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Title: Kensington, Notting Hill, and Paddington
Author: Inhabitant, An Old
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Kensington, Notting Hill, and Paddington" ***

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Transcribed from the 1882(?) Griffiths & Co. edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org.  Many thanks to the Royal Borough of Kensington
and Chelsea Libraries for allowing their copy to be used for this

                        KENSINGTON, NOTTING HILL,


                      _Remembrances of the Locality_
                             38 _Years Ago_.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                          BY AN OLD INHABITANT.

                                * * * * *


                                * * * * *

                         58, PORCHESTER ROAD, W.

_Dedicated to my Young Friends_.

I have thought it would be interesting to you to know something about the
locality in which you live, as it was in times gone by.

The changes have been marvellous, but not more than many others within my

I knew the time when gas was not used, but when streets and shops were
lighted with oil lamps.  When no police guarded our streets, but watchmen
paid their half-hourly visits crying out “past 11 o’clock, &c., and a
starlight night, &c.”

I remember when no omnibuses ran, and cabmen sat by the side of their

When 4-horse coaches ran to Greenwich, Kensington, and other suburban

When the only way to obtain a light was to strike a flint on a piece of
steel, and catch the sparks on tinder, and to puff at the tinder till it
lighted a brimstone match.

When the Great Reform Bill was passing, and I used to be let out of
school at 2 o’clock, because the men of Birmingham and Manchester, &c.,
threatened to march to London—The Tower was fortified—Temple Bar guarded.

I remember George the Fourth’s burial, and the people making a grand

I saw the procession at William the Fourth’s Coronation, and also at that
of Queen Victoria.

                           “Long may she live.”


Before entering upon my own remembrances of Kensington and Paddington, it
will be interesting to notice some things connected with the history of
these places.

Kensington is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Chenesiton.  Chenesi was
a proper name, and “Lyson” says that in the time of Edward the Confessor
a person of that name held a manor in Somersetshire.  It may be that
Kensington was once a town belonging to a “Chenesi.”  At the time of the
Romans this district comprised the northern boundary of the marshes
formed by the overflowing of the Thames, Chelsea and Fulham being liable
to inundation, but the higher elevation of a great portion of this parish
rendered it fit for cultivation.

In 1218, in the reign of Henry III., it was disafforested.  Before this
time it, with Paddington, had formed a portion of the Forest of

In Henry the Eighth’s time a great portion of Notting Hill and Paddington
was still forest as appears from records dated 1543.

In 1610 Sir Walter Cope became possessed of the manor of St. Mary Abbot’s
by a grant from the Queen.  It is recorded that he died possessed of the
manor called Earl’s Court, Kensyngton, with its appurtenances, in
Kensyngton, Chelsey, Hammersmith and St. Margaret’s, Westminster.  Two
hundred acres belonging to the Ould House Kensyngton and all that wood
called Notting Wood or Knotting Wood, for which he paid as under:—

Manor of Abbot’s                £5     0  0 per ann.
Earl’s Court                     2     0  0 ,,
Ould House and land              5     0  0 „
Knotting wood                    1     0  0 ,,
St. Margaret’s Westminster       1     0  0 ,,

The Kensington division of the hundred of Ossulstan includes Fulham,
Hammersmith, Chiswick, Acton, part of Brentford, Ealing, Willesden and

The name of the hundred is probably derived from the German word Waassel
which signifies water.  Others suggest Ousel, a bird, Ossultun, a town
noted for its birds.


Fifty years ago the greater portion of Kensington and Paddington was
under cultivation for corn, market gardening, nurseries and grass land.

It would appear from ancient records that in past time the temperature of
England must have been much higher than at present, for we read of
vineyards and of wine being produced in very large quantities.  Of those
vineyards, especially about Brompton, there are many records.

“Bewick” writes of a spot of ground called Brompton Park as being famed
all over the kingdom for the growth of plants, and adds the stock is so
large that if reckoned only at a penny each plant the whole value would
be above £40,000.

PADDINGTON in the time of Edgar was given to the monks of Westminster at
the cost of two hides of land.  As the value of a hide of land in Henry
the First’s time was 3/-, the monks had a good bargain.

The name is of doubtful derivation, Pad may mean a path or a robber.  It
may also mean a saddle.  The place may have been infested by robbers, or
it may have been a place where travellers stopped to bait their horses
and “re-padded.”

Pope Nicolas IV. gave the whole proceeds of the manor of Paddington to
the poor.

This manor at the reformation passed into the hands of the Established
Church.  Much as I value the Reformation I cannot pass on without asking
what the people to whom this manor of Paddington was given have done for
the poor.  If the poor had that which others have taken from them we
should not have the sad spectacle of old couples driven into a workhouse
in which no provision is made for them to end their days together.
Married by a church which says “What God has joined together let no man
put asunder.”  That very church has become possessed of the means which
would have enabled them to end their days in peace and comfort.

