Print-friendly version of this page North Kensington lies either side of Ladbroke Grove, W10.
The gasometers of the Gas Light and Coke company dominated North Kensington until demolition in the late 20th century.
In 1845 the Western Gas Company had opened a gasworks on land, previously the property of Sir George Talbot, with frontages to both the canal and the railway. Licence:
Taken over by the Gas Light and Coke Company (also known as the Westminster Gas Light and Coke Company) was a company that made and supplied coal gas and coke. It is identified as the original company from which British Gas plc is descended.
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This 1930s aerial view of Kensal shows the area during the peak of its industrialisation. The towering gasometers of the Gas Light and Coke company can be seen in the centre with the Sunbeam Talbot motor manufacturers on the other side of the railway lines. North Kensington is dominated by rows of terraced housing. One corner of tranquillity can be seen on the left, Kensal Green Cemetery
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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.