Corner of Rackham Street, Ladbroke Grove (1950)

Image dated 1870

MAP YEAR:1750180018301860190019502020Fullscreen map
Photo taken in a westerly direction · North Kensington · W10 ·

The bombing of the Second World War meant that some whole streets were wiped off the future map. Rackham Street, in London W10, was one of them.

On Ladbroke Grove looking west down Rackham Street in the late 1930s.
Credit: Kensington and Chelsea Public Library
On the left (south) side of the street, a local tradesmen's trolley can be seen - possibly a knife sharpener.

However, a clue to the empty streets can perhaps be seen further down the street. A huge gap in the houses shows the bomb damage from 1940, some ten years before.

The photographer of these shots toured streets, perhaps knowing the fate of the area. The view would be utterly transformed by subsequent redevelopment in the early 1950s.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


On Ladbroke Grove looking west down Rackham Street in the late 1930s.
Kensington and Chelsea Public Library


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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