In Henry the Eighth’s time the manor of Paddington was valued at £41 16s.
8d.  Edward the Sixth granted the manor and rectory to Bishop Ridley,
then Bishop of London, and to his heirs and successors.

KENSINGTON church lands were also very extensive, as much property was
given in the reign of Henry the First to the monastery of Abingdon.  St.
Mary Abbot’s district of Kensington will indicate the ground which was
thus handed over to the abbots.

In 1527 a curate of Kensington (Sebastian Harris) was charged with having
in his possession a New Testament and a Lutheran book.

He was ordered to leave Kensington within 2 days and not to return within
4 miles of the place for 2 years.

Tyndale’s New Testament was published 1525.

In 1612, in the reign of James I., the Archdeacon and other officials of
churches were commanded to make answer to certain questions which threw
some light upon the condition of the church and people of Kensington.
From those answers I gather—

1.  That all the parishioners receive Communion at Easter.

2.  That the ministers are very careful about baptizing children at the

3.  There is no stranger preacher, only men of worth.

4.  That they intend to have a new Bible shortly.

5.  That two poor men teach the children—sometimes they have a few,
sometimes none.  They are men of honest behaviour and sound of religion.

6.  That there was a woman—Alice Maybanke—who did not go to church, but
frequented an ale house.

7.  That certain strangers were excommunicated for not attending
Communion at Easter.

8.  Also one honest man, who had been tried by the Archdeacon, and not
satisfying him, he, the honest man, was excommunicated.

Non-Communicants, none.  Communicants (both sexes), 400.

As the authorized version of the Bible was printed in 1611 it is probable
the churchwardens wished to substitute that for the Bishops’ Bible which
was published 1568.

And as James I. had stated that “he would make all men conform or harry
them out of the land, or else worse,” perhaps the strangers and honest
man were Baptists, Independents, or Puritans.

A happier time, however, came with William III.

The old church, which was taken down a few years since, was built in
1696, King William III. giving £300 and Princess Ann £100 towards the
cost, the whole charge of which was £1,800.

In 1811 it was repaired and improved at a cost to the ratepayers of

The first organ cost £500.

Some financial extracts from the old parish books may be interesting and

                                                     £     s.     d.
1698       Paid the ringers for the King’s          00     06     08
           coming home
1703       Paid for prayer books at general         00      3     06
1704       Paid Mr. Jackson for a barrel of         00     15     00
           beer for victory over French and
1709       Paid ringers for forcing the French      00     13     04
1712       Paid ringers when the Queen made         00      6     08
           her speech for peace (N.B.)
1713       Paid ringers when the Peace came         00      6     08
1714       Paid ringers for the pious memory        00     13     04
           of Queen Ann
1716       Ditto, when King George went             00      6     08
           through the town
Aug. 1     For a bonfire and Ringers                00      5     08
1683       Collection by order of the Bishop        03     12     06
           for relief of poor of London
1693       Paid for a truss of straw for a          00     00     04
           poor soldier
           Paid for maimed soldiers                 00     06     00
1694       1 bushel of coals for a poor family      00     01     00
1711       Paid for French prisoners and a          00     01     00
           woman at Wingsdale Barn
1727       Paid charity boys for blowing organ      00     16     00
           bellows and ringing the saint’s
           bell for one whole year
           Paid Theef Ketchers enquiring who        00     09     00
           robbed the Church

Kensington was not at all a noted place until William III. ennobled it
with his court and residence.

Noel House, Kensington Goar, was built 1804.

Kensington House about William Third’s time.

Kensington Square in James Second’s reign, 1698.

Church Street probably took its name from the church at the end, or from
the house called Church House, which was occupied by the “poore of the

Camden House was built by Sir Baptist Hickes, who possessed considerable
property in the parish in 1612.

Phillamore Place was built 1787, and in 1811 David Wilkie, Esq., R.A.,
resided here.  His works the “Blind Fiddler,” “Rent Day,” “Village
Holiday,” &c., will be remembered by all.

Sir Isaac Newton, who by the way was never married, lived on Camden Hill.
Here he died, March 20th, 1726–7, at the age of 84.

His nephew wrote of him.  “His whole life was one continued series of
labour, patience, charity, generosity, temperance, piety, goodness and
all other virtues without any mixture of vice whatever.”

The Royal Palace of Kensington is situated in the parish of St.
Margaret’s, Westminster.

The original mansion was built by a person named Finch, one of whose
descendants was promoted to the Peerage.  The house was then called
Nottingham House.

The 2nd Earl of Nottingham sold it to King William III., 1691, for 18,000
guineas, and here, December 28, 1694, Queen Mary died of small pox.

William, who was much attached to this palace, divided his time between
Hampton Court and Kensington.

In the month of February, 1702, he was thrown from his horse and brought
back to Kensington, where he died March 8, 1702, in the 52nd year of his

Queen Ann and Prince George of Denmark were the next inhabitants of the
palace.  The Queen died here August 1, 1714.

In the reign of George I. the palace was much altered and improved.
George II. died in this palace 25th October, 1760, aged 77.

