Posts Tagged ‘Portobello Rd’

Kensal Town & Notting Hill 1988

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

Emslie Horniman's Pleasance, Park, East Row, Kensal Town, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-34-positive_2400
Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance, Park, East Row, Kensal Town, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Who you might ask was Emslie Horniman? You may recall the name ‘Horniman’s Tea’, though the company, founded in 1826 in Newport, Isle of Wight by Emslie’s grandfather, the more prosaically named John. It was tea that made the family’s fortune, particularly after the company moved to London in 1852. The family were Quakers and determined not to cheat their customers were the first to sell tea in sealed packets, ensuring it was not contaminated with contrary materials used by many others to increase profits, and by the end of the Victorian era under Emslie’s father Frederick John Horniman they had become the largest tea company in the world.

Emslie Horniman's Pleasance, Park, Kensal Town, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-2c-22-positive_2400
Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance, Park, Kensal Town, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

It was the money from tea that enabled Frederick Horniman, an inveterate collector of curiousities, to set up the Horniman Museum in south London which opened in 1901 and was extended after his death by his son Emslie, also a collector. Born in 1863 Emslie had been educated by private tutors before attending the Slade School of Art and travelling around the world and became a Liberal party politician in London. From 1906-10 he was Liberal MP for Chelsea and in 1911 he planned and donated the park in Kensal Town, Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance, to the London County Council. He probably had little interest in the tea business, which was sold in 1918 to J Lyons & Co and is now owned by Jacobs Douwe Egberts; the brand is apparently still popular in Spain.

The walled garden shown in these two pictures was designed for Horniman by C.F.A. Voysey and Madeline Agar and is Grade II listed.

Ladbroke Grove area, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-31-positive_2400
Ladbroke Grove area, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Perhaps someone will remember where Rose’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetables were sold somewhere in Notting Hill. The house number, 222, should be a good clue, as relatively few streets aspire to such high numbers, but it doesn’t appear to match those I have looked at. The previous frame was taken on Ladbroke Grove, close to Barlby Rd, and the next on Southern Row.

Sculpture, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

A mannequin holds a light fitting to illuminate a shop sign at the north end of Portobello Rd, close to Bonchurch Rd. I can’t read the sign because of the angle of the picture, but it later years at least it read ‘3 4 5’, the number (and name) of the shop below. Back in 2019 this figure was still on the wall, in a different pose and with its left arm and the sign missing.

Cobden Working Mens Club and Institute, Kensal Rd, Kensal Town, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988  88-2c-12-positive_2400
Cobden Working Mens Club and Institute, Kensal Rd, Kensal Town, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

The Grade II listed Cobden Working Men’s Club and Institute at 170-172 Kensal Road was built in 1880, as a part of a Fabian initiative to educate the working classes and is the earliest known surviving purpose-built working men’s club and apparently retains many original features. These include an upper floor song room, probably where Bill Clinton played his saxophone as a student, and where Christmas parties were held for local children until the club closed at the end of the last century.

Architects for the building were Nathan Glossop Pennington and Thomas Edward Bridgen, and recently a ceremonial mallet awarded to Pennington on the opening of the building was presented back to Golborne Life by a woman from Texas who had bought it some years ago, possibly in the market on Portobello Rd.

Opinions seem to differ over whether the building was named after 19th-century radical politician Richard Cobden or a Fabian philanthropist, Lord William Cobden, who is said to have put up the money for the club. After it closed money was raised in 1995 to open it as a restaurant and night club; this closed in 2010 and the building was bought as a private residence by American businesswoman, model, actress, and television personality Caprice Bourret.

Bramley Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-2b-16-positive_2400
Bramley Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Roseblades were brass or non-ferrous metal founders, incorporated in 1962 and struck off in 2004 several years after the company ceased operation. The firm was run by Ron Roseblade and his two sons John and Martin. Wilkinsons were also metal founders, but with a longer history, having been founded in 1793 as Philip Wilkinson and Sons and trading in Westminster, becoming just P Wilkinson & Sons in 1936.

The two companies became associated in 1972 when Wilkinsons moved out of Tottenham Mews and Tottenham Street to Stanmore – though the also appear to have had a part of this building. Roseblades also moved to works at 18 Minerva Road, Park Royal, Brent. The two companies made a number of memorials etc together “Four bronze servicemen on the War memorial outside Euston Station, the Wreath on the Cenotaph in Whitehall as well as the external lantern work at Victoria and Albert Museum”, some possibly with G W. Lunts of Birmingham.

Malton Rd,  North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-2b-12-positive_2400
Malton Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Malton Road runs parallel to Westway, seen at the right of the picture, and is a service road for the businesses underneath the elevated roadway here between St Mark’s Road and Ladbroke Grove. The buildings at right are of the London Ambulance Service. At left of picture are the backs of the houses in Cambridge Gardens.

See larger versions by clicking on any of the above images, all of which are in my album 1988 London Photos.

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.

A Goddess, Doors, a Dodo and a Lion

Saturday, September 26th, 2020
Minerva House, North Crescent, Chenies St, Camden, 1987 87-7f-21-positive_2400

Grade II listed Minerva House on the North Crescent of Chenies St , architect George Vernon, was built in 1912-3 for the Minerva Motor company which had begun in Belgium making bicylces before moving on to motorbikes and cars. One of its English dealers in 1903 was Charles Rolls, who the following year joined up with Henry Royce to sell his cars. In 1910 he became the first Briton to be killed in a crash by a powered aircraft when his Wright Flyer lost its tail during an air display in Bournemouth.

