Blenheim Crescent, W11

Road in/near Notting Hill, existing between 1862 and now

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Blenheim Crescent, W11

MAP YEAR:1750180018301860190019502020Remove markers
Road · * · W11 ·
November
2
2020

Blenheim Crescent one of the major thoroughfares in Notting Hill - indeed it features in the eponymous film.

Blenheim Crescent runs from Portobello Road west across Ladbroke Grove and then curls round to the south to join Clarendon Road. The section between Portobello Road and Kensington Park Road consists of shops and cafés, including at one time the Travel Bookshop that inspired the 1999 film Notting Hill; the rest of the street is residential. The odd numbers are on the south side and the evens on the north. From Ladbroke Grove west, the whole crescent is now lined with magnificent mature cherry trees.

Until the middle of the 19th century, what is now Blenheim Crescent was open country. Plans began to be developed for creating a road in the 1840s. In preparation sewers were laid at any rate at the Clarendon Road end in about 1850, and some building leases were let. But the demand for housing had collapsed and the lessees probably failed to raise the necessary finance. Nothing much further happened until the 1860s, when the last great wave of development on the Ladbroke Estate began.

By 1860, the Ladbroke family had sold the land on which Blenheim Crescent now stands. Most of it had passed into the ownership of Charles Henry Blake, a retired Calcutta merchant who had turned to property speculation. In partnership with Charles Chambers, variously described as a timber merchant or an engineer, he was mainly responsible for developing the road. It was a propitious moment. There had been a revival in the demand for houses and the area was made a lot more desirable by the opening in 1864 of an extension to the City and Hammersmith Railway with a station in Ladbroke Grove (then called Notting Hill Station).

An Ordnance survey map dating from 1863 indicates that the street had been fully laid out by then and that a cluster of houses had gone up at the Clarendon Road end. In particular, a terrace of 27 houses had been erected at the end of the south side. This row of houses (now Nos. 83-135) was baptised “Blenheim Crescent”, and subsequently gave its name to the whole street (the street was originally called Sussex Road west of Ladbroke Grove and St Columb Road east of Ladbroke Grove). The only structures in the rest of the street were the present No. 51 near the south-east corner with Ladbroke Grove; the high back garden wall of a convent on the north-east corner with Ladbroke Grove; and a lone public house, the Arundel Arms, on the corner of Kensington Park Road at what is now No. 14 Blenheim Crescent (this pub was subsequently renamed the Blenheim Arms and went out of business only in the early 2000s).

Construction obviously proceeded apace, as by the time of the 1871 census, almost all the present houses had been completed and the street had acquired its present name. 14 houses were still empty, but the vast majority had found tenants. It seems likely, therefore, that Blake did well out of Blenheim Crescent - he was one of the few developers of the Ladbroke estate not to come to financial grief.

Unlike some streets on the Ladbroke estate, where whole streets or sides of streets were constructed by the same person, Blenheim Crescent is a patchwork of different styles. The building plots were let on 99-year leases to different builders, often in quite small packages, and each did his own thing. Once the houses had been constructed, the builders would let them and cover their investment from the rental income; a (usually rising) ground rent remained payable to the landowner.

The whole of the Ladbroke estate was very much a middle class area in the 19th century, but the inhabitants of Blenheim Crescent were from the beginning quite a lot less grand than those in the southern part of the estate. The Portobello end seems always to have been occupied by tradesmen. Further up the street, the occupants in 1871 were chiefly professionals, although at the lower end of the scale compared to the occupants of the grander houses to the south. They included accountants, clerks, civil servants and merchants. Many of the houses were occupied by widows living on a (probably small) income from dividends or annuities, usually with a couple of children or other relatives living with them. Almost all the households included one or two servants. Several of the houses were lodging houses.

Blenheim Crescent seems to have gently declined over the first half of the 20th century, more and more of the houses going into multi-occupation. The history of No. 38 is fairly typical. Its first occupant in 1868 was Charles Barber, late of H.M. Indian Civil Service. The next occupant was a member of the prosperous merchant classes, a 31-year-old tea broker named Thomas White. He was the senior partner in the firm of George White and Co. In 1871 he had living with him his wife, four young children, a cook-domestic and two nursemaids, and he travelled to work every day by private carriage to Eastcheap. By 1881, the house was in the possession of a widow living on income from house property, a traditional and respectable source of revenue for middle-class folk. By 1891, the widow had died and the house had passed to her brother, also a man of independent means. The house then changed ownership a couple of times before becoming the residence of the local doctor in the early 1900s. By 1924, however, the house had been divided between two families, and by 1936 there seem to have been` three families living there. It was not until 1991, when the house was in a very dilapidated state, that it was purchased by a family who did it up and converted it back into a single family residence.

