Ladbroke Crescent belongs to the third and final great period of building on the Ladbroke estate and the houses were constructed in the 1860s.
Development of this area had suddenly become more attractive with the opening in 1864 of the Hammersmith and City line of the Metropolitan Railway with a station on Ladbroke Grove (the station was originally called ‘Notting Hill’), and the introduction in the early 1860s of cheap workmen’s fares.
By that time the Ladbroke family had disposed of the land, either by selling the freehold or by giving 99-year peppercorn rents. The land on which Ladbroke Crescent lies was in the hands of the speculator and ex-Calcutta merchant Charles Blake, who had already developed successfully several other parts of the Ladbroke estate. In 1864, he granted a lease of the whole crescent to G. and T. Goodwin, builders. The normal pattern was no doubt followed, according to which the builder had to build houses meeting certain standards; he was then given a 99-year lease of the property which he could let, thus recovering his costs, but he had had to pay a ground rent to the landowner (typically £10 in Ladbroke Crescent). In early 1865, the Goodwins began advertising their new houses in the Times:
NOTTING-HILL. Genteel superior residences to be LET, in Ladbroke-crescent, 10 and 13 rooms, bathroom, plate glass, gas and every convenience. Rent 50 guineas and £75. Apply to G. and T. Goodwin, 4 Ladbroke-crescent, Ladbroke-road, close to Notting Hill Railway Station.
It is not clear how successful they were in attracting the sort of purchaser they had in mind. Some middle class families with usually one servant moved in. In 1900, for instance, the occupant of No. 4 was advertising for a ‘parlour maid, experienced, trustworthy, middle-aged, in a gentleman’s family. Good references.’ But the census indicates that most of the houses were soon in multi-occupation, or occupied by people letting rooms. In 1866, for instance, ‘furnished apartments, with or without board, for a lady and gentleman or two gentlemen’ were being advertised at No. 6, offering ‘every home comfort, with perfect cleanliness, may be relied on. An extra bedroom if required.’ And a bit later, the occupant of No. 20 was advertising a ‘parlour, with large bedroom upstairs, at 25s per week. Good cooking and attendance.’
In 1895, 7 Ladbroke Crescent harboured the Committee Rooms (office) of the North Kensington Conservative Association. During the first half of the 20th century, the area went steadily downhill, becoming more slummy and probably reaching its nadir in the 1950s, at the time of the Notting Hill Race Riots, when a 21-year old inhabitant of the Crescent was convicted of carrying offensive weapons, to whit a spanner and file, in Lancaster Road during the riots. Since then, however, the area has been steadily improving.Source: Ladbroke Association
|VIEW THE NOTTING DALE AREA IN THE 1750s|
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|VIEW THE NOTTING DALE AREA IN THE 1800s|
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|VIEW THE NOTTING DALE AREA IN THE 1830s|
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|VIEW THE NOTTING DALE AREA IN THE 1860s|
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|VIEW THE NOTTING DALE AREA IN THE 1900s|
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From Pigs and bricks to Posh and Becks...
As houses were springing up all over the rest of northern Kensington, one corner of the borough was developing into a slum whose notoriety was probably unsurpassed throughout London
It lay at the foot of the hill on which the Ladbroke estate was laid out, directly north of Pottery Lane, on badly draining clay soil between the Norland Estate and Notting Barns Farm.
Its first occupants were to give it two infamous names: the brick makers, who seemed to have arrived in the late lath century, and the pig-keepers, who moved there in the early l9th century.
To make bricks and tiles involved large excavations, which soon filled with stagnant water. The keeping of pigs entailed collecting refuse and offal from the kitchens of hotels and private houses, feeding most of it to pigs and boiling down the fat.
The combination of both bricks and pigs spelt disaster for the area.
Samuel Lake of Tottenham Court Road, a scavenger and chimney sweep by occupation was the first to keep pigs here and he was soon joined by the pig keepers of the Marble Arch area who had been forced out of their area by building development. The colony was at first sufficiently isolated to be able to go about their business unfettered; and by the time streets were being built nearby, the piggeries were so well established that developers simply steered clear.
Shacks sprang up wherever convenient for there was no building control in London at that time, and inevitably they were jumbled together with the pigs and the ponds: indeed often the three were combined, with humans sharing their roofs with animals and living directly over stagnant water: the animals at one stage outnumbered people by three to one.
