Notting Hill in Bygone Days: Kensington Gravel Pits and Northlan

Chapter 2 of the book "Notting Hill in Bygone Days" by Florence Gladstone (1924).

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Article · Notting Hill Gate · ·
Chapter 2 of the book "Notting Hill in Bygone Days" by Florence Gladstone (1924)

During the period of disorder which followed the Roman occupation of Britain, the forests were allowed to encroach, and in many places stretches of road became decayed and were ultimately overgrown by trees. This evidently happened between Brentford and Shepherd’s Bush. As the road through the Saxon villages of Hammersmith and Kensington remained intact, this southern portion received the Roman name of the Great West Road, whilst what is now Bayswater Road, the London end of the original Great West Road, was given different names at different periods. Among these names are the Way to Acton, the King’s Highway, Oxford Road, the North Highway and Uxbridge Road.

It appears to have been unsuspected that the two roads, since known as Kensington High Street, and High Street, Notting Hill, originally joined. But, in the middle of the eighteenth century, Dr. Stukeley, the antiquarian Vicar of Bloomsbury, pushed his horse with some difficulty ” through a narrow straight way,” and was able to trace, fairly correctly, the course of the Roman Road from Turnham Green to its junction with the ” Acton Road at a common and a bridge a little west of Holland House.” When the Goldhawk Road was constructed in 1834, all doubt on the subject was removed, for a Roman causeway was uncovered, and coins and other small objects were found.

This break in the Great West Road certainly influenced the development of Kensington. The royal route from Whitehall to Windsor lay along the southern road, and more historic events probably happened on the ” Waye to Reading ” than on the ” Waye to Uxbridge.” However, there must always have been a considerable amount of traffic on the northern highway : two-wheeled carts and loaded farm-wagons, groups of folk on foot or riding astride coming to market at the periodical fairs, droves of sheep and cattle, or a string of pack-horses with men and dogs in attendance ; all the ordinary wayfaring life of the Middle Ages, with now and then the move-ment of troops, a religious pilgrimage or a lordly progress.

But the portion of road between what is now Shepherd’s Bush and Notting Hill Gate was not always safe for travellers. Like other ” coverts ” round London, Knotting Wood was probably the resort of robbers and outlaws. The first mention of the district tells how William Lovel robbed Thomas de Holland of a cart and a cap of Stratherne and other goods in the cart at Knottynghull, before Michaelmas in the thirty-third year of Edward Ill’s reign. Two years later, 1361-1362, Lovel was pardoned by the King for this and other outlawries on account of good service rendered in the Wars of France.

Acts of Parliament had to be passed to enforce the widening of roads through forest land so that no evilly disposed person could lurk behind dyke or bush within two hundred feet on either side of the way. The earliest of these Acts was in 1385, twenty-five years after the attack on Thomas de Holland. The great width of road shown in Rocque’s map at this spot, see page 36, is a significant fact. Robbers may have killed Sir Manhood Penruddock, knight, who, in January 1607, was ” slaine in Notting wood in fight.” But his death perhaps was the result of a duel. Some stone cannon balls and ancient clay tobacco pipes, which were unearthed in the garden of No. 1, Ladbroke Square, when the stone trough or sarcophagus was also found, may betoken some ambush of troops placed in the wood during the Parliamentary struggle. Those were troublous times for Kensington, and especially for the owners of Holland House.

In September 1651, two and a half years after the execution of Sir Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, for his adherance to the cause of Charles I, the Lord Protector Cromwell was conducted in state from Acton to London along the North Highway, accompanied by a train of over three hundred carriages.

On the south side of what is now Bayswater Road and Notting Hill Gate, and in scattered patches north as well as south of the road, were the famous Kensington Gravel Pits. Deposits of gravel and sand occur along the flanks of the lower part of the Thames Valley. They rest on the stiff blue clay and the solidified mud, known as loam or brick-earth, which cover the old river basin. But the thick beds of gravel and sand, on which Brompton, Earl’s Court and parts of the town of Kensington are built, do not appear to be so rich in colour or of such good quality as the earlier gravels left in ” pockets ” at a higher level on the slopes of the clay hills, and farther from the present river bed. Evidently gravel had been worked in Kensington from quite early times, for the Rev. Mr. William Wigan, in making a return to the Bishop of London in 1672, stated that the glebe of the Vicarage, though at that time only thirteen acres, ” appears to have been more. For, according to the composition made between the Abbot of Abingdon and the Vicar of Kensington in 1260, it was bounded on the north side by the King’s highway ; of which it is now much short, it having in times past, been dug away for gravel, and the Lord of the Manor claiming and enjoying the pit of many acres, as waste, on which several houses are now built. This was an encroachment on the rights of the Church, and also on those of the tenants of the Manor of Abbots Kensington, who, by ” ancient custom,” were allowed to cut turfs or to ” dig sand, gravel and loom ” upon the ” Commons ” or common lands of ” Notting Hill, the waste by the highways and the gravel pits,”

Cope’s Castle, afterwards Holland House, was commenced in 1607, and Campden or Camden House, and Sheffield House on the site of Berkeley Gardens, belonged approximately to the same date. These large houses, with their enormous retinues of servants, provided protection for humbler folk, and small dwellings began to make their appearance along the adjoining highway and among the gravel pits of the lane leading to Kensington, now known as Church Street.

In 1652, twenty years before the date of the ” Return ” made by the Vicar of Kensington, ” the impaled ground called ‘ Hide Parke,’ ” along with other Crown lands, was sold for ready money. For this purpose the Park was divided into three lots. One of these, the Gravel Pit Division, was described as ” adjoining or lying near to the Great Gravill Pits upon Acton Road.” One of these pits seems actually to have survived as a picturesque hollow until about 1830, and the site must be covered by the Children’s Playground on the right-hand side of the Broad Walk in Kensington Gardens.’ The pits gave their name to a large undefined district bordering the road from Craven Hill to Notting Hill Gate. Included among them were the valuable gravel pits belonging to Mr. Orme, print seller of Bond Street, who made a fortune out of the soil, about the year 1814, before building Orme Square, St. Petersburg Place and Moscow Road.

