Rillington Place, W11

Road in/near Notting Dale, existed between 1869 and the 1970s

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(51.51613 -0.21355) 

Rillington Place, W11

MAP YEAR:1750180018301860190019502020Remove markers
Road · * · W11 ·
APRIL
30
2015

Rillington Place is a small street with an infamous history.

The macabre story of the post-war Rillington Place murders by John Christie are all over the internet. A film with Richard Attenborough in the leading role was made in 1970.

But, first built in 1869, the street spent nigh on one hundred years out of the limelight. A small cul-de-sac of tightly-packed houses with a factory at the end of it.

In recent years, you wouldn’t have found it on a modern printed map. The whole area was redeveloped in the 1970s and new streets laid on top of the old pattern.

For the terrible events surrounding the murders, the internet has a lot to say.

But what was Rillington Place itself like?

Before the 1850s, two farmhouses stood alone in the fields, the only two buildings in what was to become North Kensington. One was called Portobello Farm and the other, Notting Barns Farm . Notting Barns Farm was largely given over to pasture and it stood where the modern St Mark's Road and Basset Road meet.

During the 1860s, the Hammersmith and City Railway constructed a line between Paddington and Kensington. It split the fields of Notting Barns into two, and the company placed a station on the brand new Ladbroke Grove called Notting Hill - later renamed Ladbroke Grove.

The area was now directly connected to the City of London by rail and the value of the agricultural land of the farm leapt. It was ripe for building.

Just before the coming of the railway, speculative builders had built Lancaster Road during 1855 and 1858

Coronation street party, 1953.
Coronation street party, 1953. (click to enlarge)

Crayford Mews was built around 1865. The early properties were two storey mews houses and were used to provide shelter for horses, carriages and drivers of that era with a first floor flat for human accommodation and stabling for the carriages and animals underneath.

A little side street off of St Mark's Road and between Lancaster Road and the railway, and opposite Crayford Mews, was built in 1869. It was named Rillington Place.

Twenty cramped little houses were built along the cul-de-sac and the site of the James Bartle Western Iron Works
occupied the end. The 1901 census lists a Bartle family as living at no 3 Rillington Place.

Unusually, instead of odd numbers on one side of the street and even numbers on the other, the north side of Rillington Place was numbered 11-20 and the south side 1-10. Number ten was cheek-by-jowl with the wall dividing the end of the street from the works.

A slightly larger building stood on the end of the street on the corner of St Marks Road beside the railway bridge became the Rainbow Café and on the opposite corner, a printing company.

Until the Christie murders and for nearly one hundred uneventful years, Rillington Place was a normal little street. After the murders, it could not escape its infamy.

As regards location, it is perhaps not surprising that confusion exists:

Ruston Close


The local residents were justifiably unhappy with the association of the name, and visitors coming to see for themselves caused considerable annoyance and disturbance. The Borough had received a petition signed by eighty-three residents of Rillington Place.

It became Ruston Close - the new name coming from the street opposite the St Marks Road end called Ruston Mews. Ruston Mews was itself a new name for Crawford Mews after 1900. It became a "Close" instead of a "Place" to further disassociate the road from the crimes.

After the road was renamed, 10 Ruston Close was converted into a series of meeting rooms for the Methodist Church.

Once the prospect of the 1970s movie bringing more morbid sightseers to the street was forseen, Kensington Council moved on with plans to redevelop the whole area. The demolition squads moved in during 1971.

A new road, Bartle Road, named after the owner of the works, was built to the junction of St Mark's Road. taking a slightly different course. The intention was to obscure the position and layout of the old road thereby preventing a newly-built house being blighted by being readily identifiable as occupying the same plot upon which the old house once stood.

Rillington Place with the iron works at the end of the street.
Rillington Place with the iron works at the end of the street. (click to enlarge)

A cul-de-sac called Wesley Square took advantage of the demolition of the factory to bring more new homes.

But 10 Rillington Place lingers on. A few years ago, where the modern Wesley Square turned a corner, a new house was built right on top of the position of the old house. It became renamed "10 Rillington Place". You can now see this on Google Maps.

