- Portobello Road
Portobello Road is a road in the
Notting Hilldistrict of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelseain west London, England. It runs almost the length of Notting Hill from south to north, roughly parallel with Ladbroke Grove. On Saturdays it is home to Portobello Road Market, one of London's notable street markets, known for its second-hand clothes and antiques, [cite web|url=http://www.londonmarkets.co.uk/London%20Markets%20Portobello%20Road.htm|title=London Markets Portobello Road|accessdate=2008-01-21|publisher=London Markets] and for the setting of one of the scenes in " Bedknobs and Broomsticks." [cite web|url=http://disney.go.com/vault/archives/movies/bedknobs/bedknobs.html|title=Bedknobs and Broomsticks|accessdate=2008-01-21|publisher= The Walt Disney Company] Every August since 1996 the Portobello Film Festivalhas been held in locations around Portobello Road. [cite web|url=http://www.portobellofilmfestival.com/history.html|title=Festival Reports|accessdate=2008-01-21|date=2005|publisher=Portobello Road Film Festival]
Portobello Road was known prior to 1740 as either Green's Lane or Turnpike LaneFact|date=September 2007 - a winding country path leading from Kensington Gravel Pits, in what is now Notting Hill Gate, [cite book|last=Sheppard|first=F. H. W.|title=Survey of London|url=http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=49864#s13|accessdate=2008-01-21|series=volume 37|year=1973|pages=pages 25-41|chapter=The village centres around St. Mary Abbots church and Notting Hill Gate] up to
Kensal Greenin the north.
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
War of Jenkins' Ear, [cite web|url=http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/vmgallery/general/vm_then_now_gallery.asp?cpg=3&tpg=3&gallery=vm_then_now_portobello_road|title=Portobello Farm by E Adveno Brookes - 19th Century|accessdate=2008-01-21|publisher=Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Libraries] when Admiral Edward Vernoncaptured the Spanish town of Puerto Bello(now known as Portobelo in modern-day Panama).
Green's Lane became known as Porto Bello Lane; the title which it still held in 1841. [cite web|url=http://www.openage.co.uk/st%20quintin%20history%20for%20website/page_02.htm|title=Early History|accessdate=2008-01-21|last=Godin|first=Ernest E|date=2006]
The Portobello farming area covered the land which is now St. Charles Hospital. [cite web|url=http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/Hospital.aspx?id=5LA05|title=St Charles Hospital|accessdate=2008-01-21|publisher=
National Health Service] The farm itself was sold to an order of nuns after the railways came in 1864. They built St Joseph's Convent. [cite web|url=http://www.mynottinghill.co.uk/nottinghilltv/history.htm|title=The history of Portobello and Notting Hill|accessdate=2008-01-21|publisher=mynottinghill.co.uk]
Portobello Road is a construct of the
Victorian era. Before about 1850, it was little more than a country lane connecting Portobello Farm with Kensal Greenin the north and what is today Notting Hillin 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 nineteenth century, nestling between the large new residential developments of Paddingtonand 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 station opened, the northern end of Portobello Road was also developed, and the last of the open fields disappeared under brick and concrete. George Orwelllived in Portobello Road in the winter of 1927 after resigning as Assistant Superintendent of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. [cite web|url=http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/chrono.htm|title=George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) Chronology|accessdate=2008-01-21|publisher=Charles' George Orwell Links] It should be noted that the Disneyfilm " Bedknobs and Broomsticks", although partly set in Portobello Road during one of the film's main musical numbers, is entirely filmed in a studio set which bears little or no resemblance to the real Portobello Road.
Portobello Road today
Portobello Road's distinctiveness does not just rely 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 architectureplays 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.
It is the setting for
Paulo Coelho's 2007 novel, " The Witch of Portobello".
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 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 Market
Portobello Road Market draws
tourists. The main market day for antiquesis Saturday. However, there are also fruit and vegetable stalls in the market, which trade throughout the week and are located further north than the antiques, near the Westway Flyover.
The market began as a fresh-food market in the nineteenth century; antiques dealers arrived in the 1960s.
The market section of 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 3,080 feet (0.58 miles or 940 metres) long.
About one third of the way from its north end, the market runs beneath adjacent bridges of the
A40 roadand the Hammersmith & City line of the London Underground.
Portobello Road & Market in the Media
The market was featured in the 1971
musical film, " Bedknobs and Broomsticks" in a scene involving a song and dance in and around the market. The lyrics refer to the market and the people who live and work there.
It is also referenced in the song "Blue Jeans" by
alternative rockband 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 on a Saturday.."
The cult British 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.
board game"Portobello Market" is named after this market. BBC One's daytime antiques-based gameshow " Bargain Hunt" regularly features contestants buying items at the market to later sell at auction.
* [http://www.nottinghillnonsense.co.uk A website about Notting Hill]
* [http://www.nottinghillnonsense.co.uk A community website from Notting Hill's Golborne Road area]
Markets in London
* [http://www.friendsofportobello.com Friends of Portobello website]
* [http://www.portobellomarket.org/history.htm Portobello History website]
* [http://www.portobelloroad.co.uk/ Portobello Road: Antiques Dealers Association]
*bgg title|27356|Portobello Market
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