Ladbroke Walk, W11 is part of the Ladbroke Conversation Area.
Ladbroke Walk was designed as the mews for the houses at Nos. 2-38 Holland Park
Avenue. These houses were built in the 1820s, as part of the first wave of building on the Ladbroke Estate. It is probable that Ladbroke Walk was laid out at the same time, to run along the back of their gardens and to provide access to any stables that they decided to build. It is, therefore, one of the earliest streets on the Ladbroke Estate.
At first, few of the Holland Park
Avenue houses bothered to build stables. A plan in the London Metropolitan Archives shows that in 1836 only three of the houses had stables at the end of their gardens, corresponding to Nos. 11, 13 and 16 Ladbroke Walk. Otherwise there were no buildings at all in the mews. By the time of the Ordnance Survey map of 1863, however, the majority of the Holland Park
Avenue houses had some sort of building at the bottom of their garden, opening onto the mews. By 1894, according to the Ordnance Survey of that year, only the spaces now occupied by numbers 10, 12. 14 and 18 Ladbroke Walk were still unbuilt upon.
The buildings were mainly built of unadorned London stock-brick in a plain utilitarian style. The normal plan was for them to have two big doorways on the ground floor, for the horses and the coach, with a small central door, behind which there was a stairway leading to the upper residential floor.
The mews appears in the census returns from 1871 onwards. The census and other records show a steadily increasing number of people residing in the mews in the last half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. They included not just coachman and grooms, but also small tradesmen – chimney sweeps, carpenters, plumbers etc. There was also a sprinkling of “cabmen”, no doubt using the mews both as a place for their horses and carriages and as a lodging. Gradually, more and more of the houses were taken over by tradesmen. Most of the buildings seemed to have remained in the ownership of the houses in Holland Park
Avenue in whose gardens they had been built. When the householders did not need the accommodation for their own staff, they would let them to tradesmen and others living in the area.
With the advent of the motor-car, the stables were transformed into as garages, still with accommodation above. After the Second World War, chiefly between the 1950s and the 1980s, there was a gradual transformation of the garages into dwellings, with the houses in Holland Park
Avenue selling the freeholds to the new occupants, sometimes with a piece of garden. Mansard rooms or additional storeys were added, and in most cases at least part of the ground floor was transformed into residential accommodation, although sometimes with half being left as a garage.
During the conversions, a variety of differently shaped windows, doors and balconies were inserted, and often brickwork was plastered over and painted. In some cases, the old building was demolished altogether, and an entirely new dwelling erected and many of today’s buildings give little idea of what they originally looked like. The mews has retained its cobbles.
The mews went through two changes of name over the years. It began life as “Notting Hill Mews”, no doubt because Nos. 2-38 Holland Park
Avenue were then called “Notting Hill Terrace”. By the time of the first detailed Ordnance Survey map of the area in 1863, the Mews had been renamed “Ladbroke Terrace
Mews”. It acquired its current name around the time of the Second World War.