Gloriously golden gravel was exposed and sold when Dr. Davidson’s house on the Bayswater Road was pulled down in 1888, in order that the houses of Palace Court might be built over the walled garden. Within the bounds of Kensington parish it is difficult to trace the working of gravel on the north side of the highway, though a large pond which was in the garden of Linden Grove House, may have begun as a pit, and two acres of land, now covered by the houses of Clanricarde Gardens and six shops facing the Bayswater Road, are still known as the Gravel Pits Estate.

This estate has a somewhat strange history. Originally it seems to have formed an outlying portion of the wide lands owned by Sir George Coppin, whose property included the house which, in 1631, passed into the hands of Sir Heneage Finch, Recorder of London, and at a later date became Kensington Palace. In June 1651 the field ” at the Gravel Pits in Kensington containing two acres ” was in the occupation of a certain Richard Barton, but belonged to Thomas Coppin, Esq., the second son of Sir George. He sold it to the twelve Trustees who administered the Charities founded by Viscount and Lady Campden in 16z9 and 1644, ” for the use, good and benefit of the poor of the town of Kensington ” and to pay for the apprenticeship of one or more poor boys.

The £45 employed in purchasing the field was an anonymous benefaction to Kensington, though tradition has ascribed it to Oliver Cromwell, and it has been called ” Cromwell’s Gift.” The Lord Protector held some land in the south of the parish, but there is no real evidence to connect this sum of money with him. Several branches of the Cromwell family lived in the neighbourhood, and the gift may with equal probability have come from one of these., At first it was intended that almshouses should be placed on this land, but the project was not carried out, and for many years this field, held by the Campden Charity Trustees, remained under grass. In the second half of the seventeenth century, ” Near Kensington Gravel Pits ” was used to distinguish the whole district of North Kensington, from Campden Hill to Kensal Green, besides being the recognized name of the village which bordered the high road. It was only in the nineteenth century that Kensington Gravel Pits became a ” blotted out locality.”

Between 1654 and 1685 nearly one hundred families with different surnames can be traced as living in the northern half of the parish or in the village along the North Highway. There were also a good many temporary residents. Of the seventeen persons who ” presented the homage to the Lord of the Manor ” in 1672 for properties ” In the Gravel Pits ” (see page 29), one lived in Kensell Green and one in Notting Hill. The Parish Registers tell of five or six other families who inhabited Notting Hill ; the term being apparently interchangeable with the ” Gravel Pits,” in respect of houses in what is now Notting Hill Gate and Campden Hill.

Traffic along the road evidently played a very important part in the life of the ” long but discontinued village ” of 1675. At that time there may have been three inns besides the ” Plough ” at Kensal Green. Robert Davenport and his wife were living in another inn of that name. A trade token, ” found in the neighbourhood ” bears on one side the representation of a plough, with the words ” Robert Davenporte at ” and ” God speed the Plow,” and on the reverse side, ” Kinsington Gravell Pits. His halfpenny. R.M.D.” R. Davenport owned three tenements, for one of which he paid the quaint rental of ” two shillings and a couple of capons yearly.” Thomas Hill and his wife, Joan, meanwhile occupied the ” Harrow,” a house that must have been very insanitary, for between 1676 and 1679 the Hills lost three daughters and two soldier lodgers. The third innkeeper, Petter Sammon, does not appear in the list of tenants of the Manor. Probably he and his wife, Susanna or Susance, only rented their house. Two of their children died of plague in 1666. Peter himself died in 1678. His token, dated 1667, bears his name and the representation of a large dog, a ” Talbot passant,” one of the faithful hounds who guarded the wares, and on the reverse ” In Kinsington Gravel Pits, his Half Penny, P.S.S.” Local trade tokens were much in use at this period, for scarcely any copper money was minted during the Common-wealth. But this irregular coinage was suppressed by Royal Proclamation in the year 1672.

The most important of the innkeepers was John Ilford, who held one cottage by lease on the north highway near the Gravel Pits, for ninety-nine years. As already stated, the Ilfords are said to have been landlords of the little inn on Harrow Road ; but this cottage on the North Highway is very suggestive of the ” Plough,” now No. 144, High Street, opposite Campden Hill Road, though that tavern is not known to have existed prior to 1769. An earlier John Ilford and Katherine, his wife, mentioned in the Parish Registers, may have been at the ” Plough ” at Kensal Green before the end of the sixteenth century, but there are indications that it came into the possession of a Robert Ilford of Paddington parish. This Robert lost his wife, Amy, and their twin babes in 1639 and 1640. Probably this is the same man whose marriage to ” Alse parker ” is recorded two years later. Five or more children were born to this couple, but in 1665 Ales Ilford died at the ” Plough ” of plague.

Already other branches of the Ilford family had suffered terribly from contagious disease, presumably plague, as the deaths occurred in the years of special virulence, 1603, 1625 and 1665. Mistress Ilford of the ” Plough,” succumbed in the third and worst outbreak, and her daughter Elizabeth died in 1666. Robert Ilford did not long survive his wife and daughter.

Taverns are always liable to infection, being houses of call for all and sundry, and it must be remembered that wealthy citizens of London were then fleeing into the country to escape ” the tyrant malady,” some with the plague already on them. Also no doubt the many tramps, in tattered garments and begrimed with dirt, who wandered through the land were especially dangerous at such a time. Such persons, when too ill to travel farther, would creep into outhouses or barns to die. Others died by the wayside or ” in the cage,” a low two-roomed shed by the churchyard gate, which served as the parish lock-up and casual ward.

Since the year 1601 Overseers of the Poor had been appointed, empowered to relieve the aged and infirm born in the parish or settled there for a year. But this humane statute sometimes resulted in ” out-dwellers ” being hounded on, lest they should become chargeable on the rates. The number of tramps mentioned in the Parish Books is astonishing, and in North Kensington during the first half of the seventeenth century, besides the two deaths in Westbourne Barn, ” a strange woman ” died at Notting Barns in 1638, and the deaths of two others occurred at Nor’lands in 1634 and 1640.