The State Apartments were not occupied afterwards.

The lower apartments, in the south-east portion of the palace, were for
some years occupied by the late Duke and Duchess of Kent, and on the 24th
May, 1819, an infant princess was born here, who is now our beloved

                             QUEEN VICTORIA.

KENSINGTON GARDENS.—“Bewick” writes, 1705: “Whatever is deficient in the
house is made up in the gardens.  There is a noble collection of foreign
plants—every inch is well improved—the whole, with the house, not being
above 26 acres.  Her Majesty (Queen Ann) has been pleased to add near 30
acres more toward the north.  Upon this spot nearly 100 men work daily.”

In George Second’s reign Queen Caroline threw a string of ponds in Hyde
Park into one, so as to form what is called the Serpentine River.

Her Majesty also added 300 acres from Hyde Park.

At this time the gardens were only opened on Saturday, whilst His Majesty
and Court went to Richmond, and company appeared only in full dress on
this day.

Hyde Park was originally Hyde Farm, and belonged to the Monastery of
Westminster.  At the Reformation it became vested in the Crown.

During the Commonwealth the Park was sold in 3 lots.  112 acres on
Bayswater side were bought by Richard Wilcox for £4,141, and John Tracey
bought 177 acres on the Kensington side for £3,906 7s. 6d.

Anthony Deane, of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, bought Tyburn Meadow, a
banqueting house at Park Corner, Bayard’s watering, a fortification, a
barn and stable, and land down to Park Corner, for £9,020 8s. 2d.

The fortification was opposite St. George’s Hospital, and another was in
Mount Street, Park Lane.

These fortifications were hurriedly put up by the inhabitants to prevent
the royalist army reaching London.

Hudibras writes:

    “Marched rank and file, with drum and ensign.
    T’entrench the city for defence in;
    Raised rampiers with their own soft hands,
    To put the enemy to stands.

    “From ladies down to oyster wenches
    Laboured like pioneers in trenches,
    Fal’n to their pick axes and tools,
    And helped the men to dig like moles.”


Formerly a Congregational Chapel, now a Baptist, was erected principally
by Mr. Forsyth, head gardener to George III.; Mr. Thomas Broadwood, of
Pulteney Street, and Mr. Saunders, body coachman to George III., with
whom he was a great favourite.  The King was much accustomed to converse
with the latter upon religious subjects.  The first minister who
officiated was the Rev. Mr. Hall, of Edinburgh.  The first stated
minister was Dr. Lake, who left to take a curacy in the Established
Church.  He was succeeded by Rev. John Clayton, who was afterwards
minister of Poultry Chapel.

Dr. Liefchild succeeded him, then Dr. Vaughan, then Dr. Stoughton, for
whom, after many years, a new chapel was built in Allen Street.


Now Westbourne Grove Baptist Chapel, was erected 1823 by several humble
Christian men, who were soon joined by Mr. Baxter, editor of the Polyglot
Bible.  The names of Mr. Farmer, Mr. Worger and Mr. Baxter ought to be
remembered by the Church.

The first pastor was Rev. W. Southwood      1826–1830
The second Rev. John Broad                  1831–1841
The third Rev. John Berg                    1841–1843
The fourth Rev. Frances Wills               1843–1847
The fifth Rev. W. G. Lewis                  1847–1881

Under Mr. Lewis the church increased so much that it was felt necessary
to take ground to build a larger chapel.


Was erected 1853.  The first cost was £5,500.  Galleries had soon to be
erected at cost of £579, and in 1866 it was thought necessary to enlarge
the building by adding 16 feet on each side at cost of £5,895; total,
£11,974, the whole of which was raised by voluntary subscriptions, under
the pastorate of the Rev. W. G. Lewis.  In 1881 Rev. J. Tuckwell, of
Luton, accepted the pastorate, and under his ministry the church and
congregation have largely increased.  On the 20th of April, 1882, one of
the finest organs in London was opened here, which has added much to the
beauty of the building.  It was built by Brindley and Foster, of
Sheffield, at a cost of £820.

Horbury chapel was a sister church of Hornton Street, and was erected
about 1846.  The present honoured pastor, Rev. W. Roberts, being the
first minister.

In 1831 the populate of Kensington was       20,945
1881 ,, ,,                                  162,924

1831 there were 3 Sunday Schools with 263 children.

In 1801 the populate of Paddington was        1,881
In 1831 ,, ,,                                14,540
1881 ,, ,,                                  107,098

In 1811 I see the inhabitants of Kensington were very unequally divided.

Males          4,244
Females        6,642

I cannot say if this inequality still exists.


The first time I heard of Notting Hill was many years since.  I was asked
to sign a petition, the prayer of which pleaded for Parliamentary
interference to stop the action of the Proprietors of the Hippodrome at
Notting Hill from running horses on Sundays.  I have heard since that
races were not run upon that day, but horses were tried as a preliminary
step to the races during the week.

