The Science District of North Kensington

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.

Dave’s blog………………….

The Time Machine

So the photos and stories here are to supplement those that you can see on Dave’s blog.

Science district W10

Ordnance Survey Map 1894-96

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.

Faraday Road Fire Station

Fire Station on Faraday Road (with the tower). The building on the left, on the corner of Ladbroke Grove was Raymede Clinic, later pulled down and moved to Telford Road. Photo: RBK&C Local Studies

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.

My photos:

BSH 057

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.

Fire Stn.Faraday

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).

Faraday Road north side with clinic 1969

More of Brian’s photos of ‘wheels’  on Faraday Road

Faraday rd 3 boys

Faraday rd boy,girl,bike

brian on bike

“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.



Brian Haynes Alvis and Beetle

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 North Kensington looking NW from Wornington

Christ Church and its vicarage viewed  from Wornington Road. The Church Hall on the left on Faraday Road remained until the early 1970s.

Christ Church North Kensington Telford

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.”


The Football team, 1915/1916. Herbert, aged 14  is in the centre with the ball.


The Choir of Christ Church Telford Road about the time of the First World War


Christ Church Cricket team, early 1920s.

 Geoff Davis 2015

Wheatstone Road

Wheatstone Road looking east 1970

Wheatstone Road looking west ,1970. (RBKC Local Studies)

The school/college building on Wornington Road is at the end and Trellick Tower is under construction.

Wheatstone Road south side 1970

Wheatstone Road, southern side 1970, (RBKC Local Studies)

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.

Wornington Estate

Wornington estate 1980s? So,  if anyone has any more information regarding TelfordRoad, Faraday Road, Wheatstone Road and Murchison Street,  please send it to me, Sue at the website.

Or add your own comment directly below.

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16 Responses to The Science District of North Kensington

  1. audrey counsell says:

    This is wholly interesting and thank you so much for your research and keeping us anchored in our local history. Audrey Counsell.

  2. Theresa lyons says:

    I lived in 65 Faraday road 1941-1952 I went to St Charles school in St Charles Square
    Has any one any photo of our school days?
    I love reading your history thank you.

  3. Great pictures and history. My then fiancée’s family had a whole house in Wheatstone. They were the Knapps and their house is shown in your picture. I lived in Ladbroke Grove and have been pulling my hair out trying to remember the name of the road opposite Chesterton Road which faced me. It ran up to Portobello Road. Any idea?

    • John Stacey says:

      Hi Doreen,
      I remember Bob Knapp who lived in Wheatstone Rd, he was good friends with my dad, we lived in no 34 Wheatstone Rd. Is the road you are thinking of Bonchurch Road?
      Kind regards,
      John Stacey

      • Carole Knight says:

        Hello John Stacey
        My family lived at 32 Wheatstone Rd, it was shared with my uncle and aunt on the top two floors and an elderly couple on the ground floor (Brickles and we are Knight) As far as I can remember we lived there from 1953 until we left for Australia in January 1963. My name is Carole Knight born 1954 at Hammersmith, my brother Robert 1955. My parents are Ronald and Ellen (Lyn) maybe you knew them. My daughter is married to a Stacey here in Australia, his family are originally from Cornwell. Anyway it’s a small world now with the Internet, would be extraordinary if our families meet in the past.
        Regards Carole Knight

  4. Your last picture is Pepler House, Wornington Road where my parents moved to. They were the Merretts and lived at 68. You had first choice of these places if you lived in the original Wornington Road at any time in your life.

  5. Lynda Rose says:

    I was born 1956 actually in 95 Wornington Road about 50 yds from old Berts shop which my sister’s and myself often frequented. My nan and grandad Rose lived there also on the ground floor. They were greengrocers and often they sold fruit and veg to the locals from their lorry outside the house. We eventually moved to 127 Wornington Rd and actually witnessed Pepler House being built. The first residents to move in there were the Stanley’s – John and his dad. I remember feeling so jealous. It was like a palace so new and bright and right opposite the adventure playground. I also remember being a bridesmaid for my aunty Jessy and they had their reception in that church hall on Faraday Road. So many great memories keep up the good work.

    • Eileen Drew née Douglas says:

      Must be a relative,my uncle Bill and Aunt Jessie lived in wornington road,my nan lived in Munro mews and we lived in Bevington Road,my mum was Ethel Rose

  6. Graham Aitken says:

    What an interesting website, shall be saving this and reading again when I have a little more free time. I now live at Didcot in Oxfordshire but grew up living at 8 Pickwick house, Henry Dickens Court W11. My dad was quite well known on the estate taking our boxer dog our for walk’s with my dad smoking his pipe. I went to Isaac Newton school, Wornington road in the early 1960s and I remember I used to go to the sweet shop you mentioned and there was also a cake shop nearby I recall. There was a shop that had a mynah bird behind the counter which used to talk, may have been the cake shop? My best friends were Geoffrey Cobb, Colin Hill and Ray Stockwell who I lost touch with when I moved away. I notice now on Rightmove that the private two bed flats at Henry Dickens now sell for about 400k circa!!! Maybe I should have stayed and bought my mum’s flat!! Which was council. I would have been well off now! Haha. Can still remember the caretaker at those flats when I lived there! Joe Langham. Anyway many thanks for an extremely intresting article.

  7. Michael larch says:

    Brian Haynes lived close to my brother in law Tony Smith who lived at 2 Faraday Rd. My gran lived on the corner, Kate Swan ( Daly). My cousins also lived there, Alfie and Tommy Swan. Tony Smith remembers Brian well.
    Where could I send photos to?

  8. If you have any photos that were taken on the streets that show the houses and how they were, you can email then as jpegs to the website at
    Please include details, time, place and who is in the photos.

  9. Rupert Conant says:

    Does anyone know why many of the buildings on Bassett Road have a Poseidon figure set above the windows on the first floor.

  10. viv says:

    Hello, my grandmother, Christina Russell (nee Smurthwaite, previously Jones & Duncan) lived at 45 Wheatstone Road from the 1930’s, also at no 33 Wheatstone. She had connections with Sutton Row as well. She lived in Wheatstone Road until she died in the 1980’s.
    She had a child Mavis (born 1930) then 4 others.

  11. Maggie says:

    Hi your Grandma just have known mine,as she lived at no 43 Wheatstone for years until the 1960s.
    Her name was Nell Skingle. I also lived at no 39 Wheatstone in the 1950s, my mum and dad name were Fred and Freda Skingle I remember the cabin sweet shop
    . At the other end on the corners were a bakers and a chemist.
    I can also remember going round the mews to a stable to feed a horse called Dolly I think she belonged to the Fays. I have a picture of the Queens Coronation street Party 1953? In Wheatstone rd.

  12. Rita Carter says:

    My Nan Annie Higgins (nee Nicholson) and lived at 36 Wheatstone Road. I was born on the 3rd June 1944 at17 West Row, North Kensington. Every Saturday we visited Nan and shopped in Portobello. I remember street games swinging on a rope attached to lamposts. I became an artist and a poet and a poem about Nan and her attic flat is published in an anthology tiltled Lodestones. Nans flat had an outside tap through a window and groundfloor toilet used by all at 36.

  13. Mandy Cochrane says:

    I’ve discovered that in 1911 my great-grandfather was living with his wife and 7 of his 13 children at 17 Wheatstone Road. I imagine it was quite a squeeze!

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