With the 1960s, a slow ascent to prosperity began, with families increasingly taking over the multi-occupied rented accommodation characteristic of the Rachman era. One of the first of the new wave of residents was the fashion designer Ossie Clark, who moved into a flat at No. 51a in 1966. Now the street is more desirable than probably any time in its history. Ironically (and despite a few acts of vandalism like that by the Kensington Housing Trust described above), the Notting Hill Housing Trust, by buying up then despised and crumbling Victorian houses in the streets of North Kensington, may have been responsible for saving some of the houses which are now so valued.

Tom Vague




Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


The Travel Bookshop which inspired the movie ’Notting Hill’.

The Travel Bookshop which inspired the movie ’Notting Hill’.
User unknown/public domain

NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
22 Maxilla Gardens 22 Maxilla Gardens is a now-demolished property.
24 Maxilla Gardens 24 Maxilla Gardens was an address along Maxilla Gardens.
3 Acklam Road From the 19th century up until 1965, number 3 Acklam Road, near the Portobello Road junction, was occupied by the Bedford family.
Albert Hotel The Albert Hotel stood on the corner of All Saints Road and Westbourne Park Road.
All Saints Church All Saints church was designed by the Victorian Gothic revival pioneer William White, who was also a mountaineer, Swedish gymnastics enthusiast and anti-shaving campaigner.
Duke of Cornwall (The Ledbury) The Duke of Cornwall pub morphed into the uber-trendy "The Ledbury" restaurant.
Kensington Hippodrome The Kensington Hippodrome was a racecourse built in Notting Hill, London, in 1837, by entrepreneur John Whyte.
Kensington Park Hotel The KPH is a landmark pub on Ladbroke Grove.
Ladbroke Grove Ladbroke Grove is named after James Weller Ladbroke, who developed the Ladbroke Estate in the mid nineteenth century, until then a largely rural area on the western edges of London.
Mary Place Workhouse Notting Dale Workhouse stood on the site of what is now Avondale Park Gardens,
North Kensington Library North Kensington Library opened in 1891 and was described as one of London’s finest public libraries.
Political meeting (1920s) Meeting in front of the Junction Arms situated where Tavistock Road, Crescent and Basing Road met.
Portobello Green Portobello Green features a shopping arcade under the Westway along Thorpe Close, an open-air market under the canopy, and community gardens.
The Apollo The Apollo pub was located at 18 All Saints Road, on the southeast corner of the Lancaster Road junction.
The Brittania The Brittania was situated on the corner of Clarendon Road and Portland Road, W11.
Western Iron Works The Western Iron Works was the foundry business of James Bartle and Co.