But to return to John Ilford, born in 1649, who succeeded to the business on the death of his father. He was a solid man, a Churchwarden, and Overseer of the Poor, although he signed the ” Presentment of the Homage ” in 1672 with his mark. Six years later two sick soldiers died at John Ilford’s house ” at ye Plow near ye Gravellpits ” ; these were John Gentleman and Robert Collingwood. Evidently the ” Plow ” served as country lodgings as well as a house for refreshment.

On August 1, 1678, an ” Act for Burying in Woollen ” came into force, the object of the Act being ” to lessen the importation of linen from beyond the seas, and to encourage the woollen manufacture of this kingdom.” It was enjoined that an affidavit should be presented to the clergyman that the body was interred according to law. John Gentleman died within two or three days of the enforce-ment of the Act, and no certificate was forthcoming. This was notified to John Ilford, Churchwarden, by C. S., or Charles Seward, curate of the parish. As the death occurred in his house, it may be that John Ilford had to pay the fine and to distribute his own money in relief of the poor. When Robert Coiling-wood died in the month of November naturally a certificate was presented in due form.

It has already been stated that one hundred and forty acres of land lying north of the main road belonged to the Manor of Abbots Kensington. Abbots Kensington passed into royal hands at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and in 1595 was leased to Robert Horseman, gent. In spite of this lease, Queen Elizabeth sold the freehold of the Manor to Walter Cope. Robert Horseman was extremely unwilling to give up possession. At last, in November 1599, by special intervention of the Queen, a compromise was arrived at. Walter Cope, Esq., took that portion of the Manor on which he afterwards built Holland House, whilst Mr. Horseman retained the house called the Parsonage and about 200 acres of land, after payment to Walter Cope of £665 9s. 8d.

Included in this 200 acres were ” all those several closes and wood-grounds called Norlands, lying on the north side of the said highway leading to Acton, and abutting upon a wood called Notting Wood, on the east ; upon a farm called Notting Barnes farm on the north ; and upon the common sewer on the west. And also two closes called North Crofts, on the north side of the said highway, leading from London to Acton ; near unto the Gravel Pits of Kensington.”

In April 1600, five months after the date of this deed, Robert Horseman died, leaving his widow guardian of their three children. No special mention is made of the detached lands in his will, and shortly after his decease, their connection with the parsonage ceased. A glimpse of these lands at an earlier date is obtained from the Parish Registers, for, on November 14, 1582, ” Annes, a bastard child ” was buried ” from Robert Croxsom’s house at Northlands.”

The several closes and wood-grounds called Norlands extended from a lane which led ” to Noten Barnes,” now Pottery Lane, to the boundary stream described, in the deed of 1599, as the Common Sewer, along what is now Norland Road—see the map of 1833 on page 40, and on page 30 a piece of one of John Ogilby’s beautiful road maps, published in 1675.

The two closes called North Crofts lay to the east, divided from Norlands by Notting Wood. It may be that the Gravel Pits estate, now covered by Clanricarde Gardens, was part of these closes or fields. It is difficult to understand the statement, made by Faulkner in his History of Kensington, that Sir Walter Cope died possessed of ” all that wood called Notting Wood or Knutting Wood,” for his death took place fifteen years after he had parted with the northern portion of Abbots Kensington, and thirteen years after he had sold the Manor and farm of Notting Barnes to Sheriff Anderson.

The next known owner of Northlands was John Arnold. The Arnolds ” appear to have been the chief bourgeois of Old Kensington.” (In the time of Queen Elizabeth many new and vigorous yeoman families came to the front, partly because parcels of land formerly in Monastic hands might now be bought by laymen). The heads of the house were ‘William and Mary Arnold who inhabited a large farm at Earl’s Court. Their sons were William and John and probably also Samuel. In 1623 William Arnold, junior, married his cousin Elizabeth Arnold, and the young couple continued to live at ” Erls Court.” In November 1632, Samuel, then a yeoman bachelor, aged twenty, was granted leave by the Bishop of London to marry Elizabeth Paulet of Wilsden, a spinster aged sixteen, daughter of the late John Paulet, gentleman, with the consent of her mother and brother. The ” allegation ” was made by William Arnold of Kensington, yeoman. In the marriage license ” we catch the Arnold family . . . emerging from the chrysalid or yeoman stage of existence, into full-blown gentility. They were freeholders in the neighbour-hood, they married with the gentry and were presently recognized . . . as gentle-folk themselves “.

About the same time, John, son of William Arnold, Senior, also married, and subsequently went to live at Northlands. His eldest child was born in 1633, and by 1651 the family had numbered thirteen or fourteen children, many of whom had died in infancy. Mean-while thirteen children arrived at Earl’s Court. The names of William and John and their respective wives, Elizabeth and Lidya, occur with amazing regularity among the entries of baptisms. The Parish Registers give no indication of the date at which John Arnold obtained the freehold of Northlands, but either his wife ” Liddia,” or a daughter, aged twenty, who bore the same name, died at Northlands in 1665, and the family were then established in a house of some size and pretensions.

Before 1665 John Arnold had passed away and his son John was in possession of the estate. It is interesting to note that, in the middle of the seventeenth century, branches of this family held farms all along the western boundary of Kensington parish : the John Arnolds were at Northlands, a Richard Arnold was connected with West Town (the Addison Road district), the William Arnolds were established at ” Earlescourt,” and Samuel Arnold inhabited Coolhearne House in Little Chelsea (now represented by Coleherne Court, West Brompton).

John Arnold, the younger, born in 1638, had in 1661 married Mistress Elizabeth Sanders ; who was probably a lady by birth. Four years later their little son, another John, died at Northlands of the plague. When he signed the Presentment of the Homage John Arnold was the third largest landowner in Kensington, being freeholder of 140 acres, and copy-holder of half an acre in Green Lane.

