In the shadow of the iconic slab of concrete that is Erno Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower and running parallel to the thundering Westway, Golborne Road has always been Ladbroke Grove’s shabby cousin. That said, it has seen its fair share of gentrification of late but still maintains its distinctive multicultural atmosphere.
This vibrant corner of Kensington and Chelsea was transformed from forest to farmland in the eighteenth century. In 1801, the Grand Junction Canal (now Grand Union Canal) arrived, followed by the Great Western Railway in 1837, bringing with it the relentless tide of industrialisation. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the area was one of the most overcrowded and poverty-stricken in London.
The thoroughfare was extensively bombed during WWII, after which the Victorian-era slums were cleared to make way for the Trellick and the Swinbrook and Wornington estates, which housed immigrant arrivals from Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean. More recently the area has been dubbed ‘Little Morocco’ having become home to the largest Moroccan population in England.
Stella McCartney moved into a chapel on Golborne Road next to a curry house in 2002, heralding its arrival as a fashionable destination. Now going the way of upmarket Portobello Road (which intersects it), a rash of gastropubs has swallowed up the boozers (Goodbye, The Earl of Warwick. Hello, Golborne Grove) and chi chi boutiques jostle next to greasy spoons and butchers.
A Trellick Tower B Lisboa Pâtisserie C 88 Antiques D Casa D'Or E Ainsworth Nursery School |
Golborne Road has become, to use estate-agent speak, a prime example of ‘modern urban living’. In other words, it’s where you’ll rub shoulders with the well-heeled and light-fingered in equal measure. It has served as a backdrop to both Scarlett Johansson’s pout in Woody Allen’s ‘Scoop’ and Hugh Grant’s broken heart in romcom ‘Notting Hill’, yet however des-res it may seem, Golborne Road’s residents are still fiercely protective. The street has its own community website (www.golbornelife.co.uk) and green-fingered locals have turned nearby Meanwhile Gardens into a leafy haven with a kids’ play area and skate bowl. So it seems you can have your trendy cake and somewhere to eat it.
ShoppingGolborne Road market sells household goods, bric-a-brac, fruit and vegetables six days a week. For fashion there’s vintage emporium Rellik (Number 8; 020 8962 0089; www.relliklondon.co.uk) and womenswear store J&M Davidson (No 97; 020 8969 2244; www.jandmdavidson. com). And 88 Antiques (No 88; 020 8960 0827) is one of many treasure troves for second-hand furniture.
Going outMembers’ club NumberTen (No 10; 020 8964 4155) is a cross between a 1950s ski chalet and Regency-era drinking den. Portuguese eateries Café O’Porto (No 62; 020 8968 8839) and Lisboa Pâtisserie (No 57; 020 8968 5242) serve scrumptious pasties de nata (custard tarts) and galão (milky coffee). For north African specialties try Casa D’Or (No 108; 020 8969 2727) and Moroccan Tagine (No 95; 020 8968 8055).
SchoolsAinsworth Nursery School (47 Acklam Road, 020 8968 5622) is a stone’s throw from Golborne Road. Bevington Primary School (Bevington Road, 020 8969 0629) achieved an Ofsted grade 2 (good) out of 4. Sion-Manning RC School for Girls (St Charles Square, 020 8969 7111) is predominantly Roman Catholic and Holland Park School (Airlie Gardens, 020 7908 1000) is highly sought after with ‘an exceptional learning culture’.
TransportLadbroke Grove or Westbourne Park tube stations are on the Hammersmith & City line in Zone 2. Buses to the area include 7, 23, 28, 31, 52, 70 and 328.
Estate agentsChard, 123 Notting Hill Gate, W11 (020 7243 4500/www.chard.co.uk).Foxtons, 91-95 Notting Hill Gate, W11 (020 7616 7000/www.foxtons.co.uk).Westways, 20 Great Western Road, W9 (020 7289 6386/www.westwaysuk.com).