In 1844, when I first became acquainted with the neighbourhood, I
enquired what had become of the race-course and was shown an open
country,—the place now occupied by St. John’s Church, Notting Hill, being
the spot on which the grand stand had been erected, and the course as
nearly as I can describe is now covered by Clarendon Road, Cornwall Road,
Portobello Road, Horbury Terrace and Ladbroke Square.  I found that the
inhabitants had insisted upon a right of way across the grounds, and
taking the law into their own hands, with hatchets and saws had removed
the barriers and thus by maintaining their right to cross the ground when
they pleased caused the racing men to abandon it.

The changes which have taken place in the parishes are to my mind so
marvellous that I think it will not be uninteresting to those whose
acquaintance is of a later date to record what I remember of the locality
38 years ago.

Starting from Edgware Road and passing down what was then called the
Uxbridge Road, now known as the Bayswater Road.  On the south side Hyde
Park was enclosed by the old iron railings which were pulled down by the
mob a few years since.  Kensington Gardens were enclosed by an old wall
which I esteemed to be a disgrace to London.

The narrow pathway outside the wall was used by the parish authorities as
a suitable place to keep reserved heaps of broken granite for repairing
the road.

The spot now occupied by Palace Gardens was also enclosed and formed a
kitchen garden to the Kensington Palace.

On the north side from Edgware Road, Connaught Terrace and a few houses
on either side of the Burial Ground were existing, but Hyde Park Gardens
were not.  A little further on however was an old public house standing
at the corner of a road known as Elm Grove and beyond that several wooden
shops, one occupied as an oyster and ginger beer dealer and the other by
a coach maker, beyond this was the Parish Ground known as “Bread and
Cheese” land, occupied by a Mr. Cheese as Tea Gardens and by Mr. Hopwood
as a Nursery Ground.  Passing some villas we arrived at the “Black Lion”
standing at the corner of Queen’s Road, then known as “Black Lion Lane,”
then on to Bark Place and Orme Square, which was built by a Mr. Orme,
formerly a print-seller in Bond Street, who also erected Bayswater
Chapel, in St. Petersburgh Place.  Behind these were Moscow Road and
Coburgh Place, erected in 1814.

Beyond Petersburg Place was Victoria Place, which led to a field upon
which are now built Leinster and Princes Squares and Kensington Gardens

A footpath across this field led to Westbourne Grove.  This footpath was
the only way except Black Lion Lane by which Westbourne Grove could be
reached.  So much was this field in the country that I have several times
seen Sunday School children taken there for their annual excursions.

A little farther down the road was Camden Street, a perfect rookery.
Dirty men, women and children infested this place.  Beyond this was
Stourmont House, at that time a ladies’ school but it had been occupied
by the Earl of Craven and let by him to Queen Ann as a nursery for the
Duke of Gloucester.  Dean Swift lodged here in 1712.

By the side of Stourmont House was Linden Grove—at that time a quiet
grove in which resided several noted artists, including the celebrated
Mr. Mulready, R.A.

Opposite Linden Grove was the Mall, another favourite residence of
artists, and here lived at this time the celebrated Mr. Calcott, R.A.,
and Mr. Webster.

The Mall had in former time been made notorious by Thurtell, the murderer
of Mr. Ware, in whose garden in the Mall the body of the murdered man was

At the corner of Linden Grove was situated the first shop in the village
of Notting Hill, it was occupied by Mr. Fenn, tailor, who still has a
business at Notting Hill and is the oldest tradesman there.

Notting Hill at this time was a little country place with few shops and
those very small.  It was however beginning to put on an appearance of
life, for four large shops were being erected opposite Silver Street on
the garden ground fronting a mansion which had been a large academy.
This old house and others which have since had shops built in their
forecourts may still be seen.  Mr. King’s Italian Warehouse was the first
London shop opened, and a crowd of people nightly assembled to see the
place lighted with gas.

Shortly afterwards other shops were built before the next mansion which
had been the residence of Madame Vestris.

In the front of this mansion was the turnpike and the toll-taker’s house.
This was the first turnpike out of London.

At the corner of Portobello Road, now called Devonshire Terrace, was a
mansion enclosed by a wall, then the residence of the Rev. Mr. Holloway,
minister of Percy Chapel, Fitzroy Square.

Upon the death of Mr. Holloway this mansion was occupied by Rev. Mr.
Gordon, a Presbyterian minister and the author of a pocket commentary on
the Bible.  Mr. Gordon conducted public services for some years on
Sundays in a building attached to his house.

This mansion was afterwards demolished and shops built upon the site,
which are now occupied by Messrs. Swain, Fenn, Leverett & Fry, Shirley,
and the Devonshire Arms, also the houses by the side, Pembridge Gardens
and Devonshire Terrace.

I have traced the main road as it appeared in 1844, from Edgware Road to
the house now known as Devonshire Arms.  At this point commenced a
country lane, leading partly between hedges and afterwards through fields
to Kensal Green.

