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Portobello Road Street Food

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The Portobello Market and the surrounding area offers a great variety of fresh produce, essential and specialist ingredients and hot food options. The Westway and Golborne Road are hotspots for Street food stalls but there are a number of eateries dotted throughout the area.

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Following the tradition of many London markets, there are plenty of choice of fresh fruit and vegetables,

Over the weekend, there are many specialist food stalls Near Talbot Road, The Bread Stall has bread, cakes and pastries with more than 20 different kinds of bread. Une Normande a Londres outside the Electric Cinema offers French cheese, sausage and terrine. Vito has the finest olive oils and balsamic vinegars, and at The Olive Bar you can sample olives, feta and Mediterranean hot food .

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Popina has all-vegetarian baked goods from fruit tarts to filo parcels, The Mushroom Man provides a wide selection of funghi and Piper’s Fresh Fish has fish and seafood.

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Street food from all over the world is available on market days including a number of falafel stalls churros, bratwurst, paella , crepes and curry. Throughout the market you will find North African and Caribbean street food , including an award-winning Moroccan soup stand.

If you would like further information, visit the Portobello Road Market website here

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Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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Review : Portobello Road Market

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The Portobello Road market with over 1,000 dealers selling all kinds of items is one of the largest markets in London and since the late 20th century had attracted a large number of visitors from London and overseas.

The market is situated in the trendy London district of Notting Hill and is surrounded by a large number of pubs, cafes and restaurants.

The area takes it name from the Porto Bello Farm which was built-in the area which was named after the town of Porto Bello in Panama, captured by the British from the Spanish in the 18th century. For much of the 18th and 19th century, Portobello Road was a country lane in a rural area.

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Gradually in the 19th century, residential development began to take place in the Portobello Road area, with a number of terraces and crescents built for the increasing numbers of wealthy people attracted to the district.

Up until the 1940s, Portobello Road market was similar to many other London markets and mainly sold food and other essential items. However after the war, traders selling antiques and bric-a-brac and antiques began to sell their wares and gradually Portobello Road Market became known as a place to pick up antiques.

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In the later half of the 20th century, Portobello Road was transformed from run-down district to being to one of most affluent, fashionable and desirable areas to live in the capital. The new residents spending power attracted young fashion designers who began to trade at the market selling designer and vintage clothing.

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Each day attracts different traders, Saturday is the busiest day and attracts large crowds. In the market is a large number of street food stands and plenty of live music along the trail of the market.

Saturday- main day

Full street market plus;

Antiques Arcades open

Westbourne Grove – antiques stalls between Portobello Road and Kensington Park Road

Portobello Green – more new fashion and less vintage than Friday

The market is packed with stalls from Westbourne Grove all the way up to and along Golborne Road, and across under the Westway out to Ladbroke Grove.

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Friday – second busiest day

Southern Portobello Road – antiques

Middle of the market – food, new fashion, accessories, household goods

Portobello Green, North Portobello – vintage clothing & accessories, collectables, bric-a-brac

Golborne Road – bric-a-brac, furniture, food

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Sunday

Portobello Green has a market selling mostly vintage clothing and bric-a-brac -no street market in Portobello or Golborne Roads.

Most cafes/shops are open + some forecourt traders at the southern end of Portobello Road.

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday

Portobello Road between Elgin Crescent and the Westway – fruit and veg, household goods, a few clothing stalls, sometimes casual stalls of vintage clothing or bric-a-brac

Golborne Road – fruit and veg, hot food

Thursday

Portobello market and Golborne market is half-day on Thursdays, with stalls closing by 1pm.

Travel

There’s a choice of two underground stations: Ladbroke Grove (Hammersmith & City Lines) or Notting Hill Gate, which is on the Central, Circle and District lines.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Book Review – London: Architecture, Building and Social Change by Paul L. Knox (Merrell Publishers)

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London: Architecture, Building and Social Change by Paul L. Knox (Merrell Publishers)

London’s diversity is truly remarkable, not just in its population but also its urban landscape with buildings of different centuries and architectural styles often occupying the same district. It is this unique distinctiveness of London that provides the focus of this book, London: Architecture, Building and Social Change. However to fully understand London’s development, the author contends  you must consider its economic, social and architectural history.

Fundamental to any understanding of London’s development is its rather unique history, as the author points out  ‘London did not grow from a single commercial, ecclesiastical or administrative centre’ but rather ‘ has grown piecemeal from an archipelago of villages and town centres to become a conglomerate metropolis of interdependent districts with twin cores.” Over time every district within this metropolis developed its own distinctive cityscape and instantly recognisable landmarks.

