Acklam Road Adventure Playground

Playground in/near Notting Hill, existing between 1969 and now

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Playground · Notting Hill · W11 ·
December
7
2015

Acklam Road Adventure Playground was created in the 1960s.


Before Westway construction work began in 1966, the site of the south side of Acklam Road towards Westbourne Park hosted the London Free School adventure playground. This hippy community action project was inaugurated with an auto-destructive art performance by Gustav Metzger, consisting of a pile of rubbish that was set alight by local children. The Westway site was recalled by Emily Young (of Pink Floyd’s ‘See Emily Play’ fame) in Jonathon Green’s ‘Days in the Life’ as: “The dark side of the moon, the other side of wonderful Britain. It was the Martian wasteland. There were dead donkeys lying around, and dead people, a dead baby one time, a very weird place, desolation. And we’d have happenings; huge bonfires and musicians would come and Dave Tomlin played the saxophone and wrote poems and we’d take a lot of acid.”

At the last London Free School meeting, as construction work began in September 1966, Adam Ritchie proposed continuing the adventure playground part of the project under the flyover.

The North Kensington Playspace Group proto-Westway Trust was subsequently formed by him and John O’Malley of the Notting Hill Community Workshop, with the aim of establishing a permanent adventure playground on Acklam Road. At this stage according to Jan O’Malley: ‘No one was certain about the use planned for the motorway space. While the chairman of the GLC Highways Committee had a vague idea that the space was to be used for recreation, the engineers building it believed the plans were to use it for warehousing and a car park.’

Dave Robins wrote in the Notting Hill ‘Interzone’ issue of International Times in May 1968: ’The area could congeal into a genuinely depressed ghetto, people’s social and economic needs being overshadowed by the gigantic inhuman motorway. This is what happened after the building of over-head railways in Chicago and New York. Local politicians could seize this opportunity to turn Notting Hill into Britain’s first US style black ghetto (if it isn’t that already). A lot may depend on the use of the huge arches or spans which carry the motorway… If the spans are given over to the community, the possibilities for further creative extensions to the children’s adventure playground, already under way in Westbourne Park, are total.’

As the Playspace Group was renamed the Motorway Development Trust in late 1968, their plan outlined by Robin Moore was to create: “a kind of community strip, a bustling social market place, complementing the commercial activity of Portobello Road.” The proposed amenities for the Acklam Road bays were a public laundry, café, health centre, nursery school, pre-school playgroup, sport area and adventure playground.

After the Motorway Development Trust established the first adventure playground under the flyover on St Mark’s Road, with the assistance of the Westway contractors Laing Construction, for the next summer holidays in 1969 the Acklam Road Adventure Playground was opened in 6 bays east of Portobello Road. The following year it was established as a permanent playground with a hut.

Main source

Colville Community Forum

Citations and sources

Blog from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Library
Recollections of people from North Kensington, London
Gillian Bebbington's 1972 work on street name derivations

Links and further reading

Facebook group, covering the history of W10 and W11.
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Ian Gammons
Ian Gammons   
Added: 3 Apr 2018 08:08 GMT   
IP: 81.131.100.203
2:1:34627
Post by Ian Gammons: Pamber Street, W10

Born in Pamber Street but moved to Harlow, Essex in 1958 when I was three years old. The air wasn?t clean in London and we had to move to cleaner air in Harlow - a new town with very clean air!


Norman Norrington
Norman Norrington   
Added: 19 Jan 2018 14:49 GMT   
IP: 90.194.159.199
2:2:34627
Post by Norman Norrington: Blechynden Street, W10

In the photo of Blechynden St on the right hand side the young man in the doorway could be me. That is the doorway of 40 Blechynden St.

I lived there with My Mum Eileen and Dad Bert and Brothers Ron & Peter. I was Born in Du Cane Rd Hosp. Now Hammersmith Hosp.

Left there with my Wife Margaret and Daughter Helen and moved to Stevenage. Mum and Dad are sadly gone.

I now live on my own in Bedfordshire, Ron in Willesden and Pete in Hayling Island.

Have many happy memories of the area and go back 3/4 times a year now 75 but it pulls back me still.

Paul Shepherd
Paul Shepherd   
Added: 16 Jan 2018 15:21 GMT   
IP: 90.255.234.91
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Post by Paul Shepherd: Chamberlayne Road, NW10

i lived in Rainham Rd in the 1960?s. my best friends were John McCollough and Rosalind Beevor. it was a good time to be there but local schools were not good and i got out before it went to a real slum. i gather it?s ok now.

