Tag Archives: Hurstway Street

Health and welfare: streets in North Kensington 1966

I’m grateful this week to one of our volunteers, who found these pictures together in an envelope among a collection of pictures given to us by the Planning department .They originate in another Council department, the Health and Welfare department, which was once located in Kensington Square.



It says on the back of this picture” Appleford Road”, which means the road you see at the top of the picture could be Adair Road. Nothing in the picture remains today after redevelopment in the early 1970s.

The picture could have been taken from a new housing block. It is dated, as many of today’s pictures are, 12th September 1966. The Health and Welfare department would have been interested mainly in the condition of the housing in North Kensington which had been causing concern for some years.

Below, a view of the narrow spaces between the terraces of houses. You can see how cramped they were.



This is the space between Bramley Road and Testerton Street. I’ve looked at some of these streets before in this post for example. Those pictures were taken by our photographer, John Rogers who wanted to chronicle some of the streets that were about to be demolished.

Blechynden Street, below, was one of those. It only exists today as a stub, facing towards the Lancaster West Estate. Here it is still a place where life was going on.



Some demolition had already occurred.



That fence in Barandon Street, behind which rubbish was accumulating, is supposed to be 14 feet high according to the caption. Note the graffitti which has been concealed. The swastikas do not show some right wing message: the words read “Nazi-occupied Britain” which puts a slightly different slant on the sign. The message “Down with Taggart’s” must be personal in some way. Too early to show an antipathy towards the Scottish crime drama.

The picture below shows more rubbish building up in a back yard. But the neighbours have hung their washing up undeterred by the mess behind the wall.



The yards were between Lancaster Road and Testerton Street.



This is a cul-de-sac where Testerton Street was bisected by Barandon Street. Although the houses look rough, they’re still being lived in. I should know the distinctive rear of that car on the right. Anyone?

Cars and other vehicles were still a focus of life and work in this area.




This scrap yard was in Bramley Mews which ran between Bramley Road and Silchester Terrace. The Silchester name only survives on the eponymous estate.

This was Bramley Road. The houses were already vacant at this point.



I think that’s the rear of a Jaguar on the left. You often find these relativity upmarket cars in less than affluent neighbourhoods. As I’ve said before, there was a Jaguar collector in Dalgarno Gardens in these days.

This picture is the rear of Golborne Gardens , a now demolished street near Appleford Road.




See the two women looking out at the photographer from the top floor. The one of the left is definitely smiling.

The front of these house looked like this.


Those two women were photographed nearly ten years earlier in 1957. Was one of them the same person?

Below, a street under demolition which has not even left its name behind.



Lockton Street ran between Bramley Road and Mersey Street (another name which was not used again). One end of it was underneath the railway close to Latimer Road station.

The picture below is not dated like the others although Hazelwood Tower could have been the vantage point for a couple of the pictures.



It would have been almost new at this time. You can see that it looks as if it had just materialised, plonked down in the midst of the terraced streets

We’ve jumped back to Blechynden Mews in this picture. Another instance of these mews streets being devoted to m otor vehicles.



Finally, a quick look back to Hurtsway Street, which we know quite well. I won’t go on about the cars (although I could)



Instead, take a look at the woman looking at the photographer from a first floor window on the right. If you follow that line of windows you’ll just about see another woman looking towards the camera. The men in the street are paying no attention, but take note of the pile of tires in the distance. There were a lot of them in this area when these pictures were taken.

I can’t say exactly how these pictures were passed on between Council departments before arriving here in Local Studies. But this is where they will stay as a witness to some forgotten street scenes. (More on Lancaster Road here.)


It seems appropriate this week that the death I noticed most was that of John Haynes, the creator of the Haynes workshop manuals. At one time this library had dozens of his books, a couple of bays of them down in the sub-basement to which library staff, myself among them, regularly went to pick out the relevant volume from the 600s.

The Haynes company was clever enough to produce some less serious works in more recent years, including such items a as workshop manual for the Starship Enterprise which we bought for my son on year. I also own, somewhere, a key ring with a cutaway drawing of a Ford Capri.


Summer in the city: the last days of Hurstway Street 1969

July 1969. A boy sits on the kerb playing, his father or brother nearby on the wall of the steps leading up to a house.  Take a look at the other houses and the general air of stillness in Hurstway Street. The streets were quieter in those days but this street is quiet because it’s awaiting demolition. If the house with the steps is where they live then they’re almost the last residents.

I picked Hurstway Street almost at random, looking through the Photo Survey pictures taken by the then library photographer John Rogers. It was this one which caught Imy eye first:

This shows the street from the other direction. It’s possible the boy and his father/brother are the figures visible in the distance but I was looking at the car. It’s a Ford Zephyr. A few years later in 1976 my friend Steve had one which he attempted to restore to working order. I think I sat in it, on one of the bench seats, in the cleaning bay at M——-  (P—- Street) Garage. On its maiden voyage the engine blew up and Steve was left on some road in north west London sitting with most of his worldly possessions in a vehicle which would never move under its own power again. So for me the car prefigures the fate of the street. And to make the point further look at the poorly parked vehicle in the distance on the right on the picture.

Some kind of Triumph? John was here that day to record the streets in the area in their last days but you can see why he took one of this wreck.

This is the location from a contemporary OS map:

Several of the streets in this space between Lancaster Road and the Metropolitan line were ready for demolition or slum clearance  as they used to call it. John walked several of them that day. Hurstway Street runs into Barandon Street.

Demolition has already begun. There is evidence of a much older way of life here too.

The street is quiet enough for the rag and bone man’s horse to take a break and have some refreshment. Do you see the advert for Tizer (the appetizer) that strange unnaturally coloured soft drink with a flavour I can barely recall now?

Beyond the blackened houses and boarded up shop fronts you can see the railway and the more recent housing blocks.

I imagine John turning from Barandon Street into Testerton Street.

There is another tiny group of people with business in the empty street. See the pile of tires and the house next to it with writing on the wall?

A strange and cryptic set of signs or slogans representing a final comment on the street?

As he inspected it John thought this van too had been abandoned.

Seeing the doors open he went into one of the houses and got this picture from a rear window:

Finally he completed the rectangle by entering Blechynden Street.

Blechynden Street looks slightly more active at first glance. But the houses are just as empty.

The only significant activity is taking place at the far end by the railway.

It looks as though a large number of tires are being loaded onto trucks and taken away. (Or it could be a delivery I suppose).

Here you can see a train passing overhead and through the tunnel a younger housing block on the way to Bramley Road. Another one of those cars with vestigial tail fins, which are the dull descendants of those baroque American cars of the 50s.

John’s walk round this rectangle of doomed streets is complete. I’m assuming that in the middle of July it would have been a sunny day, maybe even hot but you can’t see that in these pictures. Elsewhere in London people are sitting in the sun and having a good time, but here you can only see the grim business of a tiny part of the city being wound up and turned into a fading memory.

There are the boy and the man again, and a woman walking up the street. Perhaps they were just visitors like John taking a final look at Hurstway Street before it disappeared.  The names Testerton and Barandon were used again in new housing on Lancaster Road as was Hurstway – you can  find Hurstway Walk on modern maps but to the best of my knowledge the curious name Blechynden vanished with the street.

Map detail copyright Ordnance Survey.

All photos by John Rogers.

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