NEARBY STREETS
Alba Place, W11 Alba Place is part of the Colville Conservation Area.
Aldridge Court, W11 Aldridge Court is in Aldridge Road Villas.
Aldridge Road Villas, W11 Aldridge Road Villas is a surviving fragment of mid-Victorian residential development.
All Saints Road, W11 Built between 1852-61, All Saints Road is named after All Saints Church on Talbot Road.
Arundel Gardens, W11 Arundel Gardens was built towards the end of the development of the Ladbroke Estate, in the early 1860s.
Avondale Park Gardens, W11 Avondale Park Gardens, unlike other roads in the area, was developed in the 1920s when it was laid out on the former workhouse site.
Avondale Park Road, W11 Avondale Park Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Bartle Road, W11 Bartle Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Basing Street, W11 Basing Street was originally Basing Road between 1867 and 1939.
Bassett Road, W10 Bassett Road is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Bomore Road, W11 Bomore Road survived post-war redevelopment with a slight change in alignment.
Bridge Close, W10 Bridge Close is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Cambridge Gardens, W10 Cambridge Gardens is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Camelford Walk, W11 Camelford Walk is a street in Notting Hill.
Clarendon Walk, W11 Clarendon Walk is a walkway in a recent Notting Dale development.
Clydesdale Road, W11 Clydesdale Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Codrington Mews, W11 This attractive L-shaped mews lies off Blenheim Crescent between Kensington Park Road and Ladbroke Grove.
Colville Gardens, W11 Colville Gardens was laid out in the 1870s by the builder George Frederick Tippett, who developed much of the rest of the neighbourhood.
Colville Houses, W11 Colville Houses is part of the Colville Conservation Area.
Colville Mews, W11 Colville Mews is a street in Notting Hill.
Colville Road, W11 Colville Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Colville Square, W11 Colville Square is a street in Notting Hill.
Colville Terrace, W11 Colville Terrace, W11 has strong movie connnections.
Convent Gardens, W11 Convent Gardens is a street in Notting Hill.
Cornwall Crescent, W11 Cornwall Crescent belongs to the third and final period of building on the Ladbroke estate.
Cornwall Road, W11 Cornwall Road was once the name for the westernmost part of Westbourne Park Road.
Dale Row, W11 Dale Row is a street in Notting Hill.
Dartmouth Close, W11 Dartmouth Close is a street in Notting Hill.
Denbigh Close, W11 Denbigh Close is a street in Notting Hill.
Denbigh Road, W11 Denbigh Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Denbigh Terrace, W11 Denbigh Terrace is a street in Notting Hill.
Dulford Street, W11 Dulford Street survived the mass demolitions of the late 1960s.
Dunworth Mews, W11 This is a street in the W11 postcode area
Elgin Crescent, W11 Elgin Crescent runs from Portobello Road west across Ladbroke Grove and then curls round to the south to join Clarendon Road.
Elgin Mews, W11 Elgin Mews lies in Notting Hill.
Folly Mews, W11 Folly Mews is a street in Notting Hill.
Fowell Street, W10 Fowell Street, W10 was redeveloped in the 1970s.
Golden Mews, W11 Golden Mews was a tiny mews off of Basing Street, W11.
Grenfell Road, W11 Grenfell Road follows the line of an old road: St Clement’s Road.
Hayden’s Place, W11 This is a street in the W11 postcode area
Hayden’s Place, W11 Haydens Place is a small cul-de-sac off of the Portobello Road.
Hayden’s Place, W11 Hayden’s Place is a street in Notting Hill.
Hedgegate Court, W11 Hedgegate Court is a street in Notting Hill.
Hesketh Place, W11 Hesketh Place runs between Walmer Road and Avondale Park Road.
Kensington Park Gardens, W11 Kensington Park Gardens is a street in Notting Hill.
Kensington Park Mews, W11 Kensington Park Mews lies off of Kensington Park Road, W11
Kensington Park Road, W11 Kensington Park Road is one of the main streets in Notting Hill.
Ladbroke Crescent, W11 Ladbroke Crescent belongs to the third and final great period of building on the Ladbroke estate and the houses were constructed in the 1860s.
Ladbroke Gardens, W11 Ladbroke Gardens runs between Ladbroke Grove and Kensington Park Road.
Ladbroke Grove, W11 Ladbroke Grove is the main street in London W11.
Lambton Place, W11 Lambton Place is a street in Notting Hill.
Lancaster Road, W11 Lancaster Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Lansdowne Crescent, W11 Lansdowne Crescent has some of the most interesting and varied houses on the Ladbroke estate, as architects and builders experimented with different styles.
Leamington Road Villas, W11 Leamington Road Villas is a street in Notting Hill.
Ledbury Road, W11 Ledbury Road is split between W2 and W11, the postal line intersecting the street.
Ledbury Road, W2 Ledbury Road is a street in Paddington.
Lonsdale Road, W11 Lonsdale Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Malton Mews, W10 Malton Mews, formerly Oxford Mews, runs south off of Cambridge Gardens.
Malton Road, W10 Malton Road is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Mary Place, W11 Mary Place connects Walmer Road with Sirdar Road.
Maxilla Gardens, W10 Maxilla Gardens was a former street in London W10.
McGregor Road, W11 McGregor Road runs between St Luke’s Road and All Saints Road.
Oxford Gardens, W10 Oxford Gardens is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Pencombe Mews, W11 Pencombe Mews is a street in Notting Hill.
Pinehurst Court, W11 Pinehurst Court is a mansion block at 1-9 Colville Gardens.
Portobello Road, W11 Portobello Road is internationally famous for its market.
Powis Gardens, W11 Powis Gardens is a street in Notting Hill.
Powis Mews, W11 Powis Mews is a street in Notting Hill.
Powis Square, W11 Powis Square is a square between Talbot Road and Colville Terrace.
Powis Terrace, W11 Powis Terrace is a street in Notting Hill.
Rillington Place, W11 Rillington Place is a small street with an infamous history.
Rosmead Road, W11 Rosmead Road, W11 was originally called Chichester Road.
Runcorn Place, W11 Runcorn Place was once Thomas Place, and before even that ’The Mews’.
Ruston Mews, W11 Ruston Mews, W11 was originally Crayford Mews.
Saint Lukes Mews, W11 This is a street in the W11 postcode area
Saint Marks Place, W11 This is a street in the W11 postcode area
Shottsford, W2 Shottsford is one of the buildings of the Wessex Gardens Estate.
Silchester Road, W10 Silchester Road crosses the border between London W10 and London W11.
Silvester Mews, W11 Silvester Mews was a mews off of Basing Street, W11.
Simon Close, W11 Simon Close is a street in Notting Hill.
St Andrews Square, W11 St Andrews Square is a street in Notting Dale, formed when the Rillington Place area was demolished.
St Lukes Mews, W11 St Lukes Mews is a mews off of All Saints Road, W11.
St Luke’s Mews, W11 St Luke’s Mews is a street in Notting Hill.
St Luke’s Road, W11 St Luke’s Road is a street in Notting Hill.
St Mark’s Close, W11 St Mark’s Close is a street in Notting Hill.
St Mark’s Place, W11 St Mark’s Place is situated on the site of the former Kensington Hippodrome.
St Mark’s Road, W10 St Mark’s Road extends beyond the Westway into the W10 area.
St Mark’s Road, W11 St. Mark’s Road is a street in the Ladbroke conservation area.
Stanley Crescent, W11 Stanley Crescent was named after Edward Stanley.
Stanley Gardens Mews, W11 Stanley Gardens Mews existed between 1861 and the mid 1970s.
Stanley Gardens, W11 Stanley Gardens was built in the 1850s.
Talbot Mews, W11 Talbot Mews seems to have disappeared just after the Second Worid War.
Talbot Road, W11 The oldest part of Talbot Road lies in London, W11.
Tavistock Mews, W11 Tavistock Mews, W11 lies off of the Portobello Road.
Tavistock Road, W11 Tavistock Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Testerton Walk, W11 Testerton Walk is a street in Notting Hill.
Thorpe Close, W10 Thorpe Close is a redevelopment of the former Thorpe Mews, laid waste by the building of the Westway.
Threshers Place, W11 Threshers Place is a quiet street with a long story.
Treadgold Street, W11 Treadgold Street is part of the Avondale Park Gardens Conservation Area.
Verity Close, W11 Verity Close is a street in W11
Vernon Yard, W11 Vernon Yard is a mews off of Portobello Road.
Walmer Road, W11 Walmer Road is the oldest street in the area, dating from the eighteenth century or before.
Wesley Square, W11 Wesley Square is a street in Notting Hill.
Westbourne Grove, W11 Westbourne Grove is one of the main roads of Notting Hill.


