Category Archives: North Kensington

Backwaters: behind the streets you know

Royal Crescent Garden Square looking north east 1970 KS799

A quiet secluded spot not that far from here.

Some of this week’s pictures are places you can still go to today, others have vanished entirely. Most of them are quite different now. All of them are off the beaten track. You may have passed them by without noticing. London is full of such places. A name which ends in close, or place, or walk or court may be the sign of a backwater. Or mews – Kensington and Chelsea is full of those. A mews can be a short stretch of cobbled street just off a main street, or be part of a hidden network of semi-pedestrian paths behind a big public street.

Or it can be a daunting passage you never knew existed.

Railway Mews looking west 1970 KS1692

Leading to a place you never wanted to go.

Railway Mews looking north 1970 KS1691

Mewses (is that the word?) are often connected with motoring even today. In the 1970s, where all of these pictures originate, small workshops and showrooms were everywhere.

Such as here, Lexham Mews:

Lexham Mews entrance looking north 1976

between the large houses an arch leads to the mews, where you could have kept your horses and carriages if you had them and tradesmen could make discreet deliveries. Later, the chauffeur could live over the garage. The mews turns right and leads behind the houses.

Lexham Mews 3-6 looking south 1976 KS4102

In later times these buildings could be converted into small houses, with or without an integral garage. In this picture a woman stands at a door, possibly about to park her Rover, the quintessential manager’s car of the age. I first saw these kind of houses and streets in programmes like the Avengers (Steed lived in one). They had become trendy boltholes for the new classes of urban dwellers.

Lexham Mews no25 1976 KS4107

Just like this man.

Lexham Mews met Radley Mews.

Radley Mews no1 looking east 1976 KS4095

A mark 3 Cortina peeps out of a garage.

Mewses were also good locations for outlets of the motor trade, with the full range of services, workshops and even sales, especially the exotic marques like SAAB.

Radley Mews looking south SAAB showroom - Ace Motors 1976 KS4093

Now we turn to a vanished street, perhaps even forgotten by some.

Lenthall Place looking west 1969

Lenthall Place was next to Gloucester Road station. There is now  an office building on this corner, with a shopping arcade between it and the station. I often use the Waitrose store in the arcade so I must regularly walk this route in its modern form. But back in 1969..

Lenthall Place south side 1969 2

A grocery/bakery, the Casa Cura cafe (“hot meals served every day”) and Frank’s Sandwich Bar all single storey buildings built as makeshift appendages to the station. On the other side of Gloucester Road there are some surviving examples of this style. Further along some older terraced housing with retail businesses at ground level.

Lenthall Place south side 6-8 1969

Hair fashions by Leslie (“Posticheur”), with another snack bar which relies on a sign saying Continental rather than a regular shopfront. Somewhere for a dedicated set of customers I imagine. Including workers connected with the businesses at the end of the street.

 

Lenthall Place west end garages 1969

Like in many a backwater a set of garages, these ones more anonymous than most. Take a look back at Gloucester Road…

Lenthall Place looking east 1969 - Copy

Finally, a backwater that still exists but massively altered over time.

Cavaye Place looking south 1972 KS242

Cavaye Place is a street which begins and ends on the Fulham Road. This view looking south shows the covered alley entrance on the right and the gap where some older buildings were demolished and the buildings on the south side of Fulham Road are visible, like the former Midland Bank, the pale building on the left. At this point Cavaye Place was a muddy patch of open ground used as a car park. A modern building was inserted into the space behind the wooden fence housing offices at the back and retail at the front. For many years the Pan Bookshop (now a branch of Daunt’s) was there, a treat fro local residents like myself – back in the 80s you could have a meal at the now sadly gone restaurant Parsons, while away some time in the bookshop and then take in a film at the cinema visble in this picture.

Cavaye Place looking east 1972 KS232

The side of the cinema on the left where the other entrance to Cavaye Place is, once an ABC but later with many other names, and now currently part of the Cineworld chain.

This post might be the first of a series. There are may more backwaters in Kensington and Chelsea, and we could visit some more of them. But while you decide let’s get back to that quiet garden.

Royal Crescent Garden Square looking north west 1970 KS798

Postscript

I’m also introducing a new occasional item which I’m calling “where are they now?”. In the course of looking at the Photo Survey I often come across people caught by accident during the course of their day. Here are three 70s people waiting to cross the road at Lexham Gardens. Are you one of them, or do you recognize anyone? A bit of a long shot I know….

