Portobello Farm

Farm in/near North Kensington, existed between the 1720s and the 1860s

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Farm · North Kensington · W10 ·

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.

Picture of Portobello Farm, drawing by W.E.Wellings (Kensington & Chelsea Local Studies Archive)
In 1740, Portobello Farm was built in the area near what is now Golborne Road. The farm got its name from a popular victory during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, when Admiral Edward Vernon captured the Spanish-ruled town of Puerto Bello (now known as Portobelo in modern-day Panama).

Green’s Lane became known as Porto Bello Lane; the title which it held by 1841.

The farmstead extended westward beyond what is now Ladbroke Grove covering land afterward occupied by St. Charles Hospital.

The Portobello farming area covered the land which is now St. Charles Hospital. The farm itself was sold to an order of nuns after the railways came in 1864. They built St Joseph’s Convent for the Dominican Order or the Black Friars as they were known in England.

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Picture of Portobello Farm, drawing by W.E.Wellings (Kensington & Chelsea Local Studies Archive)
User unknown/public domain


North Kensington

North Kensington lies either side of Ladbroke Grove, W10.

North Kensington was rural until the 19th century, when it was developed as a suburb with quite large homes. By the 1880s, too many houses had been built for the upper-middle class towards whom the area was aimed. Large houses were divided into low cost flats which often degenerated into slums, as documented in the photographs of Roger Mayne.

During the 1980s, the area started to be gentrified although areas in the north west of the district at Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park remain deprived and run down to this day.

Waves of immigrants have arrived for at least a century including, but certainly not limited to, the Spanish, the Irish, the Jews, the West Indians, the Portuguese, the Moroccans and many from the Horn of Africa and Eastern Europe. This constant renewal of the population makes the area one of the most cosmopolitan in London.

The Notting Hill carnival was first staged in 1964 as a way for the local Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. After some rough times in the 1970s and 1980s when it became associated with social protest, violence and huge controversy over policing tactics, this is now Europe’s largest carnival/festival event and a major event in the London calendar. It is staged every August over the Bank holiday weekend.
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