Note: Before the building of the Westway, Rillington Place would have been classed as "North Kensington". Now on the other side of the motorway to the rest of North Ken., it is part of a different council ward covering Notting Dale.

 




Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


A view down Rillington Place towards "Andrews Garage" in the 1940s.

A view down Rillington Place towards "Andrews Garage" in the 1940s.

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.
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.
North Kensington Library North Kensington Library opened in 1891 and was described as one of London’s finest public libraries.
Notting Hill Barn Farm Notting Barns Farm was one of two farms in the North Kensington area.
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.
Ridler's Tyre Yard Ridler's Tyres was situated in a part of Blechynden Street which no longer exists
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.
Aldermaston Street, W10 Aldermaston Street is a lost street of North Kensington
Arundel Gardens, W11 Arundel Gardens was built towards the end of the development of the Ladbroke Estate, in the early 1860s.
Balliol Road, W10 Balliol Road leads from Kelfield Gardens to Oxford Gardens.
Barandon Street, W11 Barandon Street connected Lancaster Road with Latimer Road station.
Bard Road, W10 Bard Road lies in the area of London W10 near to Latimer Road station.
Bartle Road, W11 Bartle Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Bassett Road, W10 Bassett Road is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Blagrove Road, W10 This is a street in the W10 postcode.
Blechynden Mews, W11 Blechynden Mews is a former side street in London W11.
Blechynden Street, W10 Blechynden Street is now a tiny street in the vicinity of Latimer Road station, W10
Blenheim Crescent, W11 Blenheim Crescent one of the major thoroughfares in Notting Hill - indeed it features in the eponymous film.
Bomore Road, W11 Bomore Road survived post-war redevelopment with a slight change in alignment.
Bramley Mews, W10 Bramley Mews become part of a redelevopment of the area north of Latimer Road station in the 1960s.
Bramley Road, W10 Bramley Road is the street in which Latimer Road station is situated.
Bramley Road, W11 Bramley Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Bramley Street, W10 Bramley Street is one of the lost streets of North Kensington.
Bridge Close, W10 Bridge Close is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Calverley Street, W10 Calverley Street, one of the lost streets of W10 is now underneath a motorway slip road.
Cambridge Gardens, W10 Cambridge Gardens is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Camelford Walk, W11 Camelford Walk is a street in Notting Hill.
Charlotte Mews, W10 Charlotte Mews is one of London W10's newer thoroughfares.
Chesterton Road, W10 Chesterton Road is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Clarendon Walk, W11 Clarendon Walk is a walkway in a recent Notting Dale development.
Codrington Mews, W11 This attractive L-shaped mews lies off Blenheim Crescent between Kensington Park Road and Ladbroke Grove.
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.
Crowthorne Road, W10 Crowthorne Road is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Dale Row, W11 Dale Row is a street in Notting Hill.
Darfield Way, W10 Darfield Way, in the Latimer Road area, was built over a number of older streets as the Westway was built.
Darfield Way, W10 Darfield Way is one of the streets of London in the W10 postal area.
Dulford Street, W11 Dulford Street survived the mass demolitions of the late 1960s.
East Mews, W10 East Mews was lost when the Westway was built. It lies partially under the modern Darfield Way.
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.
Finstock Road, W10 Finstock Road is a turning out of Oxford Gardens.
Fowell Street, W10 Fowell Street, W10 was redeveloped in the 1970s.
