Roger Mayne’s black and white candid photographs of late 1950s north Kensington shows a black and white boy surveying their gritty neighbourhood, in another photograph a boy unleashes a conker in Addison Place. Another group of boys look like they are concocting some mischief on a street corner with peeling paintwork that bears no resemblance to today’s pristine Notting Hill.
Vast swathes of the neighbourhood where some of the photos were shot have undergone rapid transformation over the decades and Southam street — which adjoins Golborne Road and looks out onto Erno Goldfinger’s Grade II-listed Trellick Tower — is one of the few remaining backwaters still resistant to gentrification in the form of the ubiquitous luxury storey blocks that have sprouted up in neighbouring streets.
Some traders and shop owners were up in arms recently when the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea circulated notices it would be embarking on extensive renovation of the street popular with antiques hunters and shoppers. With gentrification comes higher business rates, a different type of clientele, and a displacing out of the old guard.
But can resistance be fruitful here?
Roger Mayne’s black and white candids are on show at The Photographers’ Gallery, 18 Ramillies Street, London W1, from 3 March — 11 June 2017