Lexham Gardens 94-96 1976 KS4135 - Copy

Do you think they’re together? Or just three random strangers. Interestingly, it’s the woman who could walk down this same road today without attracting comment. But those flares…

 


The Westway in colour: 1971

A friend of mine once defined psycho-geography as walking around and thinking about what you see. By that definition we’re all psycho-geographers at one time or another. So although Bernard Selwyn had no notion of psycho-geography when he took these pictures, he was on a psycho-geographical tour into new territory. This  week’s post takes us north of the Latimer Road areas we’ve been looking at recently to look at the almost new Westway in full 1970s colour.

13

A concrete island, with high rise blocks of flats on the Silchester Estate.

15

It looks remarkably pleasant doesn’t it, even if you discount the bright tone of film processing in those days? A garden space with newly planted trees, above which interlocking curves of concrete soar in a harmless fashion. In the distance bright airy towers bring modernity and convenience. The residents lived in the sky, where once they had to huddle in crowded streets. Well, that was the idea anyway. The high rise living concept was optimistic, but already tinged with misgivings even by 1971.

Construction work was still going on when Selwyn passed by.

07

This is the point where the Westway met the giant roundabout which connected with the West Cross route, which we’ve already seen in Selwyn’s pictures. One of those towers is Frinstead House, Selwyn’s vantage point for some of his pictures, although the one that looms largest in the picture may be Markland House and the far distant one to the left Dixon House.

Those two drums caught his attention more than once.

There is little traffic as yet on the road above, and that van looks like it barely belongs in 1971.

08

What’s that in the middle of the road. Some kind of roller?

This view looking more or less east.

09

A single resident crosses the new space. Here she is again.

10

This view is looking south. You can make out the towers of the Edward Wood Estate and signs of life beneath the concrete decks.

11

Behind the chain link fence wagons, possibly belonging to totters or market traders.

12

The chimney is another landmark, on the Hammersmith side of the West Cross Route.

Now we head south.

17

Beneath the shadow of the slip road we head back towards the streets we already know.

18

The building in the foreground is a school, labelled Thomas Jones School on the 1971 OS map but later I think, known as Latimer school. It became a referral unit. In the gap between is the Phoenix brewery and then the Harrow Club glimpsed in the previous Selwyn post, formerly Holy Trinity Church. In front of that, the yellow painted building, formerly a pub, was the Ceres Bakery.

23

The classic  late 19th/early 20th century school design, tall and imposing with large windows for enlightenment.  It makes an interesting contrast  with the tower behind

21

Here, Selwyn took a look back.

20

The slip road runs into the West Cross rout. In the emptiness the lights, the gantry, the grass and the saplings wait for whatever comes next.

Later there was a a BMX track here.

19

The fence on the right conceals the West Cross Route heading south to Shepherd’s Bush.  If we follow around the corner….

27

we come to the point where Bard Road gives up the ghost. We’re now looking directly south.

28

A train crosses above the road. In the foreground the steps lead up to the former Harrow Mission, the oldest building in the immediate area, a precursor of the Club. The entrance is bricked up but that was just a temporary measure. then but not now. The building beyond is the rear of the steam cleaning company seen in the previous Selwyn post, later demolished  and now one of those large storage facilities with identical silent corridors.

All these pictures come from 1971. A picture from 1988 shows the Westway after more than a decade of use.

Silchester Estate 1988 003 - Copy

There you can see Markland Tower with the full sweep of the roundabout and the interconnecting roads behind it, a gasometer in the distance an a view looking down at the school building in the foreground. That may be the BMX track behind it.

I can’t say what Selwyn’s feelings about this new landscape were. But there are some more pictures on this roll of film which provide an addendum to this post.

Latimer Road had like Bard Street been truncated by the new road but if you follow its path north on older maps, it comes to a junction with North Pole Road. In that vicinity you find Wormwood Scrubs, then as now an open patch of land.

I can’t place these photos exactly. Perhaps they’re on the west side of the Scrubs. Old Oak Common, Acton and Park Royal have all been suggested to me. Selwyn was evidently up here to record some activity connected with scouts or cadets.

05

So in contrast with the new development further south, here’s an idyllic patch of land with some small scale activity going on.

06

A couple of men in suits walk through an quiet landscape heading home.

03

For those of you who know the area this picture should provide a good clue.

00

Any suggestions are very welcome.

Postscript

My thanks to Maggie and Barbara for their help identifying buildings and general orientation. This is the last Selwyn post for a while but we’ll definitely see him again.

We’ll be doing more on the Westway this year so watch out if you’re a fan of concrete.


