West Row, W10

Place name

Literal. This was one of the original streets laid out as Kensal New Town, which was developed between 1840 and 1859 by Kinnard Jenkins on his land between the Great Western Railway and the Grand Union Canal, to provide housing for employees of the canal, the railway, the gas works, and the nearby Kensal Green Cemetery. He laid out the roads following his field boundaries, they were Kensal Road (which for a time around his death in 1861 was going to be renamed Albert Road after Queen Victoria’s husband), Middle Row, East Row and South Row (today’s Southern Row). He divided the blocks up and built cottages, which became home to largely Irish immigrants, many of whom were also employed in the laundry business, the area becoming known as the “laundry colony”. The village had six public houses. In his Life and Labour of the People in London, Charles Booth described the area: “Kensal New Town retains yet something of the appearance of a village, still able to show cottages and gardens, and gateways between houses in its streets leading back to open spaces suggestive of the paddock and pony days gone by.” But the area soon became an overcrowded slum with rampant poverty.

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