Posts Tagged ‘Ladbroke Grove’

Remember Grenfell – Demand Justice

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

Remember Grenfell – Demand Justice -Five years today on from the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower, still none of those whose criminal acts led to it has been brought to justice. The inquiry stutters on, filling in some of the details but pushing hopes of any action further and further into the long grass. So far its only result has been to unfairly pillory the London Fire Brigade who faced an unprecedented situation for which they were ill-equipped with heroism.

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

On the first anniversary of the disaster I went to the Massive Silent Walk for Grenfell Anniversary that began close to the tower and joined the marchers, taking photographs but also expressing my own shock and sympathy for the victims and disgust at the failure of the local and national government and our legal system both in making the fire almost inevitable and in failing to support the victims.

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

I’m sorry I’m not able to attend today’s march in North Kensington, but some months ago I agreed to give a talk tonight, failing at the time to recognise the significance of the date. So I’ll wear my green scarf on Zoom as I talk about rather happier things. But little has changed over the years and what I wrote back in 2018 still holds true, with little real changes and rather than repeat myself I’ll quote it here.

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“The blackened and scarred bulk of Grenfell Tower has now been hidden by white sheeting, at its top a grey panel with a large green Grenfell heart and the message ‘Grenfell – Forever In Our Hearts’. Some felt it should have been left standing uncovered – particularly as the disaster was caused by covering up the building to make it look nicer for the academy at its base. Without that covering the fire would have been a minor incident with no loss of life.”

“The academy in front of the tower was also built without proper regard for access for fire engines to fight the fire when it happened. To make things worse, Boris Johnson had cut the fire service drastically and they no longer had the equipment to fight the fire in the upper stories – it had to come from Surrey – and successive governments had removed regulations and cut safety inspections (they called it ‘red tape) which would have prevented the inferno.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“The blackened and scarred bulk of Grenfell Tower has now been hidden by white sheeting, at its top a grey panel with a large green Grenfell heart and the message ‘Grenfell – Forever In Our Hearts’. Some felt it should have been left standing uncovered – particularly as the disaster was caused by covering up the building to make it look nicer for the academy at its base. Without that covering the fire would have been a minor incident with no loss of life.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“The academy in front of the tower was also built without proper regard for access for fire engines to fight the fire when it happened. To make things worse, Boris Johnson (as London Mayor) had cut the fire service drastically and they no longer had the equipment to fight the fire in the upper stories – it had to come from Surrey – and successive governments had removed regulations and cut safety inspections (they called it ‘red tape) which would have prevented the inferno.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“Firefighters lined both sides of Ladbroke Grove as a guard of honour for the march and were kissed and hugged by many. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and local Labour MP Emma Dent Coad and some Labour London Assembly members were among those who took part in the silent walk, which ended in a local park. I left the march before it arrived there as it had been made clear the press were not welcome there.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

“People stop to shake hands and thank the fire-fighters. Some embrace them. While some papers and middle-class commentators try to shift blame onto the firefighters, the community has
no doubt that they are heroes who did far more than could be expected, some going back five times into the burning building. They didn’t clad it with highly combustible material, ignore obvious safety issues pointed out by residents, engage ‘experts’ to avoid proper fire inspections.”

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice
Jeremy Corbyn and local MP Emma Dent Coad wait their turn to shake the hands of the firefighters

You can read my fuller account of the walk on June 14th, 2018 with many more pictures and captions on My London Diary at Massive Silent Walk for Grenfell Anniversary

Remember Grenfell - Demand Justice

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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


North Kensington

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-54-positive_2400
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

There were several reasons I used to like going to this area of North Kensington to make photographs, one of which was that when people asked me where I had been I could tell them I’d been to the North Pole, which was just down past the end of Barlby Rd on North Pole Rd. Sadly the North Pole was bought by a property company in 2012 who turned the upper floors into flats and soon closed the pub which became a Tesco Express around 2015.

Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-53-positive_2400
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

The Pall Mall Deposit and Forwarding Co became a limited company in 1899, with premises just off Regent St, and built this large storage facility to the design of W G Hunt in 1911 (the often given date of 1901 is most probably a much-quoted typo.) Furniture storage was quite big business at the time as a large proportion of the more affluent lived in rented houses, often moving frequently. The building extends some way back from Barlby Road and has been a rather trendy centre for offices, studios etc, selling itself as close to Portobello Road.