To illustrate this point, the twin cores of London, the City of London and Westminster developed over time to take on particular functions, The City of London was a commercial centre from Roman times whereas it was not until the 11th Century that Westminster became the centre of royal justice and administration.

The author considers in London’s development, a series of events had a major effects on the course of that development. First of all was Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, which took land away from the church which was transferred into private hands, therefore establishing the Great Estates. The Great Fire of 1666 swept away much of medieval London and bought about considerable building works. The coming of the Railways in the 1830s and 1840s bought a disruptive technology which tore up some London suburbs and bought access to large areas of the suburbs. Just as disruptive was the Blitz and bombings of the 1940s which decimated certain areas that often took decades to recover from.

If major events changed the face of London, so did individuals and the author suggest that a particular cast of characters were mainly responsible for widespread change. Amongst this cast were landowners, developers, architects, engineers, reformers, philanthropists and mayors.

To illustrate this interplay between events, people and architectural styles in real life, the author selects twenty-seven districts to discover their own distinctive character and pedigree. In the context of London’s general development, the book then considers the district’s specific developments that highlights the continuities and change within the specific areas.

A number of the districts show little change especially those built by the great landowners of London, areas such as Belgravia, Mayfair, Chelsea, Kensington and Knightsbridge were built for the elites and due to their status managed to avoid much of the destructiveness of the railways and industrialisation. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of Camden and  Paddington whose initial rural status was decimated by the canals and railways.

If money and influence were mainly situated in the West London, there is little doubt that for much of the nineteen century, the negative effects of industrialisation such as  poverty, crime, disease and unemployment were concentrated in East London. The sections on Whitechapel, Hoxton, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green pay testament to the role that reformers and philanthropists played in these areas to create a safer and healthier environment.

In many ways the south bank of the Thames has been the poorer relation to the north and the sections on Borough, Southwark, Bankside and Lambeth illustrate that they were for centuries populated by industry and working class residential areas. However, the South Bank and Bankside’s more recent riverfront transformation as a location of entertainments is actually a return to the area’s function in medieval times onwards.

It is perhaps the areas between the extremes of wealth and poverty that show the greatest diversity, districts like Bloomsbury, Notting Hill, Bayswater and Clerkenwell have veered between various degrees of respectability and often attracted the artists, writers and academics who have documented the changing times. The same could said of Soho and Covent Garden, which became locations of respectable and not so respectable entertainments.

This is a remarkably readable and interesting book for anyone interested in the changing urban landscape of one of the world’s most enigmatic cities. It manages to be authoritative without being overly academic, the profile of the development of 27 distinctive districts, illustrated with over 500 original photographs provides a number of insights into the past, present and possible future developments of London. One of the major insights is related to the ongoing gentrification of London areas and the creation of London as a Global city.

This book is an essential reference book for anyone interested in London, written by a leading expert on urbanization. It offers a comprehensive overview of many of the major buildings and landmarks of the city  and provides the context to understand their importance in London’s general development.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended 

If you would like more information or buy a copy of the book , visit the Merrell website here.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Book Review : Portobello Road by Julian Mash

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Portobello Road by Julian Mash

Portobello Road is many things to many people, to find some common ground, the author Julian Mash decided to interview a number of residents past and present to try to understand how parts of the area developed post war from dilapidated houses rented out by unscrupulous landlords to the location of choice for wealthy bankers.

He has significant inside knowledge having worked in the travel bookshop which was made famous by the film ” Notting Hill” , constantly pestered by tourists the popularity of the shop didn’t result in massive profit because it eventually closed in 2011.

Sensing the landscape outside the shop was changing, the author decides to discover or perhaps rediscover the recent past of the area through the words of the people who moulded and were moulded by it.

The book is a “series of snapshots of the recent past, made up of interviews with residents, shopkeepers, writers, artists, musicians and market traders.”

For many Londoners and those from outside who do not know the area that well , Portobello Road is best known for the market  and it is here the author begins his quest to find out more about the people who populate this small area of London with the section ‘Into the Market.’

One of the first interviewees was Peter Cain  a market trader who in the past had been a boxer and appeared in a film by Italian Director Paolo Pasolini . Coming from a family who had worked in the market for generations he was able to chart the rise and fall of one of the most famous Fruit and Veg markets in London.

This is the first and not the last interview that suggested that the area was changing and not for the best.

As if to illustrate this point there is a look at how traditional pubs were dying out to be replaced by Gastropubs and Restaurants.

Another type of shop in decline is the Independent record shop, the area was once famous for its record emporiums but has seen the demise of  the well loved Honest Jon’s, Minus Zero and Intoxica . It appears only Rough Trade have been successful in bucking the trend.

Other than the Market, probably the area’s other main claim to fame is the Notting Hill Carnival  that had its origins in the race riots in the area in the late 50s.

