Talbot Road, W11

Road in/near Notting Hill, existing between 1864 and now

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Road · Notting Hill · W11 ·

The oldest part of Talbot Road lies in London, W11.

Talbot Road from the east corner of Powis Square 1900s featuring the site of Fullerton’s tailor’s/blues and the Globe bar.
Talbot Road began its life in the 1860s but it was events a century later that shaped it.

By the late 1950s about 7000 black people had settled in Notting Hill, mostly in the Colville area. In most accounts, conditions deteriorated after notorius landlord Peter Rachman handed over control of houses to black sub-landlords, and things really fell apart as his former henchmen tried to wring a profit out of the deteriorating slums. With most local pubs unwelcoming, West Indian hustlers developed their own scene consisting of various types of clubs. There were after-hours drinking clubs, basement/cellar-clubs for daytime gambling, rent parties, and the most famous, blues - clubs, dances or parties, named after the Blaupunkt radio-gramophone, rather than blues music.

Blues dance music went from jazz, calypso and Jamaican rhythm’n’blues, through ska and rocksteady to dub reggae. The first is said to have been in the basement of Fullerton’s, the tailors on Talbot Road on the corner of Powis Square, where Duke Vin was the selector. Then Bajy opened a café and cellar-club next door (which must have become the Globe), and the Montparnasse was further along Talbot Road.

Around the corner on Powis Square, the Rachman basement flat of Michael de Freitas hosted a residency of the jazz pianist Wilfred Woodley. The Jamaican tailor Clifford Fullerton, who arrived on the Windrush in 1948 and set up shop on Talbot Road in the early 50s, has unusually fond memories of the rock’n’roll years in his ’Multi-racial North Kensington’ recollection: "The best times for the shop were the 50s. All the fellows wanted a handmade suit, mostly West Indians and we worked a lot for the Teddy boys too. At that time Teddy boys used to be well-dressed."

Blues clubs are now celebrated for transforming Notting Hill from a dreary slum into the heart of multicultural London, but at the time they were generally not appreciated. After the 1958 race riots stemmed from noise complaints about them, the clubs played an integral part in the formation of the first tenants’ associations, the Profumo affair, and the drug counter-culture. West Indian club in ’Sapphire’ 1959.

At the height of the trouble in 1958, white rioters surged out of Notting Dale across Ladbroke Grove into Colville to besiege Rachman’s black ghetto, smashing windows of blues clubs, West Indian houses and cafés. Molotov cocktails were thrown as some West Indians fought back from the Calypso club, on the corner of Ledbury and Westbourne Park Road, and Totobag’s café at 9 Blenheim Crescent.

The Globe bar at 103 Talbot Road was founded in the 1960s by the black actor Roy Stewart; who also ran a multi-racial gym-club round the corner at 32a Powis Square, set up before the riots. The celebrated body-builder/actor appeared in the James Bond films ’Dr No’ and ’Live and Let Die’, the Rolling Stones’ ’One Plus One (Sympathy for the Devil)’, ’Leo the Last’ (on the site of Lancaster West estate) and ’Carry On’ films. In its heyday the Globe after-hours bar/restaurant was famously frequented by Beatles, Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison and Bob Marley. Hendrix was reputedly last seen there the night he died in 1970.

Daley Thompson House on Talbot Road, west of the church, is named after the greatest local sport hero. The double gold medal winning decathlete was born in Notting Hill in 1958 and grew up in Colville Square off Talbot Road and attended Colville School on Lonsdale Road. The flats were named in his honour in 1984, as he won his second gold at the Los Angeles Olympics.

The Rough Trade indie record shop has been at number 130, since 1983, when it moved across Portobello Road from its original location at 202 Kensington Park Road. The Talbot Road shop had their own record label Wiiija, named after their postcode, and was famously visited by Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Courtney Love as the indie post-punk scene spawned grunge.

Main source: It’s Your Colville
Further citations and sources


Talbot Road from the east corner of Powis Square 1900s featuring the site of Fullerton’s tailor’s/blues and the Globe bar.
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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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