Ladbroke Hall, Clement-Talbot Motor Works, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-52-positive_2400
Ladbroke Hall, Clement-Talbot Motor Works, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Barlby Road was also the location of the first purpose built English car factory, the Clement-Talbot Motor Works built from 1903-11, architect William T Walker. According to Cherry and Pevsner (London 3 : North West) this reinforced concrete building used the Hennebique system, but for the office building fronting the road this was well-disguised by “a festive Wrennaisance front”.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-46-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

North of the Great Western mainline, which bisects the area, is its greatest architectural gem, Kensal House, built in 1936 by Maxwell Fry leading a small group of like-minded architects. Even in the rather run-down state I photographed it, the ensemble is impressive. It’s and impressive modernist building and rather more functional than some, and the low cost flats included what were for the time some very up-to-date features.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-45-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

The site was developed by the Gas Light & Coke Company who owned the site and the adjoining gas works to provide housing for their employees – 54 three-bedroom and 14 two-bed flats- and virtually everything – down to the irons – was gas powered. Of course gas lighting was still very common – and in my youth there were still many older people who preferred its more gentle light. But as built there was no electricity in these gas company flats.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-42-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

As well as two large blocks of flats the site also contained a nursery, with a curved frontage that ran around the former site of a gas holder. One of those who worked with Fry on the designs was social reformer Elizabeth Denby who had also worked with him at the Peckham Health Centre.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-34-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

The gas works have gone, with Sainsbury’s and Argos in their place, but the railway remains. Some of these flats must have been great places for train spotters, but the Kings and Castles thundering past might have upset the sleep in those days of single glazing and poor sound insulation. And gas works did produce some fairly noxious odours and pollution, though if they provided your living that probably seemed less of a problem.

Kensal Green Basin, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Branch, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-35-positive_2400
Kensal Green Basin, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Branch, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

You can still see Kensal Green Basin when you go to get your shopping at Sainsbury’s on Canal Way, though it is largely well hidden behing bushes around the car park and seems an missed opportunity – as do many of the planning decisions in this area. A large and ugly canalside building now straddles its entrance from the canal. Further along Canal Way there are still a couple of gas holders at the west end of the gas works site.

Exmoor St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-26-positive_2400
Exmoor St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Late Victorian Housing on Exmoor St with some nice detailing and later railings.

Hewer St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-25-positive_2400
Hewer St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

At left is the Grade II listed St Charles’ Hospital in Exmoor St, built in 1881 as the St Marylebone Union Infirmary. Surprisingly it is still in medical use, providing mental health services and as a community health centre. Part of the building are rather more attractive than this view suggests. John Nodes and Sons Ltd provided a very handily based funeral service.

Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-22-positive_2400
Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Finally back to Barlby Rd, and a terrace of houses still present close to Ladbroke Grove. On the left you can still see one of the gas holders of the Kensington Gas Works, and to the right of the block the Great Western Mainline and one of the blocks of Kensal House.

As usual there are a few more pictures from my walks around the area in 1988 in the album, and clicking on any of the pictures here should take you to a larger version in the album from which you can move through it to see all those I have put online.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


North Kensington 1988 (1)

Saturday, April 24th, 2021

I continued my personal exploration of London in January 1988 with some extended walks around the north of Kensington. It was an area I was largely unfamiliar with, though I had walked just outside its northern edge on the towpath of the Grand Union in Kensal Town – and had been to a few meetings and workshops in a studio in that area.

In the following years I would come every August to carnival and photograph it on Ladbroke Grove – and you can see many of those pictures in the album ‘Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s’, but in 1988 my version of Notting Hill was still coloured by the memories of the press reports of the Notting Hill riots 30 years earlier – and the continuing misrepresentation of the carnival in the media as a hotbed of violence.

St Mark's Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-65-positive_2400
St Mark’s Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

These pictures come from the area north of the Westway, the most destructive of all road projects in Greater London, laying waste a wide swathe through the area when it was constructed in 1964-1970. Part of a plan for ‘Ringway 1′, the London Motorway Box’ conceived in the 1950s when the car was seen as the future, and the development seen as so obviously beneficial that the GLC didn’t even bother to present evidence to justify the case for it and the huge expense involved.