Speed kills: St Ann’s Road 1971

I said we would come down to street level for this next installment of Bernard Selwyn pictures, so here you are:

 

1-9 Tidy's - corner of St Ann's -Bramley 02 May 1971

Tidy’s, for toys, hardware, confectionery and many other items I suspect, located at 20-22 Bramley Road at an intersection with Treadgold Street which no longer exists (the intersection no longer exists – Treadgold Street has been truncated since 1971 but still goes on). You can also see St Ann’s Road on the far left of the picture. We’ll go for a bit of a walk around here.

I said we’d come down to earth but it might help if we look at another of Selwyn’s bird’s eye views from Frinstead House.

 

col looking south from FH 22 jun 1971 8

You can make out Tidy’s on the left side of the picture two thirds up from the bottom. Bramley Road runs diagonally past it and St Ann’s Road heads south. The main road running under the railway was called Latimer Road in 1971 but now this section is called Freston Road.

This map also dates from 1971 and shows the layout of the streets.

 

1971 OS map Treadgold Street - Bard Street - Copy

Across the road from Tidy’s a man in shirtsleeves stands near Leone, the hairdressers.

 

 

1-12 Bramley Arms 1-9 Bramley Road May 1971

Further up the road the Bramley Arms which we first saw along the roofline a couple  of weeks ago in front of the brewery building.

 

2-4 Bramley Arms 02 May 1971 - Copy

Looking back at Latimer Road, the Zenith Cafe.

 

2-9 Bramley Road - Copy

In close up Gene and Pearl, button manufacturers. A woman looks back as she walks.

 

2-9 girl looks back outside 12-14 Bramley Road - Copy

A view further back, showing the Trafalgar pub. Do you see the building on the left, in the foreground?

 

2-0 looking up Latimer Road pastTrafalgar at Bramley Arms - Copy

Here it is looking south.

 

2-12 M Gold 119-121 Latimer Road 02 May 1971 - Copy

From Kelly’s Directory: M Gold and Co (Rags) Ltd non-ferrous scrap metal merchants 119-121 Latimer Road. Take another look back up Latimer Road.

 

Latimer Road looking north - Champion Dining Rooms May 1971 BS36 - Copy

I know some people will be interested to see the Champion Dining Rooms.

At the end of this stretch of road:

 

1-32 looking north up Latimer Road - The Enterprise 02 May 1971 - Copy

The Enterprise, an off-license rather than a pub was on the corner of Mortimer Square. This is where we turn off.

 

1-30 Mortimer Square north side 02 May 1971 - Copy

This view of Mortimer Square looks north again. Many of the buildings in these pictures no longer exist but that double fronted resturant is still there under a new name. The street on the right is St Ann’s Road and it will take us back to where we started.

 

1-24 St Ann's Road MGB - Copy

There were some gaps in the rows of house where there were yards and small businesses, and an MGB for those of us who like such things. (As always identifications of vehicles featured are welcome.There are no spectacular cars here but they’re alll of interest.)

This view includes the other side of the street.

 

1-25 St Ann's Road looking north west at SK May 1971 - Copy

There’s some roadside activity by the post box. (What is happening there?) and in the distance, one of those towers is Frinstead House, from which Selwyn took many of his pictures.

1-21 looking up St Ann's road at SK May 1971 - Copy

Closer to the top of the road, another gap in the row of houses, another view of the towers and painted on the back of a building on Treadgold Street …a couple of words.

That phrase was painted on other walls around this time I think. There’s a new edition of Roger Perry’s book about graffitti, the Writing on the Wall in which you can find other examples (and see my post on graffitti in K&C).

 

1-16 Treadgold Street junction with St Ann's Road May 1971 - Copy

We’re back now facing Bramley Road. Peggs and Dolls. a boutique at number 11, next to Curtiss and Sons, furniture removers. And finally:

 

1-17 Tidy's 02 May 1971 - Copy

At Tidy’s, “for your entertainment” posters for White City Stadium – stock car racing. The stadium hosted speedway, greyhound racing and even football and rugby, not to mention events in the 1908 Olympics. But that’s a Hammersmith and Fulham matter, so let’s stop here.

Postscript

Of course as historians of local government know although all the streets in this week’s posts are in Kensington and Chelsea today, back in 1971 they were in Hammersmith (the Borough had yet to add the “and Fulham”). Which is why our libarary photographer never got there and we have to be grateful to Bernard Selwyn whose work and interests crossed Borough boundaries. There will be more from him in the future. (He also went over this ground in some colour pictures).

This post is dedicated to my friend Cy, who knows the area as it is now well.

