Oliphant Street was the final alphabetical street on the original Queen’s Park Estate naming scheme.
The Manor and Parish of Chelsea owned an enclave - covering Kensal Town and Queen’s Park - until 1901 when it was divided between Kensington and Paddington. Kensal Town went to the former and the other side of the Harrow Road
to the latter.
The north section was developed in 1875 by the Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company, who were the landlords until 1964. The north-south streets of their grid were numbered 1-6 and euphemistically entitled ’avenues’ : First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Avenue
s. The remaining streets were simply labelled A Street through to O Street.
Eight years later it was decided that even artisans and labourers deserved a little better. A became Alperton, after the Company’s brickyard in Middlesex, and was followed by Barfett, Caird, Droop (after H R. Droop, Artizans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company Director 1877-1883), Enbrook, Farrant (Sir Richard Farrant, Director 1877-1906), Galton (probably in honour of Sir Francis Galton, the anthropologist), Huxley (probably the scientist), Ilbert, Kilravock, Lothrop, Marne, Nutbourne and Oliphant, all retaining their original initial. The last of the Kensal Town fields was developed by the United Land Company, who magnanimously gave slum dwellers a taste of culture in the names Beethoven and Mozart Street
s, and probably named Herries Street
rather ironically after the Rt Hon John Herries, a member of the Victorian Commission for Improving the Metropolis.