The History Behind Notting Hill

09 May 2021

Notting Hill; famous for the annual Notting Hill Carnival and Portobello Market. Myrooms offer flat-shares in this worldly district as we know this is a highly sought after living area. However, if you’re looking to rent here; how much do you know about its background? This blog examines a brief history behind Notting Hill.

Pottery Lane

Notting Hill has a reputation for drawing in artisans – similar to its roots. Notting Hill is in the historic county of Middlesex, starting out as a hamlet on rural land until about the 19th century. As London expanded West-wards, Notting Hill eventually became one of its boroughs. In addition, during this time of rapid urban growth, Notting Hill played a huge role. As London broadened, there was a high demand for building materials. The soil in Notting Hill contained high levels of clay. Allowing two industries to flourish here; brick manufacture and pottery.


Portobello Market

With stalls offering a many cuisines, unique items, and colourful clothing, it is no surprise that there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Portobello Market. Thought to begin from 1875, when travellers bartered their goods here. However, the market really takes off from 1927 when trading hours were extended. On the weekdays locals shop for produce, meat, and fish. But over the weekends the market really comes alive, through including antique and souvenir vendors. Therefore bringing in more tourists over time. Furthermore, in the late 20th century, references to Notting Hill appear in media. Some of these, such as the famous 1999 Notting Hill film, are shown in the Notting Hill Electric Cinema. Fun fact; this venue is one of the oldest cinemas in the country and became Britain’s first black cinema in 1993, showcasing films by black creators.


Notting Hill Carnival

After the Second World War, the government sought to increase immigration from Commonwealth countries to help rebuild the UK economy. Notting Hill then was an area with cheap rent and low paid jobs. Resulting in the settlement of newly arrived Caribbeans and West Indians. Tensions between the newcomers and white working class led to the infamous 1958 Notting Hill Race Riots. After this ugly moment in London’s history, activist Claudia Jones sought to revive the spirits of the newcomers. This was to be done through an event celebrating their culture. Thus, this idea led to the first ever Notting Hill Carnival in 1965. The carnival attracts millions of people each year, contributes a great deal to the London economy, and is still partially led by some of the original residents of the area.



Notting Hill has seen major changes over the past two-hundred years. Each era acting as a catalyst for the next. Although now an affluent neighbourhood, we recognise its predecessors. The way that multiculturalism has made it the hotspot it is now. It will be interesting to see what changes await Notting Hill in the future. 

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