Tag Archives: Latimer Road

Latimer Road 1971: life in colour

As promised in the last post featuring photographs by Bernard Selwyn this week there are some colour pictures. I frequently feature monochrome images of this period on the blog, which sit in the space between living memory and the historical past. The overall effect is of  anchoring those places in the past, especially if you’re looking at streets or buildings which no longer exist.

Colour prints, especially those which have survived the years with their colour tone intact have the opposite effect, making those same places look modern, as if you just looked through a car window speeding past. Even if the cars and buildings are distinctively from another era you still feel closer to them.

Selwyn has a number of these colour prints, tiny by modern standards which capture that feeling of nearly being back there.

col 01 - 02 27 jul 1971

This is Latimer Road in 1971 looking north. The brick building with the vans parked in front of it is M-Gold & Co, the scrap metal merchants, at number 119. The other interesting features are the two-tone Triumph Herald, the dilapidated house whose first floor windows are covered by a billboard announcing the nearby location of the Fidelity Radio works (Selwyn took a special interest in that building). And of course, the rag and bone man’s horse taking some well-earned refreshment in the right foreground.

col set 01

The edge of the M Gold building, on the corner of Evesham Street. A Rover saloon is parked there, a classic managing director’s car. But what’s that on the next corner?

col 07 27 jul 1971

A two tone pick up truck, quite a large vehicle. American? That estate car in front of it looks interesting too. Can any of our regular car identifiers name them?

Let’s move on to that red sign.

col 08 27 jul 1971 - Copy

The Ament Engineering Company, sheet metal workers and engineers of 131 Latimer Road. That extended section of pavement can be seen on the map of 1971 below,near the bottom.

1971 OS map Bard Street detail - Copy

This is a slightly different detail from the one I used in a previous post.It shows a little more of the area north of the railway bridge. It also shows Frinstead House, the vantage point from where Selwyn took some of his pictures.

col looking south from FH 22 jun 1971 8

I’ve also used this picture before but it does help locate the ground level photos in relation to each other. If you look closely you can see the M Gold building and the white fronted buildings north of Evesham Street. The next intersection is Bard Road with the long narrow building on the corner.

col set 01 - Copy (3)

The Flexaire Ltd section of the Ament Company.

The view north towards the bridge:

col set 01 - Copy (5)

A closer look at that corner.

col set 01 - Copy

Do you see that boy sitting on the pavement at the corner? Where did he come from?

Let’s go back up into Frinstead House.

col 04 27 jul 1971 - Copy

We’re looking down at The Patent Steam Carpet Beating Company, just north of the bridge. (I’ve used this image before as well but it does fit with this week’s journey.) Let’s sneak a peak at their rear yard.

col set 01 - Copy (2)

Just a little untidy.

And here’s the building at ground level:

col set 02 - Copy (2)

There’s another one of those managers’ cars, a Rover 3.5. It looks like the so called coupe version, which unlike most coupes had four doors. They were distingushed by a slightly more sloping rear window. Or so my friend Steve told me back in the 70s.

The building which looks a little like a church beyond the works building was I think the home of the Harrow Club, one of two youth clubs in the area run by public schools. (The other was the Rugby Club in Walmer Road.)

We’re going no further north this time but there are a couple more pictures to see.

col set 02 - Copy (3)

This is Olaf Street, which came off Latimer Road south of Evesham Street almost opposite Mortimer Square. The building on the corner is the People’s Hall and has since been restored.

This is further down Olaf Street. This section is much changed nowadays.

col set 01 - Copy (4)

You can see a sign for Dein Brothers (Food importers) Ltd, and some signs of life.


col set 02 - Copy

We’re back almost where we started, with a design classic and some colourful houses, at the beginning of what would be a colourful decade.


There are some more colour pictures by Selwyn in our collection, further north, and even further west, although they may be outside my usual borders. Expect to see some more of them in the future.

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.


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.


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.


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.

A long walk down Walmer Road 1969-1971 Part 1

When I did the post on Hurstway Street a few weeks back regular reader Chris Pain drew my attention to a passage from Absolute Beginners (1959), the second book in the London trilogy by Colin MacInnes:

On the east side, still in the W10 bit, there’s another railway, and a park with a name only Satan in all his splendour could have thought up, namely Wormwood Scrubs, which has a prison near it, and another hospital, and a sports arena, and the new telly barracks of the BBC, and with a long, lean road called Latimer road which I particularly want you to remember, because out of this road, like horrible tits dangling from a lean old sow, there hang a whole festoon of what I think must really be the sinisterest highways in our city, well, just listen to their names: Blechynden, Silchester, Walmer, Testerton and Bramley—can’t you just smell them, as you hurry to get through the cats-cradle of these blocks? In this part, the houses are old Victorian lower-middle tumble-down, built I dare say for grocers and bank clerks and horse-omnibus inspectors who’ve died and gone and their descendants evacuated to the outer suburbs, but these houses live on like shells, and there’s only one thing to do with them, absolutely one, which is to pull them down till not a one’s left standing up.

