Posts Tagged ‘wealthy’

Wealthy Kensington – 1987

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

The London I grew up in, on the outskirts of the capital was an area of small late Victorian terraces and Edwardian and inter-war two or three-bed semis, interspersed with the occasional factory, church and municipal buildings, with few or any sizeable private houses of any age. It was largely working class, poor and largely honest but not particularly deprived. And back then we had the NHS, free education and the welfare state.

Walking around Holland Park and other wealthy areas of Kensington is a completely different world; another country of large detached house and large blocks of mansion flats, an opulence based both on the exploitation of the British Empire and of the exploitation of the workers in the mass of England. I wrote first “our country”, but I think it was never really our country, but their country, “England” or “Great Britain” a deception that sent many working people to toil in factories or die in the trenches – as well as profiting from slavery and working in mines and plantations across the world.

Looking at these pictures now, it’s hard not to think of the times I have walked past some of these and similar places more recently, often on my way to Grenfell Tower or to join the monthly silent marches in memory of those who died there, some of which have passed through this area, walking from Kensington Town Hall.

Vintage car, Philbeach Gardens,  Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12c-65-positive_2400
Vintage car, Philbeach Gardens, Earls Court, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The Addison Road area was the first to be developed, on 200 acres of farmland belonging to Lord Holland, beginning in the 1820s. The estate was sold off in parts for development from 1823 to 1930.

Royal Crescent, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12d-12-positive_2400
Royal Crescent, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Royal Crescent to the north of Holland Park Avenue was built in 1846, and the whole crescent of houses is Grade II* listed. The picture shows the eastern corner of the crescent with Holland Park Avenue.

St Anns Villas, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12d-15-positive_2400
St Anns Villas, Notting Hill, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

The road leading north from the centre of Royal Crescent is St Ann’s Villas and is lined with substantial houses. After a few in stucco and a road junction it is lined with a development of 12 similar but not identical semidetached houses in a red brick Tudor style, with attractive stonework and blue brick diapering, built in 1852 and Grade II listed. The blue plaque here is for music hall artist Albert Chevalier, born here and best remembered for one of his many songs “My Old Dutch”. Although he wrote and performed in cockney as a costermonger and was called ‘the coster’s laureate’, he was from a rather more middle-class background, his father being the French master at Kensington School, Jean Onésime Chevalier, and Albert was christened Albert Onésime Britannicus Gwathveoyd Louis Chevalier. His mother was Welsh, which accounts for the Gwathveoyd, more usually spelt Gwaithfoed.

Debenham House, Peacock House, Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Debenham House, also known as Peacock House, is the only Grade I listed building in the Addison Rd, designed by architect Halsey Ricardo for department store owner Ernest Ridley Debenham and completed in 1907. it became known as Debenham House after it was sold following Debenham’s death in 1952. The exterior, designed to retain its appearance despite the ravages of London’s soot with coloured tiles and glazed bricks is in an Italianate style, but the interiors are Arts and Crafts, with work by some of the leading designers of the time. Unfortunately we can only see them in photographs and in several films made using it as a location.

Holland Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

Holland Road is a long straight street largely lined with 4 storey terraces of substantial houses like the one in this picture. Expect to pay something around £4m for one of them – or perhaps £700,000 for a 1-bed flat.

Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12d-35-positive_2400
Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

This house at 77 Addison Road is opposite Debenham House and I rather prefer its more restrained manner.

Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987  87-12d-41-positive_2400
Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

One of a row of similar houses on Addison Rd, in a neo-Gothic style dating from around the 1850s. The next door house is listed but for some reason this one is not.

Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-12d-42-positive_2400
Addison Rd, Holland Park, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987

And this is the house next door, rather hidden behind its more impressive gate

All pictures are from page 8 of my album 1987 London Photos.

Mayfair Mayhem

Saturday, November 30th, 2019

I don’t like going to Mayfair. Too much conspicuous consumption on display, too much affluence and waste. It isn’t envy – mostly I wouldn’t want those excessively expensive things you see in shops and through windows, nor the expensive menus etc. I’m largely a man of simple tastes, and happier to share expensive works of art in the National Gallery rather than hang them on my own private wall.

In part its the people. Though I’ve known and liked some who are wealthy there are too many who are obnoxious, who look on the people who work for them as dirt, or just couldn’t give a jot about others. Of course there are poor people who are obnoxious too, but generally in ways that are less obtrusive.

Clubs like LouLou’s with a ‘exclusive’ tag and a membership (in 2017) of £1,800 and described by a fawning article on the Observer website as “the place to be for royals, billionaires, A-list celebrities and socialites” seems to be a magnet for the uncaring and obnoxious, run by the son of Lady Annabel Goldsmith who has given more than £268,000 to Nigel Farage’s UKIP and donated £20,000 to Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign.

But despite this huge wealth, LouLou’s pays its kitchen porters a pittance, and the IWGB has been supporting their claim for the London Living Wage of £10.55 per hour and for decent terms and conditions of service such as sick pay. Currenly the porters who are mainly migrant workers get only £9 per hour. This was I think their second protest outside the club.

Henry Chango-Lopez, President of the IWGB, said:
“It is unfair that the porters who allow billionaires to wine and dine in luxury and secrecy are left hung out to dry. The porters can see straight through 5 Hertford Street’s bribes and know that outsourcing will only lead to further exploitation. The restaurant needs to give justice to its workers and put them all under the same banner.”

I think it was a genuine accident when police knocked one of the protesters to the ground, an officer walking backward into him. But the whole attitude of the police was deferential to the club owners, their security men and guests but hostile towards the protesters, two of whom were arrested.

More at IWGB demand living wage at LouLou’s .

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.

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