Wedlake Street Baths

Swimming pool/baths in/near Kensal Town, existed between 1898 and 1980

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Swimming pool/baths · Kensal Town · W10 · Contributed by The Underground Map
MARCH
7
2015
Halfpenny Steps with Wedlake Street behind
Credit: Westminster City Archive

In a time when most had somewhere to live but few had somewhere to wash at home, public baths were the place to go...

Baths and a laundry to serve Queen's Park had been built in 1898, where the boundary with Kensington ran slightly south of the canal along Wedlake Street to Kensal Road. They were built next to Halfpenny (Ha'penny) Steps which allowed access across the canal from the Harrow Road to the baths for people from the Queen's Park Estate.

Wedlake Street Baths housed both a swimming pool and public baths. Families would go there for their weekly bath. There was a distinct system in place to use the facilities - you would get a numbered ticket and sat until your number was called. While you were in the bath, you could shout out to the attendent if you wanted more hot or cold water. The steel changing cubicles, a local remembered, were all made of steel - even the door. 'It felt like you were in stir!', remembered one.

Earlier times, people would leave their clothes unattended in the cubicle with the half door and a curtain on the top. Then it turned modern and they got the clothes basket and a number to pin on their costumes.

Wedlake Baths were closed in 1980.

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Irene Whitby..maiden name crighton
Irene Whitby..maiden name crighton   
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Post by Irene Whitby..maiden name crighton: Netherwood Street, NW6

I was born at 63netherwood street.need to know who else lived there.i think I moved out because of a fire but not sure
timmaustin
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Post by timmaustin: The Windsor Castle

wow so beautiful
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

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Kensal Town

Soapsuds Island

Kensal New Town was built between the Grand Central Canal (which opened in 1801) and the Great Western Railway line (opening in 1837) in the 1840s.

Single-storey cottages with gardens suitable for drying clothes were the first buildings and Kensal Road, Middle Row, West Row, East Row and Southern Row all appeared between 1841 and 1851. The rows of cottages quickly degenerated into a slum, mainly due to overcrowding, industrialisation and pollution.

The area was dominated by the Western Gas Company and Kensal Cemetery, which provided work but did little to improve the environment. Women were primarily involved in laundry work giving the area its nickname of ‘Soapsuds Island’.

The area was isolated from the rest of London at a time when Portobello Lane (now Portobello Road) was a muddy track sometimes impassable in bad weather.

Cut off from the municipal authorities it was left to charities to attempt to alleviate the social and health problems.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the cottage laundry industry began to be replaced by larger mechanized concerns.

In 1902 Charles Booth described it as, “Just as full of children and poverty as was the old woman’s dwelling in the nursery rhyme.” By this date the area had been transferred to the newly formed Royal Borough of Kensington. When the Piggeries and Potteries in Notting Dale were finally cleared in the early 20th century most of the displaced residents moved north into Golborne ward and Kensal.

By 1923 in the Southam Street area 140 houses contained some 2500 inhabitants. A series of evocative photographs by Roger Mayne in the 1950s showed that little had changed. It was only from the 1960s that the overcrowded and dilapidated terraces were cleared and replaced by social housing including Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower.


LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
6 East Row, W10: Scott Hatton:   Scott Hatton lived here in 1960
Chamberlayne Farm:   Chamberlain (Wood) Farm developed out of the manor of Chambers, named after Richard de Camera, an early 13th century cleric.
Clayton Arms:   A pub which was situated halfway down West Row in Kensal Town.
Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance:   Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance is the traditional starting point for the Notting Hill Carnival.
Jack of Newbury:   The Jack of Newbury stood at the corner of East Row and Kensal Road until it was bombed on 2 October 1940.
Kensal Town:   Soapsuds Island
Lads of the Village:   One of the signature public houses along Kensal Road.
Middle Row Bus Garage:   Middle Row Bus Garage was situated on the corner of Conlan Street and Middle Row, W10.
Middle Row School:   Middle Row School was established in the late 19th century to provide education to the children of Kensal New Town.
Portobello Arms:   The Portobello Arms was a former pub in Kensal Town, established in 1842.
Queens Park Estate:   The part of Queen's Park which is in the W10 postcode and City of Westminster, is known as the Queens Park Estate.
Queen’s Park Library:   Queen’s Park Library was built to improve the minds of the new Queen’s Park Estate residents.
The Earl Derby:   The Earl Derby stood on the corner of Southern Row and Bosworth Road.
The Flora:   The Flora is situated on Harrow Road, W10.
The Foresters:   A lost pub of London W10
The Mitre:   The Mitre was situated at 62 Golborne Road.
The Prince of Wales (Chilled Eskimo):   A pub in Kensal Town
Western Arms:   The Western Arms was a pub situated on the corner of Ladbroke Grove and Kensal Road.