By 1675 he had acquired another 125 acres in or near Green Lane, and 30 acres in the Manor of Earl’s Court. It seems probable that Green Lane here means the south end of Portobello Road, and that the 125 acres included the North Crofts, John Arnold took an important part in local public affairs and, like his grandfather, William of Earls Court, and his father, John of Northlands, he acted as one of the trustees of the Campden Charities. This was in 1682. He was living in 1684, and possibly until 1700 when ” Mr. Arnold had a handsome pleasant scat at the Gravel Pits.”

John Ogilby’s map (see above), shows a large building close to the high-road where Norland House is known to have stood in later days ; and in subsequent maps the walled grounds, with a tower at the north-west corner, and a well-laid-out garden, are clearly seen. By 174.5 (see map on page 36), the house belonged to Mr. Green, and Green’s Lane, not to be confused with Green Lane, ran beside it. In the year 1656 Mistress Elizabeth Arnold, one of the numerous daughters of John and Liddia, had married Mr. John Greene of Margaret’s Westminster, and it is said that their sons William and Thomas, ultimately succeeded to Northlands. It was doubtless the sister of William and Thomas, Mistress Mary Green, who with her uncle, Tanner Arnold, the youngest of the children of John and Liddia, presented a painted cast window in 17os to the renovated parish church.0 The Mr. Thomas Greene who owned Northland House in 1745, married Miss Mary Rose, step-daughter of Sir Hans Sloane, the famous physician. He was a brewer and seems to have been followed by his son, for the Rate Books show that in t76 t Master William Greene had built a second malt house. On William Greene’s death in 1772 the Norlands estate was divided up and sold.

As in the case of Notting Barns the Parish Registers of the seventeenth century tell something of life in the farm cottages.

One cottage was inhabited by Robert and Elizabeth Bird and their six children. Mistress Bird also had a nurse child, for in 1674 Henry, the son of Henry Somerset, Esq., was brought from Robert Bird’s house at Northlands and was buried ” in ye Alley near ye font.” In 1680 a child died at Thomas Welfare’s house.

Thomas and Elizabeth Austin, Philip and Elizabeth Cobb and Bartholomew and Annie Glasse lived at or near Nor’lands, and, with the exception of the Cobbs, they all took in lodgers. The visitors came for the sake of the ” free ” country air, but they did not always find health. In the autumn of 1683 some epidemic attacked the household of Bartholomew Glasse. During the months of October and November his little daughter Annie and two lodgers died, and Thomas Atkins, ” a Poore man,” died there in the following March.

On Ogilby’s map the road west of Norlands is clear of buildings almost as far as ” Shcpperds Bush ” ; two bridges cross the Boundary Rill at the bottom of the hill, and two or three more bridges are shown further on towards Acton. Dr. Stukeley, in manuscript notes on Middlesex written about 1760, gives the names of these bridges as Northlands Bridge, at the bottom of Noding Hill, and Mile End Bridge beyond Shepherd’s Bush. Mile End Bridge was on the boundary line of the Manors of Fulham and Hammersmith. See Millen Bridge on the map. In this map Holland House is confused with Campden House and Park, but both houses are marked correctly in the map of the road though Kensington and Hammersmith. There seems to have been a strange vagueness about these two houses, for Dr. Stukeley mentions ” Holland or Camden House . . . now generally called Holland House.”

During the second half of the seventeenth century, Kensington, with Hammersmith, Knightsbridge and Chelsea, was becoming increasingly popular as ” a summer residence of the nobility, gentry and wealthy citizens ” of London. It was thought that the emanations from the carts bearing the newly turned gravel to London were peculiarly beneficial, and that the country air was as good as that of Hampstead, and better than that of Essex or of Kent. In 1699, Dr. Samuel Garth wrote a poem called ” The Dispensary,” in which he extolled the health-giving properties of Kensington Gravel Pits.’

As a matter of fact the salubrity of the district is due rather to its elevation above the sea than to the character of its soil. On this subject Dr. S. D. Clippingdale wrote : ” The popular notion that it is better to live upon a gravel than upon a clay soil is probably fallacious, certainly so far as London is concerned.” He adds that this can be proved by comparing the statistics of the Registrar-General with a geological map of the areas of London. In the Parish of Kensington it will often be found that the air is clear and dry on Notting Hill and Campden Hill, which are lumps of clay about one hundred feet above the level of the Thames, whilst it is gloomy and damp in Earl’s Court and Brampton which lie upon gravel not more than twenty feet above the river.’

It was quite natural that William III and Queen Mary should seek for a home in this fashionable and healthy suburb, as soon as it was recognized that ” the Smoak of the Coal Fires of London much incommoded his Majesty, who was always troubled with an Asthma, and could not bear lying in Town.” But it is hardly necessary to accept the assertion that ” Kensington was a small poor village till the Court came there ; ” nor that between 1689 and 1714, it had ” become a large Town . . . fit for the Enter-tainment of the greatest Quality.”

Another cause besides the arrival of Royal inhabitants had favoured the growth of its population, for, at this juncture, springs containing Epsom or Glauber Salts were discovered in the neighbourhood. One spring was at Earl’s Court, another close to what is now the south end of Ladbroke Grove, and a third in Lady Bedford’s Walk, now Bedford Walk. But the most noted of these springs, and the only one to Kensington Gravel Pits and Northlands 4.3 be exploited, rose among the fields which had taken the place of the common land on the top of Notting Hill, fields which may then have belonged to the Campden House estate. It was a time when Mineral Water Spas were very much in vogue. The mildly purgative springs on Notting Hill (now Campden Hill) seem to have been acquired by a small company of doctors, Dr. Wright and Partners, and a ” Wells House ” was built in 1698. In 17os Kensington was ” a handsome populous place . . . resorted to by persons of quality,” especially in the summer time when it was ” extreamlv filled with Lodgers for the pleasure of the Air, Walks and Gardens round it ” ; and the Gravel Pits village then contained ” several handsome new-built houses and a famous Chalybial Spring much esteemed and resorted to for its Medicinal Virtues.”