 


Dulac and Shakespeare: faeries and phantoms

The first two decades of the twentieth century are sometimes referred to as the golden age of book illustration. It was a combination of skilled artists, advances in printing techniques and a book loving public willing to buy prestige or gift editions of classic books. We’ve already featured examples of this in posts about the artist Hugh Thomson who tried to produce one “big” book a year in the pre-WW1 period. Hodder and Stoughton were one of the publishers who embraced this trend, and one of their lines was a series of new versions of Shakespeareare plays. Thomson himself did As you like it for Hodder and later the Merry Wives of Windsor for Heinemann. W. Heath Robinson did Twelfth Night. And our new friend Edmund Dulac did one of the best illustrated editions, the Tempest.

008 Act 1 scene 2 And to my state grew stranger being transported and rapt in secret studies

Prospero in his magical laboratory when he was still Duke of Milan. I have read that Dulac tended to depict not so much the action of the play as scenes implied or referred to such as the “rotten carcass of a butt” in which Prospero and the infant Miranda were set adrift which was nevertheless  equipped with “rich garments, linens, stuffs and necessaries” courtesy of the noble Gonzalo, not to mention volumes “from my own library that I prize above my dukedom” (grimoires etc, perhaps, or something on child rearing).

Act 1 scene 2 A rotten carcass of a butt not rigged nor tackle sail or mast - Copy

Another is these Dulac mermaids presiding over a line which was echoed in another famous work by T S Eliot. (A Kensington and Chelsea resident we haven’t got around to yet.)

015 Act 1 scene 2 Full fathom five thy father lies - of his bobes are corals made - tose are the pearls that were his eyes

“Full fathom five thy father lies /of his bones are corals made / those are the pearls that were his eyes”

On the apparently deserted island Miranda had to be home schooled, and when the play starts is a teenage girl.

020 Act 3 scene 1 No womans's face remember save my own

“No woman’s face remember but my own” The only other inhabitant of the island is the monstrous Caliban the half-human son of a witch who had also been exiled to the island. Caliban is Prospero’s unwilling servant.

Propero uses his magical powers and those of his faery servant Ariel to capture a ship and move some of its passengers and his former associates into his sphere of influence.

Caliban refers to other non-human residents: “the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.”

021 Act 3 scene 2 Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not

On the other hand the scene below does occur on stage with Ariel in the guise of a harpy.

022 Act 3 scene 3 You are three men of sin

He/she harangues them: “You are three men of sin, whom Destiny, / that hath to instrument this lower world /and what is in’t, the never surfeited sea / hath caused to belch up you, and on this island / where man doth not inhabit – you ‘mongst men / being most unfit to love. I have made you mad.”

On another part of the island Miranda has met Ferdinand and they have rapidly become a couple. After a stern warning about making sure his daughter remains a virgin Propero entertains the couple with a pageant of spirits. The Goddess Iris speaks of “turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep”

023 Act 4 scene 1 Thy turfy mountains where live nibbling sheep

She calls for: “you sunburned sickle-men, of August weary / come hither from the furrow and be merry;/ make holiday; you rye-straw hats put on, / and these flesh nymphs encounter every one / in country footing.”

027 Act 4 scene 1 Enter certain Reapers properly habited - they join with the Nymphs in a graceful dance

After the fun Prospero dismisses the spirits and prepares to face Caliban and some of the hostile visitors to the island. There are mant famous phrases in the play but at this point Prospero utters the most well known: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on...

028 Act 4 scene 1 We are such stuff as dreams are made on

These much quoted words were featured quite effectively in that Ikea advert for beds. Do you remember that one? “…and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

Propsero and Ariel prepare for more magic

“Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves….

031 Act 5 scene 1 Ye elves of hills brooks standing lakes and groves

…..you demi-puppets that by moonshine do the green sour ringlets make..”

033 Act 5 scene 1 You demi-puppets that by moonshine do the green sour ringlets make

Prospero speaks of the darker side of his powers: “…Graves at my command / have waked their sleepers, oped and let ’em forth/ by my so potent art”

034 Act 5 scene 1 Graves at my command have waked their sleepers

But at the conclusion of the play he promises: “But this rough magic I here abjure….I’ll break my staff….. I’ll drown my book….”  and vows to set Ariel free.

“On the bat’s back I do fly

037 Act 5 scene 1 On the bat's back I do fly after summer merrily

While Prospero concludes his magical business Miranda and Ferdinand play chess.

038 Act 5 scene 1 Sweet lord you play me false

And finally, returning his visitors to their ship Prospero promises “calm seas, auspicious gales, and sail so expeditious that shall catch your royal fleet far off.”

Dulac picks up on that image for a final picture.