St Mark's Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-62-positive_2400
St Mark’s Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

But it was the social destruction caused by the Westway that awakened many to the huge impact of road-building and the end of the massive road building plans for a number of concentric ring motorways in London that had come from the drawing boards of our post-war planners. The only ring that was completed was of course the M25, mostly passing through rural land on the outskirts of the city, providing perhaps the most accurate boundary to London.

Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-46-positive_2400
Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

I find it hard to look down on this wide expanse of largely empty street and recognise it as Ladbroke Grove, that place where I’ve so often stood since inside crowds of people standing and watching and dancing along behind the carnival floats.

Paul House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-45-positive_2400
Paul House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Back in 1988 most blocks of council flats were still entirely open to the public, with no security doors or entry systems, and even the few that had these, the doors were largely wedged open by residents to make access easier. I was able to walk in and walk up to take views from the stairways and balconies – as in this picture and that above of the street.

Saint Michael, North Kensington, Ladbroke Grove, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-44-positive_2400
Saint Michael, North Kensington, Ladbroke Grove, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Saint Michael and All Angels, the Anglican Parish Church here on Ladbroke Grove is Grade II listed, as the listing text states was built in 1871 to the designs of J and JS Edmeston in a Rhineland Romanesque style though in London stock brick with terracotta, red Mansfield and Forest of Dean stone dressings, and clay roof tiles.

St Charles Square, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington,  88-2c-43-positive_2400
St Charles Square, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, 1988

Sean’s poorly written tag also appears on the previous picture which shows the same building taken a yard or two further from the corner of Ladbroke Grove. The house is a substantial one facing onto Ladbroke Grove, the main thoroughfare in the area, and these steps are up to a second front door for its sizeable rear extension. The main house has five floors including a basement (which explains the steps) and an attic. The next house on Ladbroke Grove, behind me as I took this picture, has a blue plaque for Hablot Knight Browne, better known as ‘Phiz’, whose illustrations enlivened the novels of Charles Dickens and who lived here from 1874-80.

Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-41-positive_2400
Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

There was something of a brooding, menacing atmosphere of these house-fronts on Ladbroke Grove, with shuttered lower windows and bushes and trees in the narrow space in front of the basement. The house looks much more open now as the last tree here was taken down around ten years ago and the whole row of houses is in much better condition. These houses which were pretty run-down back in 1988 are now almost all flats, perhaps eight to a house, and a nearby basement flat sold for over £1million in 2017.

All these pictures are from my album 1988 London Photos. Clicking on any will take you to a larger version in the album which you can the explore.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Notting Hill in colour – 1997 Part 2

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

Here are a few more from Ladbroke Grove in 1997, I think all from the first day of the event, the Children’s Day on the Sunday.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-040_2400

I think all of these pictures were taken with a 28mm or 35mm lens, probably on a Minolta CLE (the improved successor to the Leica CL) using Fuji Super G 400 colour negative film.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-047_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-056_2400

I did take more photographs of the children, but while the costumes may be cute and sometimes very colourful (though not in this example) they generally lack the exhuberance of older revellers and I found them of less interest. There are more of the children in the album on Flickr.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-058_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-066_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-072_2400

I took several pictures of this young woman holding a child as she danced beside one of the floats pumping out fairly deafening music, and this one I think shows her and the child both enjoying the moment.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1997 97c8-nh-073_2400

But the second frame puts her better into the whole siuation, part of the crowd moving down the street with the lorry.

All these pictures were taken within a few minutes of each other, and I made many more during the two days of carnival – and will post more another day. As usual you can see any of them larger in the album by clicking on them – and can then continue to view more if you wish.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Notting Hill 1992

Monday, August 31st, 2020

We can’t go to carnival this year so I’m posting some pictures from previous years – today from 1992.

Notting Hill Carnival, 1992. Peter Marshall 92-8aa-12_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1982. Peter Marshall 92-8ab-15-16_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1992. Peter Marshall 92-8ac-55_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1992. Peter Marshall  92-8af-33_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1992. Peter Marshall  92-8ag-014_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1992. Peter Marshall 92-8ag-46_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1992. Peter Marshall 92-8ab-23_2400
Notting Hill Carnival, 1992. Peter Marshall 92-8ac-52_2400

I think all except one of these pictures were taken on Ladbroke Grove north of the station, the odd one out being the Kensington Food Centre a few yards away on the corner of Chesterton Rd and St Lawrence Terrace.

More pictures on Flickr in Notting Hill Carnival – the 1990s.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.