The area’s unsanitary conditions had become so notorious that Charles Dickens ran a special feature on it in the first edition issue of his magazine Household Words
The Piggeries and Brickyards were far from the sight and concern of the Vestry and its duties were taken up by charities, both religious and secular. But it was Kensington’s first Medical Officer of Health, Dr Francis Goodrich, who was given the formidable task of cleaning up the area. Goodrich stated that it was one of the most deplorable
spots not only in Kensington but in the whole of the metropolis.
Rather than manufacturing bricks, locals started to concentrate more on the making of pottery, mostly drainpipes, tiles and flower pots to supply the local building boom. This trade, however, gradually declined and business ceased by 1863, the same time as when the stagnant ’Ocean’ was filled in.
As far as the Piggeries were concerned strong opposition to a clean up came from the pig keepers themselves, as that was their only livelihood. And perversely the Vestry did not want them to lose the pigs because the families then could become a charge on the poor rate.
By 1878 Goodrich’s successor Dr Dudfield managed, however, to gradually reduce the number of pigs but it was not until the 1890’s that the last pig was banished.
The area nevertheless remained notorious. Instead of pig keeping the men turned to living off what their women could earn as laundresses, initially at home (especially in
the Stoneleigh Street area) and later in small laundries. A local saying in this area declared that ’to marry an ironer is as good as a fortune’
But change was coming.
The 1860s at last witnessed the opening of schools, (such as one in Sirdar Road), the paving of streets and the construction of proper sewers. But it was not until 1888 were public baths and washhouses provided at the junction of Silchester and Lancaster Roads.
In 1889 the Rev C E Roberts of St Clements Church and the Rev Dr Thornton of St Johns appealed in a letter to the Times for an open space for the children of this area. As a result the old brickfield and the area of the ’Ocean’ became the start of Avondale Park opened in 1892 and named in memory of the recently deceased Duke of Clarence and Avondale.
But even then, a year after the park was opened that the Daily News described the area adjacent to the park as ’Avernus’ (the fabled gateway to hell!). The article identified Wilsham Street, Kenley Street, another two streets now replaced by Henry Dickens Court and part of Sirdar Road as ’hopelessly degraded and abandoned’.
The dense rows of artisan houses in these streets were massively over-occupied or else were the most primitive lodging houses in which a bed on the floor cost a few pennies per night. Local residents made a living as best they could but it was a close knit community who seemed to scrape together enough money to pay for visits to the music hall and for summer day trips.
By 1904 new low cost tenements were built and the Improved Tenements Association bought 64 year leases of four houses in Walmer Road in 1900, and these were modernised and divided into two room tenements to accommodate 13 families for rents of 5 shillings a week. Other housing associations followed such as the Wilsham Trust formed by Ladies- in-waiting at Kensington Palace.
The poverty and hardship of the Potteries and Piggeries is very much a thing of the past. Now the neighbourhood is an attractive, leafy, peaceful backwater made up of rows of well kept two and three storey Victorian brick terraced houses and cottages, in the shadow of the graceful golden weather vane and clock of St Clements Church.
The area has come a long way.
The Notting Hill & Holland Park Book by Richard Tames
Kensington & Chelsea by Annabel Walker with Peter Jackson
Notting Hill and Holland Park Past by Barbara Denny
Survey of London: Northern Kensington: Vol:XXXVII for the Greater London Council
A seminal gig
|LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP|
: Once upon a time in 1979, Joy Division, OMD and A Certain Ratio were on the same bill - and all for £1.50.Acklam Hall
: Acklam Hall became a community centre for the post-Westway Acklam RoadAcklam Road Adventure Playground
: Acklam Road Adventure Playground was created in the 1960s.Basing Street (SARM) Studios
: SARM Studios is a recording studio, established by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records.Earl of Zetland
: A pub in the PotteriesI Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet
: I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet was a clothing boutique which achieved fame in 1960s "Swinging London" by promoting antique military uniforms as fashion items.Kenilworth Castle
