Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...
Colville Square is a street in Notting Hill.
In the middle ages the Colville area was farmland, part of the manor of Notting Barns, passing through various landlords and by the 18th century was owned by the Talbot family.
In 1852, the family attempted to sell the farmland, now reduced in size by earlier sales to the Great Western Railway and the gas company. As the land was considered too remote for building speculators to be interested, there was only one buyer, Dr. Samuel Walker, a speculative builder behind part of the neighbouring Ladbroke estate.
The building of All Saints’ Church began in 1852 but very little other building work took place. In 1860 the builder, George Frederick John Tippett acquired much of the land. He was a prominent builder of the time and combined the roles of landlord, developer and builder.
The development of his estate took place between 1860 and 1875. Three parts, one each in Colville Square, Colville Gardens
and Powis Square
, backed on to shallow communal gardens, in an attempt to echo another earlier Tippet development in Paddington.
The whole estate had a uniform appearance, contrasting with the more varied developments appearing in the surrounding streets.
Notting Hill is a cosmopolitan district known as the location for the annual Notting Hill Carnival, and for being home to the Portobello Road
The word Notting
might originate from a Saxon called Cnotta
with the =ing
part indicating "the place inhibited by the people of" - i.e. where Cnotta’s tribe lived. There was a farm called variously "Knotting-Bernes,", "Knutting-Barnes" or "Nutting-barns" and this name was transferred to the hill above it.
The area remained rural until the westward expansion of London reached Bayswater in the early 19th century. The main landowner in Notting Hill was the Ladbroke family, and from the 1820s James Weller Ladbroke began to undertake the development of the Ladbroke Estate. Working with the architect and surveyor Thomas Allason, Ladbroke began to lay out streets and houses, with a view to turning the area into a fashionable suburb of the capital (although the development did not get seriously under way until the 1840s). Many of these streets bear the Ladbroke name, including Ladbroke Grove
, the main north-south axis of the area, and Ladbroke Square
, the largest private garden square in London.
The original idea was to call the district Kensington Park, and other roads (notably Kensington Park Road
and Kensington Park Gardens
) are reminders of this. The local telephone prefix 7727 (originally 727) is based on the old telephone exchange name of PARk.
The reputation of the district altered over the course of the 20th century. As middle class households ceased to employ servants, the large Notting Hill houses lost their market and were increasingly split into multiple occupation.
For much of the 20th century the large houses were subdivided into multi-occupancy rentals. Caribbean immigrants were drawn to the area in the 1950s, partly because of the cheap rents, but were exploited by slum landlords like Peter Rachman, and also became the target of white racist Teddy Boys in the 1958 Notting Hill race riots.
Notting Hill was slowly gentrified from the 1980s onwards now has a contemporary reputation as an affluent and fashionable area; known for attractive terraces of large Victorian townhouses, and high-end shopping and restaurants (particularly around Westbourne Grove
and Clarendon Cross
A Daily Telegraph article in 2004 used the phrase the ’Notting Hill Set’ to refer to a group of emerging Conservative politicians, such as David Cameron and George Osborne, who were once based in Notting Hill.
Since it was first developed in the 1830s, Notting Hill has had an association with artists and ’alternative’ culture.