NOTTING HILL, PHOTOJOURNALISM
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Conkers & Street Life: Notting Hill Pre-Gentrification

Two groups of men and boys on Southam Street, North Kensington, London.  A young West Indian boy looks straight at the camera.  

1959
01_PressImage l Roger Mayne, Boy playing conkers, 1957

Extinct: A boy plays conkers on Southam Street in 1957 | ROGER MAYNE

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.

Two groups of men and boys on Southam Street, North Kensington, London.  A young West Indian boy looks straight at the camera.   1959

Street life: Two groups of men and boys on Southam Street, North Kensington, London. A young West Indian boy looks straight at the camera.1959 | ROGER MAYNE

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.

Two little boys, one black, one white, in Southam Street, North Kensington, London.   1956

Exploring: Two little boys, one black, one white, in Southam Street, North Kensington, London in 1956 | ROGER MAYNE

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 18: A general view of the Trellick Tower on November 18, 2016 in London, England. Brutalism is a style of architecture, which was popular between the 1950s and 1970s, and is typically characterised by large forms and exposed concrete or brickwork. In a speech this month British Transport Minister John Hayes described such modernist architecture as "aesthetically worthless" and called for a "revolt against the Cult of Ugliness". (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Gentrification: A general view of Golborne Road with the Trellick Tower in the background. Constructed in the Brutalism style of architecture popular between the 1950s and 1970s, and is typically characterised by large forms and exposed concrete or brickwork

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

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