I think he was a bit harsh in his judgement although by 1969, the year John Rogers did our photo survey Hurstway, Testerton, Blechynden and Barandon Streets were looking quite run down. (Another correspondent told me that a film company painted some of the houses in the area black to make them look even worse for the filming of the early John Boorman film Leo the Last , released in 1970)

We may get to Silchester Road on another occasion but this week we’re going to start a long walk down the remaining street, Walmer Road. In its prime Walmer Road ran west from Latimer Road then curved south and ended at Princedale Road.

Here is number one Walmer Road:

Walmer Road north side no1 Latimer Arms 1971 KS2710

The Latimer Arms, an impressive Victorian tavern. Next to it is number 1a:

Walmer Road north side 1a 1971 KS2709

By 1971 these two buildings were all that remained of the low numbers of Walmer Road. Here they are on an OS map:

OS map featuring Walmer Road sept 1971 sheet11 - Copy

It looks as though Walmer Road had fallen off the edge of the world, which is not far off the immediate effect of the construction of the Westway. It obliterated a whole section of Walmer Road and truncated Latimer Road. Walmer Road continued further on in the shadow of the new roundabout which included the spur road to Shepherd’s Bush.

OS map featuring Walmer Road 1968 - Copy

Some side streets had gone altogether while the inhabitants of the others and the north side of Walmer Road had been cut off from the rest of the street.

Walmer Road looking east from Pamber Street 1970 KS2702

This is a view looking east from Pember Street. A resident told me that as houses were demolished and the elevated road was constructed, apart from the expected problems of noise and dust, rats left the site in large numbers heading north towards the remaining houses. This is what the residents saw looking west:

Walmer Road site looking west from Pamber Street 1970 KS4703

In the other direction they could see see the rest of Walmer Road, now a long way off for them.

Walmer Road looking east from Westway 1970 KS2707

The street numbers began again at 117 and beyond the railway viaduct Walmer Road continued.

Walmer Road south side 122-124 1969 KS1454

This is an earlier picture taken in July 1969, the same month John Rogers took the Hurstway Road pictures. Knowing that, I can feel something of the more relaxed atmosphere of the summer. Although beyond the bridge demolition and construction was already well under way the old community survives on this side. There’s another Ford Zephyr, and is that an estate version of the Citroen DS?

You can see the new road in the distance as well as more of the strange configuration of lights on the Citroen in this picture:

Walmer Road Metropolitan Line bridge 1969 KS1455

Here the rows of shops and small businesses begin.

Walmer Road north side side no129 1969 KS1460

England’s Dairy with milk crates and delivery bikes ready for the next morning.

Further along at 137, Orridge’s supplied food for pets and working animals.

Walmer Road south side no 137 1969 KS1459

You saw one of those working horses in the Hurstway Street post. I’ve been told that in the late afternoon the cart drivers and their animals would converge on Orridge’s and the boys working in the shop would have to load up the nose bags for the horses, quite hard work.

Walmer Road crossed Lancaster Road at this point and Clarendon Road split off on its own.

Clarendon Road looking south from Lancaster Road 1970 KS1690

In this picture Clarendon Road is in the centre heading south and Walmer Road continues to the right between the building with the dark shop front ( a closed down TV rental place) and where the three women are standing in the road.

The man in the doorway in the picture below looks a bit suspicious but is probably innocently leaving the upstairs flat.

Walmer Road east side 145 1971 KS1500

The picture below looks back up Walmer Road. You can see the Beehive pub and the Methodist Church on the corner of Lancaster Road.

Walmer Road looking north from Bomore Road 1969 KS1503

Look at the open minivan.

Walmer Road west side no176 1969 KS1504

In this picture taken seconds later the van is closed and its owner about to drive off. A man in an upstairs window continues their conversation till the last possible moment. Did you notice Nick’s Café earlier? Nick had also diversified into hairdressing just across the road it seems. I suppose it could be a completely separate Nick.

Walmer Road has now finished its curve and is now going south towards Notting Hill Gate. The terraced housing and shops give way to newer housing blocks such as this one:

Walmer Road east side Barlow House 1971 KS1048

Barlow House, part of a 1950s LCC development. This is where we draw breath for a week before attempting the final stretch which takes us into different territory and made Colin MacInnes’s protagonist change his tune.

I’ll almost certainly take you down Clarendon Road in the not too distant future.

Thanks to John Henwood for his reminiscences and a discussion about the tricky question of dating the demolitions in Walmer Road.

Details from OS maps copyright Ordnance Survey.

%d bloggers like this: