Blechynden Street is now a tiny street in the vicinity of Latimer Road
The stump that remains belies its story as one of the main streets of the area.
Blechynden Street crossed a 50-acre estate that a barrister, James Whitchurch, purchased for £10 an acre in the early 19th century. He left his home in Blechynden in Southampton and built himself a house in Lancaster Road
, North Kensington, now situated at No. 133.
Streets were built on the estate in 1846, and the first were named Aldermaston, Silchester, Bramley and Pamber after four neighbouring villages near Basingstoke, which was where James Whitchurch’s daughter Florence Blechynden Whitchurch was living.
After dividing the land into plots, he leased them to builders such as John Calverley, a Notting Hill builder who named a street after himself.
Other developers involved were Joseph Job Martin, the landlord of The Lancaster Tavern in Walmer Road
, as well as the developer of Martin Street
. Stephen Hurst, a builder from Kentish Town, was responsible for Hurstway Street
and James Fowell of Gray’s Inn Road, who moved to Ponders End with the profits from Fowell Street
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Blechynden Street, W10
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Kensington Hippodrome The Kensington Hippodrome was a racecourse built in Notting Hill, London, in 1837, by entrepreneur John Whyte. 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. 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. 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. Bard Road, W10 Bard Road lies in the area of London W10 near to Latimer Road station. 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. Calverley Street, W10 Calverley Street, one of the lost streets of W10 is now underneath a motorway slip road. Clarendon Road, W11 Clarendon Road is one of the W11’s longest streets, running from Holland Park Avenue in the south to Dulford Street in the north. Cornwall Crescent, W11 Cornwall Crescent belongs to the third and final period of building on the Ladbroke estate. 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. 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. Freston Road, W11 The southern end of Freston Road stretches over into the W11 postcode. 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. Latimer Road, W10 Latimer Road was named after Edward Latymer who endowed land for the funding of Hammersmith’s Latymer school in the early 17th century. 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. Manchester Road, W10 Manchester Road is one of the lost streets of North Kensington, now buried beneath a roundabout. Pring Street, W10 The unusually-named Pring Street was situated between Bard Road and Latimer Road. St Andrews Square, W11 St Andrews Square is a street in Notting Dale, formed when the Rillington Place area was demolished. Station Walk, W10 Station Walk is one of the streets of London in the W10 postal area. Stoneleigh Place, W11 Stoneleigh Place, formerly called Abbey Road, was built across a brickfield in Notting Dale. Talbot Mews, W11 Talbot Mews seems to have disappeared just after the Second Worid War. Thorpe Close, W10 Thorpe Close is a redevelopment of the former Thorpe Mews, laid waste by the building of the Westway. Walmer Road, W10 Walmer Road is the great lost road of North Kensington, obliterated under Westway. Walmer Road, W11 Walmer Road is the oldest street in the area, dating from the eighteenth century or before. Waynflete Square, W10 Waynflete Square is one of the newer roads in the vicinity of Latimer Road station. Wood Lane, W12 Wood Lane runs from Shepherd’s Bush to Wormwood Scrubs and lies wholly in London W12.
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.
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