Dave Walker from RBK&C Local Studies recently put a posting on his excellent blog that he called The Science District of North Kensington. These were the streets, named after eminent Victorian scientists and engineers, that used to run between Ladbroke Grove and Wornington Road. This was when Wornington Road and Portobello Road continued all the way northwest to join Ladbroke Grove near the junction with Barlby Road.
Have a look at the photos and map on his blog – all from 1969 and 1970, just before over half the area was demolished to make way for the Wornington Estate. Paradoxically, that estate is now in the process of being redeveloped again and the original street layout reinstated to make way for Portobello Square.
So the photos and stories here are to supplement those that you can see on Dave’s blog.
The map above shows the original layout of the roads. Running from the bottom left of the map in a north west direction are Ladbroke Grove, then Portobello Road and finally Wornington Road. Wornington School (the first building) is clearly marked and on the corner of Wornington Road and Telford Road is Christ Church, with th Vicarage and Church Hall on Farady Road. By the time the photos on Dave’s blog were taken for the borough in 1969, the Church and Vicarage are gone. Only the Church Hall remains and an adventure playground takes its place in the vacant plot.
On the map at the other end of Faraday Road where it meets Ladbroke Grove is the Fire station seen below, fronting Faraday Road not Ladbroke Grove as it does now.
Brian Haynes sent me some photos he took on Faraday Road and included a few memories.
“I was born in November 1937 in Hammersmith Hospital, and apart from a few weeks when we lived in Ladbroke Grove with my maternal grandparents (close to Barlby Rd). I was resident with my folks at 14 Faraday Rd. until the houses were demolished during the slum clearances of the early ’70s.
Wornington Road School
I was about 5 years old when I started at Wornington Rd School, and left when about 8 to go to Bevington, so early memories are rather thin. The school was only about 150 yards from home at 14 Faraday Road. It accommodated mixed infants on the ground floor, and ‘secondary’ level girls-only in the rest of the building. The rear of the building backed onto the GWR lines, and the playground was at the front and was divided to ‘segregate’ the senior and infant pupils. Nobody had cars then, so there was no need for the car-park which now occupies part of the old playground. At the far right of the building was a very small sweet shop which we called ‘the Cabin’ and opposite this, between the Mitre pub and the mews, was another sweet-shop of sorts, run by a friendly but rather strange old fella who we called Bert. Inside there were 2 pin-tables, a few large jars of sweets on otherwise empty shelves, and a couple of chairs. Bert’s main income seemed to be from selling ‘penny drinks’ to us school children. He always wore an Arkwright’ type brown shop coat, and invariably had an unlit roll-up ciggie in his mouth or behind an ear.
I had just bought my Ensign Selfix camera (my pride and joy) when I took this ‘experimental’ shot through the front-room window on a wet and miserable day…the rain on the windows blurred the shot ( that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). It shows the ‘high’ end of the ‘odd’ numbers, some of the plane trees, and one of the old gas-lamps. We had great fun on these by tying a washing line into a large loop, hooking the loop over one of the cross-bars, and swinging round. During the war, roughly alongside the first tree, was an air-raid shelter, and another one was further down on the right-hand side. Portobello Road is seen crossing at the far right, and the corner shop still remains, as does the rest of Faraday which is out of shot.
This colour shot shows the bomb-site adjacent to the ‘old’ Fire Station, one of the many that we played in and had ‘raids’ with ‘gangs’ from other streets….bloody, but great fun, and all friends afterwards !”
(Not sure about this particular ‘bomb-site’. Maybe it is the Clinic site after it was demolished and not a ‘bomb-site’ as here is the Clinic still there in the RBKC photo of 1969).
More of Brian’s photos of ‘wheels’ on Faraday Road
“That is me on my bike. Below is my 3-wheel Morgan, a very famous, and nowadays, a very valuable and sought after motor vehicle. This particular car had a JAP V-twin engine, and was built in 1932. I bought it because I already had a motor-bike licence, and by ‘blanking-off’ reverse I was legally entitled to drive it. I called her “Moggie”. I bought her with the birthday money my Mother gave me when I was 21, in 1958/9. It cost £100. Later, I got £90 for it in part exchange for a beautiful 1949 Alvis TA14.
Above is my lovely Alvis (1949, 2-tone green with leather and corduroy upholstery), and the ‘Beetle’ which replaced it.”
Brian Haynes 2015
In 1969 at the other end of Faraday Road where it meets Wornington Road there was an Adventure Playground. This was on the site of Christ Church and its Vicarage which according to some notes on a photograph of the interior shown below, was demolished 1n 1949, perhaps because of bomb damage incurred earlier during the war?
Christ Church and its vicarage viewed from Wornington Road. The Church Hall on the left on Faraday Road remained until the early 1970s.
Geoff Davis sent in some photos and memories relating to the Church.
“My father, Herbert William Davis was born in 1901; his parents were James and Ellen with brothers Alfred and James. On the 1911 census the family are living at 2 Branstone Street, later moving to number 11. No longer there, Branstone St was close to the junction of Ladbroke Grove and Barlby Road.
I know that my father was an active member of Christ Church that was in Telford Road until about 1941. Herbert sang in the choir – boy and man – played football and cricket, was a scoutmaster and in 1931, was married there to another member of the church, who came from a family in Wornington Road.”
Geoff Davis 2015
The school/college building on Wornington Road is at the end and Trellick Tower is under construction.
In the 1920s, my mother lived in one of the houses above on the southern side backing on to Munro Mews.
“As a child, I lived in Wheatstone Road, no 20. The house was owned by a Mr Clayton who lived on the ground floor with his daughter and wife. His father had bought the house soon after it was built. All the houses were 3 or 4 storeys but only one at that time – right opposite us was not let out as rooms or flats. We considered them to be ‘toffs’, having the whole house for one family. There was a lot of poverty on the street as most people had bigger families than at our house. I lived on the first floor with my mother, and my grandma lived on the top floor with my aunt. No bathroom of course, just a sink, a cold water tap and a toilet on the middle landing. We all had to use the same toilet which was just outside our kitchen/dining room.
There was a long backyard, concreted over. Attached to the house was a Laundry Room with a copper for heating the water (we cooked the Christmas puddings in the copper). Alongside the wall of the yard were outhouses for Mr Claytons ‘tools of the trade’ as he was a chimney sweep.”
Many of the conditions she described in the 1920s did not change and houses remained without bathrooms and hot water until they were pulled down in the 1970s.
Finally a couple of photos of the Wornington Estate that replaced these streets, taken I think in the 1980s.
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