But ” Kensington Wells ” never attained the popularity of the more potent Wells at East Acton, and shortly after 1720 the Wells House was a private dwelling, a ” Villa at Nottin Hill,” owned by Edward Lloyd, Esq., afterwards to become Sir Edward Lloyd, Secretary of War.16 Remains of three wells were found in 1873 and 1914 under the beautiful eighteenth century building now called Aubrey House. The original ground belonging to this house covered the present garden, the site of Aubrey Road and Campden Square, formerly Notting Hill Square, and the house itself was long known as Notting Hill House. It is this house which the Rev. W. J. Loftie, in his book on Kensington, claims to have been the Manor House of Notting Hill. No such Manor ever existed, and no building is known on this spot before the year 1698.

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Lady Townshend   
Added: 8 Sep 2023 16:02 GMT   

Tenant at Westbourne (1807 - 1811)
I think that the 3rd Marquess Townshend - at that time Lord Chartley - was a tenant living either at Westbourne Manor or at Bridge House. He undertook considerable building work there as well as creating gardens. I am trying to trace which house it was. Any ideas gratefully received


Roy Batham   
Added: 7 Jan 2022 05:50 GMT   

Batham Family (1851 - 1921)
I start with William Batham 1786-1852 born in St.Martins Middlesex. From various sources I have found snippets of information concerning his early life. A soldier in 1814 he married Mary Champelovier of Huguenot descent By 1819 they were in Kensington where they raised 10 children. Apart from soldier his other occupations include whitesmith, bell hanger and pig breeder. I find my first record in the 1851 English sensus. No street address is given, just ’The Potteries’. He died 1853. Only one child at home then George Batham 1839-1923, my great grandfather. By 1861 he is living in Thomas St. Kensington with his mother. A bricklayer by trade 1871, married and still in Thomas St. 1881 finds him in 5,Martin St. Kensington. 1891 10,Manchester St. 1911, 44 Hunt St Hammersmith. Lastly 1921 Census 7, Mersey St. which has since been demolished.

Source: Batham/Wiseman - Family Tree

Lived here
Tom Vague   
Added: 9 Sep 2020 14:02 GMT   

The Bedford family at 3 Acklam Road (1860 - 1965)
From the 19th century up until 1965, number 3 Acklam Road, near the Portobello Road junction, was occupied by the Bedford family.

When the Westway construction work began the Bedfords sold up and moved to south London. In the early 1970s the house was taken over by the North Kensington Amenity Trust and became the Notting Hill Carnival office before its eventual demolition.

Anne Bedford (now McSweeney) has fond memories of living there, although she recalls: ‘I now know that the conditions were far from ideal but then I knew no different. There was no running hot water, inside toilet or bath, apart from the tin bath we used once a week in the large kitchen/dining room. Any hot water needed was heated in a kettle. I wasn’t aware that there were people not far away who were a lot worse off than us, living in poverty in houses just like mine but families renting one room. We did have a toilet/bathroom installed in 1959, which was ‘luxury’.

‘When the plans for the Westway were coming to light, we were still living in the house whilst all the houses opposite became empty and boarded up one by one. We watched all this going on and decided that it was not going to be a good place to be once the builders moved in to demolish all the houses and start work on the elevated road. Dad sold the house for a fraction of what it should have been worth but it needed too much doing to it to bring it to a good living standard. We were not rich by any means but we were not poor. My grandmother used to do her washing in the basement once a week by lighting a fire in a big concrete copper to heat the water, which would have been there until demolition.

‘When we moved from number 3, I remember the upright piano that my grandparents used to play �’ and me of sorts �’ being lowered out of the top floor and taken away, presumably to be sold. I used to play with balls up on the wall of the chemist shop on the corner of Acklam and Portobello. We would mark numbers on the pavement slabs in a grid and play hopscotch. At the Portobello corner, on one side there was the Duke of Sussex pub, on the other corner, a chemist, later owned by a Mr Fish, which I thought was amusing. When I was very young I remember every evening a man peddling along Acklam Road with a long thin stick with which he lit the streetlights.’ Michelle Active who lived at number 33 remembers: ‘6 of us lived in a one-bed basement flat on Acklam Road. When they demolished it we moved to a 4-bed maisonette on Silchester Estate and I thought it was a palace, two toilets inside, a separate bathroom that was not in the kitchen, absolute heaven.’


Added: 26 Aug 2022 12:44 GMT   

The world’s first underground train
The very first underground train left Paddington on the new Metropolitan Railway bound for Farringdon Street.

Added: 10 Jul 2023 22:35 GMT   

Ossington Street, W8
correcting the date on my existing comment

Source: Paddington: Bayswater | British History Online

Added: 27 Mar 2021 11:13 GMT   

St Jude’s Church, Lancefield Street
Saint Jude’s was constructed in 1878, while the parish was assigned in 1879 from the parish of Saint John, Kensal Green (P87/JNE2). The parish was united with the parishes of Saint Luke (P87/LUK1) and Saint Simon (P87/SIM) in 1952. The church was used as a chapel of ease for a few years, but in 1959 it was closed and later demolished.

The church is visible on the 1900 map for the street on the right hand side above the junction with Mozart Street.


Added: 27 Mar 2021 11:08 GMT   

Wedding at St Jude’s Church
On 9th November 1884 Charles Selby and Johanna Hanlon got married in St Jude’s Church on Lancefield Street. They lived together close by at 103 Lancefield Street.
Charles was a Lather, so worked in construction. He was only 21 but was already a widower.
Johanna is not shown as having a profession but this is common in the records and elsewhere she is shown as being an Ironer or a Laundress. It is possible that she worked at the large laundry shown at the top of Lancefield Road on the 1900 map. She was also 21. She was not literate as her signature on the record is a cross.
The ceremony was carried out by William Hugh Wood and was witnessed by Charles H Hudson and Caroline Hudson.


Joan Clarke   
Added: 2 Feb 2021 10:54 GMT   

Avondale Park Gardens
My late aunt Ivy Clarke (nee Burridge) lived with her whole family at 19 Avondale Park Gardens, according to the 1911 census and she was still there in 1937.What was it like in those days, I wonder, if the housing was only built in 1920?

