Tag Archives: Princedale Road

A long walk down Walmer Road 1969-1971 Part 2

I left you last week at Dulford Street facing south.

Walmer Road looking south from Dulford Street Feb 1971 KS1047 detail

Those two women are staring at you so we’d better move on. This section of Walmer Road is where there had been most changes since the 1930s. Here is Barlow House under construction (see how the crane is running on rails?):

Barlow House Walmer Road 1951 K4347B L-5983

The Beehive pub is visible in this picture but look opposite Barlow House at the row of terraced houses and the low industrial building.  The street between them is Bomore Road, which was actually moved southwards when Kensington Sports Centre was built. (Forgive me if I find that fascinating – it took me several minutes staring at two nearly identical 1960s OS maps to realise what had been done.) I once met someone who was in one of our photos of Bomore Road. It’s a good story but I can’t show you the picture.

This view is from 1937:

Notting Hil Brewery Site, Front elevation to Walmer Rd Dec 1937

This shows the Walmer Road entrance to the Notting Hill brewery. When that was demolished a new housing block was built, Nottingwood House. You can see pictures of the demolition in the Ruins and reconstruction in North Kensington post (link opposite).

Walmer Road east side Nottingwood House 1971 KS1049

Further south more industrial buildings were replaced.

Walmer Road east side 223 1971 KS1051

The Rugby Club was a long standing sporting and social club for young people first established in an old bus yard as a boys’ club in 1889 by a former pupil of Rugby School. This building dates from the early 1960s. (Who was Jim Shay- a name significant enough to be repeated by the writer but now forgotten?).

Some original buildings survived. Below you can see number 239 one of two surviving artisan’s cottages showing some signs of early gentrification.

Walmer Road East side 243-241 1971 KS1053

Shutters, a recent paint job and a Renault 4 parked outside. These two houses have survived and now look even more prosperous.

On the west side of the road there was a Council depot:

Walmer Road west side RBKC depot about 236 1971 KS1034

See the pile of rubbish bags on the left. Was there a strike on at the time?

Walmer Road west side The Cottage 1971 KS1033 Ford Galaxie

Also on the west side a building called the Cottage which I wouldn’t have included as it’s still there today but is that a Ford Galaxie parked outside incongruously juxtaposed with a Morris Traveller?

The final stretch of Walmer Road had a long narrow school building, St John’s disused in 1971.

Walmer Road east side St Johns School - disused - 1971 KS1054

Two men are doing something with a long pole or plank but I couldn’t say what exactly.

Walmer Road east side St Johns School gate 1971 KS1055

They didn’t choose to go through the open gate where several other planks are stacked.

On the west side of the road was the main feature of this end of Walmer Road, Avondale Park.

Walmer Road looking north from Hippodrome Place 1971 KS1026

This view northwards shows the disused kiln the only thing from this section of the east side of the road which survives to this day.

At this time Avondale Park was a classic municipal park as laid out in their hundreds in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Lodge seen below has the faintly rural look of park buildings with a hint of Arts and Crafts about it.

Walmer Road west side Avondale Park Lodge 1971 KS1028

In 1971 when John Rogers took these pictures it had been more or less forgotten that beneath the park was a small network of tunnels built in 1939 as air raid shelters. They were revealed a couple of years ago during landscaping work and I got a chance to go into them before they were sealed again. I wrote about them in one of my first blog posts, Secrets of Avondale Park (see drop down menu Complete list of posts) but here is one of my low resolution photos:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Back in February 1971 this woman, struggling with her inquisitive dog had no idea what lay below:

Walmer Road west side Avondale Park 1971 KS1031 detail of woman

Avondale Park marks the southern end of Walmer Road. In 1971 there was a junction with Princedale Road, Kenley Street, Hippodrome Place and Pottery Lane.  All street names which sound picturesque and rural rather than sinister as the narrator of Absolute Beginners described the street names at the Latimer Road end. He could see the difference:

On the south side of this area, down by the W11, things are a little different, but in a way that somehow makes them worse, and that is. Owing to a freak of fortune, and some smart work by the estate agents too, I shouldn’t be surprised, there are one or two sections that are positively posh: not fashionable, mind you, but quite graded, with their big back gardens and that absolute silence, which in London is the top sign of a respectable location. You walk about in these bits, adjusting your tie and looking down to see if your shoes are shining, when – wham! Suddenly you’re back in the slum area again – honest, it’s really startling, like where the river joins on to the shore, too quite different creations of dame nature, cheek by thing

Princedale Road in 1971 was already looking upwardly mobile:

Princedale Road west side 125-127 1971 KS1106

The houses and shops look well kept, the cars cleaner.

Princedale Road east side 46-50 1970 KS705

Is that a Bristol on the right? Remember their only showroom is a short drive away in Kensington High Street. The demonstrator cars there had the cherished number plates 100 MPH and MPH 100.  But don’t let me get bogged down in motoring trivia. What are those two guys doing in the camper van? That’s probably another story.


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