Barlby Road and Ladbroke Grove junction

Local residents recall the Barlby and Kensal Road end of Ladbroke Grove.

The following posting originally appeared in 2008 and 2009  in our first rather short-lived local history blog:

Edinburgh Road

Bacon map 1888

Bacon map 1888

Today’s maps no longer show Edinburgh Road, whereas it is clearly marked on the deeds of houses in Barlby Gardens. These were built in 1916.

It ran from the top end of Barlby Road, near Ladbroke Grove, beside the railway lines towards Old Oak Common. Today the start of Edinburgh Road can still be seen in Barlby Road, but it used to be made of cobbles and tarmac whereas now it is part of a small concreted car park for the occupants of these houses.

The cobbles were still in place in the 1980s and the road was used to carry lorries on to the site behind Barlby Gardens to warehouses storing Fyffes bananas.  Their large advertising hoardings could be seen easily from the road.

This warehousing was removed about 1992 when the area was developed by British Rail for milling/cleaning sheds for Eurostar trains.  In turn, with the opening of St.Pancras in early 2008 these sheds themselves are no longer in use.

J.G, 2008

Back in 2008 when this was written, the Cowshed pub on the northwest corner of the Barlby Road and Ladbroke Grove roundabout had recently closed. It is now razed to the ground ready for redevelopment and will I believe, be replaced by flats.

Looking south down Ladbroke Grove from the Cowshed D.M. remembered the terrace of shops on the western side of Ladbroke Grove (still there).

To the right of the junction stood a parade of shops, about six or seven. This brought back memories of my childhood. I remember two of the shops quite clearly. The corner shop was demolished to make room for a wider road on the corner was a baker’s run by a German family. The other was an Italian ice cream shop about two doors up run by Polo Lisi. His granddaughter Margaret, was in the same class as me at St Charles School. The ice cream was made on the premises – vanilla, strawberry, chocolate – there were few flavours at the time, but they were all delicious in a cornet or wafer. Sadly the shop closed down sometime in the fifties. Looking at a photograph taken in 1870 brought back memories.

Across the road from these shops, the street layout was changed with

Ladbroke Grove east side at junction with Portobello Road, 1970. Photo RBK&C Local Studies

Ladbroke Grove east side at junction with Portobello Road, 1970. Photo RBK&C Local Studies

redevelopment in the 1980s.  There is no longer any road access from Ladbroke Grove to Portobello Road and Wornington Road. All that is left is pedestrian access through the northern edge of the Wornington Green Estate built in the 1980s.


The Ladbroke Grove Bridge – Bartle Bridge

Bartle Bridge, 2008

Bartle Bridge, 2008

The track of the Great Western Railway runs south of the canal and was opened in 1838, running from Paddington to Bristol. Up to 1870s both the canal and railway were crossed and ferry via footpaths to Kensal Green Cemetery which had been opened in 1833. All funerals had to use the Harrow Road. The footpath was a continuation from the convergence of Portobello Road and Wornington Road. This later became Ladbroke Grove Road and ultimately Ladbroke Grove.

A bridge must have been built during the 1870.

“It was widened in 1881 to 1883 to the designs of H. Vignoles, the contractors being Messrs. Nowell & Robson of Kensington. It may be noted that the iron founders who supplied the materials were J.M.Bartle & Co. a local firm with premises in Lancaster Road.” (Survey of London, Volume 37 p.333 – 339ref.7)

This must be the reason why the bridge has been known as Bartle Bridge.

Bartle’s foundry was situated at the end of Rillington Place. This subsequently became Ruston Close following the Christie murders and when the road was rebuilt it was named Bartle Road.

A.J. 2009

Dark doorways – Victoria Dwellings

Victoria Dwellings seen from West Row, 1967. Photo from RBK&C Local Studies

Victoria Dwellings seen from West Row, 1967. Photo from RBK&C Local Studies

As child I am certain that I never ventured into Kensal Road but we used to visit my parents’ friends in Harrow Road and in the Avenues and did so via Ladbroke Grove.