042 Act 5 scene 1 Calm seas auspicious gales and sail so expeditious

There have been many versions of The Tempest, on stage, as an opera and as a general influence. I happened upon this one:

Elsa 01 - Copy

Elsa Lanchester as Ariel, with Charles Laughton as Prospero in 1934. Elsa Lanchester went on of course to play her most famous role the following year in one of the most fantastical of Universal’s horror films, the Bride Of Frankenstein. As well as the Bride she also played Mary Shelley in the film’s prologue.

But naturally this film is the most memorable later version of the story for me.

Forbidden-Planet-Film-1-001-1

But you already knew that I’m sure. Forbidden Planet (1956) featuring Robby the Robot as himself/ Ariel, Walter Pidgeon as Morbius/Prospero, the young Leslie Nielsen as Commander Adams, a kind of Ferdinand (not to mention an early model for James T Kirk) and Anne Francis as Altaira / Miranda. Caliban came in at the end as the monster from the Id.

Or there’s this one:

shakespeareSandman

[Neal Gaiman’s Tempest, from the Sandman series, the Wake. What would Dulac have made of graphic novels?]

Postscript

I’ve looked at some other illustrated Shakespeare volumes from the Hodder series – W G  Simmonds’s version of Hamlet, Sir James D Linton’s Merchant of Venice, but they looked rather conventional after Dulac’s Tempest.I’m going to keep looking.

As well as tying in with the previous post on Dulac this one also occurs in a Shakespeare anniversary year. In November one of our London History Festival author events will be Shakespeare related. But before then I’ll be featuring a couple of those special editions. Look out for them.

This post has a companion piece on our WW1 website where you can see some pictures from Dulac’s book in support of the French Red Cross.

Thanks to Peter Collins for loaning the Dulac volumes and Kim for transportation.

 


On the border 2: the edge of Kensington 1971

I was juggling with ideas about edge lands and terminal wastelands and that kind of thing when I was trying to find a title for this post, which is a kind of prelude to something coming up in a couple of weeks when I made the connection with another post featuring the photographs of Bernard Selwyn which I called On the border. That was set in the south west tip of the Borough in the area next to Fulham where Chelsea Harbour was built. This week, we’re right at the border with Hammersmith looking at an area in the throes of development in 1971.

South views from Frinstead House Latimer Road 22 June 1971 004 - Copy - Copy

I should explain that the man who took the pictures which make up this photo collage, Bernard Selwyn, was a professional surveyor with an abiding interest in the history and development of west London. A few years ago he left the Library in his will a mass of material – notes, photocopies, maps and above all photographs. One of our volunteers spent a couple of months or more combing through this material and arranging it by subject in a set of boxes and plastic crates. Since then I (and Isabel) been able to draw on it for a variety of purpose including a few posts on this blog.

In this case Selwyn is standing near the top of Frinstead House looking south. The road on the right is the West Cross Route. (which I imagined would have changed its name by now, but that name still appears on maps.) At the centre rear you can see one of the towers of the Edward Wood estate. We’ll fill in the gaps with some later pictures, but first look at the foreground where you can see the elevated railway line and what remains of a spur line which went into Hammersmith. You can see it better in this picture.South views from Frinstead House Latimer Road 22 June 1971 003 3And again in this close up view.

col 06 27 jul 1971 - CopyNote how light the traffic is on a major road to Shepherd’s Bush. Some of these colour prints are tiny by modern standards but the colour has lasted well and they give us a detailed view of these spaces between roads and rails and industrial sites.

col 04 27 jul 1971 - Copy

The Patent Steam Carpet Beating Company, right up against the railway arches in July 1971.

Let’s just go off on a tangent for a moment and look at at a close up from one of the pictures above.

South views from Frinstead House Latimer Road 22 June 1971 002 6 and 7 - Copy

On the Hammersmith side of the border just in front of those two towers you can see a pair of walkways which (I am informed by a local expert) were once an entrance way to the Franco British Exhibition at White City which remained in use for some time afterwards. But I won’t stray too far into someone else’s territory. Let’s get back on our own side of the border. About that truncated section of railway….

The end of the spur sat in an empty space. Selwyn’s job got him inside the fence.

Land between Bard Road and 163 Latimer Road 22 june 1971 - Copy

The concrete niches on the left are where the spur was blocked off. The tall building just off centre is the Phoenix Brewery towering above the just visible roof of the former Bramley Arms.

If Selwyn turns around and looks in another direction (he’s marked them on the card the photos are glued to), this is what he sees.

Land between Bard Road and 163 Latimer Road 22 june 1971 - Copy (3)

The gap in the fence where two men are walking is Bard Road and the industrial buildings beyond. The narrow chimney is on the other side of the motorway in Hammersmith.

Selwyn visited the area two or three times  in 1971, sometimes with monochrome film in his camera.

