New future for Portobello Road

PORTOBELLO Road received a welcome boost this week after a series of ongoing battles that have clouded the popular street s future, writes Glenn McMahon. Antique traders celebrated after being assured they could remain in their arcade following threats fr

PORTOBELLO Road received a welcome boost this week after a series of ongoing battles that have clouded the popular street's future, writes Glenn McMahon.

Antique traders celebrated after being assured they could remain in their arcade following threats from a planning approval to turn it into a retail and residential complex.

And the street is set to witness an art explosion after the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council commissioned two artists to create a 100 metre long record shelf along the North Wall celebrating the rich diversity of music that has influenced the area and its communities.

Concern for the streets' future as a vibrant hive of independent stores, stalls and street art has been the subject of much debate following the conversion of a large antiques arcade, Lipkas, into high street fashion store, All Saints.


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The council was accused of putting the character of the street at risk through its planning decisions, while the council said it was powerless to interfere.

The Good Fairy Arcade, in Portobello Road, Kensington, had been the focus of campaign group, Save Portobello Road Market, protests for some time over fears it would become another Lipka, but landlord Rob McIver has said the antiques arcade will stay.

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To help encourage

regeneration of the area, the council is funding The Portobello Road Arts project.

The council said: "The project aims to help regenerate the Golborne area by creating a visual link between Portobello Road Market with Golborne Road Market."

Its fourth six-month

commission will see artists, Theresa Crawley and Natasha Mason, create their piece, Portobello ReCollection, which will include the record shelf, music events and a walking and history tour by respected music historian, Tom Vague.

The Central St Martin's graduates said: "We want to celebrate the rich musical heritage of Notting Hill and emphasise the connection between the place, its people and its music, as if the wall was Notting Hill's own private record collection."

The shelf will feature a 1,000 record spines from the past century painted in chronological order from 1910 to 2010.

But to ensure they reflect the people and their lives, the pair are asking for suggestions from the public.

They said: "We want it to be a democratic project involving and encouraging contributions from the area's many ethnic communities. So we are appealing to residents to nominate titles they consider worthy of inclusion."

They are also being encouraged to share the relevance of the album to them and the area on a facebook page.

Contributors to the project already include; local record stores Honest Jons and Rough Trade, Nick Turner formerly of Hawkwind, Island Records, Bella Freud, local stall holders and many others.

Over the years, Notting Hill has also been the backdrop for music videos such as Blur's For Tomorrow, Band Aid's Do They Know Its Christmas, Babyshambles' Delivery, Lily Allen's LDN and Depeche Mode's Little 15.

Members of the public can submit their suggestions to contact@portobellorecollection.org before August 30.

glenn.mcmahon&archant.co.uk

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