Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...
Princedale Road was formerly Princes Road.
Before the development of the Ladbroke Estate, almost the only building in the area was a large house just west of the road which was the “handsome pleasant seat” of the owner of the Norland Estate.
Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy had owned the Norland Estate. In September 1838, taking advantage of land price rises due to the possible coming of railways to the area, Vulliamy began discussions with William Kingdom, a building speculator who was probably already active in the development of Westbourne Terrace and Hyde Park Gardens, Paddington.
In the end, Kingdom did not purchase the Norland estate. In January 1839 he assigned the benefit of his agreement with Vulliamy to a solicitor, Charles Richardson, for £5,932. The circumstances of the sale are obscure, but it appears that Kingdom’s assignment to Richardson was in payment of a mortgage debt, possibly on Kingdom’s property in Paddington.
Richardson became the freehold owner of all fifty-two acres of the estate and the development of the Norland estate was to be his main concern for the next 12 years.
Princes Road (Princedale Road) was officially begun in 1841. Richardson first sold off plots on the "odd" side of the street that year to a succession of people. Numbers 9–13 and 27–33 to Charles Patch of Edgware Road, builder, 15–25 to Thomas Pool of Paddington, builder.
35-55 were similarly and varioously sold between 1844 and 1851 to George Warren (carpenter), Job Way (carman), William Thelwall (painter) and to Thomas Pool (builder).
Even numbers up to no. 40 were built between 1846 and 1851.
The Prince of Wales public house was built by James Emmins of Bayswater between 1844 and 1845. The Crown
public house arrived in 1851 courtesy of James Watney and partner of the Stag Brewery, Pimlico.
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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.