The Watts Church Crawl, Part the Seventh: Notting Hill Gate

Notting Hill is famed for various reasons, none of which concern us here.

Platforms of the District & Circle Lines


The station has existed since 1868, but was extensively rebuilt in the 50s. It was then re-decorated and slightly re-arranged in 2010, during which a forgotten lift passage was re-discovered, and it was found to be plastered with various advertisements dating from the end of the 50s, before it was abandoned.


There isn’t a great deal in terms of religion up this part of London, and as we proceed along, we find the Kensington Temple, part of the Elim Pentecostal movement. It is not exactly what we’re used to, but seems to pack them in from miles around.

The building is best described as nonconformist gothic. It was opened in the late 1840s, as Horbury chapel and quickly became a very influential establishment, with Gladys Aylwood finding God here, before going to China to preach. Charles Spurgeon also preached here. It became part of the Elim movement in the 1930s.

Oh, there’s also All Saints, Notting Hill, whose most famous Vicar was Fr. Twisiday; one of the highest in the land, and one of the first Guardians of Walsingham. He started the tradition of a Corpus Christi procession in the parish, which was a great carnival, with floats and all sorts. There is a theory that after the war, this became what we now know as the Notting Hill carnival. He was also a great fan of dressing up: he was once with his friend Stanley in Brighton, and they were both to be seen in piratical costume, complete with a parrot on Fr. Twisiday’s shoulder strolling along the Brighton Prom. As they were walking along, they were observed by one of Father’s parishioners from Notting Hill, and as they were walking past, they heard the quiet words “morning Father”. He also rode a tricycle.

Fr. Twisaday


Moving on we come to the Portobello road. A somewhat legendary place in its way; a glorious, bustling market of antiques, second hand whatnots and curios. The street came into existence as Porto Bello Lane in the 1700s, but it was in the 1940s, when Rag and Bone men started setting up stalls to hawk their wares that it became the market we know today, together with the costermongers selling food, and the antiques shops really coming into their own, although they had been around for a while, as the area was perfectly situated between the affluent areas of Paddington & Notting Hill in the 1840s. It is a distinctly interesting place to wonder round, and one never quite knows what might find.

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