The Info List - Portobello Road

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Coordinates: 51°30′51.3″N 0°12′14″W / 51.514250°N 0.20389°W / 51.514250; -0.20389

Portobello Road

Portobello Road
Portobello Road
street sign

Portobello Road
Portobello Road
is a street in the Notting Hill
Notting Hill
district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in west London. It runs almost the length of Notting Hill
Notting Hill
from south to north, roughly parallel with Ladbroke Grove. On Saturdays it is home to Portobello Road
Portobello Road
Market, one of London's notable street markets, known for its second-hand clothes and antiques.[1] Every August since 1996, the Portobello Film Festival has been held in locations around Portobello Road.[2]


1 History

1.1 Origins 1.2 18th century 1.3 19th century

2 Today 3 Geography 4 Portobello Road
Portobello Road
Market 5 Market in the media 6 Gallery 7 See also 8 Notes 9 External links

History[edit] Origins[edit] Portobello Road
Portobello Road
was known prior to 1740 as Green's Lane - a winding country path leading from Kensington Gravel Pits, in what is now Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Gate,[3] up to Kensal Green
Kensal Green
in the north. 18th century[edit] In 1740, Portobello Farm was built in the area near what is now Golborne Road. The farm got its name from a popular victory during the lost War of Jenkins' Ear,[4] when Admiral Edward Vernon
Edward Vernon
captured the Spanish-ruled town of Puerto Bello (now known as Portobelo in modern-day Panama). Vernon Yard, which runs off Portobello Road, still honours the Admiral's name to this day.[5] The Portobello farming area covered the land which is now St. Charles Hospital.[6] 19th century[edit]

1841 map of the Environs of London, showing the Portobello Farm on the upper left hand side, and Porto Bello Lane.

Portobello Farm was sold to an order of nuns after the railways came in 1864. They built St Joseph's Convent for the Dominican Order
Dominican Order
- or the "Black Friars" as they were known in England.[7] Portobello Road
Portobello Road
is a construction of the Victorian era. Before about 1850, it was little more than a country lane connecting Portobello Farm with Kensal Green
Kensal Green
in the north and what is today Notting Hill
Notting Hill
in the south. Much of it consisted of hayfields, orchards and other open land. The road ultimately took form piecemeal in the second half of the 19th century, nestling between the large new residential developments of Paddington
and Notting Hill. Its shops and markets thrived on serving the wealthy inhabitants of the elegant crescents and terraces that sprang up around it, and its working class residents found employment in the immediate vicinity as construction workers, domestic servants, coachmen, messengers, tradesmen and costermongers. After the Hammersmith and City Railway line was completed in 1864, and Ladbroke Grove
Ladbroke Grove
station opened, the northern end of Portobello Road
Portobello Road
was also developed, and the last of the open fields disappeared under brick and concrete. Today[edit] Portobello Road's distinctiveness does not rely only on its market. A range of communities inhabiting the street and the district contributes to a cosmopolitan and energetic atmosphere, as do the many restaurants and pubs. The architecture plays a part too, as the road meanders and curves gracefully along most of its length, unlike the more formally planned layout of most of the nearby area. Mid- to late-Victorian terrace houses and shops predominate, squeezed tightly into the available space, adding intimacy and a pleasing scale to the streetscape. The Friends of Portobello campaign seeks to preserve the street's unique dynamic, as the potential arrival of big-brand chain stores threatens the locals. Portobello Road
Portobello Road
is also home to the Grade II* Electric Cinema, one of Britain's oldest cinemas. Geography[edit] The road descends from 84 feet (25.6 m) above sea level at the northern end, the highest point, to a lowest point of 65 feet (19.8 m), just south of the overpasses, after which the road rises and falls before reaching a high point of 78 feet (23.8 m) at the southern end. The average grade of ascent or descent between the northern end and the lowest point is about 1.77 percent. Portobello Road
Portobello Road

Portobello Road
Portobello Road
Market, June 2005.

