Over several years, groups of older people have been meeting regularly in North Kensington looking at the local history of the area. They have shared and contributed many stories and memories of a fast changing part of London. This blog is a means to preserve these stories for future generations and to share with others who perhaps have long since moved away from North Kensington.

These groups were able to meet thanks to Open Age, Adult and Community Learning RBK&C, HISTORYtalk and Notting Hill Housing Association.

If you have a story or information that you would like us to put onto the blog, please email us at northkenstories@yahoo.co.uk

The photo above is looking north on Ladbroke Grove at the corner with St Charles Square in the late 1940s. The sign on the corner points to St Charles Hospital.

Photo:  RBK&C  Local Studies.


14 Responses to About

  1. Sally Hooper says:

    I am so pleased to find some reminiscenses of the old North Ken! I find I have connection with a few of the current topics – including the pictures taken in Rillington Place and I thought I would share some memories.

    I have recently discovered that my great grand parents lived in Rillington Place in the 20s (prior to Christie) before moving to Chesterton Road, where I lived as a child. Outside loo and a tin bath by the fire was not out of place even in the 60s! I remember there was a was a wood/coal fired ‘copper’ which my mother fired up once a week to do the washing. I helped once by putting porridge oats in! Not well received! Going out to the loo at night was not recommended though, too scary!

    Walking to school in the spring was magical as there were so many cherry blossom trees in bloom. I went to Oxford Gardens junior school and remember the head Miss Garelowns (unsure of spelling) and her deputy Mr Lusby and Mr Hitchens (mentioned elsewhere on the site). I remember the first day in the infants class quite vividly. At Christmas the cooks (it had its own kitchen) would make huge Christmas Puddings and we had to shout a loud thank you so they could hear us in the main school. I have pictures of me aged about six being a Christmas cracker on a Christmas tree in the school hall.

    During my time in the infants we had the last ‘pea souper’ around 1963? . My mother had some paper masks and a crocodile of children and parents wended their way home from school.

    I also had my first experience of being away from home when some of the junior school went to Sayers Croft camp in Surrey. It was exciting and daunting and I was homesick. Sayers Croft had been created before WW2 to provide an opportunity for inner city children to experience the countryside.

    We walked to Lancaster baths for swimming lessons and I also took part in the inter school swimming gala ( I think I was one of the few that could swim!). The pictures of the ‘baths’ brought back memories.

    My mother was part of the nursing team at Princess Louise Hospital which by this time seems to have mainly cared for chronically and terminally ill children, at least on my mothers ward. I understood the hospital had been built by public subscription and clearly should have remained a public amenity! I subsequently trained as a nurse at St Mary’s hospital and spent some time at St Charles Hospital undertaking my ‘Casualty’ training. My mother told me that when we lived in Chesterton road there was still for some people, particularly the older generations ( including my great grandmother who I remember slightly) a feeling of dislike of being an inpatient at St Charles, because of its past.

    The ‘little’ park ( Kensington Memorial Park?) was our second home and well looked after by the park keepers who were smartly dressed in uniform. We had the paddling pool, the play ground, space to run around AND the open air theatre! Many a cold summer evening was spent wrapped in blankets watching some kind of variety show, we were thrilled! If there was any money we might have an ice cream as well!

    The nearest brownie pack was at St Helens Church and there is a picture of me in uniform standing in the road outside …no cars. The church hall was always in use and if memory serves me right (which it might not!) it was a rehearsal hall for various BBC dramas including top drama of the day, Z Cars. My school friend and I aged 8 or 9 ( plus a mum) would wait to get the actors autographs and met most of the principle actors, sadly I no longer have the autographs.

    There was also a rehearsal hall behind the Sutton Trust buildings, Dalgarno Gardens and I remember seeing the Goodies film a couple of scenes for their programme including them taking part in the Winter Olympics. They were in a wooden box being pulled along by string, which on screen became a bob-sleigh!

    I remember going to Portobello road market with my mother, to shop for normal groceries and occasionally rootle around a junk shop (what happened to junk?) and being fascinated by a fish monger stall that sold live eels. I would watch with equal fascination and horror at these eels writhing around in wooden boxes.

    I don’t remember feeling deprived or being scared of living in the area, despite it being the Rachman era and I know that living in the area was not a good experience for many people at that time. I was protected no doubt by parents, childish innocence and knowing nothing else. We could and did play in the streets, walk to school and the park without a second thought. That is the resilience of childhood.

    Have to stop here for the time being.

    I hope I have not repeated lots of other people’s menories too much and it adds to the project a little.

