Tag Archives: Octavia House

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.


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.




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