I always think of Earl's Court station as being the gateway to West London. I can remember being here in the early 70s with its transient population of Australians. It used to be known as 'Kangaroo Valley' then, but I haven't heard that term for a long time. The streets were always busy and the roads congested. Will it be any different today, I wondered. The first thing you might notice is the name of the station, which has an apostrophe, unlike the area which is usually spelt without an apostrophe. The name is derived from the Earls of Warwick and Holland who owned the land. The station (although not this one) has been a part of this area for 150 years. A station was built n 1871 as part of an extension of the District Railway. However, it was constructed of wood and unfortunately burnt down in a fire. The station was relocated to its present position and rebuilt as a brick structure in 1878 and was remodelled again in 1906, when Piccadilly line services began running through the station. In 1911 the first escalators on the Underground network were installed at Earl's Court station. To encourage people to use them an individual was employed to ride them up and down to demonstrate their safety.
The station received a Grade II listing in 1984 and retains many features of architectural significance, including the station indicator boards on the District Line platforms and the roof over the sub-surface tracks, constructed in 1933.
Classic timber benches line the platform with the roundel as the back rest.
The Warwick Road entrance was constructed in 1937 in order to provide better access to the refurbished Earl's Court exhibition centre. This entrance was rebuilt in the 1960s and in 2009 the 'drum' was added to house the station's control centre.
In front of the station, next to the newspaper kiosk is what looks like a TARDIS from Dr Who. It is a blue police box, the first one to be installed since 1969. This is a replica of the blue police boxes which used to be very common. They were used by the public to contact the police via a phone. Of course with increasing access to mobile phones they became obsolete in the early seventies. This one came into operation in 1996 when the entrance to the tube station was plagued with drug pushers, users and prostitutes.
On the corner across from the pub is what used to be a shop, with its doorway facing the pub.
On the wall is a mural of a fountain. I failed to find out any information about the origin of the mural or its subject.
In front of the pub were more cottages. I followed this road to the end passing this cosmetic clinic, advertising plastic surgery.
Not something you would find on my road but then I don't live in Kensington!
On the cast iron railings outside the building I found this sign.
There are a number of mews in the area. The original mews buildings were comprised of stables, carriage housing and with living quarters above. They were built on either side of a cobbled street behind the large terraced houses. They have now all been converted to residential properties in the most desirable places in London. Although small they still fetch a high price due to their location. I walked past a number of mews around the Earl's Court area.
This is Laverton mews. A high archway was needed to allow carriages access.
This is where Howard Carter, the Egyptologist stayed with his brother, Simon, during his trips home from Egypt.
I crossed over Earl's Court Road and on to Warwick Avenue. This is where the Earl's Court Exhibition centre used to be, just opposite the Warwick Road entrance to Earl's Court station. It was refused heritage status and was completely demolished in 2017 after it was acquired by developers. It opened in 1937 as a major exhibition and events centre. It is where the international motor show, boat show, Ideal Home show and Billie Graham rallies were held as well as pop concerts and a venue for the 2012 Olympic games.
I walked round the hoardings to a place where I could see the site.
This is a photo from the internet of the exhibition centre. Many people were hoping that the façade would be saved and reused in the area's development but this didn't happen. The plans for the new development don't seem to have been finalised yet other than it will be mainly housing.
I walked down Warwick Road onto the Old Brompton Road. This is the Troubadour which opened as a coffee house in 1955 and was renowned for its folk music nights in the early 60s. Bob Dylan sang here in 1963.
Also on Old Brompton Road is Coleherne Court where Princess Diana lived before becoming engaged to Prince Charles. Her parents had bought her a flat in this complex as a present for her 18th birthday.
Back on the main road again I passed this very grand looking pub.The Blackbird was converted from bank premises in 1993 giving it a very impressive frontage. It was refurbished in 2018 and now has 9 boutique bedrooms for guests.
Just a short walk from the Blackbird pub on the same side of the road is The Prince of Teck public house. The original pub was built in 1832 for the Star Brewery. It was rebuilt in 1868 and is now Grade II listed. Lots of interesting features such as the heraldic wyverns at each corner of the roof. The name refers to Prince Francis, Duke of Teck (1837-1900) who was connected to the German Royal family. His marriage to Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, a cousin of Queen Victoria and granddaughter of King George III brought him to England in 1866. His daughter May later became Queen Mary when she married the future George V.
On the side are bas reliefs of the prince and above the windows are busts of different figures.
Although the traffic was as heavy as ever there were not as many people around nor as many shops as I recall in the 70s. Once the new development is finished no doubt the area will be different again.