Family & Beloveds – The Grove. Portobello Road. 1960/70s

Carol Larry & Sam in 1960/70s – Scrapbook. The Grove Days in W2/W11/W10. track ‘Uphill Peace of mind.’

A slideshow with one of my tracks, and in the memories of dear ones I met in the Grove who are no longer here. Most of the Photos Guy Cross or me with my little camera.. (before the days of Smartphones.)  

One of my Dear Friends was from Mauritius. Louis. Here he is on the Conga, with Sam, my son, on the Kit. A poem, set to music that I wrote in his memory.  A wonderful man, Pastry Chef and musician. We were playing a benefit gig for the Powis Square play Hut.

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                 Wedding day February 1967- Kensington Registry Office.


Larry & me getting married, with Maureen ‘Beat’ Beattie and Richard Lovelock. We lived in St Stevens Gardens.. 4 families to a house, often more. Room by room, bath and toilet for all, except the basement, on the landing… 



St Stevens Gardens

A single sleeve. With our Cat Mustapha looking out of my window onto those streets above. A lot of that area has long gone, cleared in the slum clearances during the 1970/80s


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A view from the window one day .. it was an infamous street!

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Baby Sam 1967

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Larry and Sam and me in St Stevens Gardens 1967 Larry’s Mick Jagger poster and a Mandala. Then we moved, Sam and I to 8a All Saints Road, into a yellow house with a yellow door, next door to The Mangrove. Best Carrot juice I have ever tasted – Dee.  (Ruben Hollingworth.)

A day out on Wimbledon Common

8A All Saints Road London W2

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All Saints Road – Mass Carnival

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Photo Guy CrossThroughout the 1960/70s I lived in many places, often homeless. From West Cromwell Earls Court to The Brompton Road, Worlds End Chelsea, then over to Swinbrook Road just off Goldbourne Road in North Kensington, to St. Stevens Gardens then on to All Saints Road.

My years in The Grove, bar some nasty encounters with The Music Business, was the most I ever felt that I was being held within a community that for the most part. cared about each other. Many of the people pictured have died or moved on to another place and another life. The Slums have been bulldozed away and unless you are already housed in a Housing Association, you need several Million, for the privilege of being there. When the disgusting Windrush Scandal opened up I was ashamed of being a white British woman and in a way, felt glad some of the people I regarded as Family, have gone and did not live to see the shameful treatment of their relatives.


There were times in The Bay area of Northern California, Crocket, and Formentera in the Balearics and South West Wales, but I always winged home to All Saints Road and my little Sam was always with me… 

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                                                          In Powis Square

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Sam and me at The Roundhouse Camden Town

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The house with the yellow door when kids played out and the community kept an eye. Sam on his Woolworths Drum Kit

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Henry Jesse and Sarah    (then Sheila )                                                   Susie

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Colville School.  Little Sam middle row second from right

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Photo Guy Cross

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An extract from The Singers Tale. 

London W11 Sam and Larry  © 

The Grove and a Wedding and a Baby called Sam is born. Exploding Galaxy The Balearics, LSD, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, bells, beads, and brown rice, St Stevens Gardens W2 and Portobello Road.

                               Name number three, Higgs, Freeman then Smart

Song  White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane

1967 January

The new roof above their heads was above a settee in the front room of a small, first floor flat in a terraced house in North Kensington with John. John was an aspiring guitar player if he could ever lift his backside from his favourite seat at home or in the pub. A man, not given to huge amounts of energy, happy to be talking music and smoking with a Beer beside him in convivial company, a small-time dealer in Hashish and Grass, and friend to many of the new generation of Folk singers and Blues Guitarists, those who smoked the Weed or popped the Pills, selling just enough for his own use, his life lived in the night hours, strumming his Guitar, listening to records, nodding, smiling and rolling endless joints…..



The area often referred to as ‘The Grove’ was Ladbroke Grove eastwards towards Westbourne Grove across towards Paddington. By the end of the Second World War, it was partly derelict. The Suburbs were filling up with families wanting leafy green, nice homes away from Bombsites and filth. Cheap rooms in Notting Hill and it’s surrounding area were more available in Peter Rachmann’s old territory. Sadness and despair lay in a lot of those basement flats, tenement houses and the Tower Blocks that had been thrown up in Post War Britain. The rooms and flats in the crumbling houses were some of the cheapest in London. The facades of the once grand terraced Houses were peeling layers of paint, unkempt, and often with boarded-up windows. ….

…. The slums sat cheek by jowl with the big white Stucco houses a few streets away. Holland Park nuzzled close to the top Ladbroke Grove, down the hill past the Convent and a very different scene took place on the streets around Ladbroke Grove Station. It was less than a decade since Teddy Boys and the African Caribbean’s fought on the streets of The Grove and Notting Hill. White people were still saying, ‘No Blacks and no Irish ‘ and still called out Spics and Spades, Micks and Yids, Wogs and Wops…..

….She loved being near Portobello Road, was as happy as a hog in a truffle wood. She loved the market with fresh fruit and vegetables, orange, green and yellow piled high on the stalls. New potatoes, bunches of mint and parsley, exotic sweet potatoes and yams, grapes and garlic, mounds of nuts, lemons, and limes. She found rice and pasta and soft cheese, food was more than a fatty chop and two vegetables all swimming in Brown Bisto or waxy yellow mousetrap Cheese and Margarine on Mothers Pride Bread, cooking almost every day in the cramped little kitchen overlooking the rooftops and backyards.

A wooden rocking chair in the street and John and Larry dragged it back to 113…..

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                  All Saints Road W11 – From my Window… Revving up for fun

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My second  Band The Race at The Marquee Club Soho 1965/66

   Some of the Music I recorded when living in The Grove.

                     Cover below taken in my tiny front room 8a All Saints Road

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Uncle Dog in The Approach Tavern All Saints Road


Album made in Memphis Tennessee 

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  1. From 1969 I spent almost thirty years living in the Grove, loving every moment of the first twenty, then things began to change as the wine bar set moved in to push people out by pushing prices up. I finally left in 1998. A few years travelling about a summer in Arctic Norway, with a couple of months on a tiny island in the Lofotens, I settled in the corner of Andalucia, where tourists from the rest of Europe don’t venture so much. Sometimes it reminds of the way things were in Notting Hill.

    1. Hi, I left in 1979 when I became homeless and went to a Squat in Bethnal Green which became short life, housing and then a fully fledged fully mutual housing co op…still flourishing, my son there too… c x

    2. Hi there, I have come to the conclusion that there are so many areas that I don’t seem to get a grip of in this blogging game.messages is one of them. I have now found your blog and I will read with enormous pleasure, we did indeed share the same patch in the same times. Hope you are safe and well c

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