Fidelity Radio site looking southt 02 may 1971 BS34

Another view south, from May this time, with the practically empty motorway.

Looking north, back at the Brewery, and next to it, a then relatively new inhabitant of the west London skyline.

Fidelity Radio site looking north west 02 may 1971 BS27

Trellick Tower, barely visible next to the brewery buidling but one of the tallest buildings in the area.

Selwyn took more tiny prints of the area and taped them together to make larger images, a technique surveyors and planners made considerable use of in those days.

FD24-26 and 28 02 May 1971 BS

I’ve left some of these images uncompressed so you can see more detail when you click on them.

FD31-32 02 May 1971 BSSelwyn hovered around that building on the left like an obsessed stalker.

Fidelity Radio site 02 may 1971 BS17 - Copy

Waste paper blowing around in a deserted street in front of the locked gates.

And now we’re skulking in the hidden spaces ourselves, the fence marking the edge of the new road.

Fidelity Radio site 02 may 1971 BS30 - Copy

I have to admit that I was always prone to this mild form of urban exploration, as a teenager and even later. The interstices of the city.

This is the area that later became known as Frestonia. I’ve touched on its history before and used some post-Selwyn views which add to the story in this post so forgive me for a bit of repetition.

Cover of planning document

This shows a similar view to the first, with the spaces more crowded but relatively little change in the overall scene. 1980s?

The view below, 1990s I think,  shows a more developed, tidier area with some extra housing and more office buildings. Selwyn would have lived to see this view but he never recorded his thoughts. I would like to go back to Frinstead House and take some pictures myself but that’s not as easy as it used to be.

Freston Road area - modern photo

For a moment let’s go back to Selwyn in June 1971 looking down from his perch.

22 june 1971 from Frinstead House

Focus on that irregularly shaped block of houses just off centre near the top of the picture. Can you see a shop at the junction of two roads? We’ll be down there soon.

Postscript

If you can spot any errors in locations or directions please point them out. I’ve gone over them with a couple of local residents but you can never be completely sure you’ve got everything right.  The follow-up post to this one which will come in a couple of weeks stays in the same area but goes down to street level. Thanks to Barbara and Maggie for their invaluable local expertise.

Postscript to the postscript – a vaguely related matter

There’s been some fuss about reactions to the recent death of Glenn Frey, formerly of the Eagles. After David Bowie was praised to the skies (by me also) why was Frey derided by some people? So I thought it only fair to say that although I was over the Eagles by the time of Hotel California I loved their first three albums (one of which was called On the Border) particularly Desperado, a definite country rock classic. And who could say bad things about a man who wrote one of the great lyrics in pop history: “Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona / Such a fine sight to see / It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford / Slowing down to take a look at me” (Take it easy – Jackson Browne gave the song to Frey for the Eagles and he wrote many fine lyrics but Frey himself wrote those crucial lines. ) So thank you, and rest in peace Glenn Frey.


East and west on Southern Row: 1969

This post starts just off Ladbroke Grove, like we have before, and with a request for further information from a friend of Local Studies who wanted to know when this picture was taken.

Southern Row west end Victoria Buildings 1969 KS117

This is the rear of a tenement style block called either Victoria Buildings or Western Dwellings. The blocks are tall because Ladbroke Grove was raised at this point having crossed the railway and being about to cross the canal, after which it could slope down to the Harrow Road as we saw in the second post about the long road heading north from Holland Park Avenue. As we saw, at street level there were retail outlets, one of which was Hamrax Motors, hence the group of motor cycles, scooters and mopeds parked here. That open yard might lead to the Hamrax workshop. The set of steps you can see leads up to the main road. Brick staircases like that one remind me of an older London, not West London in the cool days of the late 1960s.

(The question arises in my mind as to whether the staircase was covered like a tunnel as I remember it or was it in a narrow gap between buildings? In this picture you might think the latter but there’s an answer in a later picture)

In 1969, Southern Row, the street that ran west to east from the northern end of Ladbroke Grove (stay with me here) was an old street in the area near the railway and the road to Paddington that had been originally settled by light industry and the people who worked here before the housing on Ladbroke Grove bridged the gap between the underground line and the Harrow Road. In 1969 it looks like a street on the brink of decay.

Southern Row south side Octavia House 1969 KS116

Octavia House, on the south side of Southern Row, the most modern building in the street, had its own shop.

Southern Row south side Octavia Stores 1969 KS109

With a delivery bicycle parked outside. The picture below is looking east showing the flats and the shop. You can also see the first pub going in this direction at number 78.