PHOTOS OF THE AREA
Adair Road junction with Southam Street (1932):   A wet day in London W10.
Adair Road, W10:   Adair Road junction with Appleford Road, March 1964
Adair Road, W10:   Adair Road is a street on the Kensal Town/North Kensington borders.
Corner of Caird Street and Lancefield Street (1910):   2015
Golborne Road bridge (1960s):   We think that this photo dates from the late 1960s, according to fashions and car registrations.
Harrow Road (1920s):   Harrow Road in the 1920s, looking south east towards the Prince of Wales pub and the Emmanuel Church spire.
Hudson's the chemist (1906):   Hudson's, a chemist shop, stood on the corner of Ilbert Street and Third Avenue in the Queen's Park estate.
Lothrop Street (1907):   2015
Western Dwellings from below (1960s):   This photo was taken from the bottom of Southern Row steps.
William Miller's Yard:   William Miller's Yard stood in Chapel Place, West Row.


NEARBY STREETS AND BUILDINGS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Adair Road, W10 · Adair Tower, W10 · Adela Street, W10 · Alderson Street, W10 · Alperton Street, W10 · Appleford House, W10 · Appleford Road, W10 · Ashmore Road, W9 · Barfett Street, W10 · Bevington Road, W10 · Bonchurch Road, W10 · Bosworth Road, W10 · Bravington Road, W9 · Briar Walk, W10 · Bruckner Street, W10 · Caird Street, W10 · Caird Street, W9 · Conlan Street, W10 · Coomassie Road, W9 · Dart Street, W10 · Drayford Close, W9 · Droop Street, W10 · East Row, W10 · Edenham Way, W10 · Elkstone Road, W10 · Embrook Street, W10 · Enbrook Street, W10 · Faraday Road, W10 · Farrant Street, W10 · Fermoy Road, W9 · Fifth Avenue, W10 · First Avenue, W10 · Fourth Avenue, W10 · Galton Street, W10 · Galton Street, W10 · Golborne Gardens, W10 · Golborne Mews, W10 · Golborne Road, W10 · Hawthorn Walk, W10 · Hazlewood Crescent, W10 · Hazlewood Tower, W10 · Heather Walk, W10 · Heather Walk, W10 · Hormead Road, W9 · James Collins Close, W9 · Kensal Road, W10 · Kilravock Street, W10 · Lancefield Street, W10 · Lavie Mews, W10 · Lothrop Street, W10 · Manchester Drive, W10 · Marne Street, W10 · Middle Row, W10 · Morgan Road, W10 · Mozart Street, W10 · Munro Mews, W10 · Nutbourne Street, W10 · Orchard Close, W10 · Parry Road, W10 · Portnall Road, W9 · Riverton Close, W9 · Ronan Walk, W10 · Second Avenue, W10 · Southam Street, W10 · Southern Row, W10 · St Ervans Road, W10 · Sycamore Walk, W10 · Telford Road, W10 · The Arches, W10 · Third Avenue, W10 · Trellick Tower · Verdi Crescent, W10 · Wedlake Street, W10 · West Row, W10 · Wheatstone Road, W10 · Wornington Road, W10 ·


USING THIS MATERIAL IN OTHER ARTICLES

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Links

North Kensington Histories
Recollections of people from North Kensington, London
RBKC Library Time Machine
Blog from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Library
Old Notting Hill/North Ken History
Facebook group, covering the history of W10 and W11.
Ladbroke Grove
Facebook Page
Queen’s Park
Facebook Page
Westbourne Park
Facebook Page
The Notting Hill & North Kensington Photo Archive
Facebook group
Born in W10
Facebook group
Hidden London
Histor­ically inclined look at the capital’s obscure attractions
British History Online
Digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources.
Londonist
All-encompassing website
Time Out
Listings magazine

Maps


Inner West London (1932) FREE DOWNLOAD
1930s map covering East Acton, Holland Park, Kensington, Notting Hill, Olympia, Shepherds Bush and Westbourne Park,
George Philip & Son, Ltd./London Geographical Society, 1932

Central London, north west (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, north west.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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