Living in Notting Hill – my experience by Lionel Blair

Notting Hill has always attracted an array of famous residents. In recent years the likes of Damon Albarn, Robbie Williams, Stella McCartney and Claudia Schiffer have all lived in this vibrant corner of west London. But in the 1960s Notting Hill was home to none other than actor, dancer and entertainer Lionel Blair! Lionel has kindly shared with us some of his memories of living on Notting Hill Gate.

“I moved into Camden Hill Towers on Notting Hill Gate in the early sixties – the rent then was just £10 a week! Notting Hill Gate really had everything – fun shops and restaurants, a great fish and chip shop and the cinema on the doorstep. When pushed for time there was the tube or you could always grab a cab or a bus.Living on Notting Hill Gate - Campden Hill Towers

My flat was a duplex on the 13th and 14th Floor and best of all Bamber Gascoigne lived upstairs! The views from the flat were amazing, especially when London was lit up at night. In fact when they needed a flat with a view for the film ‘Alfie’ with Michael Caine, they used my flat. A one day shoot earned me a case of Vodka!

I hosted a lot of parties, in fact Judy Garland once came to a ‘Fish and Chip’ party, which was just one of the many enjoyable times I had In Notting Hill. I got married to my wife Susan in 1967 and we had our first son in 1968. Getting the pram (no buggies in those days) in and out of the lift was tricky; we loved the area but knew we had to find a house.

Living on Notting Hill Gate - Lionel Blair and his family in the 1960sWhilst walking the baby in the pram around the area Susan spotted a house in Jameson Street that appeared to be derelict. We made enquiries and as it turned out, it belonged to British rail, and had been forgotten and untouched for some 30 years – it even still had the lampshades to prove it! After a bit of hassle and selling the car (Ferrari!) for the deposit, we bought the house and started renovating it as and when we had the money. We were so happy to still be in the same area, which buzzed with fun and some great friends. We moved into the house over the course of a week, moving most of our stuff apart from furniture in a Mini Countryman.

The area behind the cinema was called ‘The Village’ back then, and that is what it felt like. Sometimes we heard the faint rumble of the tube but we loved the place so much, of all the homes we have had since then Jameson Street is the one we wish we could have back. To this day I have such great memories of a great part of London.”

Although the rent is slightly more expensive these days, Notting Hill is still a wonderful place to live! Search our current list of available properties.

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