

 

Or of course the occasional pedestrian.

 

 

A different Cortina, with some pedestrians worth zooming in on.

 

 

Despite the unlikeliness of one of these people seeing this post, such things have happened, so if one of them is you , or you know who they are, please leave a comment. In any set of photos there are always people you wonder about. That also applies to the cars. In one of my recent posts about Kensal Road, a reader spotted his father’s Studebaker, which I found very pleasing.

Finally, back to where we started. The “new flats”, which are not so new these days but do look more colourful in this century.

 

 

And another line of cars for identification.

 

I’ve jumped about this week so sorry for that and also for giving out identification work and expecting wiser heads to fill in the gaps in my knowledge but as is often the case, the cars stick out for me when looking at pictures from this era. On the subject of cars here is another question. I think I’ve mentioned before that around the late 1970s, somewhere off Dalgarno Gardens (I think) there was a small street which was filled with old Jaguars, which must have been someone’s collection. Does anyone remember this, or are there any photographs? I’m sure I haven’t imagined it.

 

Obituary Postscript

Having had nothing to report at the end of the last post in the way of the deaths of people I liked, since the last post a fortnight ago  (I gave myself Easter off as I was mostly at home) we have had two deaths in the world of crime fiction.

Philip Kerr was the author of many books but is mainly remembered for the Bernie Gunther series, following a Berlin detective through WW2 and into the Cold war. Although he lived far from the usual haunts of hard boiled detectives, Gunther was a true noir character (although far more ambiguous in his moral code than any Chandler or Hammett hero). If you haven’t read any of the books, I envy you because you now have the chance to read them in chronological order – one of the challenges for Gunter fans was where and when Gunter would start each story. (I see there is some disagreement on this point though, so follow your own instincts) Kerr also wrote three entertaining thrillers in which a football manager solved crimes, surely a first for the genre. His death at what I consider to be a young age is a great loss.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Stephen Bochco, writer, producer and showrunner of many American television crime shows has also passed away. Hill Street Blues was a genuinely innovative show which has influenced a huge number of TV programmes in many genres over the years, and I remember watching each episode avidly in the days before binge-watching. For me and others his masterpiece is NYPD Blue, 12 seasons of police work in one New York precinct in the 1990s, when New York’s mean streets were very mean. It was fascinating to watch the secondary lead character, Detective Andy Sipowicz, become the hero as he made a journey from personal disasters and tragedies to some kind of redemption, contending with his own shortcomings as well as major and minor crimes.

Be careful out there.


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.

Postscript

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.


%d bloggers like this: