The Underground Map
Featured articlesBelsize Lane, NW3
Belsize Lane is a thoroughfare linking Rosslyn Hill with Swiss Cottage. Belsize Lane is very old, being marked between hedges in Rocque’s 1745 map, and shown as leading to the grounds of the manor-house.
Baines says that about 1839 "Belsize Lane was long, narrow, and lonesome; midway in it was a very small farm, and near thereto the owner of Belsize House erected a turnpike gate to demonstrate his rights of possession."
While still an attractive road, the road is slightly too narrow for the modern buses which run along it. Traffic tends to buildup behind them.
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Harrow Road, Kensal Green (1900s)
The corner of Ravensworth Road and Harrow Road in NW10.
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St Charles’ Square Training College (1908)
St Charles’ Square Training College/Carmelite Convent. This photo was taken from the bottom of St Marks Park which was open land all the way to Highlever Rd at this point. Pangbourne Avenue where the Princess Louise Childrens hospital was (and is now the Argyll development) was not built until the 1920s.
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The Crown was situated at 57 Princedale Road. This pub was established in 1851 and this magnificent photo was taken by a photographer from Maxilla Gardens, Notting Hill.
It featured in a couple of episodes of ’Minder’, which was filmed on location in this area.
This pub became a bar/restaurant called The Academy in 1987.
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Barnet Grass Speedway
Barnet Grass Speedway was active between 1929 and 1936, next to the recently constructed Barnet By Pass. It was the North London Motor Club that negotiated to run speedway on a twenty acre grass track that was adjacent to the Barnet Bypass. It was thus so convenient to travel to with plenty of room for spectators and their transport. The track was originally grass-covered rather than the more usual cinder or shale. The track was opened for the first meeting on the 27 July 1929.
The site remained the venue for open meeting through to 1936 although by 1934 the grass was all but worn away and cinders were added to the bends. The name for its final year was changed to simply ’Barnet Speedway’.
Closing in 1937 when the North London Motor Club failed to achieve an extension on the licence after having successfully completed eighty seven meeting meaning that speedway was lost to the area however the NLMC moved their speedway operation to High Beech leaving the owners of the land free to sell it on for building.
Once the circuit had been s...
Colville Terrace, W11
Colville Terrace, W11 has strong movie connnections. Colville Terrace began the 20th century well-to-do but some time before World War Two the houses became multi-occupied. The street suffered some bomb damage in the Blitz and hosted the local communists’ headquarters. In the late 50s numbers 2, 9, 10, 19, 22 and 24 were Rachman houses occupied by West Indian immigrants and prostitutes, including Majbritt Morrison who wrote the ’Jungle West 11’ book.
In the 1958 riots they became targets for the fascist-influenced local mob. In 1960 the basement of number 24 was put under police surveillance and duly established to be a brothel. Michael de Freitas, who was living on the top floor, was arrested but the police couldn’t prove he was the landlord.
Colville Terrace also hosted several West Indian blues clubs including Sheriff’s gym and the Barbadian La Paloma. In the early 70s number 42, at the east end of Powis Square, became renowned as the gay hippy commune, which was evicted and re-housed by Notting Hill Housing Tr...
Colville Gardens, W11
Colville Gardens is a street in Notting Hill. 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.’
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Buses in Shenley Road
A 292 and 358 in Shenley Road. Facebook user Maureen Sullivan has worked out the following from the clues in the photo:
This photo was probably taken in August 1968 (the advertised film was released in July that year).
The green Route 358 in the background is the 12.53 departure from St Albans, running about 5 minutes late according to the clock on All Saints Church tower.
The 292 is for some reason displaying the Saturday only intermediate blind for Route 292A.
Buildings on the right are still being finished off, on the site of the old Baptist Church, once home to the 1st Borehamwood Scouts.
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Hayden’s Place, W11
Haydens Place is a small cul-de-sac off of the Portobello Road. Hayden’s Place is a short mews is just off the Portobello Road between Westbourne Park Road and Lancaster Road. It was built in the 1860s. Its original name was Hayden’s Mews; it was only by the time of the 1901 census that was described as Hayden Place. The apostrophe seems to have crept in much later – it was still described as Hayden Place on the 1935 Ordnance Survey map.
In 1871, John Hayden, described in the census return as “contractor employing 6 men” was living at 1 Hayden Mews, and it must have been named after him. He may well have been responsible for building the mews.
Originally, the mews had 19 numbered dwellings in it, so it probably extended right down as far as Elgin Mews, between the back gardens of the houses in Westbourne Park Road and Lancaster Road. But by 1891, no more than three households are recorded in the census (five in 1901). It seems that sometime around 1890 the western end of the mews was built over to form a big block o...
Elgin Crescent, W11
Elgin Crescent runs from Portobello Road west across Ladbroke Grove and then curls round to the south to join Clarendon Road. East of Ladbroke Grove, it was originally called Elgin Road with the middle section Surrey Gardens and the rest, Arundel Road.
West of Ladbroke Grove, it was originally numbered from 1-36 consecutive on the northern side, starting at the western end (so the present No. 120 was No. 1) and from 37-81 consecutive on the southern side starting at the eastern end (so the present No. 63 was No. 37). The street was officially renumbered in 1880.
The section between Portobello Road and Kensington Park Road consists of shops and cafes; the rest of the street is residential. It is intersected by Ladbroke Grove and further along, the southern side is broken by Rosmead Road. Many houses back on to communal gardens. The odd numbers are on the south side and the even on the north. From Ladbroke Grove west the Crescent is lined intermittently with mature and some new trees. Lamp posts are in the Victorian style.
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Kilburn Bridge once marked the spot where the Edgware Road crossed the River Westbourne. Kilburn Bridge, which was recorded in 1398 and thought to have been built in the mid 13th century by the prior of Kilburn, carried Edgware Road across the Kilburn brook (the Westbourne River).
In 1826 the original stone bridge with a Gothic arch survived, flanked by brick portions added at two different periods. By that date repair was shared between the trustees of Marylebone turnpike and of the Kilburn Road.
In more modern times, as the river has been culverted and sent underground, there is no trace of the structure.
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The Green Willows pub seems to have existed for only thirty years - from 1871 until the turn of the twentieth century. It was positioned at one end of a long brick building containing four cottages and the pub itself. The pub was in the ownership of the Crawley family for the whole of its existence.
Along the row of cottages - at no.91 - an infamous Victorian murder took place. Henry Cullum had fallen for his neighbour Emily Bignall, and they had been courting throughout 1887 and early 1888.
On March 7th, neighbours heard a man shout: "You Beast!" Then two shots were fired and Emily fell to the ground. Emily’s mother, Sarah Bignall, recalled:
"My child fell into my arms and said ‘Oh Mother!’ She was bleeding from the neck and holding her apron up to her neck on both sides. I dragged her towards my door and she fell to the ground. I put my fingers to try and stop the blood and then I saw it rush out the other side. l ran to the door and shouted ‘Murder’. I remember no more and believe I fainted.
George Atkins, a baker who had been having lunc...
All Saints Church
All Saints church was designed by the Victorian Gothic revival pioneer William White, who was also a mountaineer, Swedish gymnastics enthusiast and anti-shaving campaigner. In 1852 the Reverend Walker bought 51 acres of Portobello farmland from Mary Anne and Georgina Charlotte Talbot. This covered the whole strip of North Kensington lying east of Portobello Lane, from Portobello farmhouse on the north to Lonsdale Road and Western Terrace on the south. On this land which joined the ‘Ladbrooke estate’, Walker commenced to build ‘a new town’ and erect an elaborate church to the memory of his parents.