Freston Road, W10 Freston Road is a street with quite a history.
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.
Grenfell Tower, W11 Grenfell Tower is a residential block in North Kensington.
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.
Hurstway Street, W10 Hurstway Street ran from Barandon Street to Blechynden Street.
Hurstway Walk, W11 This is a street in the W11 postcode area
Kelfield Gardens, W10 Kelfield Gardens is one of the streets of London in the W10 postal area.
Kelfield Mews, W10 Kelfield Mews is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Kensington Park Mews, W11 Kensington Park Mews lies off of Kensington Park Road, W11
Kingsdown Close, W10 Kingsdown Close is one of a select number of roads in London W10 lying south of Westway.
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 Grove, W11 Ladbroke Grove is the main street in London W11.
Lancaster Road, W11 Lancaster Road is a street in Notting Hill.
Lockton Street, W11 Lockton Street, just south of Latimer Road station is so insignificant that nary a soul know’s it’s there...
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
Manchester Road, W10 Manchester Road is one of the lost streets of North Kensington, now buried beneath a roundabout.
Martin Street, W10 Martin Street disappeared as the Latimer Road area was redeveloped.
Maxilla Gardens, W10 Maxilla Gardens was a former street in London W10.
Mersey Street, W10 Mersey Street - now demolished - was once Manchester Street.
Millwood Street, W10 Millwood Street is one of the streets of London in the W10 postal area.
Oxford Gardens, W10 Oxford Gardens is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Pamber Street, W10 Pamber Street is a lost street of North Kensington.
Portobello Road, W11 Portobello Road is internationally famous for its market.
Pring Street, W10 The unusually-named Pring Street was situated between Bard Road and Latimer Road.
Raddington Road, W10 Raddington Road is a street in North Kensington, London W10
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 Marks Place, W11 This is a street in the W11 postcode area
Scampston Mews, W10 Scampston Mews is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Shalfleet Drive, W11 Shalfleet Drive is a newer road in the Latimer Road area of W10
Silchester Mews, W10 Silchester Mews, shaped like an H, disappeared in 1969 under the Westway.
Silchester Road, W10 Silchester Road crosses the border between London W10 and London W11.
Silchester Street, W10 Silchester Street is a lost street of North Kensington.
Silchester Terrace, W10 Silchester Terrace was lost to W10 in the 1960s.
St Andrews Square, W11 St Andrews Square is a street in Notting Dale, formed when the Rillington Place area was demolished.
St Helens Gardens, W10 St Helens Gardens seems to date from the 1860s.
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.
St Quintin Avenue, W10 St Quintin Avenue connects North Pole Road with the roundabout at the top of St Mark’s Road.
Stable Way, W10 Stable Way is a street in North Kensington, London W10
Station Walk, W10 Station Walk is one of the streets of London in the W10 postal area.
Station Walk, W11 Station Walk is a street in Notting Hill.
Talbot Mews, W11 Talbot Mews seems to have disappeared just after the Second Worid War.
Tavistock Mews, W11 Tavistock Mews, W11 lies off of the Portobello Road.
Testerton Street, W11 Testerton Street did not survive the bulldozer in the late 1960s.
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.
Trinity Mews, W10 Trinity Mews lies off of Cambridge Gardens.
Verity Close, W11 Verity Close is a street in W11
Wallingford Avenue, W10 Wallingford Avenue is one of the streets of London in the W10 postal area.
Waynflete Square, W10 Waynflete Square is one of the newer roads in the vicinity of Latimer Road station.
Wesley Square, W11 Wesley Square is a street in Notting Hill.
Whitchurch Road, W11 Whitchurch Road connects Bramley Road with Treadgold Street.


Notting Dale

From Pigs and bricks to Posh and Becks...

As houses were springing up all over the rest of northern Kensington, one corner of the borough was developing into a slum whose notoriety was probably unsurpassed throughout London

It lay at the foot of the hill on which the Ladbroke estate was laid out, directly north of Pottery Lane, on badly draining clay soil between the Norland Estate and Notting Barns Farm.

Its first occupants were to give it two infamous names: the brick makers, who seemed to have arrived in the late lath century, and the pig-keepers, who moved there in the early l9th century.

To make bricks and tiles involved large excavations, which soon filled with stagnant water. The keeping of pigs entailed collecting refuse and offal from the kitchens of hotels and private houses, feeding most of it to pigs and boiling down the fat.

The combination of both bricks and pigs spelt disaster for the area.

Samuel Lake of Tottenham Court Road, a scavenger and chimney sweep by occupation was the first to keep pigs here and he was soon joined by the pig keepers of the Marble Arch area who had been forced out of their area by building development. The colony was at first sufficiently isolated to be able to go about their business unfettered; and by the time streets were being built nearby, the piggeries were so well established that developers simply steered clear.

Shacks sprang up wherever convenient for there was no building control in London at that time, and inevitably they were jumbled together with the pigs and the ponds: indeed often the three were combined, with humans sharing their roofs with animals and living directly over stagnant water: the animals at one stage outnumbered people by three to one.

The area’s unsanitary conditions had become so notorious that Charles Dickens ran a special feature on it in the first edition issue of his magazine Household Words.

The Piggeries and Brickyards were far from the sight and concern of the Vestry and its duties were taken up by charities, both religious and secular. But it was Kensington’s first Medical Officer of Health, Dr Francis Goodrich, who was given the formidable task of cleaning up the area. Goodrich stated that it was one of the most deplorable
spots not only in Kensington but in the whole of the metropolis.

Rather than manufacturing bricks, locals started to concentrate more on the making of pottery, mostly drainpipes, tiles and flower pots to supply the local building boom. This trade, however, gradually declined and business ceased by 1863, the same time as when the stagnant ’Ocean’ was filled in.

As far as the Piggeries were concerned strong opposition to a clean up came from the pig keepers themselves, as that was their only livelihood. And perversely the Vestry did not want them to lose the pigs because the families then could become a charge on the poor rate.

By 1878 Goodrich’s successor Dr Dudfield managed, however, to gradually reduce the number of pigs but it was not until the 1890’s that the last pig was banished.

The area nevertheless remained notorious. Instead of pig keeping the men turned to living off what their women could earn as laundresses, initially at home (especially in
the Stoneleigh Street area) and later in small laundries. A local saying in this area declared that ’to marry an ironer is as good as a fortune’

But change was coming.

The 1860s at last witnessed the opening of schools, (such as one in Sirdar Road), the paving of streets and the construction of proper sewers. But it was not until 1888 were public baths and washhouses provided at the junction of Silchester and Lancaster Roads.

In 1889 the Rev C E Roberts of St Clements Church and the Rev Dr Thornton of St Johns appealed in a letter to the Times for an open space for the children of this area. As a result the old brickfield and the area of the ’Ocean’ became the start of Avondale Park opened in 1892 and named in memory of the recently deceased Duke of Clarence and Avondale.

But even then, a year after the park was opened that the Daily News described the area adjacent to the park as ’Avernus’ (the fabled gateway to hell!). The article identified Wilsham Street, Kenley Street, another two streets now replaced by Henry Dickens Court and part of Sirdar Road as ’hopelessly degraded and abandoned’.

The dense rows of artisan houses in these streets were massively over-occupied or else were the most primitive lodging houses in which a bed on the floor cost a few pennies per night. Local residents made a living as best they could but it was a close knit community who seemed to scrape together enough money to pay for visits to the music hall and for summer day trips.

By 1904 new low cost tenements were built and the Improved Tenements Association bought 64 year leases of four houses in Walmer Road in 1900, and these were modernised and divided into two room tenements to accommodate 13 families for rents of 5 shillings a week. Other housing associations followed such as the Wilsham Trust formed by Ladies- in-waiting at Kensington Palace.

The poverty and hardship of the Potteries and Piggeries is very much a thing of the past. Now the neighbourhood is an attractive, leafy, peaceful backwater made up of rows of well kept two and three storey Victorian brick terraced houses and cottages, in the shadow of the graceful golden weather vane and clock of St Clements Church.

The area has come a long way.

Sources:
The Notting Hill & Holland Park Book by Richard Tames
Kensington & Chelsea by Annabel Walker with Peter Jackson
Notting Hill and Holland Park Past by Barbara Denny
Survey of London: Northern Kensington: Vol:XXXVII for the Greater London Council


LOCAL PHOTOS
Ridler's Tyre Yard - 1960s?
TUM image id: 3001
Blechynden Street, 1950s
TUM image id: 10301
Portobello Road, W11
TUM image id: 10371
Aldermaston Street, W10
TUM image id: 10412
Ruston Mews, W11
TUM image id: 28047
A seminal gig
TUM image id: 34071
The Brittania
TUM image id: 1453031208
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