It was a most delightful walk; from certain portions of the lane charming
views could be obtained.  This can hardly be understood by the present
inhabitants; it will be made more clear if I say that looking from the
back of either mansion I have mentioned from Stormont House to Portobello
Lane the whole country was open, and only a few farms here and there.
Hampstead, on the north, was visible, and from the hill by the side of
Porto Bello farm, then occupied by Mr. Wise; on the east, London; and on
the north-west, Harrow-on-the-Hill were clearly visible.  No wonder that
this pleasant lane was the favourite walk not only of the inhabitants of
Notting Hill but also of many from the great city.

From west to north, from north to east scarcely a house was to be seen.
Corn fields and meadow land on every side, the quiet only broken by the
occasional passing of a train on the Great Western Railway at Kensal
Green.  It seems almost impossible to realize the fact, but it is a fact
that during this 38 years the thousands of houses which are now to be
seen from Ealing to Hampstead, Hampstead to Edgware Road have been built.
Returning to the High Street, in the village of Notting Hill, the little
shops from the Mall on the south side of the street were occupied by some
of the principal tradesmen of that far off day.

There lived Mr. Burden, who kept a rag and bottle shop, and who was an
orator and a great man on the Kensington Vestry, also a proprietor of
Bayswater omnibuses, whose wife kept a greengrocer’s shop.  Poor woman,
she was of such proportions that when she died I saw the coffin lowered
from the bedroom window into the street by ropes.

There also lived Mr. Brewer, who transacted the largest business of the
village in the grocery, cheesemongery, and corn-dealing line; also a real
candle maker, whose shop was reached up four stone steps.  Then came the
first village Inn, the “Swan” at the corner of Silver Street, which, like
the “Hoop” a few doors past Silver Street, stood back from the street and
had a horse trough in front.  Of course these inns have been rebuilt, as
also has the more important inn further up on the North side, the “Coach
and Horses.”

At the corner of Silver Street was a little butcher’s shop, and next door
a brush shop, the proprietor of which was a most intelligent man, but a
“Chartist,” and a great friend of Fergus O’Connor.  He was the principal
mover in erecting a monument at Kensal Green over the remains of that
gentleman, who seems, by the present condition of that monument, to have
been forgotten by this generation, although he tried hard to get every
working man a small portion of the land of his birth as a means of
acquiring independency.  Many tried it, but they found they could earn
more by labour than they could grow in an acre of the best soil.  Close
by where the Notting Hill Gate Station now is stood in those days the
_Village Pump_, concerning the removal of which sundry indignation
meetings were held and fierce threats made of law proceedings.  It was
said at these meetings that no such pure water could be obtained any
where else, but as I once lived near _Aldgate Pump_ and used to hear the
same, and drank of that water with relish until the horrid chemists
analized it and said it was full of organic matter, percolating from
Aldgate Churchyard, where the bodies of hundreds had been buried at the
time of the plague, I had ceased to have faith in city or village pumps,
and rejoiced to see an arrangement made by which pure water could be
supplied from the Water Companies’ pipes through a tap.  For years this
tap existed in front of No. 71 or 73, High Street, but I find it has been

I think, however, there should have been an inscription there—

    “Here stood the Village Pump.”

There should likewise be another Tablet by Farm Street, stating—

    “Here stood the Village Pound.”

In which pound I have seen many a disconsolate donkey, horse, or goat.  I
never saw the Village Stocks, perhaps the villagers of Notting Hill were
always a sober, law-abiding people, and had no need of such civilizing

I remember, however, seeing a man in the stocks at Lewisham, placed there
for being drunk.  As he was being well supplied with beer by his
companions, I think it probable the result of the punishment was that he
was more drunken after than before.

In 1844 there were only two shops in the village above one story high.
The exceptions are now numbered 150, 152; the latter house was then, as
now, a cheesemonger’s.

The shop windows were principally common glass.  Plate glass had not come
into fashion.  Some of the shops were lighted with oil lamps, and, I
think, some with candles.

I cannot speak for the intelligence of all the tradesmen of that time,
but remember a serious conversation with one who, at the conclusion, very
gravely remarked, “I suppose publicans in the time of the Saviour were a
bad sort of people.  I go every night to the ‘Coach and Horses’ to have
one glass and a pipe, and the landlord is not a bad sort of a man, but in
old times publicans seem always somehow mixed up with sinners.”

Behind the south side of High Street, where a number of small houses are
now built, was a large brickfield, owned by a Mr. Clutterbuck.  A single
street only was then built, called New Street.  The proper name, however,
was Newcombe Street.  At the south end of this street was


The Church and Congregation of this little chapel afterwards built the


The names of a few of the old church members are still to be found on the
register of the church books at Westbourne Grove Chapel, but the majority
have found a better, more enduring home.  “They rest from their labours,
and their works do follow them.”

Campden Hill Road, at this time called “Plough Lane,” was a private road
leading to large houses, one of which had been occupied by Sir I. Newton.
The high Water Tower which may now be seen as a land mark for many miles
was not then erected.