However as the author states ” the history of the annual Notting Hill carnival is complicated and at times troubled one that has seen it grow from humble beginnings to become the biggest street party in Western Europe.

Acknowledging the work of local activists Claudia Jones and Rhuane Laslett , there are interviews with many who made contributions to the carnival in its early days when it developed through various incarnations before it settled on the format that is familiar today.

It also touches on when the idealism of its early days was replaced by violence and protest in the 70s. Policing of the carnival become a major issue in the 70s and 80s when its success almost led to its downfall. The book looks at the way the Carnival’s survival is dependent on the goodwill of many volunteers and contributors  whose work is not always acknowledged.

It is perhaps unsurprising as the author was a former musician and had previously run a record label  that music  features heavily,  so there is a  section called ‘In Love with Rock ‘N’ Roll’, what is perhaps surprising is the  wide range of music that had some of their origins in this area.

Although the Caribbean community has bought its own musical traditions with them, their musical influence tended to be localised, however the development in the 1960s of the progressive and psychedelic rock movements in the area produced global superstars and provided an impetus for record labels, shops and studios to  be attracted to what was seen as a creative environment.

An interview with Peter Jenner illustrates how a series of concerts  in a local church hall  transformed Pink Floyd from just another band doing R and B covers into one of the pioneers of psychedelic rock.

Other musical influences were at work in the area notably were Jimmy Hendrix and Hawkwind.

It was not just music but Notting Hill become known as a centre for the counter-culture movements in the 1960s and 70s. Part of the appeal of the area was the availability of drugs that many of the interviewees from this era suggest added to its ‘edgy’ reputation.

However it was the arrival of the Punk Movement in the late 1970s that reflected that the area and the country as a whole was entering troubled times.

Many of the record shops in the area become a meeting place for the pioneers of this new movement most notably Rough Trade, its founder Geoff Travis maintained that ‘without Punk the shop would not have survived.’ One of the more famous bands of the era The Clash had close ties with the area as did many others.

Post punk era has seen the area known for a more diverse music movements but local resident Damon Albarn  in his interview credits the area for its influence on his musical journey.

The final section of the book is called Bricks and Mortar which gives some insight into one of the most striking aspects of the area namely how property which nobody wanted has become one of the most desirable locations in the city.

The origins of the areas housing character goes back to the 19th century when large houses were built for the cities new burgeoning middle classes, however these large houses soon changed from solo to multi-occupancy and were used to house refugees from all over the world.

The large houses facades and cramped conditions inside gave the area a reputation as seedy and faded grandeur. When the landlord Peter Rachmann bought up a lot of the property in the 1950s his main concern was how to exploit the new refugees from the Caribbean who found their housing options limited.

Subsequent  residents were often attracted to the area for its cheapness and interesting environment. It also attracted a considerable squatter movement who made use of large properties that were often beyond conventional use.

The interview of Heathcote Williams and the Ruff, Tuff , Cream Puff Squatting Agency brilliantly illustrates this movement in the 1960s and 70s.

Few of the interviewees who lived in the area have many good things to say about living in the flats and bedsits which often with little or no heating.

However it was the interview with Richard Curtis which clearly charts how the area has changed since the 1990s. Curtis had moved into the area in the 1980s and  has lived  in various houses in Notting Hill since. As someone who clearly loves the area, it is somewhat ironic that many cite his Notting Hill film as the catalyst for the movement into the area of the super rich.

The increase in property prices in Notting Hill has without doubt had a considerable effect on the area and has led many to suggest that the whole character of the area is changing  and often not for the better.

This book begins by offering a series of snapshots of the area but what emerges is a story that has been replicated across London. Once unfashionable areas have in the last 30 years  being transformed into fashionable areas.

Portobello Road illustrates how areas seen as ghetto’s and slums are then attractive  to the more creative types (painters, musicians writers etc)  which then attracts property developers and finally become desirable residences and desirable areas.

The interviews show the process in action as people cope with the mechanisms of change over time. It is the intriguing mix of well known and less well known residents of the area that gives the book many perspectives of  change over the last 50 years.

It is a considerable achievement to interweave sixty interviews into a coherent whole, but the author achievements go beyond this. For what we have here is a record of one of the more interesting areas of London before its latest incarnation and the voices of many who have contributed to its story.

This well written, informative and entertaining book will have quite a wide appeal from local historians to aficionados of the various music genres that blossomed in the “counter culture”  Portobello Road.  It will also appeal to those who are interested how London itself has developed in the last 50 years.

Visiting London Guide – Highly Recommended

 If you want to find out more or buy a copy , visit the Frances Lincoln website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.

We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here