Mary Harris
Mary Harris   
Added: 19 Dec 2017 17:12 GMT   
IP: 217.63.194.106
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Post by Mary Harris: 31 Princedale Road, W11

John and I were married in 1960 and we bought, or rather acquired a mortgage on 31 Princedale Road in 1961 for £5,760 plus another two thousand for updating plumbing and wiring, and installing central heating, a condition of our mortgage. It was the top of what we could afford.

We chose the neighbourhood by putting a compass point on John’s office in the City and drawing a reasonable travelling circle round it because we didn’t want him to commute. I had recently returned from university in Nigeria, where I was the only white undergraduate and where I had read a lot of African history in addition to the subject I was studying, and John was still recovering from being a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese in the Far East in WW2. This is why we rejected advice from all sorts of people not to move into an area where there had so recently bee

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Maria Russ
Maria Russ   
Added: 7 Dec 2017 09:46 GMT   
IP: 47.72.255.177
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Post by Maria Russ: Middle Row Bus Garage

My mum worked as a Clippie out from Middle Row Bus Garage and was conductress to George Marsh Driver. They travel the City and out to Ruislip and Acton duiring the 1950’s and 1960’s. We moved to Langley and she joined Windsor Bus Garage and was on the Greenline buses after that. It was a real family of workers from Middle Row and it formed a part of my early years in London. I now live in New Zealand, but have happy memories of the early years of London Transport and Middle Row Garage.
Still have mum’s bus badge.

Happy times they were.

Julia elsdon
Julia elsdon   
Added: 22 Nov 2017 18:19 GMT   
IP: 87.112.95.228
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Post by Julia elsdon: Shirland Mews, W9

I didn’t come from Shirland Mews, but stayed there when my father was visiting friends, sometime in the mid to late forties. As I was only a very young child I don’t remember too much. I seem to think there were the old stables or garages with the living accommodation above. My Mother came from Malvern Road which I think was near Shirland Mews. I remember a little old shop which had a "milk cow outside". So I was told, it was attached to the front of the shop and you put some money in and the milk would be dispensed into your container. Not too sure if it was still in use then. Just wonder if anyone else remembers it.yz5

David Jones-Parry
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 3 Oct 2017 13:29 GMT   
IP: 81.156.41.30
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Post by David Jones-Parry: Tavistock Crescent, W11

I was born n bred at 25 Mc Gregor Rd in 1938 and lived there until I joined the Royal Navy in 1957. It was a very interesting time what with air raid shelters,bombed houses,water tanks all sorts of areas for little boys to collect scrap and sell them on.no questions asked.A very happy boyhood ,from there we could visit most areas of London by bus and tube and we did.

Debbie hobbs
Debbie hobbs    
Added: 19 Sep 2017 09:08 GMT   
IP: 92.40.89.28
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Post by Debbie hobbs : Raymede Street, W10

I SUPPLIED THE PICTURE ABOVE GIVEN TO TOM VAGUE TO PASS ON... ITS DATE IS C1906 ..IN THE DISTANCE IS RACKHAM STREET WITH ITS MISSION HALL, HEWER STREET TO THE RIGHT

Susan Wright
Susan Wright   
Added: 16 Sep 2017 22:42 GMT   
IP: 120.154.67.244
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Post by Susan Wright: Bramley Mews, W10

My Great Grandmother Ada Crowe was born in 9 Bramley Mews in 1876.

David Jones-Parry
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 7 Sep 2017 12:13 GMT   
IP: 86.152.78.135
2:10:34627
Post by David Jones-Parry: Mcgregor Road, W11

I lived at 25 Mc Gregor Rd from 1938 my birth until I joined the Royal Navy in 1957.Our house sided onto Ridgeways Laundry All Saints Rd. I had a happy boyhood living there

Brenda Jackson
Brenda Jackson   
Added: 13 Aug 2017 21:39 GMT   
IP: 94.13.78.193
2:11:34627
Post by Brenda Jackson: Granville Road, NW6

My Gt Gt grandparents lived at 83 Pembroke Road before it became Granville Road, They were married in 1874, John Tarrant and Maryann Tarrant nee Williamson.
Her brother George Samuel Williamson lived at 95 Pembroke Road with his fwife Emily and children in the 1881 Census

Apparently the extended family also lived for many years in Alpha Place, Canterbury Road, Peel Road,

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Post by LDNnews: Royal Oak
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Post by LDNnews: Shepherds Bush
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Post by LDNnews: Bayswater
Bradley Welsh shot dead: Trainspotting 2 star and former boxer killed in Edinburgh
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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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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."
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London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
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The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
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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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