At the corner of Plough Lane (the east side now covered with houses and
the north side by shops) stood a mansion surrounded by a wall.  This was
occupied by a Captain Coote, a German.  I believe both he and his wife
had in former time had something to do with the trial of Queen Caroline
as witnesses for the Queen.

About 1846 building commenced in earnest.  The beautiful Portobello Lane
was denuded of its hedges near Notting Hill, and a roadway cut through to
where Horbury Chapel now stands.  Beyond this, in that which is now
Kensington Park Road the first new buildings were erected known at that
time as the Swiss and Italian Villas.  Ladbroke Square and other houses
in that locality soon followed.

On the top of the hill, where once stood Notting Hill Farm and the grand
stand of the Hippodrome Race Ground, the foundation stone of a new
church, St. John’s, was laid about 1846.  The last owner of this farm
seems to have been a man highly respected.  A tablet was erected to his
memory in the old church at Kensington, from which I make a short

                                  “IN MEMORY

    Of John Hall, &c., &c., and of Notting Hill.  For those who remember
    him that name were his best epitaph.  To others it may be useful to
    record that John Hall was one who in life, by his good works, and by
    fervent faith in death proved that the source of virtue is in the
    love of God.

                                   &c., &c.

    He died August 10, 1816, aged 54.”

The first minister of St. John’s Church was not so highly esteemed as the
old owner of the Hill had been.  It was stated that in asking for
signatures to a petition that the Church should be a District Church, he
misled those who were asked to sign by saying it would make no
difference, but directly the object was attained a church rate was called
for.  He became very unpopular, and the last I heard of him was that he
headed a strange procession.  Walking through the street he was met by a
crowd following a broker, who had seized a large clock for church rates.
He was immediately surrounded, and compelled to follow the broker to his
house.  Some hundreds of people joined in the procession.  He soon after
obtained a fresh living, and the church has always since had ministers
who were respected.


The name was given by a Mr. Adams, who was then occupier of the farm at
the end of the lane.  It was named at the time Porto Bello was captured.
In 1844 the farm was called Wise’s Farm, Mr. Wise being the owner.

The lane ended outside the Farm, and a gate opened to a pathway which
lead over a bridge on the canal to Kensal Green.

To the west of this Farm lay the old Farm of Knotting Barns, an ancient
brick building surrounded by spacious barns and outhouses.  A road to
Kensal Green passed through the farm yard.

In 1844 this was known as Salter’s Farm, Mr. Salter being the proprietor.

In 1524 it is recorded in the will of Robert Fenrother, Alderman of
London, that Knotting Barns Farm consisted of 40 acres of land, 140 acres
of meadow, 200 acres of wood, 20 acres of moor, 20 acres of furze and

In 1543 Henry VIII. took this farm and land in exchange for some he had
held (in the _county of Southampton_).  In 1675 it had decreased in size
and was reckoned as 130 acres.  How many acres were connected with in
1844 I cannot record, but I have said that on all sides nothing but corn
or meadow land was visible.  The site of Portobello Farm may be known as
upon that spot is erected a Roman Catholic building, a home for the aged.

Notting Barn Farm was at the lower part of St. Mark’s Road.  Norland
House, where Norland Square was built in 1850 to 1856, was noted for its
artesian well which was sunk in 1794 by Mr. Vulliamy to the depth of 260
feet, when the water rose and overflowed at the rate of 46 gallons a
minute.  The water was leased to 3 persons at 7/- each per week and sold
in the neighbourhood at 2/6 per ton, or ½d a pailful.

Thirty-eight years ago there were no houses from Notting Hill Terrace to
Acton with the exception of a few small houses opposite Shepherd’s Bush
Common.  This Common had been notorious some years before as a place of
execution for highwaymen, and for years gibbets were standing there with
the remains of some of the fraternity dangling in the wind.  I never saw
them, but when a boy I have seen the remains of pirates hanging by chains
by the river side past Greenwich.  The Common was even till late years
claimed as the property of the inhabitants, some of whom claimed to the
last the right to turn out their horses or goats upon its scanty grass.

Behind the road of Notting Hill there was a lane called Pottery Lane.  In
this lane was a place where tiles were made and at the end of the lane a
colony of pigkeepers.  Every house here had a colony of the porcine
family in its yard.  A number of carts filled with tubs passed daily to
London gathering refuse from hotels and mansions to feed the large
families of pigs gathered here.

It was not a savoury place and at the time of the cholera the inhabitants
suffered severely.

Rough looking people they appeared, but upon closer acquaintance it was
seen they looked more uncouth than they really were.  The only religious
or secular education the people and children received was provided by the
members of the Baptist chapel at Silver Street, and the congregation at
Hornton Street.  Their place of meeting for some years, was in an
unfinished house with its unplastered walls on two floors not divided
into separate rooms.

Their teachers were poor but they had love to God in their hearts and
proved it by their love to their neighbours.