When I took this picture Minerva House was the Combined Training School for University College Hospital, training around 300 nurses a year. Since Minerva was the Roman Goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, strategic warfare, commerce, weaving, and the crafts this seems appropriate. She was also supposed to have created the olive tree and invented the flute and numbers. Minerva House is now the London home of global media agency OMD.

At right is the bleak Chenies Street concrete blockhouse entrance to the deep-level air raid shelter built in 1942, currently called ‘The Eisenhower Centre’ though it had no real wartime connection to the General. Before the war Minerva House looked out onto gardens.

Pembridge Gardens, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-24-positive_2400

19 Pembridge Gardens was obviously in rather poor condition in 1987 when I took this picture, with peeling paint and trees growing up in odd places. The house was empty, its front door secured by two padlocks. It had been Grade II listed three years before I photographed it.

It looks in rather better condition now, and it should be as it appears to be home to a firm of “well-established Expert decorators.” Though I think it a shame not to have retained what is I think an illuminated house number above the door.

Pembridge Gardens, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-25-positive_2400

It’s hard to count the number of bells at the left of the door to this house just a couple of doors up from the house in previous picture, but then obviously in rather better condition. There are 15 of them on the five floors of this house. Built in the mid 19th century (with a later top floor) it was also Grade II listed in 1974.

A Davey, Builder, ghost sign, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-52-positive_2400

A neatly aligned sign indented in the rendering on the wall of an end terrace house in Portobello road still informs us


though I’m sure he was well gone from the premises when I photographed them 136 years later.

Davey the builder was probably one of the original occupiers of this long purpose-built terrace of shops which were developed in 1848-9 by the Rev Brooke Edward Bridges and Thomas Pocock who had bought the land for ‘Portobello Terrace’ from Felix Ladbroke; they were built by various local builders to a similar plan, with a ground floor shop and two floors above for the shopkeeper and his family. More recently extra doors have been added and the upper floors are largely let as expensive flats.

Looking at the text of the sign I think the lettering was probably stamped out while the rendering was still damp rather than cut out. It has certainly lasted well and can hardly be called a ‘ghost sign’. Fitting in some of the longer text was obviously rather tricky and there are just a few places where the letter spacing seems not to be optimal. Though generally rather better than my crude attempt above.

Dodo, Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-64-positive_2400

Dodo and this sign were at 185 Westbourne Grove, no longer something Antiques but now occupied by American Vintage, but Dodo is certainly no longer at 3 Denbigh Rd, a short distance to the west just off Westbourne Grove. You can see a picture of this row of shops with Dodo in place on the RBK Local Studies web site which takes a photographic stroll down Westbourn Grove and comments rather inaccurately “In the centre of the picture a shop called Dodo Designs, wholesalers of fancy goods.”

Dodo, set up by “London’s acknowledged queen of advertising ephemera” Liz Farrow has been “selling genuine vintage advertising posters since 1960” and is still doing so through the Dodo Posters web site.

Ledbury Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7f-65-positive_2400

Just around the corner in Ledbury Rd is this row of shops with an entry to Ledbury Mews North. This whole area had a large number of antique shops but now seems largely devoted to fashion.

No 38 to the right of the mews entrance is certainly an attractive building, but I think what particularly attracted me is the lion on the pavement in front of Lacy Gallery – which has of course gone with the Gallery, that shop now split back into two different businesses.

More from Page 5 of 1987 London Photos in another post.

Portobello Rd 1987

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020
Street Musicians, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-4c-13-positive_2400

I can’t now remember why I went to Notting Hill in April 1987 as it wasn’t quite on my plans for taking pictures at the time, and it was clearly only a fairly brief visit, walking up the Portobello Rd, usually the kind of tourist trap which I was then trying to avoid. It was perhaps the end of my walk with my son along the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union, leaving it at Great Western St and walking down to catch the tube from Notting Hill Gate.

Street Musician, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-4c-15-positive_2400

I wasn’t at the time very familiar with Notting Hill, at least outside various works of fiction such as Colin MacInnes’ ‘Absolute Beginners’ written in 1959 and including some graphic descriptions of the 1958 Notting Hill ‘riots’. a series of attacks by white youths, mainly “Teddy Boys”, on black residents of the area. A great book about an extremely cool teenage photographer which was made into a extremely poor film musical, which flopped despite a score by Gil Evans, title track by David Bowie (which reached No 2 in the charts) and contributions from other pop and jazz luminaries including Paul Weller, Ray Davies, Sade, Slim Gaillard and Smiley Culture.

Street Musician, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-4c-16-positive_2400

It may well have been the film and all the publicity around it which prompted me to walk on past Westbourne Grove station and down Portobello Rd to Notting Hill Gate. And it will certainly have been my interest in jazz which made me stop and listen and take pictures of a small combo playing on the street, deliberately choosing to work through the crowd.

Barrel Organ, Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-4d-11-positive_2400

All of these pictures were I think taken on my Leica M2, which by then had a 35mm f1.4 Summilux almost permanently attached. It was a lens I had lusted over in the window of a secondhand shop in Camden for some time before handing over around a month’s salary. After that the 50mm collapsible f2.8 Elmar saw very little use; later I got a 90mm f2.8 too, but found that gave such a small viewfinder image it was almost unusable, except perhaps for a few distant landscapes.

Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-4d-63-positive_2400
Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-4d-65-positive_2400
Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-4d-41-positive_2400

I didn’t take many pictures, but you can find a few more on page 4 of my 1987 London Photos.

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.