40 Years Ago: Kensington And Chelsea In Photographs

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea includes many well-known districts of London, both rich and poor. From Chelsea by the river, to Kensington and Earl’s Court, up to Notting Hill and the edge of Kensal Green in the north. This is a borough where wealth and poverty live within sight of each other, often on the same street.

During the 1980s, photographer Peter Marshall explored the borough, attempting to show the contrasts in the districts.

From 1981-2001, I worked in North Kensington Ambulance Station as an EMT, and drove around all of these streets every day I was at work.

Exclusive Mews Houses in South Kensington.

Window display in Kings Road Chelsea, a street known for fashion retailers.

Kensal House, North Kensington. Once an award-winning development, it was built in 1937.

Freston Road, Notting Hill.

A man about to sail his model yacht on the pond in Kensington Gardens.

Stalls on Portobello Road street market, Notting Hill.

Chelsea Wharf on the River Thames, with newly-built luxury apartments visible in the background.

Street musicians busking on Portobello Road, Notting Hill.

Shops and cafes on Hogarth Road, Earl’s Court.

A park and housing in front of Lots Road Power Station, Chelsea.

Hyper Hyper. A once famous fashion shop on Kensington High Street.

The Coopers Arms, Flood Street, Chelsea. Margaret Thatcher owned a house on Flood Street, where she lived before becoming Prime Minister.

Kensal Green Basin on the Grand Union Canal. North kensington.

The owner poses outside his shop, Kenway Road, Earl’s Court.

The northern end of Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill. The Ladbroke Grove train crash, one of the worst rail disasters in British history, happened just behind the pub on the top left of the photo. The bridge next to it crosses the railway lines where the crash occurred.

Sloane square, Chelsea. The famous Royal Court Theatre is at the centre of the photo.

A Council-provided Gipsy caravan site under the Westway flyover. Stable Way, Notting Hill.

Luxury houses and a luxury car, Hyde Park Gate, Kensington.

More Social Housing under construction in Meanwhile Gardens, North Kensington.

43 thoughts on “40 Years Ago: Kensington And Chelsea In Photographs

  1. (1) What I can read:
    In large letters, I can read “Ambulance Station Keep Clear.”
    In tiny letters, I can read: “Spiders, Ants, And Beetles (SAAB) – No Parking!”
    (2) Did you hear about the British poet who bought an exclusive muse house in South Kensington?
    (3) “I may be a headless amputee, but at least I wear a fashionable bikini!”
    (4) The Kensal House features award-winning graffiti.
    (5) Thanks for posting a photo of Freston Road.
    (6) Keel joy.
    (7) Do they sell pictures of portobello mushrooms on Portobello Road? (I suspect you know the answer, but you’re stalling.)
    (8) I’ve never been to Chelsea Wharf, but I once had a chat with a gangster named Chelsea the Dwarf.
    (9) Bob isn’t paying attention to baby Dylan. The baby, however, is fascinated by the musicians, and is mumbling, “I’ll be your baby tonight.”
    (10) Should read: “M*A*S*H Video Cassette Shop.”
    (11) Does Lots Road Power Station provide lots of power?
    (12) The Hyper Hyper caryatids were happier happier at the Erechtheion.
    (13) Coopers Arms. Caryatids: No Arms.
    (14) Q&A
    Q: What do you call the mess at Grand Union, North Kensington?
    A. GUNK.
    (15) “No, this is a Kashmir store, not a cashmere store.”
    (16) Train conductor: “You’re right. This is not our stop.”
    (17) Overheard:
    Jack: ” Okay, Frenchman, what’s the difference between the Royal Grand Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre?”
    Jacques: “That’s easy, Englishman. One is tall and the other is short!”
    (18) If the Westway flyover is the stable way, is the Eastway flyover the unstable way?
    (19) They’re rather ostentatious in Hyde Park.
    (20) Meanwhile, in the gardens of North Kensington…

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  2. I was born at 37 Redcliffe Sq in Earl’s Court, and that is where I lived until I was 8. I only went back to London a few times. I was never afraid of getting lost because I found the Underground so easy to understand. But I felt out of place somehow. Kensington High Street seemed very different when I was there in the early 70’s. As kids we used to go up to the Round Pond. Seems so long ago.

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    1. That part of London has very marked contrasts, Lorraine. As you drive along a street you can tell just by looking at the houses whether or not people inside are rich or poor.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  3. I remember what the banks of the Thames looked like before all those Yuppie flats were built. When I took a riverboat cruise after some years away from London, I couldn’t believe the transformation. We used to rent one of those flats near Canary Wharf whenever we visited the West End for a show. It was rather compact, and you would never lose each other in it.

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    1. I lived in a house in Rotherhithe, almost opposite Canary Wharf on the other side of the river. The ‘gentrification’ of the Docklands was unpopular with locals, and they were even against people like me (who originally came from the area) buying the houses and flats.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The one we rented was in Anchorage Point. It had a swimming pool in the basement. Someone from the hospital knew someone who owned it, but about 10 years ago the owner decided to live there permanently. Not sure I’d like to live in such a small flat. I’d get claustrophobic, I think.

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  4. Amazing that a relatively small area can contain such a variety of architecture & living standards. Thank you for the map of the area: I always tend to get confused with London’s areas [a lot of which were the original villages, I guess], because there are so many of them! Cheers, Jon.

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