: The Kenilworth Castle was a post-war pub in Notting Dale.Kensington Hippodrome
: The Kensington Hippodrome was a racecourse built in Notting Hill, London, in 1837, by entrepreneur John Whyte. Kensington Park Hotel
: The KPH is a landmark pub on Ladbroke Grove.Ladbroke Grove
: Ladbroke Grove is a road in the North Kensington/Notting Hill. Running from Notting Hill itself in the south to Kensal Green in the north, it straddles the W10 and W11 postal districts. Latimer Road
: A station not named after the road it stands onMary Place Workhouse
: Notting Dale Workhouse stood on the site of what is now Avondale Park Gardens,North Kensington Library
: North Kensington Library opened in 1891 and was described as one of London’s finest public libraries.North Kensington
: North Kensington lies either side of Ladbroke Grove, W10.Notting Dale
: From Pigs and bricks to Posh and Becks...Notting Hill
: Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...Portobello Farm
: Portobello Farm House was approached along Turnpike Lane, sometimes referred to as Green’s Lane, a track leading from Kensington Gravel Pits towards a wooden bridge over the canal.Sion Manning Roman Catholic Girls’ School
: Sion Manning Roman Catholic Girls’ School is in St Charles Square.St. Joseph's Home
: St Joseph's dominated a part of Portobello Road up until the 1980s.The Bedford family at 3 Acklam Road
: From the 19th century up until 1965, number 3 Acklam Road, near the Portobello Road junction, was occupied by the Bedford family. The Brittania
: The Brittania was situated on the corner of Clarendon Road and Portland Road, W11.Western Iron Works
: The Western Iron Works was the foundry business of James Bartle and Co.Bangor Street
: 2015Bangor Street
: 2015Corner of Bangor and Sirdar Road
: 2015Political meeting (1920s)
: Meeting in front of the Junction Arms situated where Tavistock Road, Crescent and Basing Road met.Ridler's Tyre Yard
: Ridler's Tyres was situated in a part of Blechynden Street which no longer exists
Alba Place, W11
|NEARBY STREETS AND BUILDINGS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP|
· Aldermaston Street, W10
· Ansleigh Place, W11
· Arundel Gardens, W11
· Avondale Park Gardens, W11
· Avondale Park Road, W11
· Bard Road, W10
· Bartle Road, W11
· Basing Street, W11
· Bassett Road, W10
· Bevington Road, W10
· Blechynden Mews, W11
· Blechynden Street, W10
· Blenheim Crescent, W11
· Bomore Road, W11
· Bramley Mews, W10
· Bramley Road, W10
· Bramley Road, W11
· Bramley Street, W10
· Bridge Close, W10
· Cambridge Gardens, W10
· Camelford Walk, W11
· Charlotte Mews, W10
· Chesterton Road, W10
· Clarendon Cross, W11
· Clarendon Works, W11
· Codrington Mews, W11
· Convent Gardens, W11
· Cornwall Crescent, W11
· Crowthorne Road, W10
· Dale Row, W11
· Darfield Way, W10
· Dulford Street, W11
· East Mews, W10
· Elgin Crescent, W11
· Elgin Mews, W11
· Folly Mews, W11
· Fowell Street, W10
· Freston Road, W10
· Golborne Mews, W10
· Golborne Road, W10
· Golden Mews, W11
· Gorham Place, W11
· Grenfell Road, W11
· Grenfell Walk, W11
· Hayden’s Place, W11
· Hayden’s Place, W11
· Hippodrome Mews, W11
· Hippodrome Place, W11
· Kenley Walk, W11
· Kensington Park Mews, W11
· Kingsdown Close, W10
· Ladbroke Crescent, W11
· Ladbroke Gardens, W11
· Ladbroke Grove, W11
· Lancaster Road, W11
· Lansdowne Cresent, W11
· Latimer Mews, W10
· Latimer Road, W10
· Lockton Street, W10
· Malton Mews, W10
· Malton Road, W10
· Martin Street, W10
· Mary Place, W11
· Maxilla Gardens, W10
· Maxilla Gardens, W10
· Millwood Street, W10
· Mortimer Square, W11
· Norburn Street, W10
· Portobello Road, W11
· Raddington Road, W10
· Railway Arches, W10
· Rillington Place, W11
· Rosmead Road, W11
· Runcorn Place, W11
· Ruston Mews, W11
· Saint Lawrence Terrace, W10
· Shalfleet Drive, W10
· Silchester Mews, W10
· Silchester Road, W10
· Silchester Terrace, W10
· Silvester Mews, W11
· Sirdar Road, W11
· St Andrews Square, W11
· St Anns Road, W11
· St Charles Place, W10
· St Charles Square, W10
· St Lawrence Terrace, W10
· St Marks Road, W11
· St Mark’s Close, W11
· St Mark’s Place, W11
· St. Anns Road, W11
· Stable Way, W10
· Station Walk, W11
· Stoneleigh Place, W11
· Stoneleigh Street, W11
· Tavistock Mews, W11
· Testerton Walk, W11
· Thorpe Close, W10
· Treadgold Street, W11
· Trinity Mews, W10
· Verity Close, W11
· Walmer Road, W11
· Waynflete Square, W10
· Waynflete Square, W10
· Wesley Square, W11
· West Cross Route, W10
· Westway, W10
· Westway, W11
· Whitchurch Road, W11
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