The road on which the church was built was called St Columb’s Road, and the church was dedicated to St Ann, but the name of ‘All Saints’ was soon substituted.‘This ‘very stately and abnormal stone church, built after the model of that at St Columb’s Major in Cornwall was structurally completed in 1855, but owing to pecuniary difficulties was left without glass or furniture till 1861.’ Meanwhile it stood boarded up and weed-grown near a pond, the open ground behind being sometimes occupied by gypsies. A footpath which started beside the church, f...
Victoria Bus Station
Victoria bus station is a bus station outside Victoria Station in Terminus Place. Victoria Station was built in 1861, after Victoria Street had been built a decade earlier through a slum dubbed "Devil's Acre" by Charles Dickens. It connected Westminster Abbey with this part of Pimlico which gained the name Victoria instead, after the station which the growing suburb surroounded.
Quickly becoming one of the busiest stations in London, the forecourt outside quickly became an important hub for omnibuses. By the 1930s, it had a substantial roof canopy spanning all lanes - this was demolished in April 2003 as part of a station refurbishment.
Victoria is now London's busiest bus station. In 2015 it had 19 bus routes using the station, with 200 buses per hour passing through in the peak.
It services bus services managed only by Transport for London, and is not to be confused with Victoria Coach Station, a few hundred metres away.
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Kilburn Lane, W10
Kilburn Lane runs around the edge of the Queen's Park Estate in London W10. Kilburn Lane is, after Harrow Road, the oldest road in the area and connected Kilburn and Kensal Green. Until the nineteenth century, the names "Kilburn Lane" and "Kensal Green Lane" were voth used.
It was known in the 17th century as "Flowerhills Lane". It was commented upon that the inhabitants of Willesden were indicted for not repairing it in 1722.
Kilburn Lane suffered from depopulation in the 18th century with those buildings that had been there, falling into disrepair and then removed. However, the enclosure of Kensal Green in the 1830s meant buildings appeared on the west of the lane near to the junction of Harrow Road.
In 1844 St John’s Church in Kilburn Lane was consecrated. There were now enough people living locally in order to create a new parish.
Further north, the road remained rural until the late nineteenth century with just two farms along its length.
The arrival of the railways, like elsewh...
Middle Row, W10
Middle Row is one of the original streets laid out as Kensal New Town. Kensal New Town was developed in the period 1840-1859 by Mr Kinnard Jenkins on his land between the Great Western Railway and the Grand Union Canal, to provide housing for employees of the canal, the railway, the gas works, and the Kensal Green Cemetery in Harrow Road on the other side of the canal. He laid out the roads following his field boundaries- Kensal (Albert) Road, West Row, Middle Row, East Row and South Row, divided the blocks up and built cottages, and named it Kensal New Town.
The residents were largely Irish immigrants, many employed in the laundry business, the area becoming known as the "laundry colony". The village had six public houses.
Charles Booth in his "Life and Labour of the People in London" (First Series, Volume 1, pub 1902, pp.243,246) described Kensal New Town: "Kensal New Town retains yet something of the appearance of a village, still able to show cottages and gardens, and gateways between houses in its streets leading back...
Middle Row School
Middle Row School was established in the late 19th century to provide education to the children of Kensal New Town. Kensal New Town was a 19th century greenfield development of terraced workers housing sandwiched between the Grand Junction (now Union} Canal and the Great Western Railway, next to the Western Gas Company Gas Works.
The first schooling for the new settlement was provided by the church of St John's, Kensal Green (built in 1845. north of the Canal). St John's School was erected close to the church in 1850. and it was here that any child from Kensal New Town who wished to receive an education would have attended. There was also an early Ragged School in Kensal Road adjacent to the Canal where poorer children may have received a rudimentary education.
The passing of the 1870 Education Act brought about fundamental changes in British education, as the state started to replace the church as the main source of elementary education. From 1880 education became compulsory until the age often or when a certain standard of education was achieved, and by 1899 the mini...
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