Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...
Haydens Place is a small cul-de-sac off of the Portobello Road
is a short mews is just off the Portobello Road
between Westbourne Park Road
and Lancaster Road
. It was built in the 1860s. Its original name was Hayden’s Mews; it was only by the time of the 1901 census that was described as Hayden Place. The apostrophe seems to have crept in much later – it was still described as Hayden Place on the 1935 Ordnance Survey map.
In 1871, John Hayden, described in the census return as “contractor employing 6 men” was living at 1 Hayden Mews, and it must have been named after him. He may well have been responsible for building the mews.
Originally, the mews had 19 numbered dwellings in it, so it probably extended right down as far as Elgin Mews
, between the back gardens of the houses in Westbourne Park Road
and Lancaster Road
. But by 1891, no more than three households are recorded in the census (five in 1901). It seems that sometime around 1890 the western end of the mews was built over to form a big block of stables, which appears on the Ordnance Survey maps of both 1893 and 1935. Old directories indicate that the stables were used in the 1890s for the horses of the London General Omnibus Company. Later in the 20th century they were put to various uses, including a motor repair business, a furniture repository and a photographic studio.
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Notting Hill is a cosmopolitan district known as the location for the annual Notting Hill Carnival, and for being home to the Portobello Road Market.
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.