 

Southern Row looking east1969 KS121

This view moves further east showing  the modern housing block in the distance (Adair Tower, probably – a modern view would include Trellick Tower just behind the block but it wasn’t on the skyline in 1969), and on the right the then derelict Davis’s laundry.

Southern Row centre looking east 1969 KS114

This view looks back towards Octavia House on the south side of the road

Southern Row south side from No 74 1969 KS110

Note the Car Hood Company (“trimmers” according to Kelly’s Directory) at number 73.

Below a partially cleared site on the south side of the road showing the rear of some industrial buildings.

 

Southern Row south side industrial area 1969 KS105

This is a closer view of the Davis building (“Davis the Cleaners”). By this time virtually all the windows were broken.

Southern Row south side Davis Cleaners 1969 KS103This view looks west, showing Victoria Buildings again and one of the gasometers on the other side of Ladbroke Grove.

Southern Row looking west 1969 KS115

I think the car in the foreground has some trade plates on. These were used by garages to drive unregistered vehicles around legally.Is that a Sprite facing us on the other side of the road?

The view below is also looking west and features the pub we saw above, one of several pubs on Southern Row.

Southern Row north side Foresters Arms 1969 KS111

The Forester’s Arms. Pub buildings often remained when the houses next to them had been demolished as seems to have happened her.The car in the foreground is a Daimler I think, not characteristic of the neighbourhood. A little way behind it a woman seems to be brushing soap or detergent into the gutter. Had she been scrubbing the pavement in front of a shop?

Below two large dogs patrol the north side of the street next to a pub building from which the signs have been removed.

Southern Row north side dogs 1969 KS112

The Prince of Wales was still a going concern in this picture, also on the north side.

Southern Row north sidePrince of Wales 1969 KS113

The next picture shows a different angle on the Forester’s Arms.

 

Southern Row north side Foresters Arms 1969 KS118

I’ve jumped about from the north to the south side of the street because I wanted to lead you to a final picture with an intriguing detail. This is another pub, the Earl Derby.

 

Southern Row north side Earl Derby 1969 KS102

Can you see the man standing on some kind of balcony at first floor level? Look closely.

Southern Row looking west with dog 1969 KS107

There he is again on the right in another westward view. And he’s been joined by a dog (an Alsatian, as we used to call German Shepherds in 1969) looking back at the photographer. Details like this, and the woman pushing a pram, narrowly skirting round the tall van, are what enliven these documentary images for me, and bring the tired looking back street to life.

If you look at a couple of these westward views in close-up (the one with the Daimler and the one with the trade-plated Ford ) you can just see the stairs featured in the first picture.  And they do appear to be covered over by the smaller buildings which seem to lean against Victoria Buildings. This answers my question at least.

Postscript

As always comments and reminiscences about Southern Row are welcome. (And any corrections.) The street has changed considerably since 1969 although some of the buildings from that period are still standing. Octavia House survives, and there is still a set of steps up to Ladbroke Grove, which are at least partially covered over according to Kim who was there last year. Look at it on Google Maps and you see a street very far from urban decay.

The cars in this post are possibly not as notable as those in some recent posts but identifications are also encouraged. By way of contrast we’ll be back at Estella’s house next week.

 

 


The Science District: some streets in W10 1969-70

Okay, I made the name up. Nobody ever called a few streets in North Kensington by that term. You’ll see what I did by their names: Faraday, Telford, Murchison (named after scientists and engineers in 1868) They’re all much altered since 1969 when most of these pictures were taken, especially Murchison Road which has pretty much ceased to be. (There’s another one, Wheatstone Road which is now little more than a stub). After identifying the former home of the Raymede Clinic in the post on Ladbroke Grove I was looking at some pictures of the streets  running east off Ladbroke Grove with some interested parties and we started talking about the streets named for scientists.

Faraday Road looking east 1969 KS316

The clinic is on the left and the picture is looking down Faraday Road. The tower you can see above the lush foliage belongs to the old fire station. Can you see the small vehicle on the left at the end of the row of parked cars? I believe it’s an invalid carriage, an example of the small, three-wheeled, under-powered “cars” which disabled people could get at the time. I don’t know much about the arrangements involved in the issuing of these institutional looking vehicles (they were the same all over the country). I can remember from my brief time in the motor trade that some people regarded them as death traps, especially when it was possible to adapt regular cars for disabled users. However some users must have liked them.

Before we go any further, and see some more curious vehicles, let’s have a look on a map.

1971 OS map Faraday Road area W10 - Copy

As you can see both Telford and Faraday Roads were longer in 1971 (the approximate date of this Ordnance Survey map) and Murchison actually existed.

At this point the rough photo itinerary I had worked out called upon me to work my way up Faraday Road but I had to stop to work this picture out.

