Scattered throughout Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove are clumps of painted houses, from bright crimson reds to pale lavenders. From what I can tell, there is no real logical order to them. They are usually in groups of five or 10, surrounded by classic brick terraced homes that line streets throughout the city.
There was a book published in 1991 called Notting Hill in the Sixties. A quote from authors Charlie and Mike Phillips is often sited in writings about the area now as it illustrates how much it has changed in recent decades: “If you saw Notting Hill at the beginning of the sixties, it would be hard to recognize it as the same place you can see today. Nowadays Notting Hill is wealthy and gentrified. Go back thirty years and the area is a massive slum, full of multi-occupied houses, crawling with rats and rubbish.”
Even now, when you walk along Portobello Road, starting at the top where Notting Hill Gate station spews hoards of tourists onto the top of the road every Saturday to the bottom of the road as it snakes toward Harrow Road, you notice a gradual decline.
The further you walk from Notting Hill, the more the faces change, the fashion fades, the buildings crumble and the shops and restaurants begin to look a bit dodgier. The posh shops cut off around midway, where Westbourne Grove intersects Portobello Road.
The atmosphere is more lively after that, the market stalls dedicated to second hand knickknacks, cheap imported dresses and mugs with Union Jacks. Toward Notting Hill Gate, you’ll find more jewellery, old antiques and china.
I enjoy the atmosphere of both ends of the road, and it always makes for some good photos. I’ll share them with you soon, but for now, I just wanted to show you how colourful it is, with all the painted houses.
Even the peeling paint is appealing.
The people are just as colourful as the houses. If you missed them, here’s a few photos of the folks who hang out around Portobello: https://littlelondonobservationist.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-people-of-portobello/
That’s it for now!
If anyone knows the story behind these lovely coloured buildings, leave a comment. I’d love to know.
This last one was made into a coaster for my photography shop, Photo Larks.