Notting Hill

Notting Hill (11)

It is difficult to speak about this attractive area in west London without referring to the romantic comedy made in 1999 which starred Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. The film, titled simply Notting Hill, did a lot to popularise the area, to the extent where many of the residents and traders complained about the transformations that took place, mainly the exaggerated rise in rents.

In fact, nobody could have thought that thirty or forty years ago what was considered the most deprived part of the borough of Kensington and Chelsea would end up becoming one of the most modern parts of London.

In the past a residential area of the city known principally for the Portobello Road market, today it is a popular leisure area that marks the trends. There are lots of pubs, cafés and restaurants in its streets, as well as shops, cinemas and accommodation for all budgets.

Two centuries ago what today is Notting Hill was little more than an area of empty ground. Around 1840 it began to be built on, mainly because of the drive of the Ladbroke family, the area’s main landowners. The area was known as The Potteries, due to the intense ceramic industry that it housed, and The Piggeries, because at that time there had been several pig farms there. All in all, a total contrast to the fashionable venues of today.

After the Second World War the large Victorian houses were divided up to increase the number of homes and a process of decline began to set in. Added to this was the arrival on masse in the 1950s and 60s of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, which caused quite a lot of racial conflict.

Luckily, as a response to this tension, in the 60s the Notting Hill Carnival arose, one of the great examples of ethnic diversity that characterises the capital of the United Kingdom. This carnival is held in the last week of August and brings together more than one million people on the streets. 

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