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Road · Notting Hill · W10 ·
MAY
29
2016

Westway is the A40(M) motorway which runs on an elevated section along the W10/W11 border.


On 28 July 1970 the Westway, A40 Western Avenue Extension flyover between White City and Paddington, at two and half miles, the longest elevated road in Europe at the time, was opened by Michael Heseltine, the parliamentary secretary to the transport minister. The opening ceremony was famously accompanied by a protest over the re-housing of the last residents alongside the road. As demonstrators disrupted the ribbon cutting, a banner was unfurled on Acklam Road, looking on to the flyover, demanding: ‘Get Us Out of this Hell. Re-house Us Now’.

When the Portobello farmhouse was painted in 1864, shortly before its demise, the only other building on the lane north of the newly opened Hammersmith and City railway line was the Notting Barn Lodge at the future junction of Cambridge Gardens. Florence Gladstone wrote in ‘Notting Hill in Bygone Days’: ‘There seems to be a natural break where the railway embankment crosses Portobello Road. At this point the old lane was interrupted by low marshy ground, overgrown with rushes and watercress.’ But within a few years of the painting the last remaining fields of Portobello farm would become the streets of the Golborne ward.

Alongside the railway line boundary of the Golborne and Colville wards, Acklam Road was built in the late 1860s and stood for a hundred years, before being demolished to make way for the Westway flyover in the late 1960s. The road took its name from the Acklam village, now in Middlesborough, which like Rillington and Ruston is close to the Yorkshire country seat of the North Kensington developer Colonel St Quintin.

The old street featured the Duke of Sussex, an HH Finch pub on the corner of Portobello Road, on the site of the open-air market area by the entrance to the Acklam Village farmers market. At the beginning of the 20th century, on Charles Booth’s ‘Life and Labour of the People of London’ map, conditions on Acklam Road were assessed as fairly comfortable. In the 1914 street directory the south side was occupied by a laundry, coal dealer, loan office, greengrocer and general dealer, bootmaker and news vendor. On the north side there was a timber merchant, builders, French polisher, bricklayer, chandler’s shop, confectioner, beer retailer and tobacconist. In the 1930s there was the Pembroke Athletic Club boxing gym by the railway footbridge, and by the 1960s the scrap merchants Acklam Metals were established at number 20.

During the four years of construction work, for the remaining inhabitants of the north side of Acklam Road and the other surviving terraces close to the flyover, ‘continuous noise and dirt from heavy lorries and machinery became a familiar and unwelcome part of life.’ The sound of the Westway being built was described by Eileen Wright in ‘Taking on the Motorway’: “There was a terrible noise for weeks when they were pile-driving. They started at 6 O’clock in the morning – sometimes it went on all night. You think the whole city is being bombarded beneath you.”

From 1968 through the 70s, the wall alongside the Hammersmith and City line beneath the Westway between Portobello Road and Westbourne Park featured graffiti by the Situationist King Mob group that read: ‘Same thing day after day – Tube – Work – Diner (sic) – Work – Tube – Armchair – TV – Sleep – Tube – Work – How much more can you take – One in ten go mad – One in five cracks up.’

As 47,000 vehicles a day began ‘cruising through the rooftops of North Kensington’, negotiations between the Motorway Development Trust and the Council resulted in the inauguration of a new trust with a half-Council/half-community management committee in 1971. Anthony Perry, the first director of North Kensington Amenity Trust, was a former film producer who had worked on the Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’.

The North Kensington Amenity Trust is now the Westway Development Trust and was founded in 1971 to reclaim and develop the area beneath Westway for local community use. Since 2000 local charity Urban Eye has initiated a programme of cleaning, painting, and lighting to brighten up and improve the safety of the areas under the flyover structure.


Main source: It’s Your Colville
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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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