Their names unrecorded on earth will never be forgotten by Him who said
“Inasmuch as ye did it to the least of these my brethren ye did it to

Beyond this colony I discovered another in Latimer Road where there was
no Sabbath teaching or secular education.  In looking back I feel
grateful to God for the numbers I was enabled to gather together on the
Sabbath, both of adults and children and also for the many children who
received instruction in a day school I established.  It is many years ago
but I meet with some now who thank God that in the Sabbath teaching there
they received that acquaintance with Jesus which has proved a blessing to
them and their children to the present time.  But what a place it was
when I first discovered it—comparatively out of the world—a rough road
cut across the field, the only approach.  Brickfields and pits on either
side, making it dangerous to leave on dark nights.

A safe place for many people who did not wish everybody to know what they
were doing.  I am afraid that there were more _spirits_ about there than
there were either bodies or bottles to contain.

I could tell a great deal about Latimer Road in 1844 to 1850, but other
Pharoahs have arisen there who know not Joseph and they are doing a good
work in that which by the opening of a railway station has become a
well-known place.

Westbourne Grove was a pleasant Grove of small villas with gardens in
front and behind.  Newton Road was a similar place.

The only road by which they could be approached was Black Lion Lane, now
Queen’s Road and a footpath across the field where Princes Square now

The Royal Oak was a country inn.

There were no houses of business then in the Grove, but where the Redan
and about twelve shops down the Grove stand, there was a nursery ground,
which in former times was a favourite resort of Queen Ann.

The inhabitants of the Grove were principally City or West-end men of
business, who reached their habitation by the Bayswater or Paddington

These omnibuses belonged to two companies, the principal proprietors
were:—Messrs. Melliship, Treadaway, Carpenter and Grant.

The General Omnibus Company afterwards bought up all their vehicles.

There was also one omnibus, the “Eagle,” which ran from Kensington
Church, through Church Street, Bayswater Road, New Road, Islington to the

There were no cab stands but a stray cab might often be found at the
Black Lion in the Bayswater Road or outside one of the other country

Queen’s Road (Black Lion Lane) was only partly built on and the houses
were small.  A Wesleyan Chapel and Orphanage stood then on the site of
the Queen’s Road Chapel, and in 1846, a high house (about No. 153, since
taken by Mr. Whiteley) was erected for a Chartist Club House.  It
afterwards became the Queen’s Hotel.  The houses opposite the baths were
also built about 1846.

Porchester Terrace was only partially built, but on the west side resided
Mr. Linnel, an artist, whose paintings of corn fields, &c., are so much
admired by all who see them.

The reader may judge what sort of house the Royal Oak was by looking at
the newspaper shop a few doors away.  Beyond this to the railway on both
sides of that which is now Bishop’s Road was a waste wilderness.  I only
remember one house and that a wooden one which had an inscription “The
Cottage of Content.”  It was a large basin-like piece of land and upon
this Westbourne Terrace, Gloucester Gardens, Bishop’s Road, the north end
of Porchester Terrace, and Craven Hill Road were built.

The Bishop of that day gave the deepest hole to the parishioners to build
a church—about the worst part of what was then his large estate.  It cost
about £2,000 to fill up the hole to its present level before Trinity
Church could be built.  This church, like others, the ratepayers paid for
with Church Rates.  I had the pleasure of seconding a resolution to make
the _last Church rate in Paddington_.

St. Mary’s Hospital was commenced about 1845 and under its excellent
management has proved to be a great blessing to Paddington.

On the site of the Trinity Schools in the Harrow Road was a public Maze,
a great resort for holiday people as it was then completely in the
country.  Here too was a magic mirror, in which for twopence any young
lady might behold (?) her future husband.

In the Harrow Road, opposite the Vestry Hall, stood until 1860, the
oldest charitable buildings in the parish, a block of small almshouses.
They afforded shelter for about 16 poor old women.  No doubt they felt
more independent in their actions than they would have done in the
Workhouse.  It is doubtful if they were so well cared for as they would
have been in the larger house with its excellent Master and Matron, who
take a great interest in the comfort of all the inmates.

They are not answerable for the separation of old married couples,
against which separation I strongly protest.

It is not, however, every married couple who wish to live together; of
this I had a proof once when I asked a man if he would not be more happy
with his aged wife?  After a moment’s consideration he answered “Thank
you sir, I have had enough of her.”  This I think must have been a rare

Kensal Green Cemetery had in 1844 already received not a few bodies but
the majority have been interred since.

Members of Silver Street Chapel used to look with deep interest at the
tomb of John Colston, a much-loved Superintendent of their Sabbath
School.  With the same deep interest many look upon the grave of a later
Superintendent of the School at Westbourne Grove Chapel, the highly
esteemed Thomas Faulkes, whose memory is still dear.  How many a member
of the old and also of the new Westbourne Grove Chapel have gone with sad
hearts to that God’s acre.  To mention names would be painful to both
reader and writer; I only add “Till He come.”