We would walk across the iron bridge and pass the “gas flats” (Kensal House, but opposite there was Hamrax, the motorcyclists‘ emporium, and next the black painted tobacconists cum sweet shop.  Beside this were, and still are, the Dickensian steps leading down to wherever they went. After that came some flats, high, dark, ominous buildings looking more like “dwellings”  to me rather than homes.

The former tobacconist/sweet shop on Ladbroke Grove, 2008.

The former tobacconist/sweet shop on Ladbroke Grove, 2008.

These flats were entered through dim, arched door ways which lead on to stone stairways, heading both up and down to the flats beyond. The insides of these arched entrances were tiled in beautiful, dark coloured Victorian tiles each panel portraying a  scene of working people. Despite being grubby they had a richness about them which was attractive.

It seemed a pity that they were destroyed when the flats were demolished but I doubt if anyone considered them worth preserving at the time.

J.D,  2008

nb. This particular stretch of Ladbroke Grove is currently under redevelopment.

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21 Responses to Barlby Road and Ladbroke Grove junction

  1. Jean Rempe (nee Hawkins) says:

    My family was one of the first tenants of Kensal House. I went back there in 2014 and was surprised to see a plaque saying that gas was supplied free of charge to the new tenants. It wasn’t. Us kids had to go out many a time to get a sixpenny coin in exchange for pennies to put in the gas meter. Often in thick pea soup fog. The gas man came periodically to clear the meter and, if my mother was lucky there would be a rebate for her. It was never free while I lived there and I left in l949 when I was 18.

  2. Lynn Buckland says:

    This is all so very interesting. My maternal family owned laundries in West Row and I was wondering if anyone has any photos of West Row before the new buildings, circa 1900 or earlier.
    My mother always said the dickensian steps were called the “Hape’penny steps”. Family also lived in Wornington Road and Middle Row. Their names were Haysom(e) and Bowerman and my grandfather Reginald Ponting worked for the Dalyte Electrical Co. in West Row. If anyone has any pictures or further info I would be extremely grateful.

    • Helen says:

      Hello Lynn,
      My father worked for the Dalyte and my maternal family lived in West Row and Warnington Road. I have a photo of the “Deco’ as they called the Dalyte with a lot of the workers on it which I would be happy to share with you.

      • Dear Helen, If you or anyone else have photos, stories or information that you would like us to put onto the blog, in particular about all the various laundries and other places of work in the area you can send then directly to me Sue Snyder at the the blog on Send photos as JPEG files and make sure you give as much info as possible- place time and people in photos etc. Last week we just walked around the area again and were shocked to see that some of the last remained old terraced houses on Southern Row that had obviously been laundries are now gone!

        Sue Snyder

      • lynnbuckland says:

        Hi Helen, I really would appreciate seeing a photo and obviously sharing anything on the Dalyte Company with you. Not sure if I can add my email or how to contact you though.

  3. joyce says:

    Hi we lived in southern row,down the steps from ladbroke grove,you talk about the Dlyte electrical co in west row, i think we called it the deco,my friend Iris williams lived in west row,her dad was Reg williams and he was a totter and he kept his horse and cart up the yard next to the little house pub,we lived in octavia house in the 40s 50s 60s,and had a lovely but poor life,our name was Wood.

    • Roy Crowther says:

      My Mother Irene (Rene) Kennedy lived in Octavia House I believe in the 30s right through until the early 50s when she move to West Wales and married my Dad. Her family were the Kennedy’s. She lived at number 2 along with her Dad, Stepmother and 3 brothers, Charlie, Mike and Tom. Her Birth Mother was a Buckland who sadly died shortly after she was born. She always speaks of a very tough but happy childhood and virtually lived in the Park in East Row across from her childhood school.