Notting Hill

Notting Hill: A place whose fortunes have come, gone and come again...

Notting Hill is a cosmopolitan district known as the location for the annual Notting Hill Carnival, and for being home to the Portobello Road Market.

The word Notting might originate from a Saxon called Cnotta with the =ing part indicating "the place inhibited by the people of" - i.e. where Cnotta’s tribe lived. There was a farm called variously "Knotting-Bernes,", "Knutting-Barnes" or "Nutting-barns" and this name was transferred to the hill above it.

The area remained rural until the westward expansion of London reached Bayswater in the early 19th century. The main landowner in Notting Hill was the Ladbroke family, and from the 1820s James Weller Ladbroke began to undertake the development of the Ladbroke Estate. Working with the architect and surveyor Thomas Allason, Ladbroke began to lay out streets and houses, with a view to turning the area into a fashionable suburb of the capital (although the development did not get seriously under way until the 1840s). Many of these streets bear the Ladbroke name, including Ladbroke Grove, the main north-south axis of the area, and Ladbroke Square, the largest private garden square in London.

The original idea was to call the district Kensington Park, and other roads (notably Kensington Park Road and Kensington Park Gardens) are reminders of this. The local telephone prefix 7727 (originally 727) is based on the old telephone exchange name of PARk.

The reputation of the district altered over the course of the 20th century. As middle class households ceased to employ servants, the large Notting Hill houses lost their market and were increasingly split into multiple occupation.

For much of the 20th century the large houses were subdivided into multi-occupancy rentals. Caribbean immigrants were drawn to the area in the 1950s, partly because of the cheap rents, but were exploited by slum landlords like Peter Rachman, and also became the target of white racist Teddy Boys in the 1958 Notting Hill race riots.

Notting Hill was slowly gentrified from the 1980s onwards now has a contemporary reputation as an affluent and fashionable area; known for attractive terraces of large Victorian townhouses, and high-end shopping and restaurants (particularly around Westbourne Grove and Clarendon Cross).

A Daily Telegraph article in 2004 used the phrase the ’Notting Hill Set’ to refer to a group of emerging Conservative politicians, such as David Cameron and George Osborne, who were once based in Notting Hill.

Since it was first developed in the 1830s, Notting Hill has had an association with artists and ’alternative’ culture.


LOCAL PHOTOS
Mary Place Workhouse
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The Apollo in the 1980s
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Portobello Road, W11
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Ruston Mews, W11
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All Saints Church
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Colville Gardens 1900s
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Colville Terrace 1900s
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The Brittania
TUM image id: 1453031208
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