A few names of public men and women buried here will, perhaps not, be out
of place:—

Duke of Sussex, Sydney Smith, Anne Scott and Sophia Lockhart, daughters
of Sir Walter Scott, John Hugh Lockhart his grandson, Thomas Hood,
Thackeray, Calcott, Mulready, John Leach, John Cassel, The Princess
Sophia of Gloucester, Statesmen, Poets, Actors, Artists, Physicians and
Quacks.  The rich and the poor have all found here one common resting
place, but amongst those unmentioned names how many an one whom the world
has not esteemed will be found in the end to be among the number of whom
the “world was not worthy.”

In writing the history of the transformation of Notting Hill from country
to its present condition I must mention a gentleman, the Rev. Mr. Walker,
who it was said came to the neighbourhood with half a million sterling to
invest.  Who were his advisers I do not know; but he was not long in
causing hundreds of carcases of houses to be built.  If he had commenced
his operations on the London side of the estate no doubt the houses would
have sold and a fine investment made, but as he preferred building from
Clarendon Road (where roads were not made) towards London the land was
covered with unfinished houses which continued in a ruinous condition for
years and the consequence was the investor was almost ruined.

This gentleman built All Saints Church and intended to put upon it a
spire as high as that on Salisbury Cathedral.  Sad tales could be told of
not a few who sank their all in bricks and mortar.  Lawyers and
money-lenders have in time past reaped a rich harvest at Notting Hill,
but many a hard working man falling into their hands has been ruined.

Between Richmond Road and Ledbury Road is a road called Artesian Road.
This is in remembrance of an artesian well which was sunk there.  The
water was very pure and cold and houses in Ledbury Road and in its
neighbourhood were supplied with water from this well until the water
companies bought it up.

The Richmond Road was built about 1848.  Mr. Plimley, fruiterer, and Mr.
Anderson, confectioner, are the oldest inhabitants.  Sutherland Place,
Courtnell Street, Archer Street, were built about 1850.  The first two
houses built in Portobello Road stood for many years unfinished and were
called “_The Folly_.”

The house now occupied by the London Photographic Co’s studio at the
corner of Norfolk Terrace was built in the middle of a field, and for
some time seemed likely also to be called _The Folly_, and certainly in
its solitary position it looked for some time very foolish, but the
builders knew what was likely to follow better than those who were not in
the secret.

But even they could not have thought that the quiet Westbourne Grove of
their day would ever become the busy place it is now with its
enterprizing men of business and its crowded thoroughfares.


In Paddington 38 years ago were very few.  There was the old church on
Paddington Green, and no other except the chapel in St. Petersburgh
Place, the minister, the Rev. Mr. Smalley, was rightly highly esteemed;
his curate, Rev. Mr. Buckmaster, and the Scripture reader, Mr. Leask,
were also powers for good in their day.

How well this church has been honoured by the late lamented Archdeacon
Hunter his large congregation will long remember.  It seems sad that he
should not have lived to see the new church which he commenced completed,
but the Great Disposer of all events knew best, and he worships now in a
better sanctuary.

Kensington had its parish church, St. Mary Abbot’s, and a chapel in
Addison Road.  At the former was a man beloved by all who knew him, the
Venerable Archdeacon Sinclair, a man whose memory will be still dear to
some old inhabitants of Kensington.

In Hornton Street, Kensington, was the chapel formerly under the
pastorate of Dr. Vaughan, and here the Queen’s mother often listened to
the Gospel.

The Wesleyans had their chapel behind the High Street, and the Baptists
in Silver Street Kensington Gravel Pits.  This church now worships as
Westbourne Grove Chapel.

Old Silver Street chapel would hold about 200 people, it had one gallery
in front of the pulpit, and behind the pulpit sliding doors opened on to
the Sunday School Room.  On great occasions the minister could have a
congregation both in front and behind him.  This however did not often

In 1844 the minister was Rev. F. Wills, and the Deacons Messrs. Saunders,
Farmer, Worger and Wood.  All these honoured brethren “have ceased from
their labours.”

Nonconformity was not allowed much room in Paddington, the land there
mainly belonged to the Bishop and the friends of the Established church.

The Baptists had a chapel in Praed Street, from which has sprung the
Westbourne Park Chapel under the pastorate of Rev. J. Clifford.  The
Wesleyans had a chapel in Queen’s Road since rebuilt.

In 1844                            In 1882.
Paddington had 2 churches             18.
,, ,, 2 Nonconformist Chapels         17.
Kensington had 2 churches             23.
,, ,, 3 Nonconformist chapels         24.

All honour to the men and women who have been instrumental not only in
erecting buildings but in maintaining the great and important work
connected with these places of worship.

The churches and the country look to the young to follow in the steps of
those who through good report and evil have worked on for the promotion
of Christ’s kingdom and the welfare of their neighbours.

The past generation have done much.  Let every Christian see to it not
only to hold the ground acquired, but to use all their influence to do
even more than those who have gone before.

I conclude with the desire that one more used to literary composition had
written the facts.  I hope all discrepancies will be overlooked and that
it may not be uninteresting to read

                           The Remembrances of

                                                        AN OLD INHABITANT.

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