Colville Gardens was laid out in the 1870s by the builder George Frederick Tippett, who developed much of the rest of the neighbourhood.
It is possible that the street was named after the Colville Family, Scottish steel magnates. The houses were intended as single family homes for the well-to-do but, from the beginning, it proved difficult to attract wealthy buyers to the area and as early as 1888, the buildings began to be subdivided into flats.
In 1885, Tippett was declared bankrupt. He attributed his failure to "his inability to let a large portion of his property and to the pressure of secured creditors". Gradually, the character of the buildings changed as wealthier tenants left the area.
By 1928, the neighbourhood was described as "rapidly becoming poorer" and, by 1935, as a "largely slum area...large houses turned into one-room tenements and small flats".
Further decline set in as residents moved away during World War II to escape The Blitz and, indeed, one of the buildings at the end of the street was destroyed by bombing, which also damaged numerous other buildings including All Saint’s Church.
The street continued to deteriorate in the 1960s and 1970s, along with the rest of Notting Hill, and the neighbourhood became notorious for the predatory business practices of slum landlord Peter Rachman.
The Notting Hill slum king Peter Rachman was dead, but as the Kensington News put it, ’now smaller property kings have mushroomed up, this evil man’s incredibly complex slum empire continues, under the guidance of his minions, and this is in 1963, when men are being shot into space.’
After the landlord of 1-9 Colville Gardens, Henry Bowen-Davies, was alleged to have used Alsatian dogs, tinkers and prostitutes ’to dislodge’ sitting tenants, Davies Investments Limited proceeded to sub-divide flats and re-let them at the same rent as the originals. The Notting Hill People’s Association was formed in 1967, when it emerged that the property company had been declared bankrupt, to force ’the need for non-profit ownership of 1-9 Colville Gardens into the consciousness of the Conservative Council.’
From the 1980s onwards, the street gentrified, reflecting the general change of Notting Hill in recent years.
1-9 Colville Gardens, formerly a notorious slum building, was rebranded as Pinehurst Court
in the 1970s and now comprises around 105 one and two bedroom flats, mostly leased to private tenants on long leases of 100 years or more.