Wilsham Street, W11

Road in/near Notting Hill

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Road · Notting Hill · W11 ·
FEBRUARY
22
2016

Wilsham Street was formerly known as St Katherine’s Road.


Charles Booth’s poverty map placed the Kensington Potteries among the "criminal and irreclaimable areas", largely on account of the overcrowded condition of its unsuitable and derelict houses.

Five short streets in the district became known as the "Special Area.": Bangor Street, Crescent Street and three roads that have been renamed. St. Clement’s, now called Sirdar Road, St. Katherine’s Road, now Wilsham Street, and William, now Kenley Street.

In 1899 an enquiry was undertaken at the instance of the London County Council, and it was found that nearly half the babies born in this area died before they were a year old.

In 1904 there was a public-house to every twenty-five dwellings in these streets, and about twenty-three common lodging-houses provided accommodation for over seven hundred persons, at a nightly charge of fourpence or sixpence.

Greater however than the evil of these licensed lodging-houses, was that of the furnished rooms let from the evening until ten o’clock the next morning at tenpence or a shilling a night.

There was a total of fifteen hundred families in the most congested portion, at least one thousand occupied one-roomed tenements furnished or unfurnished.

When Wilsham Street was known as St. Katherine’s Road, back in the nineteenth century, a small stream ran along the north side.


Citation information: Notting Hill In Bygone Days by Florence Gladstone
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Notting Hill

Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...

Notting Hill is a cosmopolitan district known as the location for the annual Notting Hill Carnival, and for being home to the Portobello Road Market.

The word Notting might originate from a Saxon called Cnotta with the =ing part indicating "the place inhibited by the people of" - i.e. where Cnotta’s tribe lived. There was a farm called variously "Knotting-Bernes,", "Knutting-Barnes" or "Nutting-barns" and this name was transferred to the hill above it.

The area remained rural until the westward expansion of London reached Bayswater in the early 19th century. The main landowner in Notting Hill was the Ladbroke family, and from the 1820s James Weller Ladbroke began to undertake the development of the Ladbroke Estate. Working with the architect and surveyor Thomas Allason, Ladbroke began to lay out streets and houses, with a view to turning the area into a fashionable suburb of the capital (although the development did not get seriously under way until the 1840s). Many of these streets bear the Ladbroke name, including Ladbroke Grove, the main north-south axis of the area, and Ladbroke Square, the largest private garden square in London.

The original idea was to call the district Kensington Park, and other roads (notably Kensington Park Road and Kensington Park Gardens) are reminders of this. The local telephone prefix 7727 (originally 727) is based on the old telephone exchange name of PARk.

The reputation of the district altered over the course of the 20th century. As middle class households ceased to employ servants, the large Notting Hill houses lost their market and were increasingly split into multiple occupation.

For much of the 20th century the large houses were subdivided into multi-occupancy rentals. Caribbean immigrants were drawn to the area in the 1950s, partly because of the cheap rents, but were exploited by slum landlords like Peter Rachman, and also became the target of white racist Teddy Boys in the 1958 Notting Hill race riots.

Notting Hill was slowly gentrified from the 1980s onwards now has a contemporary reputation as an affluent and fashionable area; known for attractive terraces of large Victorian townhouses, and high-end shopping and restaurants (particularly around Westbourne Grove and Clarendon Cross).

A Daily Telegraph article in 2004 used the phrase the ’Notting Hill Set’ to refer to a group of emerging Conservative politicians, such as David Cameron and George Osborne, who were once based in Notting Hill.

Since it was first developed in the 1830s, Notting Hill has had an association with artists and ’alternative’ culture.
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