Wedlake Street Baths

Swimming pool/baths in/near Kensal Town, existed between 1898 and the 1980s

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Swimming pool/baths · Kensal Town · W10 ·
MARCH
7
2015

In a time when most had somewhere to live but few had somewhere to wash at home, public baths were the place to go...

Halfpenny Steps with Wedlake Street behind
Credit: Westminster City Archive
Baths and a laundry to serve Queen's Park had been built in 1898, where the boundary with Kensington ran slightly south of the canal along Wedlake Street to Kensal Road. They were built next to Halfpenny (Ha'penny) Steps which allowed access across the canal from the Harrow Road to the baths for people from the Queen's Park Estate.

Wedlake Street Baths housed both a swimming pool and public baths. Families would go there for their weekly bath. There was a distinct system in place to use the facilities - you would get a numbered ticket and sat until your number was called. While you were in the bath, you could shout out to the attendent if you wanted more hot or cold water. The steel changing cubicles, a local remembered, were all made of steel - even the door. 'It felt like you were in stir!', remembered one.

Earlier times, people would leave their clothes unattended in the cubicle with the half door and a curtain on the top. Then it turned modern and they got the clothes basket and a number to pin on their costumes.

Wedlake Baths were closed in 1980.

Citations and sources

Blog from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Library
Recollections of people from North Kensington, London
Gillian Bebbington's 1972 work on street name derivations

Links and further reading

Facebook group, covering the history of W10 and W11.
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Ian Gammons
Ian Gammons   
Added: 3 Apr 2018 08:08 GMT   
IP: 81.131.100.203
2:1:3217
Post by Ian Gammons: Pamber Street, W10

Born in Pamber Street but moved to Harlow, Essex in 1958 when I was three years old. The air wasn?t clean in London and we had to move to cleaner air in Harlow - a new town with very clean air!


Norman Norrington
Norman Norrington   
Added: 19 Jan 2018 14:49 GMT   
IP: 90.194.159.199
2:2:3217
Post by Norman Norrington: Blechynden Street, W10

In the photo of Blechynden St on the right hand side the young man in the doorway could be me. That is the doorway of 40 Blechynden St.

I lived there with My Mum Eileen and Dad Bert and Brothers Ron & Peter. I was Born in Du Cane Rd Hosp. Now Hammersmith Hosp.

Left there with my Wife Margaret and Daughter Helen and moved to Stevenage. Mum and Dad are sadly gone.

I now live on my own in Bedfordshire, Ron in Willesden and Pete in Hayling Island.

Have many happy memories of the area and go back 3/4 times a year now 75 but it pulls back me still.

Paul Shepherd
Paul Shepherd   
Added: 16 Jan 2018 15:21 GMT   
IP: 90.255.234.91
2:3:3217
Post by Paul Shepherd: Chamberlayne Road, NW10

i lived in Rainham Rd in the 1960?s. my best friends were John McCollough and Rosalind Beevor. it was a good time to be there but local schools were not good and i got out before it went to a real slum. i gather it?s ok now.

Mary Harris
Mary Harris   
Added: 19 Dec 2017 17:12 GMT   
IP: 217.63.194.106
2:4:3217
Post by Mary Harris: 31 Princedale Road, W11

John and I were married in 1960 and we bought, or rather acquired a mortgage on 31 Princedale Road in 1961 for £5,760 plus another two thousand for updating plumbing and wiring, and installing central heating, a condition of our mortgage. It was the top of what we could afford.

We chose the neighbourhood by putting a compass point on John’s office in the City and drawing a reasonable travelling circle round it because we didn’t want him to commute. I had recently returned from university in Nigeria, where I was the only white undergraduate and where I had read a lot of African history in addition to the subject I was studying, and John was still recovering from being a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese in the Far East in WW2. This is why we rejected advice from all sorts of people not to move into an area where there had so recently bee

Message truncated Show whole message

Maria Russ
Maria Russ   
Added: 7 Dec 2017 09:46 GMT   
IP: 47.72.255.177
2:5:3217
Post by Maria Russ: Middle Row Bus Garage

My mum worked as a Clippie out from Middle Row Bus Garage and was conductress to George Marsh Driver. They travel the City and out to Ruislip and Acton duiring the 1950’s and 1960’s. We moved to Langley and she joined Windsor Bus Garage and was on the Greenline buses after that. It was a real family of workers from Middle Row and it formed a part of my early years in London. I now live in New Zealand, but have happy memories of the early years of London Transport and Middle Row Garage.
Still have mum’s bus badge.

Happy times they were.

Julia elsdon
Julia elsdon   
Added: 22 Nov 2017 18:19 GMT   
IP: 87.112.95.228
2:6:3217
Post by Julia elsdon: Shirland Mews, W9

I didn’t come from Shirland Mews, but stayed there when my father was visiting friends, sometime in the mid to late forties. As I was only a very young child I don’t remember too much. I seem to think there were the old stables or garages with the living accommodation above. My Mother came from Malvern Road which I think was near Shirland Mews. I remember a little old shop which had a "milk cow outside". So I was told, it was attached to the front of the shop and you put some money in and the milk would be dispensed into your container. Not too sure if it was still in use then. Just wonder if anyone else remembers it.yz5

Irene Whitby..maiden name crighton
Irene Whitby..maiden name crighton   
Added: 17 Nov 2017 22:50 GMT   
IP: 94.3.120.166
2:7:3217
Post by Irene Whitby..maiden name crighton: Netherwood Street, NW6

I was born at 63netherwood street.need to know who else lived there.i think I moved out because of a fire but not sure


David Jones-Parry
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 3 Oct 2017 13:29 GMT   
IP: 81.156.41.30
2:8:3217
Post by David Jones-Parry: Tavistock Crescent, W11

I was born n bred at 25 Mc Gregor Rd in 1938 and lived there until I joined the Royal Navy in 1957. It was a very interesting time what with air raid shelters,bombed houses,water tanks all sorts of areas for little boys to collect scrap and sell them on.no questions asked.A very happy boyhood ,from there we could visit most areas of London by bus and tube and we did.