Added: 10 May 2021 14:46 GMT   

We once lived here
My family resided at number 53 Brindley Street Paddington.
My grandparents George and Elizabeth Jenkinson (ne Fowler) had four children with my Mother Olive Fairclough (ne Jenkinson) being born in the house on 30/09/1935.
She died on 29/04/2021 aged 85 being the last surviving of the four siblings


Added: 26 Aug 2022 12:17 GMT   

TV comes to Olympia
Over 7000 people queued to see the first high definition television pictures on sets at the Olympia Radio Show. The pictures were transmitted by the BBC from Alexandra Palace, introduced by Leslie Mitchell, their first announcer.

Lived here
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 7 Sep 2017 12:13 GMT   

Mcgregor Road, W11 (1938 - 1957)
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 questions asked.A very happy boyhood -from there we could visit most areas of London by bus and tube and we did.


Dave Fahey   
Added: 6 Jan 2021 02:40 GMT   

Bombing of the Jack O Newberry
My maternal grandfather, Archie Greatorex, was the licensee of the Earl of Warwick during the Second World War. My late mother Vera often told the story of the bombing of the Jack. The morning after the pub was bombed, the landlord’s son appeared at the Warwick with the pub’s till on an old pram; he asked my grandfather to pay the money into the bank for him. The poor soul was obviously in shock. The previous night, his parents had taken their baby down to the pub cellar to shelter from the air raids. The son, my mother never knew his name, opted to stay in his bedroom at the top of the building. He was the only survivor. I often wondered what became of him.

Added: 30 Dec 2022 21:41 GMT   

Southam Street, W10
do any one remember J&A DEMOLITON at harrow rd kensal green my dad work for them in a aec 6 wheel tipper got a photo of him in it

Lived here
Robert Burns   
Added: 5 Jan 2023 17:46 GMT   

1 Abourne Street
My mother, and my Aunt and my Aunt’s family lived at number 1 Abourne Street.
I remember visitingn my aunt Win Housego, and the Housego family there. If I remember correctly virtually opposite number 1, onthe corner was the Lord Amberley pub.

ken gaston   
Added: 16 Jan 2021 11:04 GMT   

Avondale Park Gardens
My grandmother Hilda Baker and a large family lived in number 18 . It was a close community and that reflected in the coronation celebration held on the central green . I grew up in that square and went to school at Sirdar Road then St. Clements it was a great place to grow up with a local park and we would also trek to Holland Park or Kensington Gardens .Even then the area was considered deprived and a kindergarden for criminals . My generation were the first to escape to the new towns and became the overspill from London to get decent housing and living standards .



Matthew Proctor   
Added: 7 Dec 2023 17:36 GMT   

Blackheath Grove, SE3
Road was originally known as The Avenue, then became "The Grove" in 1942.

From 1864 there was Blackheath Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on this street until it was destroyed by a V2 in 1944

Added: 4 Dec 2023 07:05 GMT   

Gambia Street, SE1
Gambia Street was previously known as William Street.

Added: 10 Nov 2023 09:42 GMT   

Brecknock Road Pleating Company
My great grandparents ran the Brecknock Road pleating Company around 1910 to 1920 and my Grandmother worked there as a pleater until she was 16. I should like to know more about this. I know they had a beautiful Victorian house in Islington as I have photos of it & of them in their garden.

Source: Family history

Added: 6 Nov 2023 16:59 GMT   

Why do Thames Water not collect the 15 . Three meter lengths of blue plastic fencing, and old pipes etc. They left here for the last TWO Years, these cause an obstruction,as they halfway lying in the road,as no footpath down this road, and the cars going and exiting the park are getting damaged, also the public are in Grave Danger when trying to avoid your rubbish and the danger of your fences.

Source: Squirrels Lane. Buckhurst Hill, Essex. IG9. I want some action ,now, not Excuses.MK.


Added: 31 Oct 2023 10:34 GMT   

Cornwall Road, W11
Photo shows William Richard Hoare’s chemist shop at 121 Cornwall Road.


Added: 30 Oct 2023 18:48 GMT   

Old pub sign from the Rising Sun
Hi I have no connection to the area except that for the last 30+ years we’ve had an old pub sign hanging on our kitchen wall from the Rising Sun, Stanwell, which I believe was / is on the Oaks Rd. Happy to upload a photo if anyone can tell me how or where to do that!

Phillip Martin   
Added: 16 Oct 2023 06:25 GMT   

16 Ashburnham Road
On 15 October 1874 George Frederick Martin was born in 16 Ashburnham Road Greenwich to George Henry Martin, a painter, and Mary Martin, formerly Southern.

Lived here
Christine Bithrey   
Added: 15 Oct 2023 15:20 GMT   

The Hollies (1860 - 1900)
I lived in Holly Park Estate from 1969 I was 8 years old when we moved in until I left to get married, my mother still lives there now 84. I am wondering if there was ever a cemetery within The Hollies? And if so where? Was it near to the Blythwood Road end or much nearer to the old Methodist Church which is still standing although rather old looking. We spent most of our childhood playing along the old dis-used railway that run directly along Blythwood Road and opposite Holly Park Estate - top end which is where we live/ed. We now walk my mothers dog there twice a day. An elderly gentleman once told me when I was a child that there used to be a cemetery but I am not sure if he was trying to scare us children! I only thought about this recently when walking past the old Methodist Church and seeing the flag stone in the side of the wall with the inscription of when it was built late 1880

If anyone has any answers please email me [email protected]


Coach and Horses The Coach & Horses was situated at 108 Notting Hill Gate.
Horbury Chapel (Kensington Temple) In September 1849, the Horbury Chapel, Notting Hill was officially opened.
Ladbroke Square Garden Ladbroke Square communal garden lies in Notting Hill.
Mercury Theatre The Mercury Theatre was situated at 2a Ladbroke Road, next to the Kensington Temple.
Notting Hill in Bygone Days Notting Hill in Bygone Days by Florence Gladstone, was originally published in 1924 by T. Fisher Unwin.
Whiteley’s Whiteley’s, pictured here in the 1920s, was designated a Grade II Listed Building in 1970.