Faraday Road looking west from Portobelllo 1969 KS325

It took me a while to workout from the description “looking west from Portobello” that this picture shows the rest of the fire station (see the glimpse of the tower on the right) and that the buildings visible in the centre at the end of the  street are on the other side of Ladbroke Grove and according to the map must be part of the Church of St Pius X.

I’ve let myself get sidetracked so now let’s get back to the plan and carry on east up Faraday Road.

Faraday Road south side 13-15 1969 KS333

I can’t resist this view of what I think is a 50s or 60s Volkswagen sports car with a wary boy peeking out at the photographer. As usual I would welcome extra information from motoring buffs about any of the cars  in the pictures. Is this a Volvo?

Faraday Road south side 27-29 1969 KS334

The cars may be flash but there’s a general air of dilapidation about the houses. In 1969 W10 had not even begun the process of gentrification. The building below, Christchurch Hall was described as “disused” by the photographer.

Faraday Road north side disused Christchurch Hall 1969 KS329

The actual Christchurch had already been demolished. The empty lot became one of the incarnations of the Notting Hill Adventure Playground. You can see the fence in the picture below.

Faraday Road looking west 1969 KS336

A couple of boys are playing in the street, a sign that this end of the street where it met Wornington Road was a relatively quiet area.

If we walk round the playground we’re looking down Telford Road.

Telford Road looking east 1970 KS358

Once again there’s a certain amount of confusion as the picture is captioned “looking east” but with the playground on the left I think we’re looking west.

This is the corner of Portobello Road and Telford Road.

Telford Road south side corner of Portobello 1970 KS362

J A Cook are listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1969 at number 373 Portobello Road. You can see the number 371 next door along with some excellent billboards. (Another ad for Harp lager which must have been ubiquitous at the time)

Kelly’s also lists at number 1 Telford Road the London Transport Canteen. Hence the buses and their crew in this picture.

Telford Road looking east 1970 KS364

It was taken in June 1970. You can see Trellick Tower under construction in the distance rising above the remaining terraced housing. Note that truck with a long pole or plank in the back, and then here it is looking in the other direction, parked next to the Eagle public house.

Telford Road north side 3-5 Eagle 1970 KS353

The canteen is in the building next to the pub.  I can’t quite make out the manufacturer’s name on the back of the convertible The little car in motion looks rather older than 1970 too. Any ideas?

Incidentally. Kelly’s tells us that next door to the canteen, at 3 Telford Road was Hy Soloway, ladies tailor (you can just make out some photos by the door and also on the premises (basement or upper floors) was Hauer and Co, doll’s wig makers. A niche service if ever there was one. I have cropped a larger version of the image. The lettering on the canteen door is just visible.

Telford Road north side 3-5 Eagle 1970 KS353 - Copy

Having satisfied my idle curiosity we have to make our way back up Telford Road and then up to Murchison Road.

Murchison Road looking east 1969 KS242

The bundle of material on the cart could indicate the presence of a rag and bone man working the street. Murchison Road was shorter than the other two and ran between Portobello Road and Wornington Road as they converged and met in an intersection with Ladbroke Grove. There were only about 20 houses in the street.

 

Murchison Road south side 1969 KS240

A line of old British cars headed by a bug-eyed Ford Anglia, not one of Ford’s cooler models.  I haven’t cropped out the detritus in the foreground  because it could be more evidence of the rag and bone man, or his horse at least.

This is a view looking west.

Murchison Road looking west 1969 KS247

That’s the same shop and line of cars but we can now see on the other side a Triumph Spitfire (I think) and a truck telling us that we need Pink. Pink what?

Here is a final view of Murchison Road.

 

Murchison Road north side 1-2 1939 KS244

A clean looking Volkwagen camper and two people either just leaving or just arriving at their homes, a young girl and a man (or just his arm). She must be in her 50s by now. I did once meet a customer who appeared in one of these survey pictures as a child so I’m always hoping another person will come along and say “it’s me”. It’s not as unlikely as you might think.

Postscript

I was pulling pictures and information together as I wrote so I’m quite surprised that it was reasonably coherent in the end. My thanks to Sue Snyder who asked me to scan some of these and to Maggie Tyler for starting me off at the Raymede Clinic. I don’t think the Science District will ever catch on as a name unless an estate agent takes it up.  As I mentioned the street names were all adopted in 1868 by the Kensington Vestry.

For the record:

Michael Faraday (1791-1867), physicist,chemist and pioneer in the study of electricity

Thomas Telford (1757-1834), civil engineer

Sir Roderick Murchison (1792-1871), geologist

Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) scientist and inventor


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