Debbie hobbs
Debbie hobbs    
Added: 19 Sep 2017 09:08 GMT   
IP: 92.40.89.28
2:9:3217
Post by Debbie hobbs : Raymede Street, W10

I SUPPLIED THE PICTURE ABOVE GIVEN TO TOM VAGUE TO PASS ON... ITS DATE IS C1906 ..IN THE DISTANCE IS RACKHAM STREET WITH ITS MISSION HALL, HEWER STREET TO THE RIGHT

Susan Wright
Susan Wright   
Added: 16 Sep 2017 22:42 GMT   
IP: 120.154.67.244
2:10:3217
Post by Susan Wright: Bramley Mews, W10

My Great Grandmother Ada Crowe was born in 9 Bramley Mews in 1876.

David Jones-Parry
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 7 Sep 2017 12:13 GMT   
IP: 86.152.78.135
2:11:3217
Post by David Jones-Parry: Mcgregor Road, W11

I lived at 25 Mc Gregor Rd from 1938 my birth until I joined the Royal Navy in 1957.Our house sided onto Ridgeways Laundry All Saints Rd. I had a happy boyhood living there

Brenda Jackson
Brenda Jackson   
Added: 13 Aug 2017 21:39 GMT   
IP: 94.13.78.193
2:12:3217
Post by Brenda Jackson: Granville Road, NW6

My Gt Gt grandparents lived at 83 Pembroke Road before it became Granville Road, They were married in 1874, John Tarrant and Maryann Tarrant nee Williamson.
Her brother George Samuel Williamson lived at 95 Pembroke Road with his fwife Emily and children in the 1881 Census

Apparently the extended family also lived for many years in Alpha Place, Canterbury Road, Peel Road,

LDNnews
LDNnews   
Added: 21 Apr 2019 06:20 GMT   
IP:
3:13:3217
Post by LDNnews: Bayswater
Lyra McKee death: New breed of terrorist emerging in Northern Ireland, police say after journalist killing
The detective leading the hunt for journalist Lyra McKee’s killers has said a new breed of terrorist is emerging through the ranks in Northern Ireland.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/lyra-mckee-death-new-breed-of-terrorist-in-northern-ireland-police-say-after-journalist-killing-a4122461.html

LDNnews
LDNnews   
Added: 21 Apr 2019 01:20 GMT   
IP:
3:14:3217
Post by LDNnews: Royal Oak
UK-born baby of parents with right to remain given six-month tourist stamp
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https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/20/uk-born-baby-of-parents-with-right-to-remain-given-six-month-tourist-stamp

LDNnews
LDNnews   
Added: 20 Apr 2019 15:40 GMT   
IP:
3:15:3217
Post by LDNnews: Bayswater
Man City star Kevin de Bruyne expected to miss key Old Trafford derby clash, Pep Guardiola confirms
Kevin de Bruyne is set for another injury lay-off after suffering a suspected hamstring strain against Tottenham.

https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/manchestercity/man-city-star-kevin-de-bruyne-expected-to-miss-key-old-trafford-derby-clash-pep-guardiola-confirms-a4122486.html

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LDNnews   
Added: 20 Apr 2019 01:40 GMT   
IP:
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Post by LDNnews: Royal Oak
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1830s
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1860s
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VIEW THE KENSAL TOWN AREA IN THE 1900s
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Kensal Town

Soapsuds Island

Kensal New Town was built between the Grand Central Canal (which opened in 1801) and the Great Western Railway line (opening in 1837) in the 1840s.

Single-storey cottages with gardens suitable for drying clothes were the first buildings and Kensal Road, Middle Row, West Row, East Row and Southern Row all appeared between 1841 and 1851. The rows of cottages quickly degenerated into a slum, mainly due to overcrowding, industrialisation and pollution.

The area was dominated by the Western Gas Company and Kensal Cemetery, which provided work but did little to improve the environment. Women were primarily involved in laundry work giving the area its nickname of ‘Soapsuds Island’.

The area was isolated from the rest of London at a time when Portobello Lane (now Portobello Road) was a muddy track sometimes impassable in bad weather.

Cut off from the municipal authorities it was left to charities to attempt to alleviate the social and health problems.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the cottage laundry industry began to be replaced by larger mechanized concerns.

In 1902 Charles Booth described it as, “Just as full of children and poverty as was the old woman’s dwelling in the nursery rhyme.” By this date the area had been transferred to the newly formed Royal Borough of Kensington. When the Piggeries and Potteries in Notting Dale were finally cleared in the early 20th century most of the displaced residents moved north into Golborne ward and Kensal.

By 1923 in the Southam Street area 140 houses contained some 2500 inhabitants. A series of evocative photographs by Roger Mayne in the 1950s showed that little had changed. It was only from the 1960s that the overcrowded and dilapidated terraces were cleared and replaced by social housing including Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower.
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Maps


Inner West London (1932) FREE DOWNLOAD
1930s map covering East Acton, Holland Park, Kensington, Notting Hill, Olympia, Shepherds Bush and Westbourne Park,
George Philip & Son, Ltd./London Geographical Society, 1932

Central London, north west (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, north west.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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