Archer House, W11 Archer House is a block on Westbourne Grove.
Archer Street, W11 Archer Street was renamed Westbourne Grove in 1938.
Astley House, W8 Astley House is a block on Notting Hill Gate.
Aston House, W11 Aston House is a building on Portobello Road.
Aubrey Road, W8 Aubrey Road leads into Aubrey Walk, which runs west of Campden Hill Road at the top of Campden Hill. It was named in the 1840s.
Aubrey Walk, W8 Aubrey Walk runs west of Campden Hill Road at the top of Campden Hill.
Bark Place, W2 This is a street in the W2 postcode area
Beaumont House, W2 Beaumont House is a block on Prince’s Square.
Berkeley Gardens, W8 Berkeley Gardens is a short street which runs between Brunswick Gardens and Kensington Church Street containing terraced houses on both sides with small front gardens.
Berrington House, W2 Berrington House is a block on Hereford Road.
Brunswick Gardens, W8 Brunswick Gardens runs north from Vicarage Gate - a wide tree-lined road with white stuccoed terraces on either side.
Buckingham Court, W11 Buckingham Court is a block on Kensington Park Road.
Bulmer Mews, W11 Bulmer Mews is a tiny mews behind Notting Hill Gate.
Burnham Court, W2 Burnham Court is a block on Moscow Road.
Callcott Street, W8 Callcott Street is a small street between Uxbridge Street and Hillgate Place.
Campden Hill Gardens, W8 Campden Hill Gardens runs northwards from Aubrey Walk.
Campden Hill Place, W11 Campden Hill Place is a road in the W11 postcode area
Campden Hill Square, W8 Campden Hill Square is a residential square consisting of large family houses.
Campden Hill Towers, W11 Campden Hill Towers is a block.
Campden Street, W8 Campden Street stretches between Campden Hill Road and Kensington Church Street.
Caroline House, W2 Caroline House is a block on Bayswater Road.
Caroline Place Mews, W2 Caroline Place Mews is a road in the W2 postcode area
Caroline Place, W2 Caroline Place is a road in the W2 postcode area
Chepstow Court, W11 Chepstow Court is a block on Chepstow Villas.
Chepstow Crescent, W11 Chepstow Crescent is a street in Notting Hill.
Chepstow Place, W2 Chepstow Place runs from the junction of Westbourne Grove and Pembridge Villas in the north to Pembridge Square in the south.
Chepstow Villas, W11 Chepstow Villas is a road in W11 with a chequered history.
Clanricarde Gardens, W2 Clanricarde Gardens is a street of very tall, narrow houses built between 1869 and 1873 by a pair of West London builders, Thomas Good and William White.
David Game House, W11 David Game House is a block on Notting Hill Gate.
Dawson Place, W2 Dawson Place is a street in Paddington.
Denbigh Close, W11 Denbigh Close is a street in Notting Hill.
Denbigh Road, W11 Denbigh Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Denbigh Terrace, W11 Denbigh Terrace is a street in Notting Hill.
Edge Street, W8 Edge Street is a street in Kensington.
Evesham House, W2 Evesham House is a building on Hereford Road.
Farm Place, W8 Farm Place was formerly called Earnest Street.
Farmer Street, W8 Farmer Street was formerly Farm Street.
Gate Hill Court, W11 Gate Hill Court is a block on Notting Hill Gate.
Hillgate House, W8 Hillgate House is a block on Hillgate Street.
Hillgate Place, W8 Hillgate Place was formerly Dartmoor Street.
Hillgate Street, W8 Hillgate Street was formerly Johnson Street.
Hillsleigh Road, W8 Hillsleigh Road is a street in Kensington.
Holland Walk, W8 Holland Walk is a street in Notting Hill.
Horbury Crescent, W11 Horbury Crescent is a short half-moon shaped street between Ladbroke Road and Kensington Park Road.
Horbury Mews, W11 Horbury Mews is a T-shaped mews in Notting Hill.
Ilchester Gardens, W2 Ilchester Gardens was constructed during the mid-19th century.
Jameson Street, W8 Jameson Street was formerly St James or James Street.
Kensington Mall, W8 Kensington Mall is a street in Kensington.
Kensington Park Gardens, W11 Kensington Park Gardens is a street in Notting Hill.
Kensington Place, W8 Kensington Place is a street in Kensington.
Ladbroke Road, W11 Ladbroke Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Ladbroke Square, W11 The huge Ladbroke Square communal garden is part communal garden accessed from the backs of the houses lining it and part traditional London Square with roads between the houses and the square.
Ladbroke Terrace, W11 Ladbroke Terrace was one of the first streets to be created on the Ladbroke estate.
Ladbroke Walk, W11 Ladbroke Walk, W11 is part of the Ladbroke Conversation Area.
Ledbury Mews North, W11 Ledbury Mews North is a street in Notting Hill.
Ledbury Mews West, W11 This is a street in the W11 postcode area
Leinster Square, W2 Leinster Square, along with Prince’s Square, was begun in 1856 and finished in 1864
Linden Gardens, W11 Linden Gardens is a cul-de-sac and the first of James Ladbroke’s plots to be developed.
Linden Mews, W2 Linden Mews is a road in the W2 postcode area
Lucerne Mews, W8 Lucerne Mews is a street in Kensington.
Matlock Court, W11 Matlock Court can be found on Kensington Park Road.
Moscow Place, W2 Moscow Place is a street in Paddington.
Moscow Road, W2 Moscow Road, situated in the Bayswater area, is a notable street that stretches from Queensway to Pembridge Square.
Newcombe House, W11 Newcombe House is a block on Notting Hill Gate.
Newcombe House, W2 Residential block
Newcombe House, W8 Newcombe House is a building on Notting Hill Gate.
Notting Hill Gate, W8 Notting Hill Gate is a main shopping and retail street.
Orme Court, W2 Orme Court is a street in Paddington.
Orme Lane, W2 Orme Lane is a road in the W2 postcode area
Orme Square, W2 Orme Square is named after Edward Orme, formerly a printseller in Bond Street.
Ossington Street, W8 Ossington Street leads from Moscow Road at its north end to the Bayswater Road at its south end.
Palace Court, W2 Palace Court was built in the 1880s to connect the Bayswater Road to Moscow Road.
Palace Gardens Mews, W8 Palace Gardens Mews is a street in Kensington.
Palace Gardens Terrace, W8 Palace Gardens Terrace is a street in Kensington.
Peel Street, W8 Peel Street is a street in Kensington.
Pembridge Crescent, W11 Pembridge Crescent is a street in Notting Hill.
Pembridge Gardens, W2 Pembridge Gardens dates from the 1850s.
Pembridge Mews, W11 Pembridge Mews is a street in Notting Hill.
Pembridge Place, W2 Pembridge Place is a street in Notting Hill.
Pembridge Place, W2 Pembridge Place is a road in the W2 postcode area
Pembridge Road, W11 Pembridge Road is a street in London
Pembridge Road, W2 Pembridge Road is the former southern end of Portobello Lane.
Pembridge Square, W2 Pembridge Square was developed between 1856 and 1864.
Pembridge Villas, W11 Pembridge Villas is a street in Notting Hill.
Pencombe Mews, W11 Pencombe Mews is a street in Notting Hill.
Poplar Place, W2 Poplar Place is a street in Paddington.
Portobello Court, W11 Portobello Court is a block on Portobello Court.
Prince’s Square, W2 Prince’s Square and Leinster Square are ’twin’ picturesque garden squares situated in the Bayswater area - the two squares share a street.
Princes House, W11 Princes House is a block on Kensington Park Road.
Princes Mews, W2 Princes Mews was laid out to provide stabling accommodation for the houses of Prince’s Square.
Princes Square, W2 Princes Square is a street in Paddington.
Queens Court, W2 Queens Court is a street in Paddington.
Queens Mews, W2 Queens Mews is a street in Paddington.
Queensborough Studios, W2 Queensborough Studios is a road in the W2 postcode area
Rabbit Roe, W8 Rabbit Roe is a street in Kensington.
Rede Place, W2 Rede Place is a street in Paddington.
Salem Road, W2 Salem Road is a street in Paddington.
Sarum House, W11 Sarum House is a block on Portobello Road.
Simon Close, W11 Simon Close is a street in Notting Hill.
St Olaves Court, W2 St Olaves Court is a block on St Petersburgh Place.
St Petersburgh Mews, W2 St Petersburgh Mews is a road in the W2 postcode area
St Petersburgh Place, W2 St Petersburgh Place is a street in Paddington.
Stanley Gardens Mews, W11 Stanley Gardens Mews existed between 1861 and the mid 1970s.
Thornbury Court, W11 Thornbury Court is a block on Chepstow Villas.
United House, W11 United House is a block on Pembridge Road.
Uxbridge Street, W8 Uxbridge Street is a street in Kensington.
Victoria Gardens, W11 Victoria Gardens is a street in Notting Hill.
Victoria Mews, W11 Victoria Mews is a location in London.
Wilby Mews, W11 Wilby Mews was maybe named after Benjamin Wilby who was involved in several 19th century development schemes.
Windsor Court, W2 Windsor Court is a block on Moscow Road.
Wycombe Square, W8 Wycombe Square is a road in the W8 postcode area


