Rackham Street, western end (1950)
Image dated 1950
Print-friendly version of this page North Kensington lies either side of Ladbroke Grove, W10.
A bombed-out Rackham Street
, looking down from the junction with Exmoor Street
The huge bomb crater which actually had its epicentre on the north side of St Charles Square
, one block south, can be seen. This one bomb fell in September 1940 and caused so much destruction that it was decided, after the war finished, to redevelop the whole area. Most of the street plan was changed utterly.
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Photographed just after the Second World War, this is the bombed-out Rackham Street, London W10 looking down from the junction with Exmoor Street.
Kensington and Chelsea library
North Kensington was rural until the 19th century, when it was developed as a suburb with quite large homes. By the 1880s, too many houses had been built for the upper-middle class towards whom the area was aimed. Large houses were divided into low cost flats which often degenerated into slums, as documented in the photographs of Roger Mayne.
During the 1980s, the area started to be gentrified although areas in the north west of the district at Ladbroke Grove
and Westbourne Park remain deprived and run down to this day.
Waves of immigrants have arrived for at least a century including, but certainly not limited to, the Spanish, the Irish, the Jews, the West Indians, the Portuguese, the Moroccans and many from the Horn of Africa and Eastern Europe. This constant renewal of the population makes the area one of the most cosmopolitan in London.
The Notting Hill carnival was first staged in 1964 as a way for the local Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. After some rough times in the 1970s and 1980s when it became associated with social protest, violence and huge controversy over policing tactics, this is now Europe’s largest carnival/festival event and a major event in the London calendar. It is staged every August over the Bank holiday weekend.