An antique dealer on Portobello Road

Portobello Road
Portobello Road
Market draws thousands of tourists each year. The main market day for antiques is Saturday, the only day when all five sections are opened: second-hand goods, clothing and fashion, household essentials, fruit, vegetables and other food, and antiques. However, there are also clothing, antique, bric-a-brac, fruit and vegetable stalls throughout the week and are located further north than the antiques, near the Westway Flyover. Shops and Cafes are opened daily. The market began as many other London
market and mainly sold fresh-food in the 19th century; antiques and wares dealers arrived in the late 1940s and '50s, and gradually antiques have become the very main attraction of this market, having a substantial number of them trading mainly on Saturday mornings. It is the largest antiques market in the UK. The market section of Portobello Road
Portobello Road
runs in a direction generally between the north-northwest and the south-south-east. The northern terminus is at Golborne Road; the southern end is at Westbourne Grove, to the east. The market area is about 1,028 yards (940 m) long. About one third of the way from its north end, the market runs beneath adjacent bridges of the A40 road
A40 road
and the Hammersmith & City line of the London
Underground. Here the market focuses on second hand clothes as well as trendy couture. Market in the media[edit] The 1950 Ealing Studios
Ealing Studios
police thriller, The Blue Lamp, starring Dirk Bogarde and Jack Warner, as P.C. George Dixon, a character later revived in the long-running TV drama, Dixon of Dock Green, featured location filming in the Paddington
/ Notting Hill
Notting Hill
/ Portobello area. It features good shots of these locations in pre-Westway days, and includes a thrilling car chase along largely traffic-free roads, including Portobello Road. In the short story The Portobello Road, Muriel Spark
Muriel Spark
narrates the story of a murderer who, visited by the ghost of his victim, Macbeth-style, tends to constantly go to the Portobello Road
Portobello Road
market to meet her. The Portobello Road
Portobello Road
was included in the 1958 collection of stories The Go-away Bird and Other Stories.[8] In the narrative introduction to their song Have Some Madeira M'Dear, Michael Flanders
Michael Flanders
of Flanders & Swann mentions a decanter he owns, - "cut glass, from the Portobello Road" - in which he keeps Madeira. That decanter plus his Edwardian hat, are credited as the inspirations for the song. Album - At the Drop of a Hat. in 1966, singer Donovan recorded the song "Sunny South Kensington" containing the lyrics, "in the Portobella I met a fella with a cane umbrella." In the 1970 novel The Chinese Agent
The Chinese Agent
by author Michael Moorcock, a world-renowned jewel-thief more than meets his match when he attempts to swipe a brooch from a Portobello Road
Portobello Road
market stall, and is hunted down through the streets like a dog by the sharp-eyed market traders. The market was featured in the 1971 musical film, Bedknobs and Broomsticks in a scene involving a song ("Portobello Road") and dance in and around the market staged on sets built at Disney's Burbank studios.[9] The lyrics refer to the market and the people who live and work there. In 1978, the rock band Dire Straits
Dire Straits
sang about the road in the song "Portobello Belle" on their second album Communiqué. The cult British children's book character Paddington
Bear, featured in the books written by Michael Bond, enjoys visiting Portobello Market on a daily basis. His friend Mr. Gruber owns an antique shop on the Portobello Road, with whom Paddington
has his elevenses every day. The Portobello Road
Portobello Road
and its colorful restaurants, pubs, and local culture is featured prominently in Martin Amis's 1989 dark satirical novel London
Fields. The street and its name also appeared regularly on the hit TV series Minder. The board game Portobello Market is named after this market. BBC One's daytime antiques-based gameshow Bargain Hunt
Bargain Hunt
regularly features contestants buying items at the market to later sell at auction. It is also referenced in the song "Blue Jeans" by alternative rock band Blur, from the 1993 album Modern Life Is Rubbish, in which the opening lyrics are "Air cushioned soles, I bought them on the Portobello Road
Portobello Road
on a Saturday." It was the setting for the 1999 film Notting Hill, with much of the filming taking place on the street. The famed blue door, however, no longer exists, having been sold.[10] In 2006, the 20 minute documentary Portobello: Attack of the Clones won London
awards and was screened a number of times at the infamous Electric Cinema. The film showed how Portobello Road
Portobello Road
is threatened by high street stores changing the street's independent spirit. It featured a large number of local stallholders and influencers, and was made by local filmmakers Paul McCrudden and Alex Thomas for TAG Films. It is the setting for Paulo Coelho's 2007 novel, The Witch of Portobello. In 2008, Ruth Rendell
Ruth Rendell
published a novel set in the area entitled, Portobello. The B-side of British Singer-Songwriter
Cat Stevens' 1966 single "I Love My Dog" is titled "Portobello Road" and discusses a walk through the famous street and market. The track also appears on Cat Stevens' 1967 debut album Matthew and Son. One of the most famous TV show, from 1977 to 1983, in Italian television broadcast RAI was named Portobello after Portobello Road. The programme was suspended after the arrest of the anchorman Enzo Tortora for drug selling. Afterwards in 1987 Tortora was declared innocent and became a symbol, in Italian popular culture, of the victim of miscarriages of justice. In 1987, Tortora come back in television with Portobello. In Caetano Veloso's "Nine Out Of Ten" song from the 1972 album Transa, he sings "walk down Portobello Road
Portobello Road
to the sound of reggae". The Brazilian artist lived in London
in the late 1960s and early 1970s because of his exile from Brazil. In the Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses
episode Cash and Curry, Conmen who con Del Boy
Del Boy
and Rodney Trotter
Rodney Trotter
using a statue of Kubera bought it from Portobello Road. The idea for the episode is as the writer, the late John Sullivan visited the street and it gave him an idea for a new episode. Gallery[edit]

Stand selling T-shirts along the crowded market

George Orwell's 1927 lodgings in Portobello Road

See also[edit]

Camden Market History of marketing Markets in London Market (place) Market town Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising Retail


^ " London
Markets Portobello Road". London
Markets. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2008.  ^ "Festival Reports". Portobello Road
Portobello Road
Film Festival. 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  ^ Sheppard, F. H. W. (1973). "The village centres around St. Mary Abbot's Church and Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Gate". Survey of London. volume 37. pp. 25–41. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  ^ "Portobello Farm by E Adveno Brookes - 19th Century". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Libraries. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  ^ Harrison-Wallace, Charles. "The Coach & Signpainter". Pub Signs & Decoration. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  ^ "St Charles Hospital". National Health Service. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  ^ "The history of Portobello and Notting Hill". mynottinghill.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  ^ Spark, Muriel (1958). The Go-away Bird and Other Stories. Macmillan, London.  ^ "Bedknobs and Broomsticks". The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 

External links[edit]

Shopportobello - Portobello & Golborne Markets Management Committee market guide Portobello Road: Antiques
Dealers Association Guide to the Road, and a documentary film Portobello History website

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