Churchill Arms The Churchill Arms was built in about 1824.
Coach and Horses The Coach & Horses was situated at 108 Notting Hill Gate.
Prince Albert The Prince Albert has been a Notting Hill feature since the 1840s.
The Oxford The Oxford was located at 90-92 Portobello Road.

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Notting Hill Gate

Notting Hill Gate tube station is a London Underground station on the Central Line.

Notting Hill Gate is home to a variety of stores, restaurants, cafés and estate agents as well as more specialist stores which include rare records and antiques, as well as two historic cinemas, the Coronet (originally opened as a theatre in 1898) and The Gate, as well as also several bars and clubs.

Much of the street was redeveloped in the 1950s with two large tower blocks being erected on the north and south sides of the street.

The sub-surface Circle and District line Notting Hill Gate station platforms were opened on 1 October 1868 by the Metropolitan Railway as part of its extension from Paddington to Gloucester Road. The Central line platforms were opened on 30 July 1900 by the Central London Railway. Entrances to the two sets of platforms were originally via separate station buildings on opposite sides of the road and access to the CLR platforms was originally via lifts.

Click here to see map view of nearby Creative Commons images
Click here to see Creative Commons images near to this postcode
Pembridge Road (1900s)
TUM image id: 1556889569
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Boyne Terrace Mews, W11
TUM image id: 1453967964
Licence: CC BY 2.0
3-4 Ladbroke Terrace in 2006.
TUM image id: 1453881424
Licence: CC BY 2.0

In the neighbourhood...

Click an image below for a better view...
Pembridge Road (1900s)
Licence: CC BY 2.0

The Tabernacle is a Grade II*-listed building in Powis Square, W11 built in 1887 as a church. Photographed here in 2010.
Credit: Asteuartw
Licence: CC BY 2.0

Duke of Cornwall, Ledbury Road W11, around 1990. Later the Ledbury restaurant, holder of two Michelin Stars

The Churchill Arms, Kensington
Credit: IG/lililondoner
Licence: CC BY 2.0

3-4 Ladbroke Terrace in 2006.
Licence: CC BY 2.0

Notting Hill in Bygone Days

This video is a little different - no walks from anywhere to anywhere. This video looks at the snapshots of lives captured by postcard photographers in Notting Hill Gate at the turn of the 1900s. As these photographers were ’winging it’ - taking photos of streets in anticipation of these being snapped up by postcard publishers - they were drawn to capturing scenes full of people going about their everyday lives. This means that zooming into these high-definition photos we can take a look at captured scenes that those depicted weren’t aware were being taken.

Ossington Street, W2 (2012)
Credit: Geograph/Jaggery
Licence: CC BY 2.0

Pembridge Gardens (1904)

Powis Square, W11 west side (1900s)
Old London postcard

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