Middle Row is one of the original streets laid out as Kensal New Town.
Kensal New Town was developed in the period 1840-1859 by Mr Kinnard Jenkins on his land between the Great Western Railway and the Grand Union Canal, to provide housing for employees of the canal, the railway, the gas works, and the Kensal Green Cemetery in Harrow Road
on the other side of the canal. He laid out the roads following his field boundaries- Kensal (Albert) Road, West Row
, Middle Row, East Row
and South Row, divided the blocks up and built cottages, and named it Kensal New Town.
The residents were largely Irish immigrants, many employed in the laundry business, the area becoming known as the "laundry colony". The village had six public houses.
Charles Booth in his "Life and Labour of the People in London" (First Series, Volume 1, pub 1902, pp.243,246) described Kensal New Town: "Kensal New Town retains yet something of the appearance of a village, still able to show cottages and gardens, and gateways between houses in its streets leading back to open spaces suggestive of the paddock and pony days gone by."
This whole area soon became an overcrowded slum with rampant poverty.
In its early days, Middle Row was the site of what became known as the Middle Row 'Pope or Garibaldi' riot.
As Florence Gladstone explains it in 'Notting Hill in Bygone Days': 'Many of the inhabitants were Irish, and racial jealousy under the guise of religious feeling ran high, just as it ran high in Notting Dale. "Who are you for, the Pope or Garibaldi?" was the favourite challenge. Then the opposing camps would range themselves for battle. There was a serious riot of this kind in Middle Row about the year 1860; while two or three hundred policemen were assembled beside the canal to be called on if necessary. This riot gave a bad name to Kensal Town.' The police would have lined up on the site of the Job Centre. At the time British volunteers were fighting for the 1848 Italian revolutionary nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi. When he visited London in 1862 Garibaldi was met by violent Irish demonstrations. There was a Garibaldi pub in Notting Dale on St Ann's Road.