  2. Sue kelley nee Tunbridge says:

    Hi I lived in silchester road one of our neighbors mrs ingold was very kind to me when I was a young child does anyone rembered her she used to let the bottom half of her house to American students. Such a lovely lady does anyone rember her

  3. Denise Davies says:

    My grandparents used to have the Dairy at 226 Portobello Road.
    The Davies family from Wales.
    They had 3 boys ( one being my father ) 3 girls.
    Tesco now occupy the site.
    Anybody remember/photos/recollections.
    Thanks, Denise Davies

    • Dear Denise,
      When did your family have the Dairy in Portobello Road? We do have a photograph of it in the 1920s, owned by another Welsh family. We talked about it this morning and one of our group who lived just off Portobello Road remembered it in the 1950s. Next to it was David Greigs which also disappeared to make way for Tesco.
      Sue at North Ken Histories

    • Richard Davies says:


      Would be great if you could get in touch, in john’s son Richard from Archway road.


      Richarddavies11 at hotmail.com

  4. Denise Davies says:

    Dear Sue
    Many thanks for your reply.
    My Grandparents moved up to London in the 1920’s /1930’s .
    My uncle David ran the dairy later on, I remember going to visit with my father.
    He lived there with wife May ? I think ( she always had corgis) and daughter Bette.
    That would have been the 1950/60’s.
    I remember walking through the market and my father being recognised by the market traders.
    And going to the pub across the road for an orange juice.
    I will contact my cousins to ask about names.
    Many thanks Denise

  5. Audrey Jones says:

    Dear Denise,
    My Grandfather, David Edward Jones and my father, John David ran the shop in Portobello Road some time in the 20’s and 30’s. It was called Albany Dairy. My mother was a cashier in David Grieg’s which was next door. They were married in 1933. I only remember the dairy they ran later which was in Holborn. This was sold in 1969.
    Best wishes, Audrey Jones

  6. Denise Davies says:

    Dear Audrey
    Many thanks for your reply.
    Last night I read an article ‘ Milk ‘ by Dave Walker, I hope you have seen it as there is a photo of your parents Dairy ( I think it’s called Alderney?) with a man standing outside.
    I would sent you link /photo but not sure if I’m allowed to do this on the site.
    My grandparents came to London in the mid 1920’s . ( Grand father Thomas Davies )
    My parents eventually had there own Dairy in Primrose Hill, other relatives had Dairy’s in Highgate and New Cross.
    As I said previously my Uncle Di ran the portebello road dairy until the 1960’s.
    I do hope you can find the article.
    All the best Denise

  7. Mary Webb nee Bourke says:

    Hi. I was born in 1944. Think we moved to Golborne Gardens in 1946 and had a great time there. We could see the large bomb site from our kitchen window and on bonfire night loads of old sofas etc were brought out for a big bonfire. I remember going down the Golborne Road for my mum to the butchers and bakers. We all played out on the street outside our house in the evenings and had a wonderful childhood. Loved living round there and went to Middle Row School through the rec and it was full of blossom in the spring and in the autumn we went through all the leaves. Good times. I remember Bosworth Road and Appleford Road and St Mark’s park and the small park with swings – my dad used to swing me up to the sky.

  8. Julia Carroll says:

    Does anyone have any more information on the George and Dragon building on St Mary’s Road W11?
    I love all the history reports of North Kensington – it’s so interesting and should never be lost – as this area is literally steeped in history.

  9. Viv says:

    My grandmother, Christina (Duncan) Russell worked as a domestic servant in 1930 at 45 Wheatstone Road, that was the year she gave birth to my mother (Mavis), she went on to have several more children and is linked to addresses at 33, Wheatstone road and 34, Southern Row.

  10. Dear Viv,
    Interesting information. I suggest you go to a different section of the website which relates directly to Wheatstone Road and the surrounding streets and put in your comment at the end of that section. You are more likely to get a response from someone who knew Wheatstone Road. It is called “The Science District” as it refers to the streets named after scientists and engineers i.e. Wheatstone, Faraday, Murchison streets etc. If you have not already read that section there are some comments from other people about Wheatstone Road.

    Sue (administrator for blog)

  11. Don Cleary says:

    I am wondering if anyone can help. I have the publication “Looking Back” and on pages 15/16 it shows a party of men outside the Crown Pub. I have spotted what might be my paternal grandfather in this, right in the middle and on his own. It may be nothing but he was eventually allowed to marry my paternal grandmother by the Catholic church in 1907. I am pretty sure that The big guy is Nobby Buckingham’s grandfather, born in 1850’s, so the timing is right since my grandfather died in 1914 from Tuberculosis – this photo could be his wedding celebration for the blokes in 1907.

    Does anyone recognise the photo and can confirm the date? Are there any Buckinghams around today?

    Having first spotted an obvious ‘Cleary’ face in the picture I then discovered that the pub was in Princes Road and that my grandfather was married in 1907 living at 100 Princes Road, so the link is almost complete.

    It would be interesting to hear others comments.

    Kind regards, Don Cleary. (ex Bard Road then White City)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s