      • Patrick Watters says:

        The school in East Row is St Marys’ RC School and the park was locally know as the Rec, but was called Hornimans Pleasance. They are both still there but the park was surrounded by Victorian houses and was a lot smaller then it is now

      • Joyce Oreilly says:

        Hello Roy, my name is Joyce Oreilly nee Wood. We lived at number 6 Octavia house. I remember your mum Rene Kennady. She had a boy called Michael as well when she lived there. Rene was my cousin. Doreen Allen who lived in the next block number 15 they grew up together. Doreen is 86 years old now and well. Hope your mum is still well I know she moved to Wales. I am 76 now, a bit younger than your mum but remember the family well. Give mum my love please, Joyce x

  4. Derek ford says:

    Did you know a family called Grinham. Mum was Rose, daughters Jackie Pauline and Brenda.

    • lynnbuckland says:

      Sorry I never lived there. It was my grandparents that lived there between 1900 and 1935. Sadly they have all passed away now, even my mother, who may have known the names.

    • Sandi says:

      I was related to them by marriage, my mums sister married Rose’s brother. I went to the same school as Pauline,same year group.

  5. Patrick says:

    I lived in Octavia house, The half penny steps were steps that went across the canal from Wedlake street to the Harrow Road, I dont remember whether these steps had a name. And yes it was called The DECO.

  6. Janet McDonald (nee Owen) says:

    In 1893 my ancestors had a business on St Helens Terrace, St Quintins Park, N. Kensington W called “Owen’s Tea Coffee and Dining Rooms” does anyone have any photographs or historical information they could share please?

  7. Dear Janet, Have you looked at the section on this site called St Helen’s Parade? I have not heard of any reference to St Helen’s Terrace however. I suggest you add your comment on that section as well as it is opposite St Helen’s Church.

  8. Martin Roche says:

    I use to live in Southam Street W10 between the years 1960 to 1966 and would often visit the nearby park in Barlby Road,which sadly is no longer there.Does anybody have any photos of either location that they could share.Thanks.

  9. daveclemo says:

    We moved into 21 Barlby Gardens in the summer of 1962. I was 13. My first job was working at the Oxford Dairies at the top of Barlby Rd opposite the Cowshed. I used to keep the shelves stocked. During the summer holiday of 1963 I used to help the owner (I’ve forgotten his name) deliver milk to Raymede & Treverton Towers, some of the streets nearby, then over the bridge where I would have to lug a dozen bottles of milk at a time up the stairs and deliver to all the flats in Kensal House. We’d deliver to the houses right up to Harrow Rd. I used to have to deliver milk to the tenements along from Hamrax. They were unlit and smelt terrible and I had to go back again at the end of the week to collect the cash. We used a battery driven milk float with a hand tiller to steer it.
    I moved to Shepherds Bush in 1971, and when my father died in 1983 my mother sold up and moved to live near my sister

  10. Great memories. Especially recalling the tenements Victoria Dwellings. There are no good pictures of them so it is good to have any memories.

  11. sheiladerosa says:

    My Italian grandparents lived at 49 Barlby Road which they bought in December 1928 for £750. They paid £6:9:9d per month for 15 years to buy the property then paid separately for the Freehold. I still have the Member’s Pass Book showing the repayments.
    Does anyone know when these houses were built as I have another pass book, which I think was for Barlby road dating back 1878 – but it could be for another house as there is no address on it as like all hard working immigrants they believed in owning property. .

    • 49 Barlby Road is on the north side of Barlby Road and the houses are of the same style as those around the corner on Pangbourne Avenue. A resident there says that they date from about 1928 which fits in with your story.
      However with regard to the other pass book, Barlby Road did not even exist in 1878. The first houses appeared nearest the junction with Ladbroke Grove but the road was called Edinburgh Road not Barlby Road. Not sure when exactly the rest of Barlby Road appeared with that name and I don’t have my maps with me to check. Early years of the century I suspect. You can see Edinburgh Road in the map earlier on in this posting.

      Sue at NorthKensingtonHistories.

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