Ladbroke Grove, W11

Road in/near Notting Hill, existing between 1821 and now

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Road · Notting Hill · W11 ·
JANUARY
1
2018

Ladbroke Grove is the main street in London W11.


The story of the first, southern part of Ladbroke Grove dates back to the 1820s.

Much of the area was owned by the Ladbroke family who also had holdings in Kensington. In 1821, a nephew of the family, James Weller inherited the estate, and according to the conditions of the will of his uncle was forced to change his name to James Weller Ladbroke. He put in train the project to build up the area with Victorian town houses for the gentry.

Large parts of this area became the scene of a layout quite unlike anything previously, or indeed subsequently, to be found in London. Building development was spread over some fifty years, between 1821 and the mid 1870s, but the most intense activity took place between 1840 and 1868. Half-a-dozen architects and a rather larger number of major speculators were all involved in the evolution of the layout.

Under the terms of his uncle's will James Weller Ladbroke could only grant leases of up to twenty-one years' duration. Encouraged, no doubt, by the tremendous building boom of the early 1820s Ladbroke and his advisers obtained power by a private Act of Parliament of 1821 to grant ninety-nine-year leases. Ladbroke's surveyor, Allason, was granted a number of leases in 1824 and 1827.

Allason's first task after the passing of the Act of 1821 was to prepare a plan for the layout of the main portion of the estate. As well as being unusually large, the Ladbroke Estate possessed unusually varied contours, and its layout therefore presented an architect such as Allason, a specialist in landscape design, with an unique opportunity.

In his plan of 1823, Allason provided a broad straight road (originally known as Ladbroke Place and now as Ladbroke Grove) leading northward off the Uxbridge road for some 700 yards, up over the knoll where St. John's Church now stands and about half way down the further side. Not far from its southern end this thoroughfare was crossed at right angles by an east-west road called Weller Street East and West (now Ladbroke Road). The most striking feature of the design was, however, the enormous circus, some 560 yards in diameter and about one mile in circumference, which was to be laid out to the north of this intersection.

It took nearly fifty years to find buyers for all the houses, and the succession of grinding halts brought ruin to the main developers. But Allason’s design evolved unscathed. Indeed, the ruin of successive developers only added variety to the layout. There were classical groves alternating with tiers of leafy crescents, stucco villas alternating with plain brick terraces. The great spire of St John's loomed over the plane trees like an obelisk in a park. And everywhere there were gardens, private and half private, hidden and half hidden, glimpses of knolls and leafy dells, as though the real country began only a few steps beyond the last back door.

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Citations and sources

Blog from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Library
Recollections of people from North Kensington, London
Gillian Bebbington's 1972 work on street name derivations

Links and further reading

Facebook group, covering the history of W10 and W11.
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VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE NOTTING HILL AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

Notting Hill

Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...

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.
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Maps


Inner West London (1932) FREE DOWNLOAD
1930s map covering East Acton, Holland Park, Kensington, Notting Hill, Olympia, Shepherds Bush and Westbourne Park,
George Philip & Son, Ltd./London Geographical Society, 1932

Central London, north west (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, north west.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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